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Table Saw Blade Guards - Do you use 'em?

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Forum topic by HokieKen posted 11-02-2015 06:42 PM 1740 views 0 times favorited 84 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


11-02-2015 06:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw blade guard safety

So, this past Saturday, I got stupid for a split second and got bit by my table saw for the second time in the last 6 months. The first time wasn’t bad but this one sent me to the ER and then home with 9 stitches in my thumb. Thankfully, it should heal up fine and I didn’t leave any portion of my finger on the saw table but it got me to thinking that I should get serious about using my blade guard before my sense and my hands get outta sync around a spinning blade again.

Now, I know we all know that using the blade guard makes sense from a safety and smarts standpoint. I also know that a lot of the operations we do require that the blade guard be removed. So I’m wondering how many LJs do use their guard religiously and how they may have adapted, or built from scratch, said guard so it’s not such a major PITA to get it out of the way when necessary.

So, show me what you’ve got folks! I’ve got some ideas on how to fix my guard to “swing” out of the way but nothing I’m really satisfied with. Also chime in if you’ve got something to say on the subject.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!


84 replies so far

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BasementShop

69 posts in 761 days


#1 posted 11-02-2015 06:44 PM

Lost the tip of my finger to an unguarded table saw. I use a cross cut sled about every third cut on my table saw and so I don’t have a guard on mine even after my accident.

I’m looking forward to the replies this generates to see if I can adapt something useful to my saw.

BasementShop

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1633 days


#2 posted 11-02-2015 06:51 PM

second time in 6 months. I’d be looking at a sawstop.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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ElChe

630 posts in 797 days


#3 posted 11-02-2015 06:51 PM

I don’t have one. I’ve been pondering this question again this year. I have an older Unisaw. The blade guard that came with it is long gone as I took it off after it hung up on one of my first cuts. I’ve considered an overhead blade guard but they seem bulky and would interfere with my table mounted router. I just installed a Biesemeyer splitter. Before I used a microjig splitter but it didn’t work well (the little legs kept getting bent). So, for now, I’m going to stay with no blade guard but I am going to use the splitter for any cut that I can use it with. I may try to make a lexan guard for the biesemeyer splitter similar to the bork blade guard accessory.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#4 posted 11-02-2015 06:52 PM



Lost the tip of my finger to an unguarded table saw. I use a cross cut sled about every third cut on my table saw and so I don t have a guard on mine even after my accident.

I m looking forward to the replies this generates to see if I can adapt something useful to my saw.

BasementShop

- BasementShop

Crosscut sled is exactly why I don’t have the guard on mine too.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#5 posted 11-02-2015 06:56 PM



second time in 6 months. I d be looking at a sawstop.

- johnstoneb

That’s what I told my wife. She thought it was a great idea. Then she looked at prices and told me I don’t really need 10 fingers anyway :) In my defense, I’ve been working with power tools since I was a teenager and worked as a machinist for 10 years and the 2 incidents with the table saw recently are the only 2 serious ones I’ve ever had. I guess motor skills really do slow down once you hit 40!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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OggieOglethorpe

1211 posts in 1571 days


#6 posted 11-02-2015 07:07 PM

I have an Excalibur overarm guard, so 95+% of the time, it’s yes!

My guard will clear most sleds. I can’t use it with fence riding jigs, corner splining jigs, or when splitting box lids or narrow ripping, but it swings in and out of position effortlessly, removing the temptation not to put it back.

I’ve had the Excalibur guard for ~ 15 years. I like it so much, when I sold my ‘99 General 650 to buy a SawStop ICS, I kept the guard and installed it on the new saw.

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Daruc

459 posts in 593 days


#7 posted 11-02-2015 07:11 PM

I don’t use the guard, but I do unplug the saw when I change the blade, just makes more sense!
I would get the overhead excalibur guard if I was to buy one.

-- -

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#8 posted 11-02-2015 07:25 PM

Oggie – I’ve been checking into some of the overhead guards and they do seem like a nice solution. I’m not sure it’s good for me though. I have a contractor’s saw on a mobile cart I made and it gets wheeled around a lot in my small workspace. The cost is pretty prohibitive on most of the well-reviewed ones – Excalibur included. I haven’t ruled something like that out completely but I’d like to find a solution that’s a bit less “bulky” even if there is some compromise with convenience.

Woodust – I’m with you, I always unplug my saw and my router before changing blades/bits. Way too easy for a switch to fail or get flipped accidentally.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#9 posted 11-02-2015 07:29 PM



I have an Excalibur overarm guard, so 95+% of the time, it s yes!

