After reading the "Oops" thread I saw in American Woodworker magazine that
there is a series of new blade guards coming out for table saws. They
incopororate a riving knife and some even have dust collection capability.
One of the criteria is for the guard to be easily removed and replaced too,
an incentive to use it.
It got me thinking, after reading about an accident, if you had a better
design, would you put the guard back on?
Yes, I would. I use the present guard too, most of the time.
I agree that our stupidness can conquer any attempt we take to make
However, I saw a lot of people talking about how kickback pulled their
finger into the blade and the guard would've prevented that.
I also agree that making them easier to put on/take off would help
matters. I'm thinking of using wingnut fasteners for the back end of
mine, and a cam-nut for the front end. Seems like having to dig up the
proper wrench can be the deterrent that results in a trip to the ER.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
My observation is that if kickback is pulling your finger into the
blade, you're putting your fingers too far behind the blade to begin
with. I never touch the wood at the rear of the blade. I use homemade
push blocks that not only push the wood, but press it against the
table top, yet leave my hands clear. An old 2x4 can be fashioned
fairly quickly into something usable if need be. I quickly discovered
that the classic "push-stick" design included with the instruction
manual with many saws was totally inadequate for holding the wood
against the saw table. I noticed that reaction wood or pressing too
far right of center would cause the blade to grab at the wood being
I do use a splitter wherever I can, however. Even the homemade zero
clearance inserts I use have a removable splitter pin carefully
adjusted to prevent the wood from contacting the rear of the blade. I
have several lengths which can be used. Not perfect, but works so far.
I can. My original TS which I still use for its absolute accuracy and wide
range of options has a splitter and a guard that can be removed/replaced in
My cheap 12' chinese ripsaw has a guard that comes off/ goes on in seconds.
The splitter, which rises & falls and tilts with the blade, is also
independently adjustable for height, which means when ripping beyond the 4"
depth of cut of the blade and flipping over for a second cut to splt the
piece in two, the splitter can remain in place, - just adjusted a fraction
lower than the blade height.
To diverge a little, that saw has given me much pause for thought. Had I not
already had a TS that did most of what I needed, I wouldn't have considered
it. Too cheap. I did end up buying it on the basis that I really only needed
it to split 7" x2" boards into 7 x 3/4 or 7 x 1/2. I was prepared for a
fair amount of wastage and cleanup effort to achieve that , seeing as how it
was so cheap. Had low expectations.
The reality is, that it is accurate. Dead accurate. Set it to 90deg on the
dial, - that's what you get. set it to 45 deg, cut two mitres on adjoining
faces and a square across the two faces shows no daylight showing anywhere.
Even the imitation Biesmeyer fence sits perfectly parallel to the blade.
Locks securely. Blade cuts beautifully, good enough faces to glue.It also
came with two extension tables, plus a roller table and dust extraction
ports top and bottom. The whole thing cost me AUD$650 with 3 years warranty.
So, am I trying for a gloat? No. I'm concerned. I live in what is arguably
the most expensive nation on earth to purchase tools. Yet the Chinese
produced this thing, it was shipped to Oz, went through a distributor and
then a retailer (whose prices are generally 25% to 50% higher than you pay
for exactly the same thing in the US/Canada) before it got to me.
What concerns me, is what does that mean for the future of manufacturing and
associated employment in the western world. How do we compete? We've always
done that with quality.
But if China emulates the Japanese and South Koreans in that regard,
delivering quality, as they seem to be getting better at year by year, what
I don't much like the answer I come up with.
Back when Japanese products were considered junk (in the US), I lived in
Japan. You could buy products there that were as good, if not better, than
anything made anywhere. Of course, they also made cheap crap. The cheap crap
is what the American importers were buying as it had the best profit margin
on resale. No one would pay near US prices for things that had always had
the reputation as junk. As people got more used to Japanese made items, the
importers started bringing in higher quality (and higher priced) products as
people were becoming willing to pay for it. I would bet that China is at the
same point now. Quality products made in China probably are available but
the importers buying it go for the low end. Remember, Americans have been in
China teaching them manufacturing for years.
Ed, are those after market or only being offered with new saws?
The problem with most guards is that they get in the way of using proper
procedure in many set ups. Tough with most to cut 1/2" and shorter pieces
and narrow pieces. In some cases more likely to cause kick back if a small
piece of cross cut wood gets caught between the guard and the blade.
Precisely my dilemma. And they are generally a floppy, poorly designed
thing that reeks of cheapest design possible. A pain to install and
remove. An overhead makes far more sense, and yet I've not bothered to
build or buy one either. Complacency is the death of many a digit.
Evidently that complaint was noticed. The new requirement is that the guard
comes off and is replaced easily so after that dado cut, no excuses when it
takes seconds to replace it. I keep my guard in place, but when I do have
to take it off, it does not go back or right away. With a snap fit it
Hi, Ed. :)
An example of market forces working, the entry into the market of saws
like the Saw Stop, PM2000, etc. have forced companies like Delta to
rethink their views of what will sell. I also noticed that after a
brief stint in China, they are now hawking the new Delta Unisaw,
"assembled" in Tennessee, with all the bells and whistles, safety
wise, that I complained to Frank about two or three years ago. The
blowback must have been considerable from the move overseas. I have
no doubt the castings are made in China, but every little bit helps,
eh? I've not seen it in person because most of the venders in this
area stopped selling Delta after the B&D assimilation, but it looks
sharp. A real moving riving knife, venier tilt, better blade guard.
Unfortunately I can't afford but what I have...
The cheap import benchtop saws are still problematic, however, and
much of what is used on construction sites.
From what I read, even the cheap saws will be better than in the past. If
you are spending though $1000 and up, way up, for a good saw, it should be
fitted with a guard that is sensible, workable, safe, and actually
If importers would stop buying the cheapest stuff available to fill
the big box stores it would have already improved. As diggerop
mentioned, there are some interesting pieces out there, we just don't
see them on these shores much/yet. And for the few importers that
actually have any input into the manufacturing process, it's not
rocket science - stop being so damned cheap and lazy. The Taiwanese,
Indians, and Chinese sure won't be - they're hungry for your dollars.
You would think. That was one of the big disappointments of the
Unisaw. I think it went 20 years without any major upgrades - other
than a trendy, yet dated X splashed across the front and in the model
number. Heavy, reliable saw, but the guard and splitter were a joke.
The Powermatic2000 and SawStop upped the ante in the saw market.
Yep. I tried my best to keep that blade guard installed on my Unisaw, but it's
just an utter piece of crap and I can only put up with so much of that. I
opted instead for a good phenolic zero-clearance insert with a relief cut in
back to allow the installation of a collection of splitters (riving knives,
really, of my own design that I made in about five different heights, each of
which hug the blade as closely as possible according that that particular blade
height). Couple that arrangement with a good crosscut sled, a pair of
GRRR-Rippers and various featherboards and I'm about as safe as I can be
without have a blade guard or Saw-Stop to protect me the rest of the way.
Being deathly afraid of the machine and following a calm calculated process
helps too. I've had my Unisaw for about 10 years and it has yet to bite me
(knock on wood...).
See Nad. See Nad go. Go Nad!
To reply, eat the taco.
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