Table saw kickback guard. Table saw kickback guard

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Table saw kickback guard

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We purchase a table saw and remove the guard on the table saw blade, why. If you were to look at most of the woodworkers online they do not use a blade guard either. This seems to vary contrary to the thought of safety.

Woodworkers remove the guard for several reasons.

  • Visibility while you are cutting your material
  • Better control of the material while cutting
  • When cutting a small amount of material on an edge
  • Using the fence with a small cut
  • Cutting dado cuts or groves
  • Cutting beveled cuts
  • When using table saw jigs

Although, as a woodworker, I understand why you would remove the table saw guard, I don’t advocate it. Of course, the table saw guard is there for a reason and it is so you don’t expose yourself to the open blade.

Table Saw Basics

According to Wikipedia a Table Saw or Bench Saw in England is a woodworking tool, consisting of a circular saw blade, mounted on an arbor, that is driven by an electric motor. Having said that what do we use a table saw for.

If you are new to table saws I thought I would include a great video for step-by-step basics for your table saw.

As mentioned we as woodworkers do things sometimes which don’t make sense in general. However, we do them because it works. Now I’m all about safety and wearing eye protection and a mask if needed. But sometimes using the table saw blade guard just doesn’t work for what we are wanting to accomplish.

Now we know why we would want to remove the blade guard from the table saw I thought I would also include the information as to what is the table saw blade guard for. As mentioned I don’t advocate the removal of the blade guard, however, we have shown why you would want to.

The table saw blade guard is there for many reasons. Most folks think it is for protecting your fingers as you make your cuts and that is part of the equation. Surprisingly, it is more than that.

    Keeping Material From Flying – The biggest and most important reason a blade guard is placed on the table saw is to keep material from flying out and hurting you, someone close to you or in general from flying out in your wood shop and damaging something.

As you push the material through the saw blade of course you will get resistance and you need to keep the momentum going to cut. Wood splinters will occur or the blade will cut the material and fling it out of the blade at times. This is where the blade guard come into play.

Table Saw Guard Replacement

You purchase a used table saw or have a table saw which does not have a blade guard. Can you get a blade guard? Or can you upgrade your blade guard to get better use of your table saw and add functionality with more space or a dust attachment for example?

Each wood shop creates different types of wood products. Furniture, home decor, and for us wood signs are the most prevalent types of wood projects you would perform. Knowing this you would use your table saw consistently to cut one type of cut more than others.

The reason I mention this is because you purchase a table saw and want to use the blade guard. However, the blade guard you don’t have or currently have just doesn’t work for you and the cuts you make the most.

Depending on your table saw you can change out the blade guard to best serve your cutting needs with an aftermarket table saw blade guard. Table saw blade guards come in many sizes, shapes, and capabilities. My biggest concern was flexibility and ease of use. This will allow you to adjust and change your table saw blade guard to your cutting needs quickly and safely.

Here is a product that works extremely well to serve the needs and flexibility of your table blade guard swap

If you would like to purchase the Dust Collection Blade Guard you can purchase it from Amazon here!

What Is Table Saw Kickback

We all love our table saw and the flexibility it provides us. However, much like other woodworking tools, we need to approach the table saw with safety and respect in mind.

According to the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) which is part of the United States National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, there are an average of 30,000 tables saw injuries annually.

That is a staggering amount of injuries from table saws and a good portion of these injuries occur from table saw kickback. So what is the table saw kickback?

Table saw kickback occurs when the material you cutting on the table saw comes loose and is ejected from the table saw blade while it is spinning.

I have provided a video below which demonstrates what table saw kickback is and what it looks like.

As mentioned above kickback is a dangerous and real-life risk from using a table saw. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent kickback from occurring and causing injury from your table saw.

  • Using The Table Saw Correctly – This seems to be the obvious answer but thought I would mention just the same. If you are not using your table saw in accordance with the manufactures specifications you can cause unwanted injury.
  • Control – Controlling the material as you feed to through the table saw is key to avoiding kickback. As you feed your material observe the cut and always keep the material straight (by using the fence or a sled) and flat on the surface of the table saw.
  • Riving Knife – A Riving Knife is a piece of metal which arcs up behind your blade at an angle and would move with the blade depth adjustment. It provides the control of the material as you feed the material through the blade. This helps to keep the material straight and if the material should shift, it will assist you in holding it true through the cutting process.
  • Splitter – A Splitter is a piece of metal which is typically straight up behind the saw blade. It often comes with the blade guard and may or may not adjust with the blade height.
  • Using A Push Stick – Using a push stick when pushing material through the cut is an obvious thought. However, you want to ensure you wait for the material to be on the table (Not hanging off the table) before using the push stick. This will prevent the material from possibly raising on the blade and causing kickback.

