Homemade Blade Guard


Greetings, I am interested in buying or making an improved blade guard for my unisaw. I learned quite a lot while reading this groups' archived messages on blade guards, I really liked the blade guard plans that are posted here: http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/overarm_guard.shtml
So my thought is this.
Instead of making the guard out of lexan as the plans state, what about buying this for $25 and making the aluminum supports from the plans? http://www.pennstateind.com/store/tsguard-dh.html
Any thoughts?
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark, sounds like a good plan. My old manager Walter has an Excalibur and he loves it. He figured it was a good idea after he had two of his fingers ripped off and sewn back on due to a kickback... He lives just north of Lakeline Mall and I'm sure he'd be happy to show you his setup so you can get some design cues.
Mike Brown
Mark Giles wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark Giles wrote:

It's a decent price. The dust port is only 2 1/2 inches though...sized more for a shop vac than a dust collector.
Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Shouldn't be too difficult to cut it off, enlarge the hole and bolt on a 4" hose adapter.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 02:01:48 GMT, Mark Giles

That one has the dust collector hookup in back, sort of middlish. With those plans the hose is at the front (which is kind of strange) so you may have to alter the plans a bit.
I'm not crazy about how he has that 4-link set up anyway. He's got the long arm that you'd use to adjust the height at the *back* so you'd have to walk around the saw every time to make adjustments. On the PSI one you link to they use a similar arrangement, but put a counterweight on it which makes sense.
What I was thinking for mine was to make a square box tube out of 1/2" plywood, with another plywood box that would slide within and have room for a 2.5" hose within that. Not sure how to lock it at a given height though. A couple of angled braces to the bottom of the outer section to stiffen it up. Perhaps the whole thing can be hinged at the ceiling to fold up out of the way. But then my shop is in the basement and I don't have that far up to go, the garage would be a different story. I figure total cost under 50 bucks.
-Leuf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

*slaps forehead* Heck, doesn't really need a hose in it, does it? Just a connection at the top.
-Leuf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 02:01:48 GMT, Mark Giles

Sure, you could do that, it's probably easier than building the lexan box anyhow. I've got one that's gone through a couple of evolutions, but is still similar in design to the overam guard and I'm extremely happy with it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The thing looks a bit flimsy, actually. Having experienced kickback first-hand, it's amazing how fast even a relatively underpowered saw can chuck a hunk of wood. I'd imagine that most saws would be able to chuck it hard enough bend/break that apparatus. Dust collection looks nice, though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have been in woodworking for 35 years and I cannot think of a guard that isn't dangerous to use. Most of them get in the way of seeing what is going on.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
W. Wells wrote:

I can't think of any problem that is invisible until it gets to within a fraction of an inch of the spinning blade and then suddenly becomes visible.
Can you?
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Huh?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
W. Wells wrote:

If you are watching the blade where it is cutting the wood then you are not watching to see the wood is flat against the fence and flat on the table, and you are not watching where your hands are.
The guard does not obscure anything you need to see to make a safe and accurate cut.
If it gets in the way of what you are trying to watch, then you don't know what the hell you're doing.
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ah, I gotcha...
Color me stupid, I guess? I generally divide my attention between the fence, the blade, and my fingers. In no particular order. That is, I check the board against the fence (or the miter gauge), then look at the blade, then look at my fingers to make sure they're not heading into the blade, then back to the fence, etc. I'm guessing that this is what most folks do.
As to blade guards, I've yet to find one that works well at anything other than covering the blade. The ones I've used have always had a noticeable bump/resistance when the board hits them, which in turn effects the quality of the cut. I suppose one could argue that not having one will one day effect the quality of my fingers, but I have yet to see a cut that I couldn't make safely in other ways. Push sticks, featherboards, sacrificial bits of lumber, what have you.
As to the guard's ability to keep your fingers out the blade, I'm suspicious. The first saw I bought, a used Delta, had a guard with it. At some point in the saw's career, something had forced the guard into the blade. Several large hunks of clear plastic were missing, along with a nice kerf angled through the side of the thing.
IMO, most guards don't do the job they're intended for. I'm a firm believer in setting up the blade with the minimum height required, using a splitter and/or featherboards, push sticks, frozen cat, etc. etc. etc. and positioning yourself so that your various bits are out of the way on the chance something goes wrong.
-Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The one thing I can't figure, when using the table saw is how to position yourself so you are not at risk of being hit by something if kickback occurs. The natural position to stand would appear to be in front of the saw, in line with the gap between the fence and the blade ...smack in the path of a kickback.
Yes, the primary danger is the blade, but lots of other things can go wrong too...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If I'm ripping something narrow, I'll stand to the left of the blade (i.e. on the opposite side of the blade from the fence) and push the material through with my right hand (or hold a push stick in my right hand). My left hand will typically be on the table, guiding the material, with my thumb hooked over the table edge. As long as my thumb is hooked over the edge of the table, I know my fingertips can't possibly reach the blade.
If the size or shape of the thing I'm cutting is such that I can't do that, I'll set up a featherboard. I've got a nice one I made with an expanding slug that fits in the miter slot and a big knob on top to tighten it up. It lives near the saw and takes about 3 seconds to put in place; I find that if safety gear isn't convenient to use, it tends not to get used. Just human nature.
If I'm cutting something larger, like sheet goods, I'll stand between the blade and the fence, but only if the fence is far enough away that there's room for me to be out of the line of fire should there be a kickback.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Roy Smith wrote:

This is the usual way to use a table saw. I'll just add that finshing the cut usually puts the right hand/wrist/arm close to and onver the blade. If something causes the person to slip and fall forward, this is one case were a guard can keep your body out of the blade--falling on it from above.
...

I don't understand. Between the blade and the fence IS the line of fire. It is the piece that you are pushing between the fence and the blade that is liable to eickback.
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You can't and maintain good control. If you stand in a position that would avoid getting hit by a kickback, you are far more likely to have a kickback because you can't control the stock the way it should be.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The advantage of that type of overhead guard is you can set it so that it is locked just above the stock. So the stock only contacts it if something goes wrong, ie it's starting to want to lift up at the back of the blade.

The guard is never going to be 100%. When Really Bad Things happen they are going to be destructive to the guard. At that point the guard is as much of a hazard as the wood. But your job as the operator is to prevent the Really Bad Things from happening in the first place. The guard's job is to protect you from the little to medium things that happen from time to time.

Well I've got a cut healing on my right index finger from the band saw where I was using a push stick but some unexpected things compounded on each other on what should have been a very safe operation. From that I can tell you one thing, having a saw blade go into your finger "the minimum height" is not pleasant. It'll heal, but it doesn't feel too great and sure cuts into your productivity for the next few days. No matter how careful you think you are being sometimes things happen.
-Leuf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tim and Steph wrote:

Nah.
I watch the blade too, when it isn't covered by a guard and when it is I wacth wood passing under the guard. But of those things you mentions, the one that does not contribute to safety is watching the blade.

Yes the biggest problem iwth them is they often impede the movement of the work, especially the crappy ones.

Of course you can use all those things in addition to a guard.

If the guard doesn;t keep a 2x4 from moving into the blade then it can't hardly stop you from putting you hand in either.
BUT before your hand contacts the blade it should contact the guard. The guard functions much like the warning track in a major league outfield. This is particularly important if only a little bit of the blade protrudes above the workpiece, making it hard to guage how far the blade extends under the surface of the work. You should never get you hand that close to the blade, the guard gives you a visual on where the blade is when the workpiece hides it. An overarm guard can be useful for this when doing dadoes, the splitter mounted ones have to be removed.

Yes, there is no substitute for proper technique.
--

FF


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.