Table saw blade guards

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Forum topic by Luke posted 09-06-2009 05:33 AM 12452 views 1 time favorited 81 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Luke's profile


545 posts in 3294 days

09-06-2009 05:33 AM

I have a question that has been bugging me for quite a while. Years even. I absolutely never use the blade guard on my table saw. I find it to be cumbersome and troublesome because I can never see what and where I am cutting. I can’t easily measure for making cuts. It takes me longer to do things especially like setting up a dado blade. The wood sometimes would get stuck right before the splitter in the back of the blade and I have an even more dangerous situation because the wood sits on the blade while running as I reach down and turn the saw off to remove the wood… or… I will rock the wood back and forth to get it to go around the splitter ( it’s not a cheap saw but the splitter does not stay where it needs to). That sounds really dangerous and IT IS! I know they made it for a reason but it sucks to use it and I am actually more careful with it off than with it on. I own a craftsman portable professional and the blade guard is not user friendly at all. It takes tools and time to take on and off…. and it pretty much SUCKS at any angle other than 90 degrees because you can’t put the rip fence close enough for the cut as it gets in the way. So here’s my BIG QUESTION:

How many lumberjocks actually use the blade guard?

I know a lot of videos and internet celebrities say to use it at all time “except for this video for demonstration purposes”. But lets get to the truth and see if I’m all alone here. I may be… if so, please use your blade guard whenever you can. ThankS!

-- LAS,

81 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#1 posted 09-06-2009 05:38 AM

I never installed mine 20 years ago when I bought my saw for all the reasons you listed.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View hootr's profile


183 posts in 3347 days

#2 posted 09-06-2009 01:26 PM

I don’t even remember how to put mine on

-- Ron, Missouri

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3342 days

#3 posted 09-06-2009 01:43 PM

i don’t even know where mine ( 3 different saws ) are ,
although i saved them ,
in case i ever sell one .
when i buy a new saw ,
whether chop or table saw ,
it’s the first thing to go !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3823 days

#4 posted 09-06-2009 01:53 PM

I was in the same position when I owned my Craftsman saw. I took the blade guard off right after I bought it for all the same reasons that you described. It was a serious compromise of the saw’s safety features as you say. But with my new saw it takes only a few seconds to remove or replace the blade guard with a riving knife so I use it all the time, unless I am doing a cut that precludes use of the blade guard.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3894 days

#5 posted 09-06-2009 02:19 PM

I have never used mine

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3433 days

#6 posted 09-06-2009 03:00 PM

mine has been collecting dust for 4 yrs

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3482 days

#7 posted 09-06-2009 03:00 PM

I don’t have them on mine, and I have an over head one for one of my saw’s. I’m with you, I think they can be, and I stress “can,” be more dangerous in place then without them. My advice, for what it’s worth, and what I tell the people who come into the shop to work, is to do what you feel comfortable with. If you’re comfortable and feel safe with the guards in place, then use them, if you’re not comfortable with them in place then don’t use them. However, I feel I should mention that the best blade guard/splitter system I’ve seen on a table saw is the one that’s on the new Delta Unisaw. If I owned one of those saws, I’d really consider at least keeping the splitter in place.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 3403 days

#8 posted 09-06-2009 03:31 PM

Ditto for all the reasons mentioned above. I’ve tried (usually once) with each blade guard on each new saw, then promptly remove them. Besides getting in the way, visibility and jamming etc, the concern I have is that the saw blade guards do nothing to prevent the most common type of accident. Say you are neglecting to use push sticks, and you slip or the piece is fired out. What happens? Your hands might slide on the top towards the blade. blade guards will just lift out of the way and let your hand slide right into the blade. Worse yet they might actually hold you down towards the saw if you try to pull up. The only safety options that I’ve seen that look useful are splitters and that SawStop.

I keep blades adjusted as low as possible, I usually adjust the blade to have 3 teeth showing above the material thickness. Also I keep my hands at least 10 inches from the blade, always have push sticks handy, and never take my focus off the cutting path until the blade is fully stopped. When not in use I drop the blade below the table height.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3230 days

#9 posted 09-06-2009 04:03 PM

Tried it at least once on each saw, and then stored it in a safe place. My current saw has a riving knife that I do like using and leave on all the time.

-- Mike

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4022 days

#10 posted 09-06-2009 04:05 PM

I’m saving mine for the wake.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3559 days

#11 posted 09-06-2009 04:12 PM

I think they all suck for all the reasons you listed. Used one 32 years ago and had a kickback and cut 2 fingers off and had them reattached.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4219 days

#12 posted 09-06-2009 04:12 PM

It’s a personal choice with pros and cons, like wearing a motorcycle helmet.

As long as you have some sort of splitter or riving knife setup, I don’t think it is that big a deal. But if some of you guys are ditching the stock blade guard with the built in splitter, and operating the saw with no protection against a board closing up against the blade, I personally think you are playing with fire.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3313 days

#13 posted 09-06-2009 04:15 PM

Since my TS is mostly dedicated for ripping, I leave mine on all the time. I feel more comfortable with having the anti-kickback pawls and splitter engaged during a cut.

My old craftsman blade guard was a huge pain, compared to this new saw that has a fairly easy on/off thumbscrew and the lead edge beveled splitter travels up and down with the blade and holds good alignment with it. I can also see my cut easily, which promotes leaving it on.

I don’t build furniture at this point so I use my router for dado, and rabbets. Crosscutting I have a RAS. I like having machines pretty much dedicated to a task, so that it saves on set-up time.

View hairy's profile


2704 posts in 3533 days

#14 posted 09-06-2009 09:03 PM

To paraphrase Blazing Saddles: Blade guards? We don’t need no stinkin blade guards!

-- My reality check bounced...

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

789 posts in 3834 days

#15 posted 09-06-2009 09:08 PM

My saw has a riving knife which I use almost all the time. the guard – - – no it gets in the way

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

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