Table Saw Blade Guard Myths BUSTED!

Table Saw Blade Guard Myths BUSTED!

Five myths about blade guards that might put your fingers at risk!
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  1. Raymond Reyes on December 21, 2022 at 1:11 am

    Bought an old saw and the guy had the guard still in the box, after I finished aligning it next thing I did was put the guard on thanks to your videos. Thanks Stumpy!

  2. Jery Morgan on December 21, 2022 at 1:12 am

    While I agree with everything you say, I have a Delta X5 Unisaw and removing the blade guard (which has the riving knife) is just way to time consuming. I know a trip to the emergency would be more. However, I did install a Biesemeyer Snap-In Spreader Tablesaw Splitter. So far, this has worked great except the splitter that sits above the table and actually splits the wood, is not ridged. It moves left to right. It is locked in place below the table. Is this movement normal or unsafe? I have had accidents with the table saw due to kickback before I installed the splitter so I do want to avoid that. Any help would be appreciated.
    I really enjoy your videos. Please keep them coming!

  3. Chad Rosenquist on December 21, 2022 at 1:13 am

    I just bought the new SawStop Compact. Throughout the entire manual, they tell you to use the blade guard – over and over. At the end of the manual, they show how to make a push block and auxiliary fence for narrow rips with the blade guard in place.

  4. Hokaido Sax on December 21, 2022 at 1:14 am

    Thank you for a video that worths thousands of fingers, including mine!

  5. J C on December 21, 2022 at 1:16 am

    I’ve worked with a Delta saw that had an overhead blade guard. You could make a non-through cut with the guard in place.

  6. michael monteforte on December 21, 2022 at 1:17 am

    James I love your way of teaching. I am a full time carpenter 40 years now. I always take off blade guard for what I thought were good reason. NO MORE. last night I was in the shop working on my router table and because if the large pattern bit and the piece I was working on I got a few scary kick backs so I went on utube to try to figure out what I was doing wrong and it made me aware of how I have been too casual with my table saw. I just reinstalled my splitter and plan on using my guards as often as possible. I hope to keep all my fingers and at the same time set a better example for my son who is also a full time carpenter. Keep making great videos I learn a lot from you.

  7. Yuuup on December 21, 2022 at 1:17 am

    I’ve definitely taken a pine knot literally off my tooth. I decided to keep my mouth closed at the tablesaw.

  8. FireAlarmDude5967 on December 21, 2022 at 1:20 am

    I’m a 14 year old who enjoys building things. I’m not really a woodworker but I do like watching your videos. The table saws at the shop at my school do not have splitters, guards, or anything except the blade, which is dangerous. I have tried convincing the shop teacher to install one but he refuses to do so because it makes using the saw inconvenient. I think that’s stupid considering it’s a high school wood shop.

  9. captainmorgan979 on December 21, 2022 at 1:21 am

    Great advise!

  10. Linda Marsden on December 21, 2022 at 1:21 am

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, like woodworking many farmers have preventable accidents because of distractions, tiredness. It’s true in many occupations. This is such an important message. again, thank you

  11. Christopher Pardell on December 21, 2022 at 1:24 am

    I remember a guy at a factory I worked at who ran a huge belt sander. The horn for ten minute break sounded, and he shut off the belt sander. He turned to talk to the guy at the next machine as he pulled out a cigarette to light it ( yes- this was back in the early 80’s ) And as they conversed he sat down on the edge of the belt sander. Thing was, the sander drums were each over 100 lbs and 12 inches in diameter. Even with the motor off, they had a lot of momentum and it usually took a full 40 seconds or more for the belt to stop moving. In just a fraction of a second that belt took of the seat of his pants, the lower portion of his underpants and most of the skin covering his rear end.
    Familiarity breeds contempt. He had been running that sander for nigh on a decade, he knew full well it took time to stop turning. He just thought he had been chatting long enough for it to have stopped. ANYone can screw up. Take every possible precaution, every single time.

  12. Vlad G on December 21, 2022 at 1:24 am

    I appreciate the points, but I am still not convinced personally. I believe in safety, I just hate table saw blade guards. I’d never remove a blade guard off a jointer, but table saw blade guards are just annoying and don’t actually accomplish very much.

  13. Brad Benner on December 21, 2022 at 1:24 am

    My Shopsmith blade guard also has anti kickback pawls. I use it for every cut I possibly can. I am very nervous when I have to remove it for narrow cuts, which also makes dust collection poor. I always install a splitter if I have to remove the blade guard with its built in splitter.

