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Thread: Overarm tablesaw dust collection

  1. #1

    Overarm tablesaw dust collection

    I've had the Sawstop for years with its overarm dust collection system. I love the saw but their dust collection, not so much. The air hose is too small and it narrow further at the saw. It also gets in the way.

    Recently, I upgraded my dust collection to the Oneida Supercell (amazing suction) and want to get as much dust out of the shop air as possible. So the current Sawstop system is up for replacement. Anyone with experience with their newer, better overhead collector? What do you use? The Excalibur dust collector had great reviews but is no longer manufactured. I've seen mixed reviews for the Shark guard and not great reviews on many of the others. What do you like/dislike about your system?

  2. #2
    When I got my cabinet saw, I looked at and bought a Delta Uniguard - that was a mistake. The guard portion was good for uneven work but no dust collection and it wouldn't get out of the way when I need to cut tenons etc. on the vertical. I kept the guard portion and the mounting hardware and scrapped the rest.
    I made my list of requirements and designed my own guard system. 3" steel pipe and swappable guard portion, using a Whale Shark guard portion that provides suction through the pipe to a blast gate where it T's into the collection from the saw base. I even designed it so the arm portion can swing out of the way when I need to cut something tall.
    Is it perfect - no. The counterweight system could be more refined but it's as good as I can make it with the tooling I have available. Does it work - yes. Would I do it again - in a heartbeat.
    I checked the date on my files, I make it back in 2013 and have used it ever since. Something like this takes some metalworking skills and tools, I was able to do it so if I can do it, so can others.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    West Lafayette, IN
    Have you tried simply increasing the size of the hose? I have a Shark Guard that has a 2 1/2 port and I have a 3 hose going to it. Works just fine hooked up to my Clearvue.

  4. #4
    I've seen a million of these in shops and from what I can tell, the design is all pretty much the same. Sure, one might adjust differently than the other but it's just an overhead guard. Nothing magical about the design. As Matt said, the diameter tubing will be the biggest factor in improving suction (aside from a stronger DC). Good luck,

    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Okotoks AB
    Have you got a duct running overhead? If so, then tap off it with a 2-1/2" flex & drop it down to the guard. That's my setup & it works very well. The only time any dust escapes is when taking a cut that is less than a kerf width, then dust scoots out the left side of the guard.

  6. #6
    We have an Excalibur blade guard with dust collection. I primarily bought it for the blade guard function. The dust collection function is pretty darn good also. I like that it easily swings out of the way when needed.

    Id recommend it.

  7. #7
    I have the Sawstop guard. The saw is connected to a shop dust collection system, but the guard is connected to a Fein vacuum: excellent results with this setup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Fort Wayne, IN

    I used the overarm dust collection for years. As soon as I saw the overhead guard I bought it. What I found was that it didn't do much better than the overarm guard with dust. Maybe I had it adjusted wrong but when it was close enough to the board to work for dust the guard frequently tipped so that it was dragged along as I pushed the board through the cut. If it was high enough that it wouldn't get dragged it didn't touch the dust. I found that I was not using it more than I was using it so it didn't do much as a guard.

    What finally tipped me back to the overarm guard was I wanted to put a cabinet under the extension table but the struts required by the overhead guard didn't allow it. So I swapped them back. I use the guard on every cut it can be used which I didn't with the overhead which makes it a better guard because it gets used.

    If you still want to try the overhead guard and you're anywhere near northeast Indiana I can make you a great deal on one.

    Good luck with your quest6.

    Mudhead: "Doesn't Louise count?" Porgy: "Only to 10, Mudhead."

  9. #9
    I've got the SawStop, and I've checked the default guard attached dust collector, and my DIY version of the Excalibur setup. In my experience I get slightly better performance from the default guard attached collector, when it's hooked to a dedicated shop vac. Otherwise the excaliber style dust collector is a better approach, particularly if you want to connect it to a dust collector.

    I find that both get in the way, and with the rapid removal of the default guard attached dust collector, both are about comparable in ease of removal. And you do need to be able to easily remove the system, because I find that both tend to get in the way from time to time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    NE Connecticut
    I have the Grizzly universal overarm blade guard on my saw. It has a 4" port and is easily raised & lowered to accommodate different stock thicknesses. It also swings out of the way and retracts if you need it to. Here's the link:

    I've been happy with it, especially for the price. It looks very similar to the Excalibur.


  11. #11
    I have a sawstop PCS. Last year I installed a ClearVue CV1800 with the upgraded 16" impeller, and this year I installed the SawStop floating overam dust collector guard. I have both the cabinet and the floating overarm guard hooked to 4" flex coming off the cyclone. Between the two flex lines I am getting around 1700CFM of airflow (measured). This combination works amazing. The only that is not so great is cutting dado's with a dado stack. But I think that is hard for any kind of dust collection; I do get some dust coming towards the operator with this operation, for everything else it works amazing. I tried a Shark Guard before the floating guard; it worked OK. But the 4" flex going into the Shark Guard was either constantly coming off or constantly in the way. Also the guard itself would frequently become loose where it connects to the riving knife; I had to fiddle with it constantly. The anti-kickback prawls were equally unwieldy and basically did not work for me; I used it without the prawls before I got rid of it entirely when I got the big floating guard. The SawStop version looks pretty much the same design as the excaliber. As has been said, what matters most is the suction and airflow.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    I added the SS internal dust "cowling"?? to my ICS and it helped quite a bit with dust blowby and a lot less dust settling in the base cabinet. Seems I do a lot of fine or trim cuts that blows the dust away from the downdraft. Always a lot of accumulation on the table, fence groove, shirt and pants pockets etc. I got a SharkGuard with a 4" adapter to 2 1/2" hose to ceiling mounted 4" DC gate to 6" line. I have automatic blast gates and the 4" Y's after the gate to the table top and cabinet hookups. Still get blowby on trim cuts- but much less than before. When cutting sheet goods or more mid stock cuts there is no blowby at all-so that works just fine. I plan to change out the 2 1/2" flex to 4" and see if that captures the trim cut swarf better. I looked at the SS guard/DC adapter and it looked undersized to me so I went with the SharkGuard.
    I find I need to detach it frequently for narrow cuts and it gets to be a PITA. I will put a gate at the guard when I upgrade to 4" flex riser--lose a lot of suction when left open--and have a bungy and hook well above the table to "store" the guard and reattach easily. The internal cowling seems to help but with an efficient overhead guard collector not sure it would be needed. Good luck JCB.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Toronto Ontario
    Completed Installation.jpgThis is the one I bought. It works well, swings out of the way with the flip of the lever or lifts off the mounting bracket without tools.

    This is the larger blade guard as I have a saw with scoring so I needed the large guard, you could use the 10" guard on your saw.

    The guard is meant for a large saw, I cut both pieces of tubing because I have a small saw...Rod.

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