Review

Most woodworkers know about the health benefits of good dust collection.
But a tablesaw’s collection system often consists of only a dust port beneath the saw, where the debris falls harmlessly anyway. The fine dust that flings off the blade on top of the table, however, enters the air to become a breathing hazard. Penn State answers the problem with an economical overarm blade guard/dust collector that protects both fingers and lungs. The concept isn’t new, but the TSGUARD costs from $90 to $300 less than other similar devices. For the price difference, you get some good features and a few minor annoyances. (As with all overarm guards, you should still use a splitter behind the blade to reduce the chance of kickback). The floor-standing TSGUARD mounts to the end of the saw’s extension table, so it doesn’t interfere with most rear fence rails, with a height-adjustable leg. You also can ceiling-mount the boom, and Penn State includes the hardware to do so. The molded plastic hood that constitutes the guard provides an unobstructed view of the blade, and replaceable inserts at the rear of the hood can accommodate a splitter or anti-kickback pawls. As I tested the TSGUARD, I found myself adjusting the hood side-to-side more than I expected. Usually, I centered it over the blade, but sometimes I shifted it to one side to clear my miter-gauge extension. The telescoping dust-collection boom makes these adjustments pretty easy, but instead of a special grommet to seal between the inner and outer tubes of the boom, a rubber O-ring rolls up and down the inner tube to create a somewhat imperfect seal. Still, I found that the accessory captured nearly all of the tabletop dust I generated, whether the O-ring was in place or not. (The boom accepts both 4" dust-collection hose and 2-1/2 vac hose). The instructions provided should more rightly be called "rough guidelines," as they were incomplete, and required a good dose of intuition to complete the assembly, which took about two hours. In fact, I learned more about how the TSGUARD goes together - and even found an assembly that came wrong from the factory - by looking at the photo in the Penn State catalog. —Tested by Jan Svec

Product

Performance

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Features

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Ease of Use

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Value

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
4.0
out of 5