- OggieOglethorpe

Oh, and congratulations on being the only OSHA approved member of LumberJocks! :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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rwe2156

2190 posts in 941 days


#10 posted 11-02-2015 07:52 PM

Twice in 6 months? You said it: “Stupid”. Hard way to learn but we all do it.

Blade guards: don’t use one/never have – but I’m not saying don’t use one.

For me its real simple: KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE BLADE.
If the fence is less than 4” from the blade, use a pushblock.
Think about the cut before you make it.
The best safety device is between your ears.

Keep in mind a blade guard is only one kind of safety device and for a lot of ww’ers its a big PITA because you can’t see the cut.

A SawStop will not prevent kickback, which is many X more likely to be the injury incurred than a lost digit.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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OggieOglethorpe

1211 posts in 1571 days


#11 posted 11-02-2015 08:05 PM

Keep in mind a blade guard is only one kind of safety device and for a lot of ww’ers its a big PITA because you can’t see the cut.

So? That just means someone isn’t familiar with better ways to work.

If you’re ripping, the fence is setting the width. Are you going to wiggle the stock to move closer to a line? If you do, please make a video.

Crosscutting? All of the time there will be than one complementary part, I’m using a stop block. This is on a sled, miter gauge, or a fence standoff block. So much of woodworking includes parts in pairs or more, this is nearly all of the time. The stop is set to close-side tooth before the saw is turned on. When I’m not using a stop, I’m still nearly always using a sled, aligning my cut line to the sled kerf well before the material approaches the blade.

So, what’s to see?

Seeing the cut is important on band saws or any other machine that involves freehand cutting. Not so much on a properly used table saw.

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MrUnix

4207 posts in 1659 days


#12 posted 11-02-2015 08:35 PM

Blade guard is the first thing to go into the rat hole… but I do use a splitter when appropriate.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#13 posted 11-02-2015 08:38 PM

rwe2156 and Oggie both have points and I appreciate both sides. Believe me, like rwe, I’d much prefer to not have a blade guard in my way. However, if it were truly as simple as KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE BLADE, I’d say no one would ever have been cut by a table saw. Unfortunately, things happen. In my case, the lumber I was ripping released some stress and started to bind. My knee-jerk reaction was to hold it down to prevent kickback and I “held” it with a bit too much force and my offcut hand got way too close to the blade. Stupid? Yes. Did I have time to ponder the instinctive decision I made? Nope. Things happen.

So a blade guard won’t prevent everything by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve come to the conclusion that its value may outweigh its inconvenience FOR ME. I’ll not suggest that anyone else should use one because I ain’t no one’s Mama. So rwe, keep on keepin’ on without it and Oggie, keep on using it. Hopefully each and every one of us can still count to 10 for many years to come :)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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1911kevin

49 posts in 1199 days


#14 posted 11-02-2015 08:43 PM

I’ve also been mulling this over and will eventually try to build and overhead guard with dust collection. My father has had two table saw accidents over his life of woodworking, the last one cost him the tip of his finger so this stays in the front of my mind when I’m using a table saw. I’ve got the same issue with the crosscut sled, use it most of the time/as much as I can. I have also used one or two push sticks when I’m not using the sled and recently I got one of those “Gr-rripper” jig things and while I’m still warming up to it I’m liking it so far. I’m almost worried it’s going to give me a false sense of security somehow since when using it I’m passing my hands directly over the blade all the time, which of course I’d never do otherwise.
Here’s a link to a pretty cool diy overhead guard that I think I’ll try to mimic someday:

http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/overarm_guard.shtml

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HokieKen

1738 posts in 599 days


#15 posted 11-02-2015 08:49 PM



I ve also been mulling this over and will eventually try to build and overhead guard with dust collection. My father has had two table saw accidents over his life of woodworking, the last one cost him the tip of his finger so this stays in the front of my mind when I m using a table saw. I ve got the same issue with the crosscut sled, use it most of the time/as much as I can. I have also used one or two push sticks when I m not using the sled and recently I got one of those “Gr-rripper” jig things and while I m still warming up to it I m liking it so far. I m almost worried it s going to give me a false sense of security somehow since when using it I m passing my hands directly over the blade all the time, which of course I d never do otherwise.
Here s a link to a pretty cool diy overhead guard that I think I ll try to mimic someday:

http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/overarm_guard.shtml

- 1911kevin

I think that is the best type design for convenience. If I had a cabinet saw that got used in the same spot all the time, I’d probably have had one long ago. Unfortunately, my workspace is crowded and the saw gets moved all the time. If yours doesn’t though, and you’re of a mind to use a guard, I think that’s a great way to go. Thanks for the link!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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