  14. Standing Wave Studio on December 21, 2022 at 1:27 am

    I’ve had my old Craftsman contractor saw for decades. Back in the New Yankee Workshop days, despite all the warnings at the start of the show, I took off and actually lost the blade guard. No problem, I was super careful. Then I was ripping some plywood and something bound up and half of it kicked back and hit me in the stomach so hard that I sat around very seriously wondering whether or not I was bleeding internally while I watched the giant purple mark come in on my stomach. I was lucky to only have a bad bruise. So I completely agree about showing the guard. I was young and invincible and the warnings didn’t mean anything when I saw someone who knew what they were doing not using safety measures.

  15. Paul C on December 21, 2022 at 1:27 am

    Blade guards are an afterthought on most machines but still save fingers. The upsides are they’re another opportunity for dust extraction and are a worthwhile safety addition. Downsides are they fit such that you cannot set optimal saw blade height because you can’t get blade low enough without an adjustable writhing knife. I’m not a fan of splitter blades at all. They’re a very American thing and not found in Europe where writhing knives are the norm. What’s the difference? Writhing blades are thinner, often around 2.6 to 2.8mm so less than an eighth of an inch. They prevent pinching of cut timber without forcing it apart. Splitter blades are often thicker than the cutting blade which can create more kick back incidents by pulling one side of the workpiece tighter into the blade if more positive side pressure isn’t put on the workpiece such as when splitter blade isn’ perfectly centred. Writhing knives are absolutely the safer way. Either way, there’s room for improvement in design with either system and all manufacturers should be forced to provide adjustable writhing knives and transparent adjustable blade guards. There’d then be no excuses for not using them. People using benches without either need their heads examined except where making vertical cuts is called for

  16. J Crardawgs on December 21, 2022 at 1:30 am

    Holy Moly Stumpy Nubs got jokes! lol Kung Fu!

  17. ger on December 21, 2022 at 1:30 am

    Brilliant video. Everything you said is so true. Thanks for reminding me how important all this is. Will make a better effort to use mine more often.

  18. ChildPsy on December 21, 2022 at 1:32 am

    Both thumbs up to you! Great tips to keep us safe. I would offer that to increase ones state of mindfulness when working with equipment it helps to make intentional statements to oneself about the ways we will be safe, before even turning on the machines

  19. elorz007 on December 21, 2022 at 1:34 am

    I used a table saw for the first time one week ago and even though I watched many videos like this one for safety, literally the first thing I did after turning off the saw was to reach for the offcut before the blade fully stopped. I was not close to cutting myself but I sure was happy to know that even then the guard would’ve protected me. This makes me much more likely to continue learning woodworking instead of getting scared and leaving it. More safety means the trade is more accessible and that is a very good thing unless you’re a gatekeeper.

  20. Wayne Adams on December 21, 2022 at 1:35 am

    0:57 Hypocrisy is an amazing thing. The very people who say don’t preach to me about using blade guards turn around, inhale and preach "don’t use a blade guard!"

  21. William Prickett on December 21, 2022 at 1:36 am

    How can I get the correct guard and knife for a old craftsman cabnet saw?

  22. Brett's Basement Woodshop on December 21, 2022 at 1:36 am

    Great discussion! You’ve definitely got me thinking twice about leaving my blade guard off.

  23. Kevin Coop on December 21, 2022 at 1:37 am

    Wow! I did not know how many table saw accidents there are per year! I just Googled it. 30,000 per year!
    I used to manage electrical projects. I told our electricians this. Always work safe, the life you save may just be your own.

  24. Aamber on December 21, 2022 at 1:37 am

    wow its impressive how many people in the comments you affected with this video, people who are new to woodworking as well as the very experienced…its good to read through the comments and realize how many woodworkers learn from this.

  25. Jim Hughes on December 21, 2022 at 1:38 am

    I picked up an old Craftsman 10" table saw, literally from the curbside. When I got it the blade guard was missing, I found one on Ebay and installed it before using it.

  26. Stumpy Nubs on December 21, 2022 at 1:39 am

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  27. Steve Bossie on December 21, 2022 at 1:39 am

    I’m planning to make a crosscut sled that lets me use my saw’s blade guard (Dewalt 7491 — which has a dust collection port). The designs I’ve seen work by omitting a rear fence, creating a notch in the front fence for the blade guard, and having additional sled material behind the fence to maintain the sled stability. I haven’t seen you do this in your videos. Any particular reason? I’m also hoping to make this sled with replaceable inserts for different blades/angles. I’m a bit afraid this might be more difficult than I envision. Any input?

