Aftermarket over-arm blade guard

Greetings!
After a few year hiatus (my tour in Iraq, then wife in Iraq, then grad school), I seem to FINALLY be getting ready to start building some furniture once again. I am seriously considering buying an Excalibur over-arm blade guide for my Jet 10" cabinet saw w/50" fence. I searched the archives and found a few posts, but I would be interested to gather some opinions based on some specific questions:
1. Is the Excalibur the best on the market these days? 2. Has anyone bought an Excalibur manufactured after their 2006 buy- out by General? 3. Do any of the companies have the next greatest thing in their design pipeline? 4. Have any of the magazines reviewed these attachments since the 2001 review in FWW? 5. What complaints do current owners have about these products? 6. Anyone bought 'X' and wished they chose 'Y' instead?
I'm not interested in building one myself, but I would certainly welcome any additional feedback...
Thanks!
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"Ben Shakman" wrote:

Thank you and welcome back.
Lew
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Hello Ben, Thanks too from me for yours, and your wife's service and I'm glad you are both back safely. I bought an Excalibur guard and have not been very happy with it. Mine was the guard only- no mounting arm, I hund it from the joists above - and it was a compromise at best. Dust collection was incomplete, I'd say 30 to 40 percent at best. It did ride over most pieices of stock without catching but it was not as smooth as the Delta Uniguard I had before it. I'm sure it would have better range of travel if I bought the entire unit complete with mounting arm. My unit was bought in 2008 (via a local woodworkers show) and the first one I got had missing paint. Not a big deal but it looked as if it were mounted as a floor model demo and removed so it could be sent to me. I complained to my local merchant and he swapped it out with his floor demo which was in better condition. One serious drawback was the glare of the plastic shield from the lighting above. It was difficult to always see my workpiece regardless of where the lighting was placed. Also, unless you make a large slit in the flexible back curtain on the guard it could hang up on your splitter, depending on its style. I'm looking to reinstall my Uniguard as soon as I install my new dust collector system later this month. My hope is that a larger DC will pull most of the dust through the cabinet. (And to be fair, I wonder if the Excalibur would be more efficient with the newer system) In retrospect, I sometimes wish I had bought the Biesemeyer guard but who knows if I would have experienced similar situations. Anyway, have fun in the shop and be safe. Marc
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Ben Shakman wrote:

Thanks for you and your wife's service. Chuck
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september.org:

I thank you two also, and am glad for your safe return.
--
Best regards
Han
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On Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:49:20 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman wrote:

Thanks to both of you for your service, and welcome back!

[... snip ...]

Check out the Shark Guard ... http://www.leestyron.com
I have one of the earlier versions, also on a JET saw, and I like it alot.
--
Art Greenberg
artg at eclipse dot net
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This looks really interesting. How good is the dust collection off the top? This seems to be the hardest part to catch.

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On Wed, 17 Jun 2009 22:52:12 GMT, Larry Kraus wrote:

Dust collection is very good when the piece being cut covers the entire width of the guard. When cutting narrow strips to the left of the blade, leaving an open space between the guard and the saw table, dust collection is not as good, but it is adequate. Of course, dust collection performance will be a function of the ductwork and the dust collector itself.
I really ought to post some pictures of my setup ...
--
Art Greenberg
artg at eclipse dot net
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Welcome back....
There are two guards to consider in my opinion. Both are owned by Delta.
The Biesemeyer ...very expensive
http://www.mikestools.com/78-960-Biesemeyer-T-Square-Blade-Guard-System-960-Delta-10-saws-extends-48-59.aspx
The Delta ... almost as good as the Biesemeyer without the dust collection feature.
http://www.mikestools.com/34-976-Delta-Deluxe-Uniguard-Blade-Guard-System.aspx
I looked at all of them about five years ago and had the good fortune to stumble up on a major deal of $200 for the Biesemeyer.
Several people on the list have overhead guards and you will hear from everybody but I was not impressed with the Excalibur.
Ben Shakman wrote:

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Just found a better deal here:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Ben Shakman wrote:

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Take a look at this site. http://www.leestyron.com/sharkguard_plans.php
Ted
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On Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:49:20 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman

