Questions about "standard" table saw safety equipment - riving knife, splitter, pawls, blade guard

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Forum topic by Rob posted 03-14-2014 05:32 AM 1396 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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704 posts in 3039 days

03-14-2014 05:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw safety

I’m planning to buy a SawStop PCS, but I’m trying to get a better understanding of the standard safety equipment which is also available on other saws.

Let me know if I’ve got this right. For now, ignore aftermarket equipment.
  • You can only use the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls with the splitter
  • You can’t make non-through cuts with the splitter, but you can with the riving knife
  • The SawStop’s splitter raises and lowers with the blade (like a riving knife), so it’s safer than the older-style splitters that remained fixed and left a gap when the blade was lowered
  • You can’t attach the blade guard to the splitter—and if you could, doing so would prevent you from making non-through cuts
Now a few limitations I’m not so sure about. Again, ignore aftermarket equipment for now.
  1. You can’t (or wouldn’t want to) use the pawls with the blade tilted
  2. You can’t use the blade guard with the blade tilted
  3. Even if you have the overarm dust collection add-on, you can still only attach the SawStop blade guard to the splitter
  4. You can use a riving knife for any cut except a dado or cove

Given this safety equipment and its limitations, it seems like a reliable overarm blade guard would solve all the limitations of a standard splitter- or riving knife-mounted blade guard.

What are some other features or limitations of the standard safety equipment that I’ve missed?

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

1 reply so far

View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 1885 days

#1 posted 03-14-2014 05:48 AM

Bullet point 1 – the blade guard is mounted to the splitter which fits into the saw’s quick-release system and the pawls are mounted to the guard. They are really one unit. Some people don’t like the pawls and remove them, I have no problem with them and have kept them mounted.
Bullet point 2 – correct (except for dados)
Bullet point 3 – correct – and the guard “collapses” as it gets lowered to the table – which also addresses your numbered points 1 and 2.
Bullet point 4 – I think you mean to say “riving knife” instead of “splitter,” in which case, correct.

For your numbered points:
1. False, you can use the pawls on bevel cuts.
2. False, the SawStop blade guard can be used on bevel cuts.
3. Not sure about this one. Not sure what the dust collection has to do with the blade guard… What I can say is that the blade guard / overarm dust collection works very well. I am unaware of any 3rd party equipment that fits into the SawStop quick release system, but I really don’t know.
4. Correct.

Not sure I follow about the overarm overcoming limitations of safety gear… Given that #1 and #2 are not accurate – and an overarm collector would not change the fact that you can’t use a riving knife or splitter when cutting dados, I don’t see a safety improvement in using a 3rd party overarm.

The one benefit I could see to overarm would be dust collection when making cuts that cannot use the blade guard/splitter… non-through cuts, dados, cuts using a sled.

The SawStop blade guard/dust collection is fantastic. I use that for every cut I can. I only ever swap it out for the riving knife if I’m making a non-through cut or using a sled. The only time I have neither on my saw is when cutting with the dado stack (and I suppose if cutting a cove, which I have not yet done since picking up this saw).

-- Dan :: Minnesota

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