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Blade guards and inserts

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  • Blade guards and inserts

    I've been doing a lot of reading on here and tonight found a link to a different site talking about custom made blade guards and how "safe" they make your saw.

    I'll go out on a limb here and say that every "safety feature" on most of my equipment ended up in the trash can after I almost lost body parts trying to use my tools with them on. I have a drawer with three brand new blade guards and splitters from my Jet and my old rockwell contractors saw and my Harbor Freight table top job site saw. Having that contraption hanging in the way drove me nuts! Plus it's impossible to rip narrow scribe molding with them installed. Maybe it's how I learned. 7th and 8th grade shop class in the late '60's and 2 years in high school. There were NO blade guards on anything! We learned how to use them correctly and respect what they could do to one's body. I dunno. I think most "safety features" are for the sake of the manufacturers liability and NOT the end user. What do you guys think?

    Second is table saw zero clearance inserts. Personally, i've never seen much advantage to them. I've cut them out and tried them but never really understood any advantage. As far as keeping splintering down, I never saw that, but then again I use good blades that leave a very fine under side cut.

    One other thing on zero clearance inserts is dust collection. If you are using a dust collector on your TS, you must have air movement to have dust pickup. If the saw is sealed up good and there is no air movement, the largest collector in the world won't help any. There has to be air flow for the collector to move any dust and if the blade is sealed good on the insert, the chance of having good dust scavanging is minimal.

    The whole thing reminds me of a lawsuit years ago when 2 guys decided it would be a good ideal to pick up one guys lawn mower and trim the hedge between their yards. Needless to say, when they both put their hands under the deck of a running mower, they each lost fingers. They ended up winning millions and we all now have a host of "safety features" on our new mowers that most likely only make the manufacturers liability harder to prove with all the idiots now in the court system willing to give away millions to people who, in all honesty, should not even be allowed to reproduce! LOL
    (sorry, guess my rant got a little carried away.)



    Mark
    Last edited by The Wood Meister; 01-19-2007, 01:24 AM.
    Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

  • #2
    Re: Blade guards and inserts

    Mark, I couldn't agree with you more on most of the safety devices. Like you, been doing some kinda woodworking as a hobby since JHS. Like our shop teacher told us, way back then, the best safety device there is is the one between our ears. Even if I won the Lotto tomorrow, I couldn't see myself plopping down $4300.00 for a table saw. Sure not bad mouthing the guys who have bought them, I'm sure they're a joy to use. I just can't justify the cost... guess if I ever do have an accident, I may feel different. After 35 years, still safe.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Blade guards and inserts

      cobra,

      You can always drill some small holes in the ZCI for the dust to be drawn thru. As long as the size of the holes don't defeat the reason for the insert. Just a thought...
      If at first you don't succeed, try reading the owners manual.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Blade guards and inserts

        Stupid, Smart, Aware, In the zone, Uninformed, Ignorant, Safe, etc.

        There are a myriad of folks using tools, any tools! Many people should not be allowed to even get close to tools period!

        Many of the safety labels, stupid safety labels, and ridiculous safety devices are because of the "Stupids"

        Today it's even worse, as all labels are now in Spanish as well
        LEARN ENGLISH! my Parents did and still kept their language, but in the
        USA we speak ENGLISH!

        To take this even one step further, most safety devices are designed for right handed operators! As a member of Lefties of the world, I find often I'm more unsafe using right handed tools trying to reach the safety switches etc.

        I recently modified an older Delta table saw that had the on/off switch on the lower right panel, and it's a small switch. Now I have a large paddle switch on the upper left side under the rails..much safer!

        I believe the intent of most safety devices is in good faith but not designed by the tool user, instead by lawyers.

        Bottom line...it's the operator's responsibility to READ and UNDERSTAND the tool and to KNOW how to use the tool and ITS LIMITS.
        The operator must be alert, no loose clothing, jewelry, etc.
        The operator needs safety glasses...
        I'm preaching to the Choir, but today's newer tool users have no clue!

