Canadian Woodworking

Featherboard alternative

Author: Wally Schneeberger
Published: October November 2003
Featherboard Alternative
Featherboard Alternative

This featherboard makes work at the table saw easier, safer and more accurate.

As I mentioned in the last issue, I have been involved in carpentry for the last 30 years. During that time I have always been one to look for an easier way to do things.

Here is a jig that I have found quite useful as a featherboard alternative.


I’ve always had a problem with featherboards. Too often, when I’ve got the featherboard tight enough to securely hold the stock, it is difficult to feed the piece through the bit or blade.

After some consideration, I came up with a couple of featherboard alternatives. They use old bearings to hold the stock tight, yet still allow easy feeding of the stock.

One big advantage of these jigs is their ability to feed stock the opposite way (climb cut) when you run into stock that splinters easily. You can control the feed by tightening the bearings on the stock. If you look closely at the pictures you should be able to make your own easily. You might also use a mitre slot clamp (from a featherboard) to make it adjustable. The rubber bearing I salvaged from an old reel to reel recorder. The steel one came out of an old drill press.

The bearing that holds the work down to the table is mounted on a piece of oak that is 12″ long x ¾” wide and is ½” thick. It tapers towards the bearing, which allows for it to flex slightly. I use two screws to mount it to the base so that the height, or pressure can be adjusted.

The second bearing is made to hold the work against the fence and router bit. This is made from oak also but any good hardwood may be used. It is mounted in a recess that I cut with my dado head. The slot was also cut with the dado and then capped afterwards. This bearing is 1 ⅜” in diameter so the holder is 1″ thick x 2″ wide x 10″ long to give it some room to adjust. I drilled and tapped two holes in my table saw to accept the adjusting bolts.

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