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ok seriously with all the table saw mishaps, missing fingers and such, are all these people who cut their fingers off on the table saw NOT using a guard? i mean is it as simple as that? what im asking is if these people ARE using the guard and still getting these horrible injuries, what exactly is the guards purpose?

everybody just loves the idea of a sawstop but shouldnt a guard covering the spinning blade tell you to keep your fingers away without the need for the expensive saw stop?

i personally dont use a guard on my saw but i also dont get my fingers anywhere near the blade. i have been considering reattaching the guard just to be on the safe side but really does it even help?
 

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I suppose that it would help. There are just some conditions where they get in the way so off they come.

Then it's just a hastle to put them on and off so off they stay.

I don't have one on my saw. I purchased a over the blade dust collector and it's now off.
 

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The gaurd was a good idea when they made it but it wasn't a 100% way to keep from getting injured. You could still slip with the board your cutting and get caught under the guard. And not all injuries occur because your not watching sometimes it because a person is too cautious. Anothing thing to remember is, never say never. But you do bring up a valid point and everything that is done to avoid such injuries are good ideas.
 

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I dont use a blade guard on mine either. I do have the riving knife on it to prevent kick-back, but I agree with highflyer that not all cut fingers are caused by simply running your fingers into the blade. I think many times the board is kicked back or pulled into the blade with a persons hands getting pulled in with it. Course a blade guard may help there too. I dont use the blade guard because I think its hard to see what you are cutting and it sometimes seems to me to be more dangerous that leaving it off.
 

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As mentioned the reason that most people do not keep the blade guard on is due to the convenience factor. There are some instances , such as dado cuts and narrow strips, where the blade guard has to be removed to make the cut. And, if it is not convenient to replace it, the guard usually just gets left off. Manufacturers, recognizing the convenience factor, have begun incorporating quick change blade guards on their saws. But with the older saws this simply is not available with stock blade guards.
 

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even if i had my guard on, over time it gets so dusty you cant even see your piece through it. i never had a problem without a guard. and without it you can make the craftsmans cuts, the impossibles, thin cuts, etc. i say its just in the way
 

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i cut alot of tenons on the table saw , so you have to take the guard off for that, then it just stayed off. you just need to remember rule number 1 always keep your fingers away from the sharp spinning thing.
 

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i think that the guards were for industry ,
where repetitive cutting was done for hours ,
or where larger panels were being cut .
we as woodworkers are somewhat a new breed ,
( in the power tool world )
as we are constantly doing singular cuts and special cuts .
the guards are many times in the way ,
and as we all know seeing thru the sawdust on them (thanks mark ) ,
makes it impractical to use .
i have found that when you use the guards for thiner ripping ,
there is less control to the piece being cut ,
they may bind or lift with the guard in the way .
i don't use one , but i dont use those pointy push sticks either ,
i use one like a boot , with the top way down and up over the fence ,
and the front down on the work for 6" to hold things down from fliping up,
and the heel to push forward .
no where that i have worked in 45 years have the guards been in use or required .
i guess they are for the insurance and lawsuit side of things .

just pay attention , thats the best guard !
 

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I think the guard is a manufacturer after thought because of OSHA and other regualtory safety agencies. As the others above me have stated it gets in the way and is then removed. Most of the standard supplied guards are pretty cheesy and useless. I personally will not put m hands any closer than 6". I have an older Delta unisaw and the guard was missing. I keep my eyes on what I am doing and where the blade is.
 

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I think the guard is there so that the manufacturer doesn't have to face a lot of lawsuits. I don't think they provide much safety to current woodworkers…as aptly said by Patron….It's like the stupid cautions on certain items…..i.e. the one on fuel cans that tell folks not to use a match to see the level…..You know that someone would sue the manufacturer if they sold the saw without the guard….and say they didn't know the sharp spinning thing was dangerous….
 

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It is a RARE occasion that I take my guard off. The guard is there, in the case of my Shark Guard, for 2 reasons.

#1. To keep errant fingers, arms, legs, and small furry critters from contacting the spinning blade. Of course you can run UNDER the guard and get nicely mechanically separated as well…
#2. Provide a dust collection port for the top side of the saw. Especially important for those of us that use ZCTPs…

Out of abject paranoia I keep my fingers WELL away from the blade at all times. I have fabbed up a LOT of little work holding jigs for the TS…
 

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Installing the blade guard was the last and finial step on setting up my new table saw. There were multiple pages on how to install it and adjust it. I'll get back to it. 3 years later, still no guard. I still make a point of lower the blade below the deck when not in use.This makes me feel a little better.
I don't know if horror stories are shared. At a local wood shop, guy tripped and his hand landed on to a table saw that was running while someone else was batch cutting boards. The guard was on the saw, but same cannot be said for the gentlemen's 4 fingers.
 

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I always use the blade guard on my saw and don't take it off unless the particular cutting operation requires. The guard is there for a good reason and as some of you guys have already pointed out, it doesn't matter how careful you are, it only takes one mistake to cause a life changing injury.

As Dbhost said - there are a lot of jigs that you can make in a short time to make things safer. My jig for ripping thin stock took all of 10 minutes to make from scrap MDF and it allows me to keep the guard on.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is use a bit of common sense and treat your table saw with the respect it deserves.

Work safe, play safe!
 

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I think we all play with dangerous tools everyday that could hurt us badly but we know the dangers so we know to keep little pinkys from very sharp spinning things

And for the record i took my blade guard off the day i got my TS
 

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"Don't be fooled into thinking you are too skilled to have an accident.
The truth is you have been lucky…"

Kevin I think that is the most profound statement ever written about guards and power tools.
 

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I never installed the blade guard on my saw. I have never used a tablesaw in all my years that actually had a guard on it. I also never use a guard on my miterbox either. Call me oldschool, but I like to see what I am cutting without something in the way.
 

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I have always been very careful, and never used a guard, BUT, once while cutting blocks from some small stock, A piece bound while i was pushing it through, A bit to quickly and when the blade caught it, it twisted and through the block. In the process it twisted my fingers right into the blade. A very unfortunate incident to say the least. However, I had only minor cuts on 3 finger fixed by a few stitches and a few days off. I was definitely lucky that day, But due to the nature of the cuts i was making, I could not have used a guard…and still dont. My scenario could have been avoided by using a different tool…which I didn't and still dont have.
 

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I installed the guard on my first saw way back when. Before the end of the day I took it off and never installed it again.

I got my new Unisaw and the guard is still in the box. In fact I don't even know where the box is anymore.

Push sticks and my shop made clamping tool are all I need.

It's fantastic for smaller pieces.

 
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