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
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 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.
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
I really ought to post some pictures of my setup ...
There are two guards to consider in my opinion.
Both are owned by Delta.
The Biesemeyer ...very expensive
The Delta ... almost as good as the Biesemeyer without the
dust collection feature.
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
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:
On Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:49:20 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman
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
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
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.
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
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:
On Thu, 18 Jun 2009 05:59:16 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman
<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNIP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNAP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Pics are at:
They have been resized to about 150 KB each.
Tsaw with guard
Closer view of split guard
Guard flipped up as one might do to adjust cut depth, angle of blade,
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.
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
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.
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
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
The whole arm can be rotated completely below the level of the table
if needed so both the saw and router are unobstructed.
Catywampus view of the guard for perspective.
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.
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.
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.
On Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:49:20 -0700 (PDT), Ben Shakman
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