Not nearly as good as it could be

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Review by jmos posted 11-08-2016 04:44 PM 6608 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Not nearly as good as it could be No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I recently purchased a SawStop 3hp PCS with the overarm dust collection. I replaced a Jet hybrid saw where I had upgraded the stock blade guard to a Shark guard and had been very happy with the results.

I was hopeful the SawStop overarm dust collection would be as well designed, and operate as well as the rest of the saw. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The SawStop overarm dust collection has a small hose that connects to it, and that narrows to nearly nothing as it goes into the blade guard to the point where suction is seriously diminished. When doing skim cuts, where the blade is not surrounded by wood on both sides, there is a heavy spray of sawdust all over the table, and I’m sure a cloud of dust into the air.

I finally broke down and bought the Shark Guard for the SawStop, and it is much better. I had my system setup for a 4” drop to the blade guard, so I got the 4” port like I had with the Jet. The difference is striking in how well it collects the dust.

Switching from riving knife to blade guard attachment on the SawStop is easy, but the Shark Guard makes it even more convenient. I really like that the Shark Guard riving knife includes the mounting points for the guard, so I almost never have to remove the ZCI and change the knife.

If you’re thinking of getting a SawStop, or adding blade guard dust collection to your SawStop, I highly recommend the Shark Guard over SawStops own accessory.

-- John

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917 posts in 3215 days

10 comments so far

View WhereDidIPutThat's profile


43 posts in 2182 days

#1 posted 11-08-2016 06:26 PM

Never heard of Shark Guard until now. Just checked out Lee’s website too, he must be very busy. How long did you have to wait to get your attachment from them?

-- palette wood connoisseur

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917 posts in 3215 days

#2 posted 11-08-2016 07:09 PM

I think it was 5 or 6 weeks.

-- John

View Redoak49's profile


4867 posts in 2834 days

#3 posted 11-08-2016 09:08 PM

I agree that it could be better. However, it will also depend on what dust collector you are using. Mine works pretty well and on most cuts pulls a very high per cent of the dust. Only, when ripping near the edge of a board does some blow out the side.

With a 4” hose connected to the Sawstop and the smaller hose take off for the over the blade, I am pulling 670 cfm at a static pressure of 10”. This seems to work well for me. With less air flow, more dust would escape.

View jmos's profile


917 posts in 3215 days

#4 posted 11-09-2016 12:50 AM

I’ve got a ClearVue CV1800, so it pulls pretty hard. Still not great pick-up from the stock SawStop blade guard dust collection.

-- John

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2956 days

#5 posted 11-09-2016 09:39 PM

That’s not an overarm guard in the picture…

The Excalibur kills both of them if you’‘re really serious about a dust collecting overarm guard.

View iminmyshop's profile


320 posts in 2840 days

#6 posted 11-10-2016 03:20 AM

I agree that SawStop’s overblade system is inefficient at best. If you are going to pay extra then at least get something that works well.


View toddbeaulieu's profile


842 posts in 3850 days

#7 posted 11-17-2016 04:04 PM

I bought one and never even used it. I ended up with an Excalibur telescoping arm and “hood” with my CVMAX. Not being sprayed in the face is a wonderful thing. Ripping the edge of a board was always the worst.

View Lenny's profile


1674 posts in 4373 days

#8 posted 11-20-2016 11:49 AM

For the benefit of those reading this review, there are a number of Lumberjocks who have posted about Sawstop’s overarm DC and what they have done to get it better. I agree it is weak at best. One of the main issues is that the smaller hose meets up with the 4” hose at a direct 90 degrees…a no no in the DC world. It’s a shame that a woodworker has to alter a $200 accessory to an otherwise fine tool but that’s the nature of the beast. jmos, I’m curious to know if you use the Micro Jig grippers at all. It seems to me that in most applications, you can’t use the gripper in combination with overarm DC.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View jmos's profile


917 posts in 3215 days

#9 posted 11-20-2016 01:09 PM

Lenny, I haven’t seen the threads about improving the stock system; I did the review because I only found the one other and it was very positive.

I do have a set of Micro Jig Grippers (I don’t use them a lot, but they are great for certain cuts) and the Shark Guard does not work when using those, nor does it work when using a crosscut sled. I do like that the Shark Guard is easily removable and the mounting/riving knife is below the blade height, so you don’t have to remove the ZCI and change the knife. That makes it much more likely I’ll put the guard back on the saw when I should.

I have not used the Excalibur system, and it may be a much better mousetrap. I’m not real familiar with it, and didn’t even think about it when I upgraded. I would encourage others to check both the Shark Guard and the Excalibur and pick the one that works best for them. Either has to be better than the poorly designed stock system.

-- John

View RichardDePetris's profile


61 posts in 2531 days

#10 posted 11-29-2016 01:18 AM

I was looking at the Reaxx hoping it would be a serious contender with the SawStop, but at 1499 street price it isn’t worth the money. The SawStop is better priced and a much better made machine. The nondestructive technology isn’t a selling point. The last thing I care about is my $100 blade when it just saved me $100,000 reattachmeng fee.

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