Review: Excalibur Overarm Blade Guard

Click on the image for a larger view in a separate window....I’m a strong believer in overarm blade guards. When I bought my Jet left-tilt cabinet saw, I soon equipped it with a Delta UniGuard system modified for dust collection capability. Somewhere along the way, I became acquainted with the Excalibur overarm blade guard and decided that I would upgrade to this system when the price was right...which became the case at a woodworking show in early 2002. This guard system normally retails for $389 and is worth every penny, but at a show-special price, it was a slam-dunk.

What I like about the Excalibur Overarm Blade Guard

Some things that might cause concern or field adaptation

How I adapted the guard to my Jet Left-tilt Xacta Cabinet Saw without using the angled bracket supports: [click on the thumbnails for a larger view of each picture]

Here you can see that the Jet/HTC mobile base design allows for the guard’s foot to be fully supported. A short piece of aluminum angle was screwed to the angle steel shelf and some scrap plywood was used to shim it vertical. The foot was then physically screwed to the metal angle to secure it soundly.
In this manner, the guard cannot move laterally with the stress of its weight and the angle brackets were no longer necessary to stabilize the guard with the saw.

This is a view from the saw cabinet side of the foot assembly. The plywood support for the dust collection duct also provided some additional stabilization for the guard’s foot and screws were installed accordingly. With a “normal” installation of the Excalibur guard, you would see two brackets angling up from the attachment points on the leg to the extension table above. This can be undesirable when one needs or wants to accommodate storage under the table board to the right of the saw cabinet.

Since my original modified Delta UniGuard was set up with a 3" post and hose on the dust collection system, I made things easy by using a 4" to 3" reducer at the end of the boom. Since the true ID of the guard’s dust collection provisions is 3" through the extension boom and hose to the guard head, this does not affect or reduce DC performance of the Excalibur system. I’ve also checked and detected no leakage on the boom system itself. This system is made to very close tolerances--as a matter of fact, it has taken a few weeks for the plastic bearing seals that the extension boom slides on to loosen up enough for easy retraction of the guard! For a while, it was definitely a two-handed job.

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Excalibur Overarm Guard