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Thread: Table Saw Blade Guards

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    Table Saw Blade Guards

    Most of you know that I'm a beginner. I'm trying to learn as much as I can and develop good and safe habits.

    I like working with my TS blade guard. In fact, I hate to take it off, and my instruction book says to never take it off. Also, it's not so easy to take it off. It's not a 30 second move.

    There's a blade guard and a riving knife. It has become clear to me that it's impossible to make lots of different cuts with it on, and it seems that lots of you more experienced peeps never work with one.

    So I'd like to ask what people do? Do you always keep it on? Do you sacrifice making certain cuts because you won't take it off? Take it off only when necessary? Take off the guard but not the riving knife? Always keep it off? How can I possibly use my saw to its fullest potential if I never take it off? I'm wondering how amateurs and professionals handle this.

    Thanks for any and all replies.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    IMHO, the splitter or riving knife is the more important component and less cumbersome than the blade guard. Historically I've been more likely to keep the riving knife in place than the guard, but I've recently added a BORK Blade Guard to my setup and it's less intrusive than other guards I've used in the past, so I try to keep it on whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are just some operations when neither is feasible to keep on.
    Got Wood?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I think you would be wise (as a beginner) to try to use your blade guard as much as possible, unless (or until) you see it being a hazard for a particular cut you are planning to make.

    When I first learned to use a tablesaw in high school, there was no blade guard on the saw, so that's what I got accustomed to. After high school, most of the saws I used also didn't have guards, but on those that did, the guard was in my way for many of the cuts, so I developed a dislike for them. On the first tablesaw I bought for myself (a cheap benchtop) I tried to get accustomed to using using the guard, but after a couple of dangerous situations while ripping some relatively thin pieces, I took the guard off for good. When I got my current Ridgid TS3650, I installed it once to see how it fit and how smoothly it lifted when feeding a board under it, then promptly took it off and put it on a shelf.

    My tablesaw doesn't have a riving knife, but I've seen the consequences of not having some type of splitter, so I use the MJ splitters any time I'm ripping wood or doing wide crosscuts.

    One thing I do do differently from what I learned in high school: I don't use push sticks on the tablesaw anymore. I much prefer the Grr-ripper push block. I feel I have much better control with the Grr-ripper than with push sticks. (I use push sticks on the bandsaw a lot, though.)

    Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and I'm not advocating that anyone else follow my lead. Use the tools in whatever way makes you feel safest and under the best control of the cut. If that's wearing full body armor and using remote control feeders, or if it's barefoot standing in a puddle of grease feeding wood while you're on the cell phone, do whatever feels best to you.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    I'm not sure where my blade guard is. Probably in a box under my workbench. Like Vaughn, every table saw I've learned on since Jr. High school has had it removed.

    There are some cuts you just can't do with the blade guard on but I would suggest that you keep it on and use it until you gain confidence and experience.

    I made my own riving knife for my saw but I really like the
    MJ splitter that Vaughn has.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
    I use the blade guard on everything.....except for two procedures.

    The first, when I use the dado blade.....and second....when I use the "super Sled" is the link for it. Very easy to make, and very versatile! Try making one Cynthia.

    The nice thing about the sled is that it keeps the workpiece in perfect position for the cut, thus helping to eliminate kickback, (which has been known to happen to me!)

  6. #6
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I use mine for everything I can. I obviously can't use them for dadoes, but if you have an overarm assembly you could.

    I need to save my pennies and order a Shark Guard, and then decide if I want to modify my OEM guard and riving knife to an overarm unit for dado use.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    My blade guard was more of a potentially dangerous nusiance than a help. I took it off. FWIW, my TS is an $89.00 El Cheapo. I might think differently with quality equipment.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Buse Township MN
    Just buy the Sawstop. It is so amazing, you won't need the blade guard (funny that it comes with one though)

    Seriously though, I recommend you use it for everything you do on the tablesaw until you are comfortable removing it. Just remember removing it increases the chance of you losing body parts and if that happens it is your fault, not the saw manufacturers.
    Every child deserves a family. Adopt. Foster. Get involved.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    I keep all my blade guards in the same place all the time.
    Even the guards to saw I don't have any more are on that shelf.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    I don't use a blade guard currently. The one that came with my saw was useless as most OEM ones are. I have been eyeing a Shark Guard for a couple years and will have one unless someone discourages me with good reason. I really want one mainly for the added dust collection it would provide.
    Last edited by Paul Douglass; 03-11-2011 at 10:52 PM.
    "We the People ......"

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