The Truth About Riving Knives

The Truth About Riving Knives

#woodworking #DIY #tablesaw

In this week’s video I will attempt to demystify Riving Knives. They are NOT one size fits all. It is very important to pay attention to the type of riving knife a manufacturer puts in a table saw and the factory blade that comes with it. If you think you’ll be able to swap blades easily, this video will be an eye opener for you. I compare my riving knife against three different blades, and run a kerf test to demonstrate how the riving knife will perform with each blade. The kerf test doesn’t lie. In this video I am only presenting the facts. What you do with your tools is your business.


DISCLAIMER: My videos are for entertainment purposes only. Do not attempt to do anything that is shown in my videos. Woodworking and Metal Working are very dangerous activities and should only be performed by trained professionals.

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  1. Gregory Fry on September 14, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to break this down. I had made a blind assumption that rising knife=safe.

  2. Bill Rose on September 14, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks, Eric. I was taught to use a table saw at age 10 and never had had kickback 51 years later, but I also appreciate how serious it is when it occurs. I have never used a riving knife except on a construction site with someone else’s saw.
    There are youtube videos that describe how to make a riving knife. Don’t you think a reasonable person (not every person) would consider that a riving knife of the proper thickness to be a safety improvement?

  3. charles barry on September 14, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Newbie question. How can I measure distance from the back of the blade with the riving knife in the way? I’m considering removing it because of this. Not my first time using a table saw but first time using a riving knife.

  4. Water Bug on September 14, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    I never considered this before. Thanks. Also when the knife is thicker than the kerf the binding wouldn’t just be limited to the kerf I assume but the wood would also push against the fence. Guess I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t run into this problem. If I did it would have taken me a long time to figure out I think…until now.

  5. Arfeen on September 14, 2023 at 7:51 pm

    Company could have easily provided couple of extra riving knives of for thinner blades..

  6. Allen Hess on September 14, 2023 at 7:51 pm

    Thank You. I always appreciate an explanation that is clear and complete. I will be making a couple of riving knives for different blades. I still have all my fingers and don’t mind taking the time to work safely.

  7. Pale Horse on September 14, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    Great points. Did your owner’s manual say anything about what type of blade to use/ or not?

  8. William M on September 14, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    Nice video and worth the time to watch! Makes me want to do some research of replacement riving knives! Which also made me wonder if a car wax on the riving knife would be a good idea? I will experiment!

  9. Howard Johannssen on September 14, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    Very helpful, just trying to tune up my dad’s old 1950’s Craftsman’s table saw without riving knife. Lots to think about, thank you.

  10. Woodwork, Walks and things that interest me on September 14, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Excellent, a bit of fact about riving knives rather than the usual you must have one

  11. John Argast on September 14, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    You bought a Ridgid : Sorry

  12. Bill Rose on September 14, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    I had a question about the Diablo blade. I bought a 10" Diablo, too, for my table saw. I noticed a definitive deflection of the blade left or right (can’t remember which way), when viewed from behind, when I made cuts about 2" deep. In other words, instead of a straight up/down 90-degree cut, it pushed to one side. Do you think the thinness of the Diablo blades might cause something like that? In other words, it might be too thin such that it’s floppy?

  13. Adam B on September 14, 2023 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much this explains everything

  14. Carscape on September 14, 2023 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much. I would have had no idea when switching my blade

  15. Jimmy Dickson on September 14, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    Very good point mate thank you

  16. Bruce Maher on September 14, 2023 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you thank you…I wish everyone knows what you just showed me….and very good way you explain how it works thanks again

  17. Reginald Gabel on September 14, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks for the info. I have a Ryobi 3100 which is not made anymore and I had the small problem. The saw is working great but I know I will have to replace it soon. What ridgid do you have. I have a small shop and do not have the room even for the hybrid saws. I did all my plywood ripping outside and use the table saw for my smaller cuts. My concern is good cuts. I make jewelry boxes and other small items. Thanks for any info.

  18. Barry Parks on September 14, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    Many thanks. Useful information

  19. Hardrock on September 14, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    When I got my 10 inch cabinet saw it came with a combination blade guard, riving knife assembly. Soon after, I changed the factory blade, that also came with the saw, to a much more expensive saw blade. I was having real difficulty passing through my wood as I was cutting it. It was like preventing me from passing the wood through the blade and it was worse if the wood stock was thicker. I totally removed the blade guard assembly and for years I have used the saw with no riving knife. I do use push sticks and I sort of keep to one side but I have had some close calls and hastily hit the stop button to avoid any serious mishap. I have looked around trying to locate a riving knife for my saw with no luck. Now I’m wondering if I can make one. I will be adding an over the blade dust collection hood, in the hopes of further reducing the dust in the shop. I would feel safer with a riving knife so I’m going to pursue that further. Thanks for highlighting this safety issue. When I started having this problem years ago, I thought it was something I was doing wrong not utilizing the blade guard properly.

