October 4, 2023
Quite frankly, the use of a table saw is not for everyone, for its use comes with many risks. Even a short contact with its spinning blade may cause serious injury. For example, if you lack focus or are quite listless, you may get injured by the blade. Besides, experience and skill may not suffice as safeguards against the hazards concomitant with the table saw.
The table saw blade operates at a tremendous speed of more than a hundred miles per hour. So, the possible hazards from its blade include wounded fingers, severed fingers, and even severed hands. Moreover, its spinning blade may jerk a workpiece toward its operator at tremendous speed. It can fling broken pieces of blade, splinters, and chunks of wood towards its operator.
2 Types of Table Saw Blade Guards
Different models and brands of table saws come with specific guard designs. However, table saws mostly come in two types relative to their guards—the traditional-style guards and the over-arm style guards. The traditional-style guards are mounted on the trunnion assembly of the saw. On the other hand, the over-arm style guards are mounted on the extension table.
1) Traditional-style Guards
Traditional guards usually come with necessary features like splitters, spreaders/riving knives, and anti-kickback fingers. These features help in reducing the possibility of the saw blade propelling the workpiece back to the operator. You can avail of custom guards when shopping around for these guards.
2) Over-arm Guards
Over-arm guards differ from the traditional-style guards because they are easier to adjust. Some over-arm guards may also come with a dust collection system. Nevertheless, over-arm guards do not come with anti-kickback devices, though you can add this device if it is required.
You can find many after-market guards that offer top-notch protection. These guards also fit most models and designs of saws. Plus, they are operator-friendly guards.
When buying a new guard, it will help if you look for something that adjusts itself automatically to the material’s thickness. Without such a feature, you will need to manually adjust the guard to keep the right vertical clearance between the guard and the material.
Top Aftermarket Table Saw Guards on The Market
If you want to replace your table saw guard or upgrade it, you can always purchase an after-market table saw guard. However, there are tons of aftermarket options at hand, which make choosing a bit confusing. To facilitate the choosing process for you, you can check out the following most recommended after-market table saw guards:
1) SawStop TSG-FDC Floating Overarm Dust Collection Guard
The SawStop TSG-FDC is a heavy-duty table saw guard with a 4″ overarm design for providing operator excellent protection while cleaning table-top dust. It comes with a transparent blade cover that lifts for easy blade access. Its rigid steel overarm swings away and springs back to its operating position.
It’s windpipe is perfect for high air and above-the-table dust volume collection. It does help you keep harmful dust from floating around your shop. It also comes with a dedicated 4″ extraction port that improves dust collection while needing only 400 CFM minimum.
Furthermore, it offers operator protection while allowing for non-through and standard cuts. Its transparent cover allows for greater visibility, especially when you are making narrow cuts. Moreover, it lifts quickly for easy access to the blade. It also locks in place the table saw lock handle when you’re not using the table saw.
One outstanding feature of SawStop TSG-FDC is its patented safety feature that halts the spinning blade upon contact with skin. It stops in less than five milliseconds, and the blade drops below the table. This feature lessens potential injury to a minimal scratch.
The SawStop TSG-FDC offers rugged durability, having been constructed using heavy-duty powder-coated aluminum. It also offers excellent versatility allowing for easy adjustment. Overall, SawStop TSG-FDC is a perfect choice if you are looking for an after-market table saw guard.
2) DELTA 34-976 Deluxe Uniguard Table Saw Blade Guard
The DELTA 34-976 Deluxe comes with an innovative design that does not feature a mounting bracket. There’s no mounting bracket behind the blade because it could interfere with the molding or dado cutting operations. Thus, the operator stays protected when doing non-through cutting operations. The operator needs not to remove the blade guard.
It comes with a U-shaped support arm that lets you cut the full fence capacity. Moreover, you can also keep half of the guard elevated to act as a push stick when cutting when the fence is near the blade. It also comes with the splitter, guard, table mounting bracket, extension, and support arm.
The DELTA 34-976’s fixed splitter can maintain its correct alignment at all times with the saw blade. When you do angle cutting, this guard tilts along with the arbor. You can also remove this guard if you want to engage in non-through cutting tasks.
