bbarry9999

Removing table saw guards

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I've noticed that most pictures of table saws in the forum show that the guards have been removed. Is this by choice or necessity as the projects get bigger. I'm just getting started and not ready to remove mine yet, but I can see it being an issue down the road.

Thanks

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The truth of the matter is that far too many woodworkers remove their blade guards and leave them off. They feel they get in the way, or it's too difficult to take it off or put it back on when switching back and forth from through and non-through cuts. The reality is, if you want to operate your table saw safely, you should have the guard and ideally a riving knife / splitter on for every cut that you can. The only reason to remove a guard "by necessity" is for non-through cuts like dados and rabbets, but these are typically safer cuts since there is less chance of kickback and there is less blade exposure. I make it a habit to always put the guard right back on my saw after making any of these cuts. If you get in the habit, you don't even have to think about it any more, it's just a natural thing to do. It helps to find a saw that makes it easier to put on and take off the guard but I'd suggest the trouble it takes to put on and take off any guard is nothing compared to the trouble of dealing with less than 10 digits.

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If what you're doing means you can operate without removing it, you're a smart one. Sometimes I use mine, sometimes not, depends on the task at hand (and the guard does help keep dust trapped). Can't deny that can get in the way of specific cuts (non-through, as mentioned) sometimes, or render other safety items useless (Grr-ipper). I'd like to think that a lot of woodworkers aren't opposed to the guard, it's that they're opposed to the guard that comes with the saw. I've seen the aftermarket things (with built in dust collection) that swing over and away at will that I absolutely would love to have.

Riving knives? Except for dado cuts, always.

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I am guilty of leaving mine off sometimes too. I am constantly reminding myself to keep the guard on. I am doing it much more, in fact I left it on all day today (5 hours in the shop)! Hooray!

The more comfortable we get with tools, the more we need to be reminded of safety.

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In the Fire Service we had a saying about text book knowledge and Street knowledge...the stuff written in the books hardly ever worked practically on the streets. No matter what you say not everything transfers from the text books (safety manuals in this case) to what is done in the shop. The most important thing is to use the tool as safety as possible and keep your fingers away from the cutter.

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For me it sort of depends what I am doing. Rip cuts always have the blade guard and splitter on. Crosscut sled has to have it off. Various other jigs like miter jigs and whatnot usually it's off.

I wish I had a riving knife rather then a splitter, the most damage I have done to myself on the tablesaw was due to kickback and whenever the spliter is off and the piece isn't on a jig to prevent it, it's a potential issue. Riving knife could stay on all the time regardless of the jig used unlike the stock splitter.

Basically, whenever it's feasable to do so, my guards are on the table.

-Jim

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Have you tried the micro spliiter? I have one and am very happy and am very happy with it.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=51151&cat=1,41080,51225

Thanks for the link. I thought one of the advantages of a splitter was that it kept the gap narrow and consistent when the blade was raised or lowered. This one looks like it has a set gap. Any concern with the wood getting between the splitter and blade on short piece work?

Thanks

Bill

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The way I understand it, a riving knife moves up and down and tilts with the saw blade, and is preferable to a splitter, which is fixed to the table or the insert. Both can carry a blade guard, anti-kick-back pawls, etc. But, it's more difficult to install an after-market riving knife.

An after market splitter is much better than nothing at all.

You might contact the folks who make The Shark, etc. They may know how to adapt their product for your saw.

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Thanks for the link. I thought one of the advantages of a splitter was that it kept the gap narrow and consistent when the blade was raised or lowered. This one looks like it has a set gap. Any concern with the wood getting between the splitter and blade on short piece work?

Thanks

Bill

The kit actually comes with 2 splitters, and each side of each splitter is a different offset from the blade (so 4 options). You can adjust to get a perfect fit. The splitter is also really easy to remove for non-through cuts, just pullit out and put it in your pocket.

I have never had a problem with stock getting trapped.

