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The best Shark Guard yet.

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Review by dbhost posted 08-12-2011 04:31 AM 7958 views 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The best Shark Guard yet. The best Shark Guard yet. The best Shark Guard yet. Click the pictures to enlarge them

First things first, some full disclosure. I am a “Frequent Flyer” when it comes to Shark Guards, I am on my 3rd Shark Guard, my first was an early model with a 2” port, the second, a 10.4 (4” port model) and now the SGK-1 with 4” port. Lee Styron, the owner of The Lee Way Workshop, and maker of the Shark Guard is also a long term contributing member of one of the forums I moderate on, and Lee gave me a good discount on this buy due to the above factors. I am however not directly affiliated with the Lee Way Workshop, and aside from the discount I recieved, have no financial interest in Lee or his company. If you are interested in these guards, go to Lee's site and order one.

This review covers the Shark Guard SGK-1 4” port model for the Ryobi BT3×00 series, including the Craftsman 22811 and 21829.

I received my SGK-1 shortly after production of them began, and installed it at my earliest convenience. There were some drastic changes from the 10.4 I noted right off. For starters, the riving knife has radically changed. Instead of the simple hole arrangement that the clamp pinned through, now there are slots, the user simply backs the thumb screws off slightly, and slides the clamp back, and up to remove it for non through cuts.

The second thing I noticed was the thickness reduction in both the guard itself, and the clamp. This makes interference with the fence much less of a problem. And even with the 4” port, the new model is distinctly thinner than the old guard.

The new guard design is also set up so that the top piece can be removed, and exchanged for port pieces in the various sizes. 2.5” to 4”.

After installation and upon first use, I noticed that the suction from the 4” port seems to have increased, the addition of the front roller makes easing the guard up and over the top of the workpiece. This helped keep the guard tighter around the workpiece which helps improve the dust collection, which is amazing to begin with.

The fit and finish of these guards is top notch, and unlike nearly all other guards on the market has a good solid feel to it. Like a 1950’s American car sort of solid build…

The addition of the new features, that improve this guard combined with the old school top notch fit and finish will make even the cheapest table saw a real winner. There is virtually no excuse for not using a guard when you have one of these installed. So if you bypass buying one of these, and you abbreviate your digits, you only have yourself to blame…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com




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dbhost

5386 posts in 1928 days



19 comments so far

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2364 posts in 1579 days


#1 posted 08-12-2011 04:41 AM

I just got mine today; I’m still setting up my DC so it’ll be awhile before I’ll get to test it, but from what I’ve heard from others, it will be well worth the money.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3678 posts in 1860 days


#2 posted 08-12-2011 06:14 PM

Looked at this before, but I never bit…....er….......I suppose the Shark should bite me….........(-:

I might still buy one, but I thought I would carry out my own idea first…....there is nothing to prevent me from adding it later. I think the Shark has always looked like the best aftermarket guard for my saw….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1389 days


#3 posted 08-12-2011 06:44 PM

I want a Shark Guard so bad but they don’t make one to fit my saw. I’ve been in touch with the owner and he seems more disappointed than me. He’s a really nice guy with a really good product. The price is right, too. I think they’re worth much more than he charges.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View POGO's profile

POGO

15 posts in 1580 days


#4 posted 08-13-2011 02:56 AM

I purchased the older version of the Shark Guard with 4” port around a year ago and found it significantly helped with control dust. One drawback about using zero clearance throat plates is more dust is ejected on the top side of the table saw. Installation and alignment of the splitter to align the saw blade did take some work. I also should have purchased the splitter made for thin kerf blades. If you use the standard thickness splitter with a thin kerf blade, your will have difficulty maintaining contact of the material with the fence.

My experience found that the shark guard does not work as well controlling dust on trim cuts, where only a small amount of material is removed. Other products on the market would likely have the same problem.

