What is a Riving Knife? – Complete Answer (Pictures Included)

| Last Updated: March 1, 2021

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TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

Below are a few aspects to remember when researching a riving knife. 

  • Riving knives are an important safety feature
  • They’re not essential but highly recommended 
  • A splitter is similar to a riving knife 

What is a Riving Knife on a Table Saw?

In this section, we’ll discuss in further detail what a riving knife is, how it works, and its similarities with other safety components. 

A riving knife is an important safety feature on most modern table saws. In the article below, we’ll discuss further what a riving knife is and how they work.

How Does A Riving Knife Work? 

Table saws are commonly used for cross-cutting and ripping and will often encounter times when a partially cut workpiece moves in on itself and pinches the blade. 

The pinched blade results in the workpiece flying towards the user at high speeds. The riving knife maintains a gap between the two cut sides, which stops jamming and nasty accidents caused by kickback. 

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to table saws? If so, these might be something to check out: 

Do I Need A Riving Knife?

They aren’t necessary to your table saw. But, they should be seriously considered. There are a few alternatives, such as a blade guard or splitter. 

One of these three should be considered, but there are many advantages to a riving knife that can’t be met by the other two safety features. 

What Is A Splitter? 

A splitter is similar to a riving knife because it protects the user from kickback accidents. The splitter sits behind the blade to stop the cut wood from pinching the blade. 

The main difference between a splitter and a riving knife is that a splitter is fixed in-place, and a riving knife moves with the blade. 

For a more detailed explanation, take a look at our splitter vs. riving knife article. 


Safety features are key to keeping you and others safe, and a riving knife has become a reliable and popular safety feature found in most modern table saws. There are other options out there, but they’re not quite like a riving knife.