Tablesaw Boom - Worthy accessory or hinderance??

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Forum topic by bluekingfisher posted 01-31-2013 07:39 PM 3699 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1333 posts in 4322 days

01-31-2013 07:39 PM

I have for some time now been considering and applying my shop time to two aspects of working wood, dust collection and saw safety.

I have recently installed DC into the shop, why I never made this part of my hobby a priority sooner I don’t know. However, now that I have installed it I have declared war on shop dust. My other concern in the shop is safety, particularly while working at the table saw.

I, along with a lot of guys prefer to work with the guard removed for the obvious reason of convenience and an unrestricted view of the cut . Despite this, I always leave the shop with that nagging feeling of having gotten away with it again. I have read about many guys undertaking this practice over many years, sometimes decades but knowing how I can sometimes find my self in a rush to complete a job an accident, for me at least is enevitable rather than likely. So, having bought a telescopic boom and guard some years ago (been under my feet since then) I decided to take it out of the box and have another look at it before making a decsion on whether install or sell.

I decided to install.

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take photographs during the install which is a shame because there were some points of learning for me along the way. There was a little bit of metal working in the form of cutting the boom arm to a more manageable lenght (my saw has 30” rails but the boom was long enough for 50”) with the angle grinder. There was also some drilling of the TS extension table to take care of as well as some fettling of the hose fittings and an alternative means of linking the guard to the DC ducting.

It may be a little difficult to identify certain parts from the photographs, due partly to my skills as a photograher, or lack of, and the similarity in colours of the DC ducting and the boom arm of the guard.

Anyway, the boom and stand are made from a heavy gauge steel, There are two lenghts of tube to facilitate the telescopic nature of the rig. Rather than have the entire telescopic inner section of the boom installed I just cut a 16” lenght of pipe, just enought to fit and hold the guard assembly. The base stand is bolted to the floor and the elevating section of the stand is bolted to the TS extension table using M8 bolts and lock nuts. Fortunmately there were a couple of holes in the extension table frame so I only needed to drill a single hole, I cannot say I am confortable about drilling holes in my tools but sometimes needs must.

The boom was designed to extract dust by linking the hose from the guard to the the horizontal arm of the boom and from there linked into the DC duct work at the right side of the saw. I do not have the necessary room required to the right side so I had to link the guard extraction port to my overhead ducting and subsequently fettle the link up couplings to fit as they were designed to fit the boom and not my 115mm drainage pipe I use as ducting. As I linked the hose directly to the ducting overhead it meant the ends of the boom would have been open. Not a huge problem although from an aesthetics view point I just don’t like loose ends (pardon the pun) so I bunged them with MDF plugs and covered off with electrical conduit junction box covers which I initially secured with double sided tape. As there were already holes in the cover plate I used a couple of 1/2” screws just to make it look neat, I personally don’t think changing the rout for the dust extraction willl cause me much concern, I ensured the hose cuff at the guard has a friction fit so if I need to swing the boom out of the way I only need to pull off the hose and push the arm to the right. The guard is not connected to the saws table in any way, instead it is raised or lowered by hand dependant of the thickness of stock being cut. The large counter balance weight at the back of the guard assembly ensures the guard cover remains in stu while making the cuts.

The poly carbonate guard cover would appear to be the single flimsy part of the apparatus, although providing it is not abused it should be sustainable enough. The design of it is simple so I imagine should I have the time or the inclination a replacement could be manufactured from 10mm polycarbonate sheet without too much skill being required. If I were to manufacture a new or replacement guard it could be designed so the side walls could elevate and ride up out of the way, much like the guard on the PM 2000.

I haven’t used it in anger yet, only a couple of trial cuts to establish it’s efficeincy at collecting dust and keeping my pinkies safe. When the guard is fully down it creates quite a draught from both the guard and from the cabinet of the saw itself. With this done I hope I have killed the two birds with one stone…dust collection and blade safety.

Thanks for taking the time to read folks.



