Blade Guard on a Table Saw?

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[Curious here, not argumentative] Why? How can you be more comfortable without the guard than with it?
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I'd guess that some feel more comfortable when they can see the blade as compared to a guard that partially obscures seeing the whole blade.
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"Upscale" wrote in message

Never quite understood that rationale (or attempt at rationale). It's been years since I've seen a blade guard that wasn't see-through. I've had four different guards on two saws in 20 years and I've never had a bit of trouble "seeing the blade" with any of the guards.
Whatever the rationale not to use a guard, and the choice is certainly their's to not do so, my bet is that it boils down to simply a matter of convenience, or lack thereof.
The Uniguard I use is "convenient" most of the time ... the time's it's not is when I find myself tempted to "just leave it off for this one cut".
At that point it boils down to a matter of common sense and discipline ... a combination that always seems to be in short supply.
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Yeah, but as you know, it's not as perfectly visible as no blade guard. I suspect that most (all) tablesaw accidents start with the "who me, I don't make stupid mistakes like that" thought before the inevitable happens.
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I wholeheartedly agree with this. Though the only saw I own with a guard is my miter, I have never lacked for clear visibility owing to the guard.
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I've heard people say that before, and could never understand it -- why the heck does anyone "need" to see the blade on a table saw during a cut??
Band saw or scroll saw, sure -- it's awful tough to make a freehand cut if you can't see where you're cutting, but nobody with any sense makes freehand cuts on a table saw.
So what purpose does it serve to be able to see the blade on a table saw while you're cutting? Proper cutting technique on a table saw means using a guide of some sort, be it a rip fence, tenoning jig, miter gauge, crosscut sled, or whatever. Once you set the guide and place the wood against it, the blade is gonna cut where it's gonna cut, whether you can see it or not. Any adjustment that may be needed (checking blade height against the thickness of the wood, or aligning a pencil mark left-right against the blade, for instance) can, and should, be done with the blade *stopped*. Once the saw haw been started, though, what possible reason is there to see the blade?
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:> :> [Curious here, not argumentative] Why? How can you be more comfortable: without :> the guard than with it? : I'd guess that some feel more comfortable when they can see the blade as : compared to a guard that partially obscures seeing the whole blade.
I never have a problem seeing the blade doing the cutting while using a guard -- I've never understood this argument.
It's also worth noting that no one can see the *teeth* of the sawblade while the motor is turned on. So what one thinks of as the blade, visually, is actually only part of the blade (and not the part farthest forward, nor the part that can take a finger off).
    -- Andy Barss
    
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) writes:

I didn't make the post, but I can see the point.
I'm a hobbyist. When I use the saw I 1) Take my time and don't rush 2) Use fingerboards/sleds/etcs so my hands never get within a foot of the blade 3) Keep my eye on the blade, especially when it's spinning.
I tend to turn off the saw when I'm done with a cut. Not very efficient, but I feel comfortable with this.
But while that blade is spinning, I'm watching it.
If it had a guard, I might take my eyes off it, and forget about the blade. So the guard might make me more comfortable, and less cautious.
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Safety Rule Number One, for any power tool. For most hand tools, too, for that matter.

Another good idea, although a foot is perhaps a bit overcautious IMO.

Why? What's it gonna do?

It's excellent safety practice, in my opinion. And the impact on "efficiency" is very, very minor. I've timed my saw: it goes from stopped to full speed in much less than one second, and when switched off, coasts to a complete stop in less than ten.

WHY? What's it gonna do?

in the first place, so taking your eyes off of it doesn't matter. You don't (or at least shouldn't) need to be able to see the blade in order to remember that it's there, and that it's dangerous. You don't need to see it in order to make a proper cut, because the cut path is determined by the setting of your rip fence, miter gauge, or whatever you're using to guide the wood past the blade. So what purpose does it serve to watch the blade?
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Doug Miller wrote:

No kidding. I'd rather not be in the same shop as a person who can use a tool to cut off a 2 x 4, and yet not realize that it is dangerous unless he can see the spinning blade!
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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net writes:

That's not the point at all. Are you telling me that people who had accidents with a table saw didn't THINK it was dangerous?
The cause of most accidents are (I would guess) inattention, stupidity, and ignorance. And I bet that most seasoned woodworkers have accidents with tablesaws because of inattention.
My attention won't wander while I'm watching that blade.
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Bruce Barnett wrote:

No.
That's what they tell me when they say they need to see the blade to maintain an awareness that it is there and dangerous.

Agreed.
Why would it wander if there was a guard over the blade?
Out of sight, out of mind?
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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net writes:

I'd do the same thing if I had a guard.
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That's why the guard is there.

Just because it hasn't *yet* does not mean it never will.
The point is that the guard provides additional protection in case it does.
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) writes:

It's dangerous after the cut as well. In repetitive cuts, I have to move my hands, wood, etc in preparation for the next cut. Some accidents occur when people watch other things, and forget about the blade.
If I take my eyes off the blade, I might get careless. It's hard to forget about the blade if your eyes are on it.
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This, of course, is one very good reason to use a blade guard. The blade is inside the guard. If you keep your fingers outside the guard, they won't hit the blade.

If you truly *need* to be looking at the blade in order to remember that it's dangerous, you probably should take up a safer hobby. Something like knitting.
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A little backround....I'm a carpenter for a living and can say that the chances of finding a blade guard on any jobsite table saw (mine included) is slim to none. There are many of us who feel more comfortable seeing the blade and watching the cut rather than having it obscured. Without the blade guard you learn to pay very close attention to the task at hand, which is a good skill to have running a table saw anyway (with or without the guard.) However, I recently bought a cabinet saw for the shop and would like to find a decent guard. I tried the excalibur guard I got at auction out today and find it a little clunky at the blade cover, although with some re engineering I think I can make it workable. --dave
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So?
I've worked construction before, and I've seen plenty of construction sites. And I can say that the chance of finding eye or ear protection on any of the people working there is slim to none.
Doesn't mean it's a good idea.
If anything, you're making a good argument *for* using the blade guard!

The question remains unanswered: why do you "feel more comfortable" when you can see the blade? It isn't going anywhere...

If you have not already learned to pay close attention, you shouldn't be operating the tool *with* a guard, let alone without one.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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(snip) If anything, you're making a good argument *for* using the blade guard!
I'm not trying to argue anything here. Just because YOU use one doesn't mean everyone else should. Have you ever run yours without a guard? And if so, why are you using one now.
(snip) If you have not already learned to pay close attention, you shouldn't be

On the flip side, if you *truly* have learned to pay close attention to the task at hand why would you need a guard? Guards surely prevent accidents, but accidents in the shop generally don't happen to someone who is aware of , and more importantly knowledgeable, about what they are doing.
I suppose you'd have a big crisis if I mentioned I am also perfectly comfortable cutting something freehand on a table saw as well! --dave
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My point, which you appear to have missed, is that the failure of construction workers to use guards means absolutely *nothing* with regard to whether doing so is a good idea, or not -- in my experience and observation, most construction workers use little if any safety equipment, even something as basic as goggles when running a Sawzall *overhead*.

Yes, I have -- some cuts are impossible to make on my saw with the guard in place. (I'm using the factory guard, which has an integral splitter. The splitter has to come off for a dado or rabbet, which means the guard does too.)

Mostly because it provides a little extra protection for those moments when, for whatever reason, that close attention wanders a bit.

I disagree completely. I think a lot of accidents in the shop happen to people who are knowledgeable and aware, but whose attention slips briefly at just the wrong moment.

No, I won't have a big crisis from you mentioning it, but *you* will some day from *doing* it. That's just not a smart idea.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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