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Thread: table saw sled safety

  1. #1

    table saw sled safety

    Does anyone have any pictures of tablesaw sleds with some type of blade guard on them? I was running my saw for about 2 hours today and realize I really should have some type of blade guard on the sled to prevent any mishaps when loading and unloading the sled. I am thinking of just mounting a piece of plexiglass over the area where the blade goes but that may get in the way of loading and unloading when I use a stop. If anyone has any suggestions or pictures of guards that work with sleds I would appreciate it.
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  2. #2
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    Hereís one I did several years ago. I bent the polycarbonate by SLOWLY heating it with a propane torch. The sled has a stop on it that prevents me from cutting through the guard.
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  3. #3
    Bruce I like that. How did you install a stop to stop the sled?

    I don't mind the blade in the center of the sled area but the blade popping out the back really makes me worry. One time putting your hand in the wrong spot when you push the sled.

  4. #4
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    Now that is a gorgeous sled, Bruce. Nice work!

  5. #5
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    Joe, I put a block of wood at the back of the fence large enough that the blade doesn't come through. I have a small piece of wood attached to the TS and a mating piece on the sled to stop the sled when it contacts the piece of wood on the TS.

    I also mounted a TS safety guard on the far fence of the sled. It is on a hinge and can be pulled down, or left up. I bought the guard from Grizzly for about $15 and already had the hinge. I did this because I got hit in the chin with a small offcut the first time I used the sled. Let me know if you are interested and I'll get some pictures. I'm sure the idea could be improved. (My sled is all plywood, not as pretty as Bruce's. Nice sled Bruce.)

    Mike

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Breinig View Post
    Bruce I like that. How did you install a stop to stop the sled?

    I don't mind the blade in the center of the sled area but the blade popping out the back really makes me worry. One time putting your hand in the wrong spot when you push the sled.
    Allen, I mounted a stop to the edge of the left wing and a post on the sled.
    I need to redesign the stop because I have since removed the OEM wing and added a wider Bench Dog router wing. For now, Iím using a clamp mounted to my outfeed table as a stop.
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  7. #7
    Thanks Bruce
    I have got to get that guard in place. It's one of those just stop and do it kind of projects.

  8. #8
    I tend to be almost maniacally suspicious of "safety add ons" which is not to say that I want to do things in inherently dangerous ways, I just approach safety in a somewhat different manner.
    I have to admit I never really liked saw sleds because I felt most sleds "invite" you to put your hands in inherently dangerous places.

    Rob Porcaro has a sled on his website ( Heartwood) which the saw operator pushes from the rear material guide, an approach that automatically puts one's hands out of harms way. I built a duplicate a little while ago ( I'm in the getting used to it/tweaking stage), it seems to work well and I don't have that nagging sick feeling that I'm endangering myself when I use it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page View Post
    Here’s one I did several years ago. I bent the polycarbonate by SLOWLY heating it with a propane torch. The sled has a stop on it that prevents me from cutting through the guard.
    You wouldn't happen to have pictures of the stop as well would you? Also is there a strip of plexi between the two wood strips that go from the front to the back, and if so does it collect a lot of sawdust and cause problems with visibility?
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael W. Clark View Post
    Joe, I put a block of wood at the back of the fence large enough that the blade doesn't come through. I have a small piece of wood attached to the TS and a mating piece on the sled to stop the sled when it contacts the piece of wood on the TS.

    I also mounted a TS safety guard on the far fence of the sled. It is on a hinge and can be pulled down, or left up. I bought the guard from Grizzly for about $15 and already had the hinge. I did this because I got hit in the chin with a small offcut the first time I used the sled. Let me know if you are interested and I'll get some pictures. I'm sure the idea could be improved. (My sled is all plywood, not as pretty as Bruce's. Nice sled Bruce.)