-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

16 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4928 days

#1 posted 01-31-2013 07:49 PM

I made my own overhead guard and recently fitted a metabo laser to it for finding the blade edge etc.You won’t look back.I fitted a full size dust extractor both to the rear and overhead of my saw so two times the power and it works great hardly anything escapes I forgot to switch it on once and did really notice the vast difference both with extractors running and without, without required a lot of sweeping up.I also diconected the magnetic switches from the front of the machines and wired both extractors through a single switch at the front of my saw for easy reaching. Have fun. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3635 days

#2 posted 01-31-2013 07:50 PM

First, thanks for the photos as I needed the 7th one to figure out exactly how to put mine back together if I ever use it again. I have the same exact boom, only I painted my Powermatic “Puke” Yellow to match my saw. My experience has been that it gets in the way more than it helps. It is virtually worthless on cross cuts and not as efficient as I had hoped for ripping. However, whenever the guilt trip gets too great, I use it for some ripping until I am firmly reminded of why I took it off and proceed to repeat history. That said, I hope you have better luck than I have had, and that you can make yourself observe better safety habits than I’ve obviously have observed.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View pintodeluxe's profile


6520 posts in 4156 days

#3 posted 01-31-2013 07:54 PM

Most of the shops I have seen that have one, don’t use it. It depends on what type of cutting you do. If it was a cabinet shop ripping plywood all day long it would be useful. Obviously it wouldn’t work for cutting tenons with a miter gauge.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4928 days

#4 posted 01-31-2013 08:01 PM

Please remember without this the room quickly fills with dust which gets everywhere and makes sawing a real chore and offputting when you stop beforehand to consider all that mess.It is not a device to add looks to your saw but for cleanliness in the shop and moreover health and safety . Try cutting mdf and breathe in the dust you won’t live long if you do formaldehide. So please be realistic when considerring this option.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7363 posts in 3836 days

#5 posted 01-31-2013 09:47 PM

You can’t really have good dust collection if you don’t try to capture what comes off the blade above the table. I have one and find it a huge inconvenience…..yet it stays on the saw.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3847 days

#6 posted 01-31-2013 11:17 PM

Blue, you have a very clean and shiney shop. How do you do it? You must spend as much time cleaning as you do woodworking.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23355 posts in 5018 days

#7 posted 02-01-2013 01:17 AM

Looks good from here David. I have been thinking along these dame lines. Nice job.

DKV, with a little forethought, you will not have a big mess to clean up.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View toolie's profile


2215 posts in 3971 days

#8 posted 02-01-2013 04:09 AM

nicely done. looks great and is professional in appearance. here’s my ghetto version:

for those of us mot as skilled in WW as blue.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4322 days

#9 posted 02-01-2013 08:32 AM

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to consider and comment on my boom guard. Very much appreciated.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Loren's profile


11376 posts in 4990 days

#10 posted 02-01-2013 10:17 AM

Good choice, good execution. I don’t have a boom, so
I have to take my guard off the riving knife if I need
the most depth-of-cut, but I do have a 2.5” hose
shunted in overhead on my TS. The advantages in
dust collection are very nice and of course the guard
is there for cuts under 2” thick and I prefer to use it,
both for the dust factor and the other one.

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5116 days

#11 posted 02-01-2013 04:19 PM

Hi David

If I was to buy a saw guard, this would be the one I would pick. You can leave it on when dadoing but would have to raise it up to cut rabbits. The dust collection is a nice feature as will. You did a excellent job on the instillation as always! Thanks for sharing.

After being a cabinet/furniture builder for over 47 years I still don’t use a guard. I do use a splitter to prevent kick backs. The guards have come a long ways over the years and much more user friendly. I use the bests blades I can buy and keep them sharp. I have cut on a table saw so long I can feel if the blade is cutting smooth and also listen if the blade is cutting properly. Pay attention to what your are diong and think where your hands are at all time.

I still recommend that most people should use a quard.


-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4209 days

#12 posted 02-01-2013 04:22 PM

It looks a little cumbersome to me. However, safety is important.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BroncoBrian's profile


899 posts in 3301 days

#13 posted 02-01-2013 04:25 PM

Do you lose much power from the DC system by adding 30’ or more of tubing?

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4322 days

#14 posted 02-04-2013 10:31 AM

Thanks again for your input fellahs.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View 9FINGERTIM's profile


54 posts in 3283 days

#15 posted 02-05-2013 12:45 PM

have cut way down on cross cutting on my tablesaw since getting a sliding mitre saw, i.can cut up to 15 in wide now and up to 4 in thick somehow fell much safer using this tool(also ican tke saw outside or to a jobsite, so much more room outside my workshop than itnside. i know i could use a skillsaw but it sure is easier and safer with a mitresaw


showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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