What Is A Riving Knife On A Table Saw? – Complete Guide

A riving knife is a safety device that is put on a table saw to prevent injuries and help make the table saw safer to use. A table saw has a lot of power, so to prevent injuries the table saw can be fitted with a riving knife to help keep the person using the table saw safe. There are different types of table saws and the riving knives are suited to the different types of saws. In this article, we will look at the different uses of a riving knife.

What Is A Riving Knife On A Table Saw

A Riving knife on a table saw is a vital piece of safety equipment. They are used to prevent kickbacks and reduce the risk of injury. The riving knife is placed near the back of the saw blade, and it keeps the wood from coming together when cutting. A rip cut is especially likely to cause kickbacks, and it’s here that the riving knives are most important.

A riving knife is effective at reducing the possibility of a kicked-back board. However, it cannot completely eliminate the risk of injury. Always wear proper protective equipment, such as safety glasses and hearing protection. Keep your hands safely away from saw blades, and stand in a position so that if the board kicks back, you won’t get injured.

Types Of Riving Knives

There are two types of riving knives available. One type is made of steel and the other type is made of plastic. Both types are designed to fit over the blade of a table saw. However, there is one important difference between them. Steel riving knives have an edge that is sharpened like a razor. This makes them ideal for cutting thin wood pieces. Plastic riving knives do not have a sharp edge. They are primarily used for ripping thick stock.

Mechanics Of A Riving Knife On A Table Saw

On most table saws, there is an adjustment mechanism underneath the saw table that releases the riving knife. This adjustment mechanism allows the riving knives to be raised or lowered in relation to the saw blades. The shape of the riving knife makes sure that the space between the teeth of the saw blade and the edge of the riving knife is less than 1/4 inch.

This allows for maximum effectiveness when cutting boards. A riving knife is used to separate the two halves of a newly cut board. It stays in place for crosscuts and other types of cuts where the saw kerf goes completely through the thickness of the wood. Riving knives should always be kept in place during crosscuts and other types of cuts.

How To Use A Riving Knife On A Table Saw

If you have just bought a new table saw, then you may need some training before you start using it. You’ll find that the riving knife comes with instructions, but they may be hard to understand. Here is how to use a riving knife on a table:

First, turn off the motor on your table saw. Next, adjust the height of the riving knife. Make sure that the riving knife is close enough to the blade that it will touch the bottom of the blade when the blade is fully retracted.

Then make sure that the riving knife is set correctly. Check that the riving knife does not move when the blade is moving. Also, check that the riving knife doesn’t interfere with the movement of the blade.

The next step is to put the workpiece on the saw table. Hold the workpiece firmly against the fence. Now, lower the blade into the workpiece. Raise the riving knife until it touches the bottom surface of the blade. Lower the blade again until the riving knife touches the bottom of the saw blade.

Now, carefully press the workpiece against the fence. Slowly retract the blade. As soon as the blade has reached its full extension, stop retracting the blade. Keep the blade stationary for about 10 seconds.

Repeat steps 4-6 until the blade stops vibrating.

Now, slowly lift the riving knife away from the blade. Continue lifting the riving knife until the blade starts vibrating again. Stop lifting the riving knife when the blade stops vibrating again.

Continue repeating these steps until you can no longer feel the vibration in the blade. Once the blade is stable, slowly lower the riving knife back onto the blade. Repeat this process until the blade no longer vibrates. Remove the riving knife after each cut. Never leave the riving knife on the blade while making multiple cuts.

When To Remove The Riving Knife

Woodworkers should never remove the riving knife, it is a safety device to protect your hands and fingers while cutting. If you remove the riving knife then the chances of serious injury increase during kickback on a table saw.

The riving knife should only be removed when the workpiece is being moved out of the way. When removing the riving knife, first raise the riving knife up above the blade. Then slowly pull the riving knife down until it touches the bottom of the blade. Once the riving knife is touching the bottom of the blade, push the riving knife all the way down into the blade.

The riving knife should not be pulled off the blade by hand. Doing so could result in damage to the blade and the riving knife.

How Thick Should The Riving Knife Be

The thickness of the riving knife will depend on what kind of project you are working on. For example, if you are going to use the riving knife to rip a piece of plywood or hardboard, then a thicker riving knife is needed. If you are using the riving knife to make decorative cuts in softwoods such as mahogany, then a thinner riving knife is required.

Ripping Plywood With A Riving Knife

A good rule of thumb is to always use a riving knife with a minimum thickness of 1/4 inch (0.64 cm). Thicker riving knives are too heavy to handle properly.

To rip plywood, place the plywood face down on a flat surface. Place the riving knife on top of the plywood. Make sure the blade of the riving knife is facing down. Position the riving knife at the center of the plywood. Press firmly down on the riving knife. Slowly move the riving knife along the length of the plywood.

To rip hardboard, follow the same procedure except instead of placing the riving knife on a solid surface, place it on a piece of scrap plywood.


Q: What Does A Riving Knife Actually Do

A: Riving knives are used to separate wood into pieces. This tool makes it easier to split wood because it helps to slide the wood along the blade. Riving knives are safer than splitters because they sit closer to the blade. They also don’t get in the way when cutting. Dust and chips guards are safe and easy to use.

Q: How Do You Set Up A Riving Knife

A: Setting up a riving knife is easy. First, remove the blade guard from the table saw. Next, slide the riving knife onto the blade. Make sure that the riving knife is positioned correctly by checking its positioning marks. If the riving knife isn’t positioned properly, it may slip off during operation. Once the riving knife is set up, you’re ready to start making cuts.

Q: Can You Use A Table Saw Without A Riving Knife

A: Yes, you can use a table saw without a riving knife. Riving knives are optional safety features but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use riving knives. If you don’t have a riving knife, you’re better off buying a new table saw. Riving knives are used to prevent kickbacks and limb damage.
Riving knives are used to prevent kickbacks from happening. You should use a riving knife if you are cutting wood. Riving knives are used to cut boards down to size. They prevent kickbacks, jams, and other problems associated with sawing.

Q: Does A Riving Knife Prevent Kickback

A: Kickbacks occur when a board slips off the blade while being cut. Kickbacks can cause serious injury. When using a riving knife, there’s less chance of getting kicked back.

Q: What is the purpose for fitting a riving to the saw

A: The main reason for fitting a riving knife to a table saw is to prevent kickbacks. A riving knife prevents kickbacks by preventing the wood from slipping off the blade. It does not help to push the wood against the blade.

Q: Is a Riving Knife Safe To Use

A: Yes, a riving knife is very safe to use. There are no moving parts inside the riving knife. All that’s needed is a blade. The blade is made out of hardened steel. This material is extremely durable. Blades last for years. In fact, blades are designed to be replaced after only one year.


The riving knife is a safety device that helps kickback when cutting. It also prevents the blade from jumping off of the table and injuring you in case there’s an accident. This blog post has provided some information on What is a riving knife on a table saw. Thanks for Reading

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