Tool Test – Featherbow

From December 2006 Popular Woodworking

Better Featherboards for Many Tools

Traditionally, a shop-made featherboard is used to hold a small or narrow workpiece firmly against a fence or machine table. The common form has been around since the inception of the table saw, and when I first saw the FeatherBow, I thought, “Why would I spend $30 for something I could make in five minutes?”

But after testing these featherboards  on our table saw and router table, I believe it’s $30 well spent.In addition to the traditional form of featherboard on one end, the other end is bow shaped and can also be used for controlling stock. The bow-shaped end has a plastic piece on the inside of the bow that is used to gauge the amount of pressure the bow exerts on the work. While the bow shape effectively holds the work down to the table firmly, it won’t prevent stock from moving backward as the traditional shape will.

The company also makes a FeatherBow Junior, which has the bow shape on one end and a single feather on the other. It’s intended to be used as an addition to the larger version, providing downward pressure from the fence, while the large hold-in, mounted in the miter-gauge slot, applies lateral pressure. The large size has an expanding bolt that locks the device in the miter-gauge slot, and the small one is designed to attach to a T-track or to a piece of wood attached to the table saw fence.

The big advantage to these is the ease and adjustability of mounting. This is the major drawback to shop-made featherboards; you need to use two clamps on each one, and it can be difficult to locate them where you want them, and to find a suitable place to clamp to. While the product is nicely made and functions as it should, the printed instructions  leave a lot to be desired. The company is in the process of updating its written manual.

– Bob Lang

More information on the Featherbow from Mystic Works

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