I've always been a believer in using a splitter, and recently upgraded to a saw with a riving knife (Sawstop). However, I've never appreciated the blade guard, aside from the top of the blade dust collection. That changed today when I was cross cutting ~ 1/2" from a piece of scrap hardwood to make a jig. The cut off piece literally exploded and two small pieces wound up tightly jammed in the guard. If it had not been in place, who knows where they would have landed. I did not see any knots or defects in the wood that would have caused this. I feel very lucky, and have new respect that accidents can happen when you least expect it. I had to take apart the guard to remove the wood. If you need to do this just loosen the screws around the plastic. I tried to take the whole thing apart, and found I needed snap ring pliers I don't have. I got it back together minus the kick back pawls, which I never use.