3) Grizzly Industrial T10113
The Grizzly Industrial T10113 is an overarm blade guard that can capture the dust thrown above by the speeding spinning blade. This universal arm guard is self-supporting. Hence, you don’t need to engage in a complicated installation process. You only need to bolt it to the base of the saw for excellent stability. Moreover, it extends for saws with broader rip capacities. It also pivots out of the way of the saw for greater versatility.
The Grizzly Industrial T10113 features a four-inch dust hose connection along with a see-through blade guard. It also comes with a 6-1/2-inch guard vertical adjustment. It is a heavy-duty overarm guard that fits most types of cabinet-style table saw. Besides, it offers a simple system for controlling table sawdust.
You can use this guard for saws that come with a splitter/riving knife or table saw equipped with a kickback device. However, this overarm blade doesn’t come with kickback protection.
4) SawStop TSG-FDC (Floating Overarm) Dust Collection Guard
SawStop TSG-FDC features a collection tube that you can easily adjust to allow for different SawStop saw configurations. You can release the lock knob of its dust tube to move the dust collection tube. Thus, it is easy to store away when you’re not using it.
This dust collection guard is designed for SawStop table saws, though you can also use it with other table saw brands and models by simply drilling two mounting holes on the table end. After drilling the mounting holes, you can quickly mount this dust guard to any table saw extension as long as the extension table is of cast-iron material. If it is of cast iron, you will find the drilling of the mounting holes very challenging.
The tube is four inches in diameter, allowing for the passage of high air volume that carries above-the-table dust. Hence, you can assure yourself that you will never be exposed to the risk of inhaling the dangerous sawdust.
It also features a 4-inch extraction port for increased collection of dust while necessitating only a 400CFM. The blade guard dimensions are three and a half by eighteen and a half inches.
5) PSI Woodworking TSGUARD
If you want protection from sawdust while cutting using your table saw, you can check out the PSI Woodworking TSGUARD. The PSI Woodworking TSGUARD is a piece of safety equipment, but it can also collect debris and sawdust to keep your workplace neat.
It is a fact that sawdust and debris can be detrimental to your health, for if you inhale them, you can become susceptible to lung diseases and other diseases caused by sawdust inhalation. Of course, you can use face masks to keep the sawdust from entering your nostrils.
But the sawdust and debris, if left billowing around, will also compromise the table saw’s functioning. Moreover, it can mess up your workbench and would require you to do a hefty cleaning afterward.
The PSI Woodworking TSGUARD can reduce dust by as much as 60 to 80 percent. Moreover, it accepts saw blades of up to sixteen inches. You can connect it to any standard four inches duct system. Furthermore, it readily adjusts to fit the material’s thickness.
6) SawStop TSG-DC Dust Collection Blade Guard
SawStop TSG-DC is perfectly compatible with most table saws of SawStop. Yet, it is not suitable for job site table saws. This blade guard offers a high sucking capability of up to 99 percent. Thus, it can collect almost all the dust and debris emitted by the cutting process. This higher collecting capacity allows for a cleaner workplace.
The SawStop TSG-DC features lateral slides (independent) that give it a more advantageous design than other blade guards. This design lessens your exposure to the blade. It has a low-profile design that allows for narrow cuts.
For this reason, it can cut to as low as 3/4 of an inch. Moreover, it readily attaches to your dust collection system and is compatible with most SawStop dust collection systems.
7) Coyan’s Table Saw Guard
I had used many blade guards and dust hoods in the past, and each one comes out with a particular shortcoming like the difficulty of removing and adjusting. The Coyan’s Table Saw Guard, however, is a different type of blade guard. It is well-built, though made of plastic.
Yet, it is as thick as the other blade guards and appears to be sturdy. It includes a riving knife and doesn’t require elaborate installation. You only need to drill two holes for its installation, wherein you can insert the pivot bolt to attach this blade guard.
Its dust port can easily fit in a 1-1/4″ shop vac hose. Its dust collection capability, of course, is commendable. Moreover, it weighs around 0.7Kg and is around ten-inch long.
