There are numerous commercial types of featherboards, but whether you choose to use a homemade version or a commercial type, they all work pretty much the same. For this article, let’s focus on the homemade models.
You’ll notice that the end of the board with the cut fingers also is also cut off at a 30° angle. This angle allows you to clamp the featherboard against the stock (which in turn is placed against the rip fence) and push the stock forward. However, if one were to try and pull the stock backwards–as sometimes happens when a piece of stock binds between the blade and the fence–it is gripped by the angled fingers, which prevent the piece from moving backward. A featherboard is, therefore, an important safety accessory, as if a workpiece being fed through a saw during rip cuts kicks back, it can seriously injure you.