All of these will help you prevent table saw kick back and use your table saw safely for years to come. I have provided a video below which goes into kickback and how to prevent it for more of a visual look.

When you look at your table saw do you see an angled piece of metal on the backside of your table saw blade? If you have bought a more recent model you will most likely see this piece of metal. However, if you have an older model it most likely will not have one.

A riving knife is a simple solution to keep the material straight while you feed through the table saw blade. It has an angle to go around the back of the saw blade to ensure anything captured by the back blade teeth it keeps straight. It also moves with the height and bevel adjustments you make with the table saw blade.

If you are using a table saw a riving knife is a must and I highly recommend you install one if you don’t have one on your table saw.

Most riving knives are specific to the brand, however, I have found you can use this riving knife generically on most brands. It has an adjustable bottom that fits most brands.

What Is The Difference Between A Riving Knife And Splitter?

The main difference between a Riving Knife and a Splitter is the shape and capability.

The riving knife is typically a bigger piece of metal and angles to fit the backside of the table saw blade. This is the optimum place and uses to ensure your material doesn’t kick back at you when using your table saw.

The splitter is typically a smaller piece of metal located on the backside of the table saw blade and does not angle over the blade. Its purpose is to help guide the material with the table saw blade as well, however, since it doesn’t angle like the riving knife it doesn’t provide as much functionality.

Additionally, most of your splitters are static. This means they do not adjust with the height of the blade when you move the table saw blade up or down or side to side for beveled cuts.

If you are wanting the best solution I highly recommend the riving knife versus the splitter. However, if the splitter is all you have it is better than using the table saw blade alone.

Upgraded Safety for an Older Table Saw – Introducing Shark Guard

I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve safety and efficiency in my shop. My late 90’s Delta Unisaw came with an adequate stock blade guard for its time, but, like many saws from that era, it was tricky to remove, reinstall, and align with the blade.

Table Saw Blade Guard Myths BUSTED!

The Shark Guard is designed to provide improved protection, along with simplifying the installation/removal process. As a bonus, it offers an optional dust collection shroud that can capture dust that evades the under-table collection on a table saw.

Easy Installation

The Shark Guard was simple to install, and within 30 minutes of opening the box, I was up and running. I just removed the mounting blocks for the stock blade guard and installed the single mounting block for the Shark Guard. A single mounting block simplifies the installation and removal, and the convenient hand lever means height adjustments can be made quickly without tools.


The Shark Guard is made using high-quality Lexan, with material that is 70% thicker than the stock guard on my saw. It is built with modularity in mind so that if there is ever damage to a component, it can be easily replaced. The modularity also allows for add-ons such as dust collection or an LED light, whether they are purchased with the unit upfront or added down the road.

Dust Collection

To get the Shark Guard’s full benefit, there are optional dust ports that can be added so that your dust collection system can pull directly from the blade guard housing. There are three standard sizes to choose from; 2-1/2″, 3″ or 4″. A dust port can be added to the Shark Guard in a few minutes by simply removing a few screws.

Optional LED light

To help you keep an eye on the blade, an optional LED light can be added to the front area of the blade guard. This is a neat feature and really lights up the area in front of the blade.

Manual riving knife

Riving knives are a great safety feature that sits directly behind the saw blade to prevent a workpiece from shifting into the blade and kicking back. A true riving knife maintains a consistent gap between it and the blade, moving with the blade as it raises, lowers, and tilts. Riving knives differ from a splitter, it doesn’t raise and lower with the blade, so when the blade is lowered, the gap between the blade and splitter increases. As the gap increases, so does the risk of kickback. Riving knives have been a required feature on any table saw sold in the US since 2008. Unfortunately, my saw is one of many saws still in service that do not have this feature in place.

While a true riving knife cannot be easily retrofitted, the Shark Guard provides the closest thing that I’ve seen, with what the company refers to as a “manual riving knife.” This feature shares some similarities to a true riving knife, including the ability to adjust the height and proximity to the blade and following the radius of a blade to maintain a consistent gap between the splitter and the blade. That can dramatically reduce the chance of kickback occurring because it supports the workpiece directly after passing the blade. The difference is that the height adjustments have to be made manually, compared to a true riving knife that moves with the blade.