8) BEYST Stand Table Saw Protective Cover
If you’re looking for the most basic table saw guard in the market today, you should check out the BEYST Stand Table Saw Protective Cover. It features all the necessary safety features for cutting simple and lightweight cutting of wood.
The BEYST Stand Protective Cover is transparent and prevents the dust and dirt from billowing out of the table saw. It is well built and is thick enough as the standard guards.
This table saw protective cover readily bolts onto your existing splitter bolt. Moreover, it can keep things safer when you run a block of wood through your table saw. It is also very much affordable.
User’s Guide: Understanding the Table Saw
The table saw is also known as a bench saw or sawbench. It is a woodworking tool with a mounted circular saw blade powered by an electric motor. Its blade protrudes through the tabletop, and materials are passed through the blade for cutting. The higher the blade’s protrusion above the table, the deeper the table saw cuts on the material. The arbor mounts the saw blade, and both the arbor and the blade are non-movable.
The design of the table saw is fraught with hazards to its operators. As such, manufacturers ensure that their table saws come with warnings, instructions, guarding, and personal protective equipment recommendations.
Nevertheless, manufacturers try to make their table saws safer to use by equipping them with safety features like guarding, sensors, and electric brake. For example, a particular manufacture offers an extra safeguard sensor for sensing fresh. This technology is called flesh-sensing technology (SawStop). Other manufacturers make sure that their table saws come with an electric brake that stops the blade from rotating after 2 seconds of turning it off.
Moreover, the safe operation of the table saw depends more on the guarding system that comes with it. The guarding system comes with three parts. First, it has a plastic barrier guard that overhangs the blade for preventing contact with the blade from above, rear, and sides.
It may come with splitter support, consisting of a thin steel piece behind the blade. It makes the kerf cut’s split or open to keep the workpiece from blade pinching or hitting the rear. It also prevents the blade’s rising teeth from throwing back the workpiece towards the operator (kickback).
Its anti-kickback pawls consist of small plates, characterized by sharp teeth ride on the workpiece top. These small plates dig into the workpiece top to prevent the kicking back of the workpiece. On the other hand, the barrier guard contains the sawdust, splinters, broken saw teeth, and pieces of wood.
Major Purpose of Using Blade Guard
People think that the blade guard’s essential function is to keep your fingers from being injured. Of course, this seems to be the primary function of the blade guard. However, this idea is not entirely right because the blade guard was primarily conceived to prevent the workpiece from falling directly on the spinning blade that may cause a kickback.
Without this blade guard, the blade may drag the wood over, making it shoot back to the operator. So, the blade guard protects the operator from a cutoff piece that could fling back to him, though this flinging back seldom happens if the operator uses a riving knife. Although the blade guard can keep small wood chips from hurtling back to you, it will help if you always wear your safety glasses when using table saw.
The blade guard, of course, provides a certain level of finger protection to you. Yet, it is more of a reminder not to let your fingers draw near the blade. With a blade guard at hand, you are sure that your fingers can’t draw near the blade from the sides and back.
But even with the blade guard at hand, the blade front part remains exposed. So, in a way, the blade guard reminds you about the right position before you engage in cutting. It will also protect your hand from accidentally skimming the sharp edges of the blade, which usually happens when you reach over the blade to get hold of a cutoff.
The table’s designs have greatly improved throughout the years, and now new safety features have been added that significantly raise the safety level of the table saw. At present, you can now find table saws with flesh-sensing technology and electric brake.
The electric brake stops the spinning blade within 2 seconds after the trigger is released. On the other hand, flesh-sensing technology prevents the blade from spinning and dropping it below the table in less than five milliseconds once the blade comes in contact with the skin. Flesh-sensing technology, of course, becomes possible because of advancements in sensor technology.
Another safety feature is the guard. Without the guard, you are more likely to get injured when using a table saw. Such injuries include kickbacks, wounded fingers or hands, eye injuries. So, if your table saw has no guard or want to replace your table saw guard, it will help to choose the right aftermarket guards carefully you will buy to ensure that you are safely protected from injuries.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.