For those that use tablesaw blade guards & splitters

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Forum topic by opalko posted 03-03-2016 05:25 PM 1271 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 3276 days

03-03-2016 05:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw safety

For those of you who use a tablesaw blade guard & splitter, have you ever still had an injury with them in place? I can’t seem to find any data in this regard.

I am not trying to start a debate here about using guards vs. not using guards, I am simply curious what percentage of those that do use them have had an injury even with these in place..


13 replies so far

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3216 days

#1 posted 03-03-2016 05:36 PM

I think everyone uses their guards and safety features. They just remove them for clarity when filming :) :) :)

When I first began using a tablesaw, I had splitter with anti-kickback pawls in place but still had a bad kickback that hit my wrist/arm and ricocheted out the open shop door (it was a wide roll-up type door) 20 feet or so into the yard. No real injury, just hurt like heck for a while. I was trying to rip a narrow piece of stock with a regular insert and the end of the cut-off piece dropped into gap between blade and insert, caught rear teeth of blade and shot out like a bullet.

Since then, I make sure the cut-off will be wider than the gap and if very narrow use a ZCI.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1694 days

#2 posted 03-03-2016 07:00 PM

Had a stock ts setup with the standard throat plate & anti kickback blade guard cause a nasty kickback. I had just ripped about 1/4” off the side of the board. When the cutoff came loose it got caught between the anti kickback pawl and the side of the blade. It teetered there for a few seconds while the saw spun down when BANG the cutoff caught and was thrown like an arrow. Fortunately I reacted when I saw the jam & I had cut power asap and then stepped back & away before it caught and fired with a bang!

Lesson: order the ZCI when you buy the saw.


-- Madmark -

View teejk02's profile


489 posts in 1366 days

#3 posted 03-03-2016 07:20 PM

Mine is the best dust collector in the shop…caused more safety issues than it prevented simply because it attached to the saw (Delta) with a flimsy piece of metal that was hard to keep aligned and every cut became a “battle”. I think the proof of that is the riving knife that came on later saws.

View teejk02's profile


489 posts in 1366 days

#4 posted 03-03-2016 07:20 PM

What’s up with the double posts lately? Sorry

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


3744 posts in 2229 days

#5 posted 03-03-2016 08:51 PM

I use the riving knife 99.99% of the time.

I use the blade guard not as much as I should. It does a great job with dust collection but it is almost impossible to see the blade and mark where I am cutting through it. It is a reasonable design except for the visibility issue.

View jmartel's profile


8288 posts in 2391 days

#6 posted 03-03-2016 09:01 PM

I’ll admit that I don’t use the guard. The one that came on my saw is a split design and doesn’t work very well. If you are ripping stock that is barely wider than the cut you’re making, it tends to push the guard laterally into the blade. Riving knife stays on 100% of the time though. Fence is set to toe out maybe 1/32” at the end. No problems with kickback.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 1482 days

#7 posted 03-04-2016 02:05 AM

All three of my saws are older models. Two of them are from the 50s or 60s, the other is from the 80s and were bought used and didn’t come with the guards. I have only used a saw with a guard a few times and I wasn’t comfortable with it. I am not saying that it isn’t safer, but I started using a table saw when I was about 13 and never had one on the saw, some of the things we did in my Dad’s business were not possible with the guard. I will say that when my grandson gets old enough to use the saws I will have one with a guard on for him and teach him a little different than I learned.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3004 days

#8 posted 03-04-2016 02:50 AM

Always with the splitter, sometimes without the guard – depending on cut.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View Gentile's profile


321 posts in 2059 days

#9 posted 03-04-2016 04:13 PM

I took them off my Unisaw when I first got it. I kept the pieces. Like I’ve read before, I’m keeping them in case I ever sell the saw…
I’ve not had any kick-back issues (yet).

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View opalko's profile


148 posts in 3276 days

#10 posted 03-04-2016 04:15 PM

I guess the lack of replies to my question would indicate that those that do use guards have not had an injury with them in place?

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2144 days

#11 posted 03-04-2016 08:30 PM

I guess the lack of replies to my question would indicate that those that do use guards have not had an injury with them in place?

- opalko

The gov statistics on line going back to the 1970s show much less blade contact with guards, but not many use them. Oddly, there is not many injuries recorded for radial saws. For various reasons, I try to use guards. I am trying this set up on a 12” saw using a thin kerf blade+splitter and dust hood. The guard that came with the saw works only with full kerf blades.

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 1482 days

#12 posted 03-05-2016 01:45 AM

I just looked back and realized I didn’t really respond to your question. Years ago I heard more about people getting cut with their guards on than recently. From what the guards of today look like compared to the older ones I would say they are safer and more out of the way. I’ve been around this stuff since I was 7 or 8 and back then growing up I was around people a few who had been cut with the guards on, but none since about 1990.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1161 days

#13 posted 03-05-2016 02:12 AM


I have never used a table saw to make through cuts without the manufacturer’s blade guard and splitter in place. I have no riving knife, but a splitter. Sometimes I raise the anti kick-back paws, based on the cut.

I have yet to have an accident in 30 years of woodworking. I suppose I am fortunate in this respect. However, I have had circumstances where I stopped the saw in mid cut, but nothing ever came flying back at me. Generally flat stock rarely will cause a kickback problem, whereas a twisted piece of stock, which I have run through saw (before getting a bandsaw), can come back at you. I credit the splitter and paying attention to the cut with avoiding the kickback hazard.

I like the protection afforded by the blade guard. I would have to intentionally put my fingers in harm’s way when the blade guard is in place. The blade guard blocks my fingers from blade contact. It offers me great assurance that I can finish a cut with two boards from one board with all ten fingers still in place. Sometimes a cut could be a little easier without the blade guard, but over time I have figured out how to make even these cuts with the blade guard in place without much of a problem.

Visibly of the cut is obscured by the blade guard, no doubt. However, after the fence is set, my focus is mainly keeping the stock against the fence and the table. I have less concern about watching the blade make the cut.

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