A question regarding table saw safety

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When I was in shop class years ago they drilled into us always have the blade guard installed on your table saw. This prevents kickbacks and wood flying up in-your-face and only take it off when dadoing and other special operations. My question is every time I looked at books or see people on television using table saws the blade guard is usually off. Is taking off the blade guard and operating the table saw without it a stupid idea that will put me in a dangerous situation when working my table saw?
The reason that I asked is it seems to be a pain in the butt using it .It gets in the way of cutting small pieces a wood and sometimes just cutting wood in general. If it's a major safety feature I well just put up with. Thanks John
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Here we go again. Both sides make good arguments, but I still have my guard in place. It did stop some wood from flying at me so it stays. The times it has been an inconvenience is small in the scheme of things.
More important than the blade guard is a splitter. That keeps the wood from grabbing the back of the blade. Stresses relieved after cutting can cause the wood to move as it is cut.
Safe operating procedures, push sticks, safe technique is more important that a guard, IMO, but I still have it in place. There are also aftermarket devices that are better that what came with the saw. Overhead mounting keeps them from being in the way for some operations.
A Google search will find many posts of the subject. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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snipped-for-privacy@snet.net says...

Agreed. In fact I'd say it was MUCH more important.
There are overhead blade guards that work without getting in the way, but they're expensive.
A set of the guide wheels that allow a slight amount of pushback (not kickback) are an excellent aid. I've got mine set to push the wood slightly toward the fence. They can be flipped up or easily remove for those occasional times when they get in the way.
I've worked (as a hobbyist) without one ever since I got my first table saw about 30 years ago. Still have all my fingers. If a cut makes me nervous I find a different way to do it.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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wrote:

Which ones do you have? I have board buddies which do help pull the board to the fence but show no real ability to prevent a board from moving backwards no matter how I adjust it. Just seems to be no surface friction, and they are new. If they had a bit more of a flat edge to them I might try gluing some sandpaper to them. My plastic featherboards exert more anti-kickback force even at a "normal" setting. I am now thinking about getting grip-tites.
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A Bies splitter is the only reasonably cheap device I have found that I feel is worthwhile.

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wrote:

Well, I went to look at them and as best I can tell they unfortunatley don't make one for my DeWalt table.
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snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com says...

Sheesh! I don't believe how hard it was to find them. Of course, I looked through my printed catalogs first :-). Anyway, here they are:
http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 974
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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wrote:

Thanks mucho. So, you use this thing and a splitter together, which makes sense? But, does the splitter have kickback pawls or is the only kickback protection from this thing? Or, do you use this primarily to help the stock hug the fence?
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snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com says...

No kickback pawls. The splitters are just a piece of wood the width of the saw kerf glued in a slot on the homemade zero-clearance inserts.
Remember that Kelly Mehler has proven that kickback only occurs when a piece of wood comes in contact with the back of the saw blade, clinbs, it, and is catapulted towards you. The splitter pretty much prevents that.
The holddowns do other things. They prevent pushback, they hold the wood in place so you can go get another piece and push it through, they keep the wood from drifting away from the fence (if they're angled in a tad), and although I don't recommend it, thay allow me to go around to the back of the saw and pull the wood the rest of the way through,
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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wrote:

Very helpful. Thanks.
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I just made the overhead blade guard whose design was in the October, 2002, issue of Fine Woodworking magazine. It is an absolutely genius idea, I think, and you can make it for less than $100. Anyone interested in a guard, or wanting to substitute what they already have, for safety or dust control,should take a look at it, perhaps possibly on the Taunton website. The guy who thought it up has a science background; if he put it into kit form he'd make a zillion dollars. IMHO, and all that.
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Larry, Do you have any pictures of your setup that you can post? Kevin
says...

from
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Not really, but if you google my past posts on this topic, you'll find a URL pointing to a site with a picture of the holddowns. I'd give it, but I didn't keep it.
--
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The blade guard is just one insurance device. The best insurance is knowledge and the application of that knowledge. Here's some info that hopefully will save someone some grief - at least from their table saw. (all one line)
www.wood-workers.com/users/charlieb/KickBack1.html
charlie b
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This has been debated over and over... You can check the archives at <http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&group=rec.woodworking
Whether or not you run with a guard, I've learned two rules...
If you think a cut may be dangerous, it is. Find a different way to do it by building a jig or sled, or using a different tool. Hand saws are amazingly versatile...
and...
Know where your fingers are at all times. That means before, during *AND* after the cut. It's preferable that the location remain the same... attached to your hand.
djb
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off
off
The reason that you see the guard removed in books and videos is for clarity...it's very hard to get a picture of the action thru a piece of lexan/plexiglass.
As to leaving it on vs. taking it off, your call...there are pros and cons to it and both sides have their points, so read and make a smart choice. As for myself, I learned table saw use without an over the top guard or splitter...fortytwo year old machine that I'm still using, thankyouverymuch, Dad!...and neither I nor my father have had any problem with it...my mother can't say the same, but she only used it once and didn't bother asking Dad anything about the setup or how to do what it was she wanted to do...silly woman!
Luck
Mike
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As much as I agree with the reply to always know where your fingers are, I like to always know where the blade is too. Sounds stupid since the blade never moves, but I like being able to see the blade. I used the blade guard 100% the first few months that I had the table. I had to take it off to trim a door, used it a few times afterward on smaller stuff and found I felt much safer being able to see the blade unobstructed. I use a face mask and push sticks 100% of the time so safety is utmost in the shop.
Thomas
Jdebrito wrote:

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My blade guard is in like new condition under the motor cover of my TS protected by a cushion of sawdust, at least it was last time I swept that out of the way place. I found that it was causing me more trouble (danger) then it prevented.

off
books
off
.It
general.
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It is interesting that things that are so potentially helpful are such an "after thought" item. it is kind of like they aren't really trying when it comes to these things. My Ridgid ts2424 had a nice table, good trunion and one of the crappiest bladguard splitter combinations I have ever used. It is inconvenient to put on and get it adjusted properly so that the splitter gets into the right place and doesn't cause binding etc. So many times once I have to remove it to do something that requires its absence like dadoing, I will tend to leave it off rather than replacing it ASAP because of this. I know in my head that I am risking my safety unnecessarily, but I rationalize that just reattaching it will also be a safety hazard.
The blade guard itself is probably as good as it needs to be, but that stupid splitter never seems to line up properly with the blade.
I just know that once it is off it stays off longer than it should.
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2003 19:07:21 -0600, "Jdebrito"

    You're right it does get in the way. But I always use mine except when the nature of the cut prevents it.
    My reasoning it that it protects me some if for some reason I put a hand out to steady myself or if I reach in a hurry and go nearer the blade than I figured. Or if for just a momemt I get distracted. Or if something falls over the blade. I LIKE that piece of plastic there.
    Blade guards are often poorly designed. The previous saw I had the blade guard worked so poorly I had to take it off to get anything done. Fortunately the saw I have now has a good one that works well. It will probably wear out before anything else on the saw, and I will probably buy a new one.
            Peter     
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