Many people don't use the blade guards on their saws. Sometimes the reasoning is not very good, such as, "it blocks my view." But there are many very legitimate reasons to remove the blade guard. What types of cuts are difficult, impossible, or simply impractical to make with the blade guard installed?
There are several occasions when you would want to remove the blade guard. Note that in most cases, you should still use your riving knife.
- Non-through cuts, such as dadoes, rabbets, tenons, and other joinery tasks
- When using a crosscut sled (most crosscut sled designs have the left and right sides of the sled connected at the front and back of the sled)
- Sometimes when using certain types of jigs or accessories such as the GRR-Ripper
- Narrow workpieces (e.g., when the blade guard prevents you from moving the fence close enough to the blade)
- Raised panels
There are also a few reasons to remove the blade guard which are arguably less legitimate:
- You can't see the cut (usually you shouldn't need to see the cut line after you've set up the cut)
- Too much dust accumulates on the table if the blade guard is installed (many blade guards now actually have dust ports)
Note that an overhead- or side-mounted blade guard can solve some of the problems associated with a more typical arbor-mounted blade guard.