JessEm Flex Stock Guides

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DLB
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JessEm Flex Stock Guides

Post by DLB »

This is not a true tool review, as I don't own the "Flex" version of these. But I was previously unaware of their existence and suspect they have utility in the MarkV 510/500 community.

I have two versions of Clear-Cut Stock guides, one for the 520 Rip Fence and one for my router table fence, and am a fan of both. Each consists of a pair of guides, one for infeed and one for outfeed. Each individual guide controls the stock similar to two featherboards, one applying downward force toward the table and the other providing lateral force toward the fence, along with anti-reverse. The chief advantage over featherboards is at the outfeed, where a lateral featherboard usually cannot be used. The disadvantages of the table saw version are price and that while they can be adapted to the 520 fence, they are not compatible with 510/500. (2" minimum fence width IIRC.)

Yesterday I came across a "Flex" version of the router table guides that can be adapted to table saws with narrower fences: (https://www.amazon.com/JessEm-Clear-Fle ... 121&sr=8-5)
Note that the Amazon pictures show both router and table saw mounts.

- David
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SteveMaryland
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Re: JessEm Flex Stock Guides

Post by SteveMaryland »

I like these JessEm guides. Expensive (almost $300 for the regular one) but they look very well made and serve a real need. Sooner or later i will buy.

They might have come out with the "flex" version to provide a cheaper alternate.

Based on your experience with this product, does it completely replace featherboards - or are there cases where a featherboard works better?
Mark V, Model 555510, Serial No. 102689, purchased November 1989. Upgraded to 520
CreekWood
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Re: JessEm Flex Stock Guides

Post by CreekWood »

What's the difference between the Jessem guides and similar-looking gizmos on Amazon? Asking because I've never seen either up close.
Mark V 500 upgraded to 520
Delta 36-725 TS
Kobalt Sliding Miter Saw
Bosch 1617EVS & Router Table
Craftsman 351.23371 Planer
Performax 16-32 Thickness Sander (finally tracking right!)
...and a growing collection of traditional hand tools.
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JPG
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Re: JessEm Flex Stock Guides

Post by JPG »

I like what I 'see' in the Amazon link.
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Goldie(Bought New SN 377425)/4" jointer/6" beltsander/12" planer/stripsander/bandsaw/powerstation /Scroll saw/Jig saw /Craftsman 10" ras/Craftsman 6" thicknessplaner/ Dayton10"tablesaw(restoredfromneighborstrashpile)/ Mark VII restoration in 'progress'/ 10
E[/size](SN E3779) restoration in progress, a 510 on the back burner and a growing pile of items to be eventually returned to useful life. - aka Red Grange
DLB
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Re: JessEm Flex Stock Guides

Post by DLB »

SteveMaryland wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2023 3:29 pm Based on your experience with this product, does it completely replace featherboards - or are there cases where a featherboard works better?
For the table saw, I still occasionally use featherboards. An example is a cut with the blade near enough to the fence to warrant use of a fence straddler, which is not compatible with the stock guides. Or a recent experience, the top surface of my workpiece wasn't compatible with the guides because it was a jig already slotted for template routing. These exceptions are pretty rare, and I also use the guides for large pieces of material where I would not use featherboards. I'd say I'm using the guides more than 95% of the time that I'm using the saw in conjunction with the rip fence.

The TS version creates a downward force using a coil spring that also has a fair amount of travel. The router version (non-Flex) that I have doesn't, you are pretty much limited to slight compression of the o-ring 'wheel' and travel is negligible, so it needs milled lumber that is flat and of consistent thickness. My presumption is that the "Flex" version has the means to allow for some of that downward force and travel based on flexibility of the body between the mount points and the wheel.

- David
DLB
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Re: JessEm Flex Stock Guides

Post by DLB »

CreekWood wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2023 10:39 pm What's the difference between the Jessem guides and similar-looking gizmos on Amazon? Asking because I've never seen either up close.
I was just looking at Amazon and I see a number of products that compete with the JessEm router guides but I didn't really see any that compete with the table saw guides. JessEm has three variants:
1) Table Saw (Clear-Cut TS Stock Guides)
2) Router Fence (Clear-Cut Precision Stock Guides)
3) Dual (Clear-Cut Flex Stock Guides)

All, I believe, have an anti-reverse bearing, 5 degree wheel bias to make the stock track toward the fence, and replaceable urethane rollers. The TS version is arguably the gold standard for table saw. It is the only one that allows you to set the distance from fence to contact point. The coil springs I mentioned earlier give a defined/controlled downward force and allow the rollers to travel up and down for variation in stock. Location along the feed access can be adjusted without impact to the left/right or stock thickness adjustment.

The other one I use is the router table version, and I believe it is most similar to the much less expensive versions on Amazon. Its frame is rigid, so downward force is not well controlled. I set mine by pushing down on it while tightening the knob, and it does not move. I'm probably slightly flattening the roller. It is not tolerant to changes in stock thickness. There are infeed and outfeed versions in the set, and either can be set anywhere along the fence but are usually set near the cutter. There is no control for setting distance from the fence, though you can make spacers.

The Flex version is similar to the router version but appears to have some flexibility in the body. If that's right, I would consider it superior to those with rigid bodies, including the JessEm version I have. Here is a pic from the JessEm site that, in addition to the name, leads me to think these have some of the flexibility of the TS version:

ClearCutFlexcloseupwithpressure.jpg
ClearCutFlexcloseupwithpressure.jpg (113.23 KiB) Viewed 6309 times

- David
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