Luckily I didn’t lose my thumb, but it still has a nasty scar to tell the tale of an altercation with a table saw more than 15 years ago. Ever since that event, I’ve been on the lookout for safer sawing techniques and tools. I’ve tried all sorts of featherboards and push sticks, and I eventually bought a SawStop table saw. But I still keep looking. My latest find is the MicroJig Grr-Ripper push block.

OK, I know what you are thinking, “Oh, great, another push block with all sorts of complicated whistles and bells that claim to make it safer but really just make it harder to use. I get by fine with my shopmade push sticks.” Well, you might change your tune after you see what the MicroJig Grr-Ripper does.

Fundamental difference

All of the push blocks I’ve seen or made have one thing in common: They grip only the keeper part of the workpiece, letting the offcut to slide free. That means the offcut is still free to bind with the blade and potentially create a kickback situation. Not so with the Grr-Ripper.

Designed with three pressure legs, and an adjustable balance support, this push block can be set up to control both the workpiece and the offcut in most common ripping situations. Furthermore, you can even use it for repetitive ripping of small parts without moving the saw’s rip fence or using a featherboard. That’s what I was doing when I cut my thumb, so I was sold instantly!

How it works

Simplicity is important with safety devices because if they aren’t easy to use, people won’t use them. The Grr-Ripper adjusts in seconds without tools to fit whatever it is you need to do. The balance support gives it stability, and the center adjustable friction legs locks into whatever position you need. The green rubber gripping surfaces are good and grabby.

Besides table saw applications, this tool can be used on jointers, router tables, bandsaws, and just about any other woodworking machine that requires hand-feeding stock. You can use two Grr-Rippers to walk long material through a machine. You can safely cut bevels, slot dowels (with accessory stabilizing plate), pattern rout, and even cut irregular workpieces safely on the table saw. And it’s even made in the USA.
You can learn more about the MicroJig Grr-Ripper and accessories at www.microjig.com.

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