-- Arvid, Spring Texas

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1928 days


#5 posted 08-13-2011 07:13 PM

POGO, you are right, that trim cuts like you are talking about tend to spew dust and the guard while it does help some, but yes, containing within the guard. I don’t know of any guards on the market that catch above the table on trim cuts where one side of the guard is just hanging in the air…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View SWM's profile

SWM

93 posts in 1754 days


#6 posted 08-13-2011 10:15 PM

After reading many solid reviews of the shark guard over the last year I ordered one of the new SGK-1 models a few months ago. It was several weeks before the guard arrived, probably longer becaused I ordered the power coated red version – I couldn’t resist. I will concur with dbHost that the shark guard’s build quality is first rate. I had the guard out of the box and mounted on my table saw within about 5 minutes.

I have one question for the group. I think that I purchased the taller of the splitters available. Naturally this tall arrangement leaves a bit of gap between the bottom of the guard and the top of the saw towards the rear of the blade when the blade is at full height(hopefully that’s clear). Does anyone fuss with changing out splitters when changing between material of various thicknesses? The gap is much less pronounced when the blade is lowered and ripping, say 3/4” material. Just curious what others thoughts where?

-- Working on a retirement hobby, only 30 more years to practice!

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1928 days


#7 posted 08-14-2011 01:08 AM

I can’t speak for splitters. My saw has a riving knife, can you snap a pic of what you are talking about?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

523 posts in 1876 days


#8 posted 08-14-2011 10:42 PM

SWM, my setup only came with one splitter that holds the overhead dust collection system. This does not touch the table in the back. It’s about 3/4” off the table. That gap is normal and is ideal for typical cuts 1/2-1” I did get a really short splitter (about 1/4-1/2”) and I got a tall splitter that’s a good 3” inches tall above the table. I don’t use these much unless I can’t use the overhead dust collection feature.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2687 days


#9 posted 08-15-2011 12:40 AM

The only thing I dislike about my saw is the Guard. I just contacted Lee regarding the availability of the new guard my model. Thanks for the review!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1389 days


#10 posted 08-15-2011 08:59 PM

^very true, Barry. If there’s a major disassembly step for me to get my crosscut sled on, I’ll probably pass. That’s why my splitter doesn’t stay on my saw most of the time.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1928 days


#11 posted 08-15-2011 09:53 PM

Barry, to a certain point you speak the truth, however, not entirely… The Shark Guard can be had with a ceiling mount as well… However it would be in the way as any guard would be when using a dado blade. The dado is a non through cut, and you SHOULD be pushing through with push blocks anyway, so problem mitigated. With a ceiling mount you can certainly use a cross cut / miter sled.

You do bring up a perfectly valid point. And I am curious, are there any guards out there that really do work in those applications off of the shelf?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1389 days


#12 posted 08-15-2011 10:05 PM

^not that I’m aware of. I guess the ones on booms (Excaliber, etc.) can be lifted up to accommodate a crosscut sled. Sort of? I think the SharkGuard is the finest of the GUARDS. Not even the SharkGuard can compete with a LACK OF GUARD, as anything fits with no guard ;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Leeway's profile

Leeway

11 posts in 1172 days


#13 posted 08-16-2011 12:23 AM

Thanks, Guys.
The new shark guards will be able to be used as an overarm or ceiling mounted guard as well as splitter or riving knife mounted. I have the drawings at my plasma cutter now to produce the first batch of mounting plates for the overhead mounting types. These are designed to work with Unistrut products. Not yet ready, but would be available later as an add on kit.

The Sharks can be used with a sled, but it has to be designed with the shark in mind. Meaning a low fence in front and rear where the guard would be riding. The splitters or riving knives can be left in place to use with nearly any sled, provided the slots are deep enough.
Once I get the rest of the items available for the new model, there won’t be many operations on a saw that the Shark can’t cover. :)
Thanks again and let me know if you have questions.

-- Lee

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1928 days


#14 posted 08-16-2011 04:52 AM

I hate to burst your bubble, but there is, and has been an overhead Shark Guard on the market for years…

The new model is called the SGK-1 of course, with the overhead mount option…

My review just happened to be covering the model that I use. There is a very wide assortment of guards, splitters, riving knives and misc available from Lee and his shop…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View SWM's profile

SWM

93 posts in 1754 days


#15 posted 08-16-2011 06:51 AM

dbhost. That is one fancy overarm blade guard picture that you posted. Is that a cad rendering for Leeway’s new overhead mount? I’d love to know when these are available.

-- Working on a retirement hobby, only 30 more years to practice!

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