I don't. The saw I have didn't come with one. I got it used and the
guard wasn't included.
I am however building an overhead guard for it. The guard I'm building
is made of 3/8 lexan on an overhead mount, It'll be wide enough that I
can also do dado's on it. For the plans just do a search on lexan
blade gaurd in the rec. There are several sites with the instructions.
I had a close call and was lucky that's all it was... Was doing a
series of cuts on several pieces, got too cozy with it and didn't shut
off between cuts, in the process of moving back across the blade the
wood brushed the blade.... ZING!!!! I did a quick inventory, got to
ten and decided a guard might be a good idea.
A shop-made overhead guard, made of Lexan. I built mine following a
woodcentral.com article, complete with a dust fitting.
My splitter is also shop made, consisting of a shop-made zero clearance
insert with a glued in a white oak splitter. I have different versions
for different blades.
Yes and yes!
The main differences are: the top plate of mine is maple (I ran out of
lexan <G>), I used 6-32 cap screws (I had them) and I used a 3" threaded
PVC connector as the dust port, which takes a 4" hose nicely.
I'm extremely happy with that guard and glad I built it. I like the
idea of screwing parts together without glue, in case a replacement is
needed. The saw is cleaner, too!
I try to use the guard/splitter/antikick back thing when I can.
There are times such as when cutting dadoes when it does not work. I
have practiced installing and removing the guard so that the process is
relatively quick. Also I try to plan my cuts to minimize switching cut
types. I do not have a guard on my cutoff sled, mostly, because I have
not figured out a good design, that would not get it the way of my
product runs of 100 identical pieces.
With that said, my biggest safety feature has been the constant
training of myself to put my full attention on the saw if the blade is
spinning. If there is a distraction or I feel even a bit dazed or
tired, the saw gets turned off immediately. No "One more cut."
I use a bladeguard any time it doesn't impede an operation and I
require 350+ college student shop users to do the same. Back when I
didn't have to set an example, I hated bladeguards as much as the next
guy, but after a few years of using 'em, I get uncomfortable when it
should be there but isn't.
Of course most stock guards are worthless and are thrown out for a
reason. Aftermarket overheads are pretty good or you can build your
own or just get a new saw (a good excuse for a new tool!!). The new PM
has a riving knife as does the sawstop. I think I recently heard that
riving knifes will be required on new saws in 09? (I'll check this out
at work tomorrrow) So if your looking for new equipment, you might put
it off to see what happens with this.
We use Beismeyer overheads. The cheezy adjustment bolts are removed,
so it's an easy slide of the telescoping tubes to tweak the location of
the guard or to push it out of the way for narrow rips.
We have SawStops, so the riving knives are ALWAYS(nearly) there,
invisibly making stock go straight and preventing binding. I actually
worry that our students will get into trouble if they use saws without
riving knifes in some other setting: the riving knives almost make
things too easy.
BTW: we have not changed any sop's with the advent of sawstops, they're
just another layer of protection.
I agree that watching the blade is not necessarily sound practice. You
really cannot discern what your stock is doing if your fixating on the
blade spinning 'round. If you're ripping, it's much more important to
keep an eye on the edge of your stock against the rip fence so that you
know that it's going straight and can adjust accordingly if it isn't.
The blade is going to spin and cut, you should be concentrating on
making the stock go straight.
I've got 2 unbending, shorter-than-the-other fingers due to an
unguarded tablesaw that I got into when I was in college. I've been
preventing it from happening to other students for 12 years now. Blade
guards (and sawstops) are a no-brainer.
If you don't use a guard you're just asking for trouble.
I don't care how experienced, careful, knowledgable or invincible you
are, WHY would you leave that spinning blade out in the open when you
can put something over it.
University of Minnesota
College of Design - FabLab
Roger Haar wrote:
Bingo! ... As you get older you realize that gaining good habits is as easy
as gaining bad ones and the sense to find a good blade guard and use it, and
the discipline to make the use a habit, ends up just like you describe.
When I had my Craftsman I always used the guard for through cutting
and would have preferred to have a suspended guard for dado/grooving,
etc. Shortly after upgrading to a Unisaw I added a Uniguard and I use
it for all types of cutting. I really enjoy the "security" a blade
guard offers - even for non through cuts - but I don't let my own guard
down and become careless.
As a side note, several weeks ago I posted a message about a
potential accident that occurred when my basket guard caused the table
insert to lift due to some adhesive that got stuck from a previous cut.
I was able to shut off the saw before the blade made contact with the
insert. This just adds to the fact that you need to be careful and
mindful of everything when using a table saw, irrespective of the
safety devices and guards that it is fitted with.
I've never used a guard, but I bought a new saw recently and thought I'd at
least try using the guard. Well, after two cuts or so, the guard was
removed, and there it sits. As in the past, I felt more comfortable without
That said, I really want to find a blade guard that works. It seems there
are so many different styles of guard out there, that one shouldn't have any
excuse why they're not using something! Anyway, I recently acquired an
Excalibur overhead guard and just got it installed yesterday. I haven't
tried it out in use yet, but I do like that the guard can be moved out of
the way and returned easily without removing it from the saw. This is a
step in the right direction for me - being able to keep the guard attached
to the saw means I'm more likely to use it! --dave
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