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Dont let a little thing like the time it takes to use your tools safely prevent you from doing so. It only takes a split second to have a nasty accident. Unfortunately i am speaking from experience. Two days ago I lost the tip of my thumb. My accident was not b/c I didn't have the guard on, but it does make me think there are too many times where I don't do it.

I made some new zero clearance inserts to use with my new dado blade. Cool right. I was excited.

I put the new insert in, set the fence just on the side to hold it down and was holding another board on the other side. Then I got the bright idea to hold a peice of 2x4 over the top to help with tear out on top (probably not necessary, just an insert). Raised the blade a bit, then lowered back down to check the progress and see if i even needed the board on top. Well i didn't lower it all the way like i thought. When i shifted the wood a bit (getting ready to lift it off), the dado kicked it back and my hand went down. It caught the end of my thumb. Not sure why i even had my hand where i did, and why i didnt use a push block or something. I know better.

The blade had only exposed about two inches long thru the insert and was only sticking up maybe 1/8-1/4" high, but that was all it took. In that split second, it chewed the end of my thumb up. Nothing to re-attach. Didnt hit the bone which is good, but lost part of the nail bed and about half the thumb pad.

Im a firefighter, so out of work for a while. Hopefully not too long with a family to provide for.

Keep being safe, so you can keep making dust.

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I never use my blade guard. Riving knife always, blade guard never. And it's not just laziness that keeps me from using it. I actually feel safer with it off because I can see what's going on near the blade and I have better control without that monstrosity in the way. My brain creates an invisible guard around the blade anyway...I just don't get my fingers near it. If I feel like a cut is going to be too close, I rethink the cut and do it a safer way.

Maybe not conventional wisdom, but I've found it's what works best for me. No safety mechanism will keep you completely safe...only focus and caution can do that.

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The way I understand it, a riving knife moves up and down and tilts with the saw blade, and is preferable to a splitter, which is fixed to the table or the insert. Both can carry a blade guard, anti-kick-back pawls, etc.

Riving knives and splitter both can move up and down with the blade. The difference is a splitter is just that it splits the full kerf cut. A riving knife does not exceed the height of the blade making it possible to make partial cuts without removing the riving knife. Riving knives are designed to be used with overhead guards and offset guards. The splitters that come with saws from the factory are obviously designed to be used as a complete assembly. Some people just hate guards and use just riving knive assuming 50% is better than nothing.

Don

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Never use a blade guard. Just recently got a saw with a riving knife. Never even had that before. Love that thing.

Reason for not using the guard? I feel much better being able to see the blade. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad, but I'll never use a blade guard. (guess I could never work for OSHA, huh?)

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The government department where I work started throwing out any tools without guards or devices to stop injury. Before they hit the bin they were cut up so that someone couldn't come back and sue them for liable if they dug them out of the garbage.

When the guy's on the floor heard this had started to happen they threatened to all quit if the purging didn't stop. They have milling machines and equipment that has been there for 40 or 50 years without an injury. There attitude was if you get injured it's not the machines fault. And that if you can't use the equipment responsibly you shouldn't be working there.

They got there way.....for now.

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The government department where I work started throwing out any tools without guards or devices to stop injury. Before they hit the bin they were cut up so that someone couldn't come back and sue them for liable if they dug them out of the garbage.

When the guy's on the floor heard this had started to happen they threatened to all quit if the purging didn't stop. They have milling machines and equipment that has been there for 40 or 50 years without an injury. There attitude was if you get injured it's not the machines fault. And that if you can't use the equipment responsibly you shouldn't be working there.

They got there way.....for now.

Cut up the tools how...were you able to fix them?? Because I know i would've been dumpster diving and piecing them back together. I am also pretty sure they wouldn't complain about getting upgraded machinery, but the problem is that they get rid of "dangerous" equipment and try to replace it with tools that are complete junk but have "safety features". I can only imagine what would happen at you work if someone was walking with a pencil/pen and slipped and stabbed themselves with it, can you imagine trying to use a pencil/pen with a guard on it... while your wearing special anti paper-cut mittens??