    BTW, your thoughtful approach to woodworking and videos is amazing!

  28. ShamelessPlug on December 21, 2022 at 1:39 am

    I do a huge amount of cross cuts on a sled in an average week, I recently re-designed my sled to incorporate space so I can keep the guard on even when using it. A blade guard is a must have for me and I can’t thank you enough for constantly highlighting the myths people spin to justify their lack of safety gear. When I can’t use a blade guard due to needing the fence close to the blade I put in a sacrificial fence that both lifts the guard and allows you to make those thin cuts, there are solutions to everything. imo you should never need to remove the guard and if you can’t make the cut, design a jig to assist you, playing fast and loose for too long just increases risk too much. (Disclaimer: I’m sure there are instances that I have never come across that would simply be impossible with a guard on).

  29. Gardener42 on December 21, 2022 at 1:41 am

    There are roughly 3,000 traumatic amputations involving table saws every year in the US & 30,000 injuries, 85% of them involving contact with the blade.
    The only time I remove the blade guard is when ripping lumber thicker than the blade can cut, so I have to cut from both sides.
    If cutting a rabbet or mortise, I head for the router/router table every time.

  30. Michael Breskin on December 21, 2022 at 1:44 am

    Well stated, thank you. Newbie here.

  31. Logan Media on December 21, 2022 at 1:44 am

    Mine stays on unless I absolutely cannot do the cut with it in place. Then it goes straight back on. Fortunately it only takes a minute to swap it out for the standalone riving knife.

    I’ve also made it a habit to turn the machine off immediately.

  32. Wendy Montie on December 21, 2022 at 1:45 am

    Thanks for the mythbusting/shared intel!

    As a child, I was involved in a car accident w/a drunk driver. Neither of us (me and my mom) were wearing our seatbelts in our couple of years old Mustang. Now, this was before car seats were a ‘thing’ for the short-non-infants back then, but I also didn’t know to wear the belt of my own accord at that time.
    Anyhoo…head-on from a drunk in a station wagon. The only thing that saved my 4-1/2 year old life? A fluffy teddy bear that was about as big as I was at the time. (I sustained a broken leg and some little lacerations)

    That experience taught me that seatbelts are good. And that goes to safety precautions/safety guards.

    While my husband and I have a little contractor saw at the moment, we are scrupulously careful when we use it, which isn’t much right now. But our goal is to get a particular table saw that has some good safety engineered into it so that when that ‘human being’ condition gets a shove from "Murphy’s Law", we’re only needing a change of underclothing and a bandaid for the finger/thumb.
    We really aren’t into finding out if our health insurance covers reattachment, or PT/OT. The major cost of such a saw is more than offset by downtime, copays, deductibles, and as we are not the proverbial ‘spring chickens’ we know ‘things’ are bound to happen in our approaching ‘august’ age.

  33. John Paul Flippin on December 21, 2022 at 1:46 am

    I think many of us experienced tablesaw users needed this video, I know I did. Thanks much. I just purchased another tablesaw with an important feature – the blade guard snaps on and off easily and quickly, no tools or knobs needed. Being human, I’m more likely to use safety features that are more convenient. Thanks again, great advice.

  34. John Sanchez on December 21, 2022 at 1:49 am

    Fantastic video! I really like the way you approached the subject, as well as the examples. Cheers!

  35. Kunk Prime on December 21, 2022 at 1:49 am

    Thank you Stumpy. It needs to be said over and over.  
    I was working without a guard on my older Jet 3hp cab saw And, as I retracted my hand my right index (bird) finger just grazed the spinning blade. It resulted in an accident that took out a huge chunk of the bottom of my finger (to the bone).  
    I did what I usually do when I get cut. I loaded the wound up with Neosporin and pulled it together with butterflies and gauze left it to heal. It now looks prefect. But, I have no feeling in the finger pad of my right index finger. Try typing like that…Damn. 
    Ya’ll listen to old Stumpy and Kunk…USE A FREAKIN BLADE GUARD.

