Hot New Tools: Foam-Fingered Jig

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FeatherPRO Featherboard by Bow Products

Foam fingers are a common sight at football games, but Bow Products deserves the Super Bowl ring for bringing them into the workshop. Unlike the wooden or plastic fingers on other jigs, the FeatherPRO employs a strip of high-density foam that is cut to create fingers—some might call these thumbs—separated by a “living hinge.” This engineered pattern enables the foam to hold boards tight against the rip fence when making rips and dado cuts, while preventing the chance of kickback.

Foam has other unique advantages. By expanding over the top edge of thinner boards, the fingers also serve as hold-downs to keep the workpiece against the saw table. (Note: FeatherPROs can be stacked for resawing.) Foam can also help dampen vibration. Although minor, I appreciated that the fingers did not produce the distracting “sproing!” noise at the end of a cut.

The FeatherPRO costs more than plastic-fingered competition. But where a chance encounter with a sawblade would trash a plastic-fingered featherboard, the FeatherPRO’s plastic base allows you to slide in a replacement finger strip and return to work. Bow offers optional ultralight fingers, but I haven’t yet encountered a situation where the standard fingers didn’t get the job done.

You can make a featherboard that will help keep you safe, but it won’t work as well as this one. For this reason, I think this jig is worth shelling out a few bucks.

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