I'm all for safety, but safety is more of a mindset then a "magic" guard.

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The government department where I work started throwing out any tools without guards or devices to stop injury. Before they hit the bin they were cut up so that someone couldn't come back and sue them for liable if they dug them out of the garbage.

When the guy's on the floor heard this had started to happen they threatened to all quit if the purging didn't stop. They have milling machines and equipment that has been there for 40 or 50 years without an injury. There attitude was if you get injured it's not the machines fault. And that if you can't use the equipment responsibly you shouldn't be working there.

They got there way.....for now.

All commercial shops should have heavily guarded machines. For the obvious employees safety but also for the ambulance chaser that will show up after the accident. It just makes good business sense even if you don't care what happens to your employees.

Don

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I just bought a brand new Ridgid R4512, partially due to the safety features. The one issue I am running into is that the cuts for the current project are only 1.5 and 1.25 " wide. The guard is almost that wide which leaves no room for the push stick I have. I should make a thinner one for future projects, but for these particular cuts, I have taken the guard off.

Once the cutting boards are done and I move on to thicker projects, then it will be reattached. I do love the riving knife and anti kick back additions. They are awesome.

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I just bought a brand new Ridgid R4512, partially due to the safety features. The one issue I am running into is that the cuts for the current project are only 1.5 and 1.25 " wide. The guard is almost that wide which leaves no room for the push stick I have. I should make a thinner one for future projects, but for these particular cuts, I have taken the guard off.

Once the cutting boards are done and I move on to thicker projects, then it will be reattached. I do love the riving knife and anti kick back additions. They are awesome.

This where euro saws have the advantage. But since you dont have a euro saw make a 5 or 6" wide aux. flat fence out of a piece of ply wood laying flat. This way your not reaching down between your tall fence and tall guard.

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Hi.

I've got a problem with my Ryobi contractor saw in that the Riving Knife...aka RK extent about an inch above the cutting blade.

The reason for this, I think, is to hold the laser.

Now I can't cut half trough a board, otherwise the RK and laser will be in the way.

Obviously I also cannot use a table sled.

I am very reluctant to get rid of the RK, because of the safety feature it has.

Can I make myself a RK identical to the one on my saw, that is just a few millimeters shy of the top of the blade?

Or must I just use a splitter.

With a splitter I have a problem in that it do not rise or fall with the blade.

So if I use a low blade setting the splitter will be to far away from the blade.

Any thoughts?

Johan

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Charles Neil showed a alternate blade guard - I think it was on his table saw DVD, but I might be wrong. It was just a flat board with either magswitches or miter track hardware to fasten it to the table. On top was a stack of boards to get the appropriate height, and above that was a board which extended out over the blade. I guess you could use Plexiglass/Perspex if you wanted to see the blade.

In a situation like yours where you need to remove the guard because there's not enough room between the blade and the fence, this guard comes in from the other side, away from the fence, and covers the blade.

I removed my blade guard in a situation just like yours. Then I reached for an off-cut while the blade was spinning down. I was very lucky that I only got a hole in the tip of my finger - nothing got cut off. That's when I started researching alternate blade guards.

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OMG I took my Riving blade off today and mage plunge cuts with my table saw without hurting myself :o

And then I used a drill press to hog out a mortise. :o

Then I used a chisel to clean out the mortise

Then I took a bus to the pub, had nacho's and beer and now have heart burn and indegestion.... :wacko:

Hi honey I love you...give me a kiss.... :wub:

Looks like i'm on the couch tonight :(

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I didn't realize I touched on such a hot topic when I started this discussion. Sounds like I'm not alone. My saw has a riving knife, anti kickback pawls, and a two piece guard. I havn't removed anything, but the guard definitely gets in the way with smaller cuts, and really makes it difficult to se what's happening.

I'm not planning to remove anything, but really appreciate all the comments.

Thanks

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