  36. Ben R on December 21, 2022 at 1:50 am

    +1 for 9:00 and on

  37. J Armstrong on December 21, 2022 at 1:53 am

    I am a retired safety engineer and have investigated industrial accidents all over the world during the past 45 years. Everything you say in this video is spot on the mark. Safety equipment on saws, jointers and other pieces of equipment is there for a purpose. You can explain this to the know-it-alls as much as you want,but you can’t make them understand. There is no cure for stupidity or a know-all attitude. An undesirable experience is often too late to make any difference once a finger or hand becomes a former part of the human body. Of all the thousands of accidents I have investigated, a big majority of those using power tools involved tools where guards were removed, improper tool use, using tools not intended for the job or using badly designed tools that do not consider safety (I.e., those circular blades used on angle grinders that look like a chainsaw used to carve wood). Extremely dangerous and the injuries very gruesome.

  38. Bob Kilmer on December 21, 2022 at 1:53 am

    Most YouTubers are horrible about demonstrating using blade guards. There’s no excuse in most cases. They would be doing their audience a favor if they devoted more than lip service to safety.

  39. Doug Prentice on December 21, 2022 at 1:56 am

    I wish blade guards weren’t so bulky.

  40. andytidnits on December 21, 2022 at 1:56 am

    Great video. This kind of safety advice is fundamentally based upon risk assessment: How likely is it that some event is going to happen (cutting off a finger) AND what is the potential impact of the event? If you think NOT using a blade-guard is more convenient than using one, then let me ask how many cuts would make it worth while to lose a finger, 75, 1,000, 10,000? Simply put, most people are bad at risk-assessment simply because they do not have the data. I don’t care if you’re a master craftsman because the thousands of cuts you may have made in your career or your experience with losing fingers pales to insignificance next to the experience of 10’s or 100’s of thousands of woodworkers or the combined experience of emergency room medical professionals.

  41. smithhal1 on December 21, 2022 at 1:57 am

    Do you have a video about the blade guard/dust collector on your saw? I’m looking to add one to my Delta Unisaw. Thanks for all the great videos.

  42. Mark Chadwick on December 21, 2022 at 1:59 am

    Flicking away dust and small offcut pieces is a major reason I use my blade guard as much as possible. I have a reflex reaction to do this without a thought. Great video. I’m going to figure out some ways for easier install/removal of my blade guard.

  43. Crystal on December 21, 2022 at 2:01 am

    Thank you for this! I’m researching safety before buying any saws and this was good information. I’ll be moving to the kickback and ways to avoid it video next. Can’t wait to start creating, but I need my hands to do it. My grandpa was a wood worker and he taught me some growing up, but it’s been years.

  44. D Shack on December 21, 2022 at 2:03 am

    Bravo. Excellent education. Cheers

  45. Andrew Scotton on December 21, 2022 at 2:04 am

    I find a blade guard feels more dangerous because it has a tendency to bind and interfere with my cuts. Perhaps I need a new one?

  46. David Annett on December 21, 2022 at 2:04 am

    i think a lot of safety is set aside for the sake of the shot, which i thin is an issue, too many are worried about production value in a youtube video more than the content itself.
    Too many channels devolve into how good they can edit or use after effects, rather than elevate the reason they were filming to begin with.

  47. stickyfox on December 21, 2022 at 2:07 am

    Respectfully, you’re standing behind a top-notch saw giving this advice. If you’ve got a pro- or semipro-quality saw, the blade guard is likely to be much better constructed and much more ergonomic. If you own a more affordable hobby kit, though, the blade guard is more likely to have been thrown in as an afterthought to satisfy regulatory or liability requirements. It’s more likely to be badly designed and flimsy, and may interfere with your cut, forcing you to stop advancing the work and intervene.

    If a blade guard makes the work more dangerous it needs to be addressed. I’m not saying that means "throw it out," but not everyone can afford $1000+ for a safety feature, and manufacturers owe it to their customers to provide a *working* safety system. They deserve part of the blame.

    Myself, I’m a big proponent of sleds. MDF is cheaper than neurosurgery.

  48. Ben Vincent on December 21, 2022 at 2:07 am

    I have a Craftsman table saw. Perhaps it is the angle on the front of the blade guard but wood always seems to catch on the leading edge of the guard rather than lift the guard and feed under it. It is annoying and frankly feels unsafe because I have to push the wood much more forcefully to get it feeding or I have to reach with my hand to lift the guard to get the wood feeding. Under these conditions it is safer to just leave it off. Are there blade guards that have small rollers on the leading edge to gently lift up rather than catch the wood?

  49. Jon Astronaut on December 21, 2022 at 2:08 am

    Man, I love your humor. And that deadpan delivery perfect.

  50. MrKockabilly on December 21, 2022 at 2:08 am

    John Heisz is not using riving knife. Fine. But when he broadcasts it as being ok. Now that I find irresponsible.