  20. CHfan 21 on September 14, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    My contractor buddy gave me shit about not using the riving knife on the used Ridgid site saw I bought from him. He was using cheaper full kerf construction blades where I was using a higher end diablo fine tooth blade and the saw became unusable due to the binding on the blade and terrible burning. After some back and forth I pulled out the calipers and came to this same conclusion that the knife should not even be on there. This is a huge oversight by manufacturers if you ask me, it would be easy for them to provide a couple of knives with the saw to accommodate varying blade thicknesses. In fact, its difficult to find a full kerf 10" blade as the construction site table saws the box stores sell do not have enough HP to spin the larger/heavier blade well. First thing everyone does is toss the blade that came with the saw, may as well include a thin kerf diablo blade and appropriate riving knife and use it as an advertising/selling point. I have since’upgraded to a Ridgid TS3650 saw (used) and was missing the splitter and its no longer available from Ridgid (or busy bee who sell an identical Craftex saw), but perhaps this is a blessing as it likely would not have worked with my blades anyways and doesn’t appear Ridgid knows what their customers actually need.

  21. Michael Boisvert on September 14, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    Same thing after replacing the blade on my Delta with Diablo and rip-cutting 8ft of Southern Yellow Pine. Now I know better. First table saw I ever had, purchased in May. Rookie mistake. Thanks for the info.

  22. Dallas Herring on September 14, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Thank you for this very informative video. Just bought a Dewalt table top 10", tired of bugging my brother in law to use his table saw. The last time I had to assemble a table saw (change blades, etc ) was 30+ years ago. Had never even heard of a riving knife. They included riding knife width in instructions, but you probably saved me possible injury as I was going to buy a thinner, cleaner blade. Cannot thank you enough, great video!

  23. Mark Koons on September 14, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    Making a riving knife isn’t terribly complicated with a drill press and a mini grinder but does anyone know of a source for blank stock in a variety of thicknesses?

  24. sed6 on September 14, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    My riving knife was attached to my blade guard and they both came off together, on day one, and have never gone back on. That was 10 years and a million board feet ago, your mileage may vary!

  25. Dwayne Robare on September 14, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    Blades manufacturers should offer a kit with one with it… then all subsequent blade purchases would be just the blade….

  26. DAZ 431 on September 14, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    Have a 45 yr old Model 113 Craftsman. Riv knife on mine has these two nasty little backward-barbed spring-loaded curved wings on each side that the board pushes under as it passes through, and they are supposed to grab the board and lock it down if it tries to come back. But I found them to be quite a problem when ripping anything under about 3/4" thickness, they tend to shift over at the bottom and try to bind between the riv blade and the stock I’m cutting…. I was making 1/4" thick x 1 1/4" wide x 38" long slats for a roll-up table top, and it got pretty scary till I took that thing off. The wings also only have a clearance of 3 1/2" under where they are mounted onto the riv blade, so the end of some types of push stick won’t go past them there on thinner rips and it had to come off again when ripping 2×4’s or 4×4’s thinner… The wing on the scrap side won’t let you pull the scrap away from the blade until it completely clears the teeth on the wing, which is just about all the way off the table. That is a bit annoying. Never had a problem with the blades I"ve used being too skinny for the riv knife tho, it is only 12 ga metal (.08in or 1.9mm). But I have had thin stuff hang up in the back "U" of the slot in the table insert. Riv knife mounts with a turnbolt to a bracket just below and off the back of the table, so I can put it on/off without taking up the blade insert. Great vid, man, thanks for the info!

  27. FastRedPonyCar on September 14, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    Great info. I’ve inherited my wife’s grandfathers Delta Unisaw. I haven’t gotten a chance to fire it up yet as it probably hasn’t ran in 30 years and I need to install a 220v outlet but it has no riving knife and as a novice, that worries me a little. I’m considering grabbing a SharkGuard ARC for the saw and it seems like I need to first determine which blade I want to use and then buy the appropriate thickness SharkGuard. Is there any disadvantage of going with a thinner riving knife vs blade tooth width? Would it basically reach a thickness disparity where if it’s too thin, it would no longer be able to do it’s job properly or would even a thin riving knife be sufficient in reducing/eliminating kickback?

  28. Christian Møller on September 14, 2023 at 8:20 pm

    God dag mand økseskaft

  29. Chopper on September 14, 2023 at 8:22 pm

    I had the same binding and kickback issues when I switched to the Freud Industrial 1/8" kerf blade…
    I only figured out what was going on when I attempted to check my Miter Gauge alignment with the blade and my engineer square was referencing off of the riving knife due to it being just proud of the blade.