Ben:
Thank you and your wife for your service. Some of us RVN vets may have a clue what you went through on our behalf. Welcome back to "the world".
I have a Jet 10XL (that's the left tilt version). I addded a Delta Uniguard guard and a Bies splitter to it. I chose not to use the splitter that comes with the Uniguard 'cause it's a pain to mount and I liked the Bies version better. Bies splitter is great, easy in, easy out (that sounds bad!), tilts with the arbor for angled cuts. The Uniguard is good from a guard perspective, easy to adjust up, down, sideways or remove entirely if that seems needed (rarely one hopes). Dust colection is, however, not great off the top of the saw. Maybe because I use tight ZCIs for most cuts. I have not tried to pierce the guard for a hose from my DC.
You can look at
http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/jetunifence.shtml
for info on the Delta guard and mounting it on a Jet. I can post a pic of how it's set up on my saw if you like.
Regards.
Tom
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Wow!!! Great to see that this is still such an active group and that there is so much knowledge being shared. I really appreciate the replies thus far and I am growing a lot more interested in the idea of the Delta overarm guide - really didn't realize it was even a possibility.
I would love to hear more from others who have this setup (Jet 10" cabinet saw w/ uniguard) and would certainly appreciate any additional photos you may be willing to include. Also, how much do those with this setup miss the dust collection associated with some of the other options? I think I am really close to making my decision and would appreciate any additional thoughts.
By the way, here's a link to my woodworking website: http://shakman.smugmug.com/Woodworking .
Thanks!
Ben
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On Thu, 18 Jun 2009 05:59:16 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman
<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNIP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNAP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Ben:
Pics are at:
http://web2.airmail.net/xleanone/index.html/TSaw /
They have been resized to about 150 KB each.
Pic 1 Tsaw with guard
Pic 2 Closer view of split guard
Pic 3 Guard flipped up as one might do to adjust cut depth, angle of blade, etc.
Pic 4 Guard entirely removed. I only use this when I'm making cuts on a board on edge that's too wide (> 8" or so) to go under the guard arm. Beveling a board for a threshold, for example.
Pic 5 Detail of the Bies splitter I installed. It's built for the left tilt Jet and just bolts onto existing holes. The fixture is outlined by the circle. The splitter that comes with the Uniguard requires one to drill out new holes as it's not designed to fit on a Jet (wonder why??).
Pic 6 Splitter popped out. It takes literally seconds to remove or replace. The basket on the Uniguard is a convenient place to put it when it's out - good idea by Delta.
Pic 7 Shows right end of the overarm bolted to the extension table. I've added a couple of cabinets under the extension, one for blades, feather boards, push sticks, ZCIs, etc and one to enclose the router table and provide storage for bits and a dust enclosure that my DC hooks into.
Pic 8, 9 and 10 Shows the connection(s) for the overarm on the right end. I used a Sawsall to cut into the back channel iron at existing bolt hole locations so I could place the mounts. This is a weakness of the mounting system and could cause the back channel to bend, at least in theory. I have had no problems and suspect there's more than adequate strength remaining around the cuts.
No Pic 11 - it was an oops
Pic 12 The whole arm can be rotated completely below the level of the table if needed so both the saw and router are unobstructed.
Pic 13 Catywampus view of the guard for perspective.
Pic 14 View of the basket on the overarm and the guard.
I chose this guard mostly because of the ease of mounting and the fact that it moves with the saw. My shop is the garage and SWMBO believes, for some strange reason, that her Rav 4 deserves a home, so room must be made - everything rolls. I can actually get 2 cars (but not my truck) in the shop with careful placement of the equipment. One car, hers, is no sweat at all.
The guard has performed well and I can still count to 10 without removing my shoes. My scars didn't come from wooddorking.
Hope this helps. My respect and best regards.
Tom
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Ben Shakman wrote:

Ben:
I have the Uniguard on my Unisaw. One other thing I did was remount the switch to the guard. This makes it *much* more convenient to turn on/off, particularly when handling sheet goods. Don't know if you can do that with the Jet, but it's worth considering. I had to buy some additional wire to make the move, but it's straightforward.
~Mark.
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I have the Bret Guard by HTC and couldn't be happier. It is the only guard that is OSHA approved. There is a reason why schools uses these almost exclusively. I knew it was the right choice when I accidently dropped it onto a spinning blade. It stopped my 5 HP Unisaw dead in it's tracks and barely took a knick in the guard. This thing has to be 3/4 thick. I looked at the link to that Shark guard and it looks like it might collapse on it's own weight. Toss that thing into a 5 horse spinning blade and watch out for schrapnel...
If you're serious about safty get a Brett Guard. If you are just concerned about collecting dust I guess any of them would do.
BTW - The dust collection is OK. All guards seem to have inherent flaws. The Brett sells two models - One with a dust port and one without. Order accordingly.
My only complaint is that I had a Biesemeyer spliter and it wouldn't work with the Brett. There are web sites showing how some people modified their guards to use the spiltter, but I went with a $10 splitter I found on the Incra website. Best splitter on the market. Drops into a 1/2 hole you drill in your plate and will rotate 360 degrees to assure you are lined up with the saw blade. Comes with splitters a regular and thin kerf for under 10 bucks. Get a Brett and a Grip Tite Splitter and you're be a happy man...
Check out the splitter - I can't figure out why we don't see them everywhere. Maybe because it would cut sales of Micro Jig and Biesemeyer down to nothing.
http://www.incrementaltools.com/Grip_Tite_Splitter_p/gtsplitterkit.htm
On Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:49:20 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman

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