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I saw this photo on another table saw question and it's basically identical to the sled that I built.

enter image description here

When I use the sled my hands push on the back fence to move it forward. The blade will cut the piece and continue through the back fence and emerge under the blade guard.

I have a problem where my hand will push on the blade guard and position my thumb or palm in the path of the blade. After doing some woodworking for several hours this mistake sometimes happens.

So far I've caught my mistake but I want to modify my sled to fix this problem. The only solution that I can think of is to make the blade guard longer. While this would solve the problem it makes working with the sled more difficult.

Another option would be to do something that stops the sled from moving forward far enough for the blade to emerge from under the guard, but I can't figure out how that would work.

  • You can put a clamp in the T-slot so the runner will hit it. – ratchet freak Jan 27 '16 at 17:08
  • also related: woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/2742/… – ratchet freak Jan 27 '16 at 17:08
  • Stopping the sled: something that hooks over and catches on the back edge of the saw should do it... But the approach of providing grips/guards so your hands can't get low enough to intersect the blade seems to be more common, even when there isn't a following box guard. – keshlam Sep 30 '16 at 21:17
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    Missed this question at the time otherwise I would have Answered then! "Another option would be to do something that stops the sled from moving forward far enough for the blade to emerge from under the guard, but I can't figure out how that would work." Couldn't that simply be a case of installing a stop block somewhere? Specific location doesn't matter so long as the sled bumps into it after travelling a sufficient distance to make the cut. Just a small block of 2x material clamped in place on the bed would do it. – Graphus Oct 2 '16 at 7:26
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Your inclination is to use the piece that sticks out the farthest to 'push' the sled. As you noted changing that is the smart thing to do. Making it longer would be a pain, but my recommendation would be to put a handle on the top of the blade guard so you naturally grab that! If you mount it right it will also discourage you from putting your hand in the wrong place.

enter image description here

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    Putting a handle on top of it never occurred to me. Thanks. I've also thought of driving nails into the guard at spots where my hand should not be. If my hand touches a nail I'd automatically pull my hand away. – Reactgular Jan 27 '16 at 17:03
  • @ThinkingMedia Part of my day job is usability (for software) but it works just as well in the real world. Glad you liked the idea – bowlturner Jan 27 '16 at 17:05
  • I think it's because in my mind you keep your hands away from the guard. This is why I love this forum. – Reactgular Jan 27 '16 at 17:07
  • @Thinking My own sleds actually use something similar to your nail idea. I put easily grabbable handles away from the blade guard, put some pieces of wood with sharp angles on the guard itself so it would be uncomfortable to hold, and painted my guard orange, the same warning color as the throat plate on my table saw. I also made some lines with markers on the side to indicate how far forward I could go before the blade comes through the guard, not a hard stop though. – Jason C Jan 29 '16 at 1:36
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    BTW if you make your guard at least as long as the radius of the blade you'll never have to push the blade past the guard to get full height cuts in the sled. It won't prevent you from doing this but it'll make sure you never have to do it. – Jason C Jan 29 '16 at 1:48
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My first thought when reading this was to create a stop to prevent the sled from going far enough for the blade to emerge as well. I like the handle idea above, but I also think a stop safety would be ideal as well. I would think something as simple as a piece of wood that hangs down and catches that back edge of the table saw top right where it needs to stop.

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Paint the parts you shouldn't touch.

Glue awkward wooden pieces or sharp soda can aluminium pieces on the parts you shouldn't touch.

Make the parts you should touch natural to touch, like with a handle.

Put soda can aluminium pieces loosely where the blade goes too far. Applied correctly they should make a noise but are to soft to damage the saw teeth.

Fill the optional blade guard with tooth picks. They will shoot out when the blade hits and you will get a tingling feeling in your stomach.

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    Aluminum might not be a good solution on a SawStop or similar; there could be some risk of setting off the "airbag" charge... Which admittedly protects your fingers, but it's an expensive reset. – keshlam Oct 2 '16 at 20:08
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    On the other hand, an immensely hard wood like Ipe, or a piece of plastic, might work as a warning, especially if you can set it up to resonate when struck by the blade. – keshlam Oct 3 '16 at 4:07

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