        Zero clearance inserts are indeed very good and increase safety. Drill some small holes for air movement to improve dust collection. I do not use the factory guards for similar reasons in the initial posting....BUT
        I do use an after market kerf splitter.
        I do use safety glasses.
        I do not have rings or loose jewelery.
        I do only use tools when alert and not when angry or sleepy or rushed!
        I do not have loose clothes.
        I am extra careful as I'm left handed

        Cactus Man

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Blade guards and inserts

          Ok, so what is the intended purpose of the zero clearance insert? Inquiring minds really need to know! LOL

          Mark
          Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Blade guards and inserts

            zero clearance insert are used when your cutting some item that either will fall in to the slot besides the blade if left open.

            or on some items that may need more support to keep splintering down,

            I have made my own and I have overlaid the table with a piece of Formica type material and clamped it on and then raised the blade up through it,
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Blade guards and inserts

              BHD has the most of the reasons that I use a ZCI. With the blade at the proper height for the stock thickness being cut, a ZCI also reduces the amount of sawdust that is thrown on the top of the stock and maybe obscuring a guide mark on the stock.

              A ZCI also eliminates the rear edge of the opening in a wide slot that sometimes can catch the lead edge of stock being cut if the stock is slightly bowed.

              If your saw pedestal is that airtight that you need a wider slot in the insert for air for the DC are you close to collapsing vacuum hoses?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Blade guards and inserts

                If the ZCI is stopping air flow to the dust collection, you can always drill holes in it along the right side or in front of and aft of the blade slot. Some people drill a larger finger hole in it to make it easier to remove. Bevelling the top edge of the hole will prevent the work piece from catching on it.
                A better way to stop dust from coming out of the cabinet and still allowing air flow is to use the material from a HVAC air return filter instead of solid material to block some of the holes. By adjusting which holes you use it on, you can get good air flow and still maintain good suction.

                Just a thought

                Go
                Practicing at practical wood working

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Blade guards and inserts

                  since i dont use or own a dc system i don't know but wouldn't air flow in from where the handles are for blade hight and bevel ajustments are? or would you block thes areas of as well?
                  9/11/01, never forget.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Blade guards and inserts

                    IMHO You are absolutely right, OSC. It is very hard to make a saw air tight to the point you don't have air flow. My post was to give people some ideas if they do go to all the trouble to plug everything up. Some who posted seemed to have concerns about messing up the air flow to their DC. I have yet to hear a practical way to close off the areas around the handles and the big slot for the height handle so it can move when you tilt the blade. Myself, I use a 14 gal Ridgid vac and sweep up the stuff it doesn't get.
                    I make my own ZCIs and feel I get a better cut so to me its worth the small effort it takes. However, I don't think it those that have no use for them are doing anything wrong. Different strokes, and all that. If I had to pay $15 or $20 bucks apiece for them I would do without.
                    Go
                    Last edited by Gofor; 01-23-2007, 08:00 PM.
                    Practicing at practical wood working

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Blade guards and inserts

                      also to make your zci's go to a counter shop in your area and ask to buy some scrap soild surface "corian" that is 1/2" thick you can use wood working tools (saws jigsaws drills routers and sanders) to fit you saws i now have zci's from 1/4" blade hight up to full blade hight in 1/4" steps and it lasts longer than wood and looks better (depending on color)
                      Last edited by oldslowchevy; 01-23-2007, 08:45 PM.
                      9/11/01, never forget.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Blade guards and inserts

                        i almost for got to say since this stuff is pretty pricey you can also use a plastic cuting board form some place like wal mart or target, but be warned that i have had problems with the blade getting warn and the plastic getting gummy so don't buy the ones that aren't heat rated i learned the hard way. but i hav had reall good luck with the soild surface stuff i got a strip of it 4"wide by 8' long for something like $10 and other times form other shops i could get a peice for free thing is just not to be greedy.
                        9/11/01, never forget.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Blade guards and inserts

                          Hi Guys:

                          I must say two things about blade guards:

                          1 - I approach every power tool like its about to rip body parts off - that way I plan ahead what I am going to do, where to stand, where the material is going to go etc. I have not lost any parts over the past 35 years by adopting this methodology (since I started at age 13).

                          2 - I never - repeat NEVER - use a power tool without safety guards or shields in place. I either get someone else to do it, use a hand tool or plain don't bother doing what ever it is. This point is mostly driven by #1 above.

                          One other thing - at a job site, power tools withut guards or shields can result in massive fines etc from whatever workplace safety regulators pay a visit. Around here - they visit a lot!
                          "Dad, E means empty, NOT broken" - my cousin Doug, to his dad after the tractor ran out of diesel and Ed claimed the gas gauge was broken.

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