    Mike
    I am very interested, I had actually thought of mounting a guard from an old table saw onto the sled.
    Universal M-300 (35 Watt CO2)
    Universal X-660 (50 Watt CO2)

    Hans (35 watt YAG)
    Electrox Cobra (40 watt YAG)


    Glass With Class, Cameron, Wisconsin

  11. #11
    I am also now thinking of adding overhead dust collection to the guard on the sled.
    Universal M-300 (35 Watt CO2)
    Universal X-660 (50 Watt CO2)

    Hans (35 watt YAG)
    Electrox Cobra (40 watt YAG)


    Glass With Class, Cameron, Wisconsin

  12. #12
    I once emailed an engineer whose work occasionally get linked here about his poorly designed table saw sled which could curtail the ability of the user to text with his thumbs. He is otherwise an inspired engineer who has many good ideas (including homemade bandsaws and geared machines). Most good designs will have a large obstruction, whether a guard or a large block of wood to prevent the operator's thumb from accidentally entering the path of the saw blade. My sled has that feature as well, but I concluded that the better solution was to encourage the operator to place his hands, and thumbs, elsewhere on the sled. If you look at the typical tenon jig, there is usually a couple of large handles that encourage you to place your hands in a safe location. Table saw sled designers on the other hand seem to be satisfied that the sled fence at the rear of the jig is a good location for the operator to place his hands and push. My own sled simply has two large black plastic knobs attached to the top of the fence which safely, and comfortably, locate the hands clear of the path of the blade. Total cost is a few dollars from Rockler or almost any good hardware store. It can be retrofitted to any sled. I would encourage everyone to consider doing that to their sled. Just a couple of screw inserts embedded to the fence will make the handles easy to attach or remove as needed.

  13. #13
    The sled that I am using is a bit different than most, I use it for cutting miters. Here is a picture
    Frame Jigs 001.jpg
    Due to the large back area I am not very worried about getting cut when I am actually running the pieces through. And once I add a stop and maybe a chunk of 2x4 where the blade would come through if I run the blade to high to keep my thumbs out of the way it will even be safer.

    I am more concerned about bumping the blade wit either my had or a piece of wood well I am loading and unloading it. To prevent that problem I am either thinking of mounting a piece of plexiglass over the blade area which will keep my hands out of the way or add stops at the back and some type of enclosure in the front to compleatey cover the blade. That way as long as I pull the sled all the way back to the stop before loading it it should be safe.

    Like I said in my first post, I run this thing for hours at a time so after making hundreds and hundreds of cuts I feel some type of safety precautions are necessary to prevent a momentary lapse in concentration.
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    Universal M-300 (35 Watt CO2)
    Universal X-660 (50 Watt CO2)

    Hans (35 watt YAG)
    Electrox Cobra (40 watt YAG)


    Glass With Class, Cameron, Wisconsin

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    As a quick safety measure you could add a layer or two or three of wood or MDF across the area the blade will exit to a depth greater than the blade should come through. You will feel when the blade stops cutting your material and feel again if it begins cutting into the added material. A transparent guard and a stop is best but if you just dont get to doing that and want safety, you could throw something on in a very few minutes if desired.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd Mah View Post
    I once emailed an engineer whose work occasionally get linked here about his poorly designed table saw sled which could curtail the ability of the user to text with his thumbs. He is otherwise an inspired engineer who has many good ideas (including homemade bandsaws and geared machines). Most good designs will have a large obstruction, whether a guard or a large block of wood to prevent the operator's thumb from accidentally entering the path of the saw blade. My sled has that feature as well, but I concluded that the better solution was to encourage the operator to place his hands, and thumbs, elsewhere on the sled. If you look at the typical tenon jig, there is usually a couple of large handles that encourage you to place your hands in a safe location. Table saw sled designers on the other hand seem to be satisfied that the sled fence at the rear of the jig is a good location for the operator to place his hands and push. My own sled simply has two large black plastic knobs attached to the top of the fence which safely, and comfortably, locate the hands clear of the path of the blade. Total cost is a few dollars from Rockler or almost any good hardware store. It can be retrofitted to any sled. I would encourage everyone to consider doing that to their sled. Just a couple of screw inserts embedded to the fence will make the handles easy to attach or remove as needed.
    How about sharpened spikes protruding from the area the blade would exit so you never put your hands there?
    Seriously though the knobs are a good idea.

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