There are different thicknesses of riving knifes available to accommodate various blade kerf sizes.

table, kickback, guard

Using the Shark Guard

The Shark Guard has proven to be convenient to use. I can go through the entire process of removing the guard, making a height adjustment, and reinstalling the guard in less than 30 seconds. For the few times that I will have to make this adjustment throughout a typical project, I feel that an additional couple of minutes is well worth the additional safety.

I have felt uncomfortable resistance from some older style stock guards when the workpiece reaches the blade guard, leading to unsafe actions to lift the guard. The Shark Guard has a thoughtful design in this area that I really like, which is the roller positioned near the front, along with the gentle slope of the lower front of the guard. This makes it very smooth and easy to feed stock through the saw, with no disruption as the workpiece ducks under the guard to approach the blade.


The Shark Guard comes in various configurations to fit most saws and dust collection systems and saw blades. If you can’t find your exact configuration on the Shark Guard web site, I would encourage you to pick up your phone and call, as you will find the level of service with the Shark Guard team to be impressive.

What Is Table Saw Kickback And How To Prevent It From Happening

A table saw should be approached with a healthy level of fear and respect. While it is one of the most versatile tools in a woodworker’s arsenal, it can be dangerous when used without care. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, table saws cause over 30 thousand injuries each year in the United States alone, with kickbacks being one of the main causes of accidents. In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to avoid kickback on your table saw.

table, kickback, guard

In short, here are the 7 tips:

What Is Table Saw Kickback?

Kickback is a situation when wood gets picked up by the blade and violently thrown at you, which happens way faster than you can react. This usually occurs when the workpiece pinches the blade or gets stuck between the blade and the rip fence.

Table saw kickback usually occurs under these sets of circumstances:

How to avoid kickback on a table saw

Follow these tips to reduce the risk of hurting yourself from kickback on a table saw.

Have basic safety features in place

Nowadays, all table saws come equipped with safety features that are designed to keep you out of harm’s way.

One of those features is a riving knife. A riving knife is a piece of metal that stays close to the teeth at the back of the blade. It prevents the workpiece from pinching the blade or touching its teeth on the back. The good thing about it is that it goes up and down together with the blade, providing support regardless of what hight the blade is set at.

A riving knife should be installed at all times, even if you are just making singular cuts. The only time when you should remove the riving knife is when you use a dado set. Fortunately, as per Underwriters Laboratories UL 987 Standard for Stationary and Fixed Power Tools, all table saws produced after 2008 must be fitted with riving knives that rise and fall with the blade.

For older saws, you will want to at least use an insert with a splitter that will act similar to a riving knife and keep the workpiece from squeezing the blade. Splitters are not as effective as riving knives, though, because they don’t rise or go down as you adjust the blade height.

As you can see in the image above, lowering the blade will create a very wide gap between the blade and the splitter. This way, your workpiece can get caught by the blade on the end.

The blade guard is another piece of safety equipment that was created to reduce the chances of you getting hurt. A common misconception is that the purpose of a blade guard is to keep your fingers from touching the blade. While it does act as a reminder to keep your hands away, the blade guard is actually designed to keep you from dropping the workpiece on top of the blade.

If the length of the board is lesser than its width, the torque generated by the blade can cause the workpiece to spin towards the back of the blade. Kickback is actually the least bad thing that can happen here. What’s worse, your hands can get drawn into the blade which will lead to an amputation.

There are many ways to safely crosscut using a table saw. You can clamp a stop block to the fence for accurate measurement of length and use the miter gauge to guide your stock through the blade. This way, you eliminate the risk of your workpiece getting squeezed between the fence and the blade.

Take special care when pushing wood that is hanging off the side of the table saw. Do not apply downward pressure to the end of the stock. This can cause it to rise on the other side, get lifted up by the back teeth of the blade, and smack you in the face. You can even use two push sticks to guide the board on both ends.

Do not cut crooked stock

The uneven surface of the board does not allow for continuous contact with the rip fence or miter gauge. As the saw goes through the crooked grain, this can release pressure at the spot where the board is warped, crooked, or twisted, then press on the blade and cause kickback. Additionally, take extra care when working with boards that have a lot of knots as they can also lead to pinching of the blade.

Check your blade

A dull saw is an unsafe saw. A dull blade will have trouble with cutting stock, which will lead to overheating and warping. This leads to misalignment between the blade and the fence. In short, never use a blade that is broken or warped.

