Micro Jig GRR-Ripper Advanced GR-200 System - Tool Review
by Jeffrey Fleisher
New Market, VA
Click on any picture to see a larger version.
The MicroJig GRR-ripper 3-D Push Block System was designed for both safety and performance from the ground up. In 20-plus years of woodworking, I have used all types of store bought and shop made push sticks, push blocks, feather boards, safety guards and thin-strip cutting jigs and fixtures. The GRR-ripper push block system packages all of these functions in a very safe and well-designed tool.
MicroJig was founded by Henry Wang, a woodworker in Orlando. FL. Like many other woodworkers, Mr. Wang was frustrated by the accessories available for cutting small pieces of wood on the table saw, so in 1998 he started to develop a system that would safely hold wood as it was passed through a tablesaw blade. In 2001 he founded MicroJig and began to provide the GRR-ripper system to the woodworking community.
The GRR-ripper system is a complete system that safely keeps your fingers away from the saw blade while keeping the board under complete user control throughout the cut. The GRR-ripper acts as a push block, feather board and overhead safety guard all at once. The system has three basic components as shown in the photograph below.
The core of the system is the push block shown on the far right. The push block contains pads or 'legs' that have a patented rubber surface that provides a very nice, non-slip surface. The legs are approximately 1/2", 1" and 1/4" wide. There is also an optional 1/8" wide leg for supporting thin strips shown at the top. There is an adjustable heavy-duty handle on top that fits nicely in your hand and can be angled to provide forward and right pressure to a board. The basic system also contains a stabilizing platform for use with narrow boards and a flat plate for both added stabilization, which also acts as a feather board.
When placed on a board, you adjust the center leg so that the Grr-ripper straddles the saw blade and at least one leg is on both the 'keeper' board and the 'waste' board as seen below.
The key to the GRR-ripper system is that it supports and controls both the 'keeper' and 'waste' boards at the same time. You no longer have a waste board that stops next to the turning blade while a conventional push block continues to push the keeper board past the blade. In addition, the blade is running through a tunnel between two of the push block legs.
This tunnel acts like an overhead guard protecting you from the blade and moves along with your hand. This is a very nice safety feature. When I first started using the GRR-ripper system I actually thought that this was a negative feature of the system. I had to remove my overhead guard in order to use the push block. However, once I realized that the tunnel acts like its own overhead guard and with my hand on the handle I am now safer than before. A word of caution – be sure to sight down the tunnel before turning on the saw. You must make sure that the top of the saw blade is lower than the top of the tunnel and will not run into and cut the plastic. If you don't do this, then your hand is safe but the feedback when the blade touches the plastic is immediate!
I believe the stabilizing platform is the best feature of the whole system. When using a narrow board you are still able to adjust the legs to provide support on both the keeper and waste boards and the stabilizer provides a firm foundation for the whole push block.
With the stabilizing platform in place you can provide a lot of downward and forward pressure without any rocking or slipping. The two thumb screws allow the stabilizer to slide up and down for various thickness boards. I just place the push block onto my wood, loosen the screws, and press the stabilizer down to the surface of the tablesaw and retighten the screws. Very quick and easy!
The last key element of the system is a flat plate that attaches to the bottom of the stabilizer platform and can act as a moveable feather-board.
One side of the platform is completely flat and can be adjusted so it slides up against the side of the board and keeps it in place, like a feather-board. However, unlike a stationary feather-board this feather-board moves along with the push block and keeps the waste board under control throughout the complete cut. The platform is adjustable for different width boards. The platform is reversible and the opposite side of the platform has a small hook on the edge, which can be used to hook the back edge of a board and help push it through the cut.
There are a couple of ways that the GRR-ripper can be used to improve performance and safety that are hard to show in a stationary picture. The first is when ripping short boards. As I've mentioned a couple of times already, the GRR-ripper controls both the keeper and waste boards throughout a cut. With the GRR-ripper you can push the boards all the way past the blade and then slide both boards away from the blade and back towards yourself as shown in the following photograph. This keeps everything under control and safe!
For longer boards you can use two GRR-ripper push blocks and alternate your hands as the board moves past the blade. You may start out with a push block in your right hand pushing the board and then as it passes over the blade you add a second push block using your left hand. As the left hand starts to pass over the blade you reposition the push block in your right hand back onto the wood behind your left hand and keep on going. This can be repeated until you get to the end of the board.
MicroJig has a variety of additional accessories for the system in addition to replacement parts. You may inadvertently reshape one of the legs by getting a little too close to the saw blade but they are easily replaced. One nice new accessory is a 1/8" thick leg, which can be used to cut thin strips safely.
I need to make thin strips for a class project that I teach and the 1/8" leg makes it very easy to rip the thin strips off the side of a board.
I have been using the GRR-ripper system for a number of years now and really believe it is the safest way to control a board as it passes over a tablesaw blade. I also use the push block on my jointer, especially with long boards, and my bandsaw when resawing a board. It is a very nice way to provide uniform pressure along the surface of the board. I'm sure you will find many more uses for the push block once you start to use it in your own shop.
Purchase your own Micro Jig GRR-Ripper Advanced GR-200 System today!
Additional accessories that can be purchased separately include:
Micro Jig GRR-Ripper Connector and Bridge Kit Combo
Micro Jig GRR-Ripper 1/8 inch Side Leg
Micro Jig GRR-Ripper Handle Bridge Kit
Micro Jig GRR-Ripper Deflector-Connector
Jeffrey Fleisher has been a woodworker for approximately 20 years and a professional woodworker for the past 6 years. He was the past president of his local woodturning club, the Woodturners of the Virginias and past president of the Northern Virginia Carvers. You can see some of the furniture he has made at
www.jeffswooddesigns.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.