I’ve been meaning to blog this for awhile. I’ve gotten a few messages asking about my blade guard so I wanted to give the story.
As many of us know, the blade guards that come with standard table saws are awkward to use and often get taken off and never replaced. My original motivation for the blade gaurd, however, was not safety. It was dust control. When I set up my shop in my basement, I got overhead dust filters and dust collectors with piping. After cutting with my tablesaw, I always had a big poof of dust all over the place. I realized that a significant amount of fine particles come off the top of the saw.
I started hunting for plans for a blade guard and looked at some commercial offerings. Anyone that’s been through my shop tour or my shop cam have learned that I worked in a crammed space. It’s small and it’s bordering on over-tooled. I know that’s blasphemy, however, it’s a fact of life. Most of the overhead blade guards either mount to the extension tables or to the floor. With my setup, I just couldn’t do that and started looking to ceiling mounted solutions.
Excalibur, a Canadian company that makes scroll saws and blade guards was offering a new item. It was a ceiling mount blade guard, but without the mount. I thought, Canadian, blade guard, ceiling mount? It’s all good and ordered one. Excalibur has since been bought out by General, another Canadian company.
That left me having to design and build a mount for my shop. I’m a hobby woodworker and a hobby metal worker, so no problem. As I have rack of steel in my garage, I headed out to the shop to build the prototype.
Starting with some angle iron, I cut a recess in one end to accept another piece welded at a right angle. This is going to be my stop for the blade guard so it doesn’t swing too and fro.
I used 1” square tubing to weld an H shaped rack that would mount to the dimensions of the Excalibur unit.
I ground all the welds flush and got ready to take it down to the shop for the test fit.
After a bit of fiddling and realizing the floor joists are at 14” centres in my house, I got it attached to the ceiling of the shop.
The Excalibur unit attached to the new blade guard. It all fits and swings correctly.
Waiting for the paint to dry after the test fit.
And finally, with dust collection hooked up and ready to work.
For ripping smaller stock and for using mitre guages and cross cut sleds, the blade guard goes up to the ceiling out of the way. Well mostly. I’m 6’1” and it hangs at 6’ 3/4”. I do hit it from time to time. Also, as my outfeed table and tablesaw double as an assembly bench, it’s nice to get it out of the way as well.
Please note: This as of writing this, Excalibur no longer offers this variation to their popular blade guard.
Thanks for reading!
-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)