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A featherboard is a tool that has tines on one edge called feathers. The pressure applied to the board by the featherboard helps to keep the board from kicking back. When the tines are short, more pressure will occur against the board. Too much pressure against a soft wood can leave an indention on the edge of the wood. With softer woods, use longer tines on the featherboard for more spring.
Position a featherboard so that the ends of the tines touch the board as it sits on the table next to the fence. Place the featherboard so that when the board passes down the machine, it will pass the last tine of the featherboard just before it reaches the blade.
Start by making a 35-40 degree cut on the end of a board.
Make a line across the board at the same angle to indicate how far back the lines will go. The length of the tines depends of the kind of wood being worked on.
Cut the tines starting with the fence a 1/8" from the cut. Run the board into the saw blade and back the board out once it reaches the drawn line. Move the fence 1/4" and make the next cut, and so on.
When using the featherboard on a table saw with a miter gauge slot, cut a hole in the featherboard, then attach a t-nut and knob. The t-nut slides into the miter gauge slot so the featherboard can lock into position.
Arch the ends of the tines so that there is more pressure in the middle of the featherboard and less on the ends. This makes it easier to get the board through the featherboard area.