  30. Edward Medina on September 14, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    Well that explains my problem. Wow, do I feel dumb now.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  31. nacho type on September 14, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    Have a craftsman I picked up from an older gentleman and was wondering why it didn’t have the riving knife or any space to put one in. Thanks for the info, it was truly helpful.

  32. Michael Northup on September 14, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    I was pleased to see the same saw I use in this video. I had an accident with a table saw nearly 30 years ago when a feed jam occurred. I pushed harder, slipped and spent the rest of the night having two fingers sewn back on. I have seen the videos on the correct depth of a blade being at the base of the gullet. I prefer, and feel safer, with only the tip of the blade above the wood. If there is any burn on the cut, sanding will fix it, and is preferable to a night in the operating room. My current saw has a riving knife that is sloppy and is jamming the feed of the wood. I know what I will be doing to my saw now.

  33. D twist Rewind on September 14, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    If the riving knife was ground down to a width that is safe with the 7in blade would it still be safe to use on the factory thickness blade?

  34. gary gerard on September 14, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    good video – thank you

  35. William Eldridge on September 14, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    Yeah, been to several stores and been eyeballing a small/cheap tablesaw. There was no riving knife on any of them, not even the expensive ones.

  36. IIGrayfoxII on September 14, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    Can you swap out Riving knifes?

  37. Kent Brown on September 14, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    I was having the same binding problem and couldn’t figure it out. Thanks a ton for the riving knife video. God Bless!!

  38. Raye Boals on September 14, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    Just subscribed thank you for this video explains a lot.

  39. Dan King on September 14, 2023 at 8:31 pm

    Do blade Manufactures make a universal riving blade that can be purchaded, or do i have to go through the saw manufacture for different thickness?

  40. pumpkinscueball on September 14, 2023 at 8:31 pm

    The most simple solution to riving knife problems…….. get rid of it! I’ve been wood working for just over 40 years and the first thing I’ve done with a new table saw is get rid of the riving knife. I have never had one single kick back because of it. If you have wood that binds up so bad that it jams the blade when you cut it, then it’s probably to wet and unstable to build anything with it anyway. Use the proper wood for the project you are building. Don’t cheap out. If you run into a problem cutting wood, it’s your fault, not the saws. The tablesaw is the most important tool in your shop, and, probably everyone’s favorite. But it can also be an unforgiving monster. Treat it with the utmost respect and totally focus on each and every cut and you will be just fine. The only thing going through my mind when I’m making a cut is how much damage that blade can do to my fingers if something goes wrong. Because I am so focused,when I’m making a cut, I only use a push stick on cuts that are less than 1 1/2" wide. I know a lot of you are going to say that this is dangerous too. But, when I’m making a cut, I’ve gotten into a habit of straddling the fence with the hand that I’m using to push the wood with. This way, it’s impossible for my fingers to ever contact the blade. Like everything else in life, the table saw isn’t meant that every person is capable of using it. If you can’t focus long enough to make a 10 second cut, then, maybe you should consider knitting instead.

  41. michael foxfoxster on September 14, 2023 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks man I too was having the same problem, now I know why.

  42. Dave Short on September 14, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you for teaching me! I bought a used job site saw and I’m missing the diving knife, so now I know what to look for.

  43. Rob DAlessandro on September 14, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks, Eric for making this video one of the most valuable safety videos for woodworkers to understand the use of the riving knife. Thumbs up and I subscribed.

  44. KC Creations on September 14, 2023 at 8:40 pm

    Can I use a 7 1/4 blade on a portable Ridgid table saw? R4516

  45. STAN MASHEK on September 14, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    good video thank you very much

  46. Don Catchpole on September 14, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    Good stuff

  47. rascasio pez on September 14, 2023 at 8:46 pm

    Hola,soy de Cuba.muy buena explicación.todos dicen para que es pero nadie explica concretamente su funcion.Muchas gracias.

  48. Justin Griffin on September 14, 2023 at 8:46 pm

    Grate video. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m new to wood working. I typically use a skill saw for framing cuts. Has someone asked, is there a guide or list of what blades are typically what thicknesses? Yea, the Rigid blade works for the included riving knife, but I imagine people like yourself move on to buy other blades. Are Diablo’s just cheap or have you found other blades that arent Ridged that are equal thickness?

  49. prinecash on September 14, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    Well done video👍 I have the same Ridgid saw and have recently switched to a Diablo 10 inch from the factory 10. Can I get a new riving knife or do I have to go without one? Thanks for any info.

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