Be Attentive

When you don’t feel your best, be it due to common cold, bad night’s sleep, or getting cut off (no pun intended) by some a-hole on the road, don’t touch the table saw. Personally, when I don’t feel like I’m not in my best shape physically or mentally, I tend to stay away from any tools that can make me lose my appendages.

Imagine your cut before you make it. Visualize the movement trajectory of your workpiece and have a plan to push it all the way through the blade. If the cut feels weird, don’t do it. Take a step back and come up with a way to complete the cut safely. Do not stand in an awkward position where you may lose your balance.

Anticipate how the dimensions of your workpiece and your method of guiding it through the saw can lead to kickback. Don’t let your guard down and be attentive. If you feel sleepy or groggy, allow yourself some rest and return to the workshop tomorrow.

The Final Kick

Kickback is by far the most dangerous event that can occur on a table saw. Without proper care, you can get hit with a flying piece of wood or get severely hurt by a spinning blade. It is paramount that you do everything possible to prevent kickback from happening.

Following the steps in this guide should help you reduce the risk of kickback in your workshop. I really hope you follow these steps and make a conscious effort to maximize the table saw safety when woodworking.

Got any other tips? Make sure to let me know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев!

Woodworking Table Saw Safety and Machine Guarding

Serious injuries can occur if table saw operators are inexperienced, improperly trained or the blade is not properly guarded. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 50,000 power saw injuries occur in the United States each year.

Table saw injuries can be prevented by using properly guarded saws, following manufacturers’ recommended safety practices and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

Point of Operation Hazards: Table Saws

Table saw injuries can occur if an operator’s hands slip while feeding the stock into the saw, if the operator holds their hands too close to the blades while cutting or when the operator is removing scrap or finished pieces of stock from the table.

Some operators escape with only minor cuts, but many others have lost fingers and even hands in accidents with unguarded table saw blades.

All portions of the saw blade above the table should be enclosed with a self-adjusting guard. The guard should adjust to the thickness of the material being cut and remain in contact with the material at all times.

It can also be beneficial to hinge the guard to the table to make it easier to change worn blades. Push sticks should be provided to all operators for pushing stock past the blade. Hands should never be placed near the point of operation.

Injuries can also occur if operators come into contact with the blade under the table or with the power transmission apparatus (belts, pulleys, sprockets, etc.). To reduce this risk, employers should completely enclose the power transmission apparatus and the portion of the saw blade under the table.

Table Saw Kickback Hazards

Kickbacks occur when the blade catches the material and throws it back toward the operator. While kickbacks are more common when ripping (cutting with the grain of the wood), they can also occur when crosscutting (cutting across the grain of the wood).

When do Kickbacks Occur

Poor quality, twisted or warped lumber is cut

table, kickback, guard

Table Saw Safeguards for Ripping

These safeguards should be provided whenever table saws are used for ripping:

Table Saw How-To Install Anti-Kickback Pawl and Blade Guard Performax

A spreader designed to prevent material from squeezing the saw blade or being thrown back on the operator

Anti-kickback fingers positioned so they oppose the thrust or tendency of the saw to pick up the material or to throw it back toward the operator

Additional Table Saw Safety Tips

Use the proper blade for the type of cutting; do not use a crosscut blade for ripping and vice versa

Operate the saw at the speed recommended by the manufacturer

Stand to the side of the saw blade to avoid injury, should kickback occur

Avoid crosscutting long boards on table saws, as considerable hand pressure is required close to the saw blade (putting the hand close to the point of operation); long boards can also create a safety hazard to other employees who may be walking in the area

Use a filler piece between the fence and the saw blade when necessary, such as when only a small clearance exists on the fence side

Properly support all pieces of stock, including the cut and uncut ends, scrap and finished product

Flying Particle Hazards When Using Table Saws

While not directly related to machine safeguarding, some of the most common hazards associated with table saws are flying wood chips, splinters, sawdust and even broken saw teeth being thrown toward the operator. To reduce flying particles:

Inspect saw blades regularly and remove all broken and/or dull blades from service

Always wear eye and face protection, such as safety glasses, goggles and face shields when operating table saws or other woodworking equipment

In addition, floors should remain clear of all scrap wood pieces, sawdust, shavings, etc., because they can cause slip and fall accidents, as well as create fire hazards.

Table Saw Safety Training

Even if a new employee has previous experience using table saws, it is always a good idea to review your company’s table saw safety policies with them. What was acceptable practice in the employee’s previous position may be quite different from the rules at your facility.

All training should be documented and retained, with the names of trainer and employee and date of training.

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