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Shark guard review - warning several pics

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  • Shark guard review - warning several pics

    A few weeks (okay months ) ago, I indicated that I would get a a review of the Shark guard up, once I received mine. Well the good news is, it really doesn't take that long to get your Shark guard, I'm just a bit slow. With the current discussion on blade guards, and a bit of prodding, I'm finally getting around to it.

    First, a little explanation on why I purchased an after market guard. I have a homemade copy of an HTC outfeed table. Any of the stock manufacturer guards won't work with this outfeed. You have to go with an overhead guard. Due to my shop layout , and lack of space I was reluctant to go with an Excalibur or equivalent. The Shark Guard seemed to fit the bill perfectly

    Lee Styron, the maker of the Shark Guard is a one man shop as you can see at his home page http://www.leestyron.com/default.php, and with the growing popularity of this guard lead time is now about a month to a month and a half. The guard itself is available for most of the popular saws on the market, his current list shows about 24 models. I ordered the standard kerf model for a General 350 with the anti-kickback pawls. My guard was produced just as he was switching over to version 8 of the guard which means that it came with the full polycarbonate guard, rather than the older version. If you want to see how strong this guard is, check out the following video http://www.leestyron.com/cnc/strength1.swf


    Installing the shark guard is a simple matter of removing the bolt for the splitter and replacing it with the Shark guards ratcheting bolt.



    There are three splitters that come with the setup. I tend to use the tallest one, just because



    Installing the splitter is a simple task of inserting the splitter and tightening up the ratcheting bolt. Once installed it takes all of 2 or 3 seconds to remove or install it.



    If you want to change between the tall and medium splitter, it's a simple matter of loosening the two black knobs enough that the side plates clear some engaging pins, pull it off the splitter, insert it on the other splitter, and tighten the knobs back up, no loose parts floating around.

    Now you can install the guard. Again this only takes a couple of seconds. The guard tips up and slides over the two back pins,



    then you pull the guard forward and drop it over the front pins



    drop a standard 2 1/2" shop vac hose in the top port



    and as my daughter would say, lay wallah. I already had a hose attachment near the blade guard for the router, so this was very slick for me, hooks right into the dust collector.

    Pros

    Very easy to install, well designed

    Good visibility

    Excellent dust collection, very little/nil dust coming off the blade, usually only if you're taking a light slice of the side, then some dust will come off the side

    Cons

    At the time that I bought mine, Lee was shipping UPS. I had a shipping depot in Port Huron that I was able to use, however it appears that Lee is now shipping via USPS so this con is really quite irrelevant.

    Overall, this product is a great bargain and with the rising loonie, it's even better now. No excuses, for those of you that don't have a guard, is all the rehab really worth the $150 that this costs.

    Steve
    If a man speaks in the forest, and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong
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  • #2

    Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for that great review and all the pics to go with it. I've been looking at the Shark for a bit now, wondering if it's what people say or just another gimmick. Your review has sold me on it. I'll be calling tomorrow morning to order one for my Uni.
    Brent

    SPCHT

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

      Great review, lot of good info there. seems like a very diable guard. Price is not to shabby, either. Not much reason for folks to whine about guards and refuse to use them because they are too cheap etc. Good job... My favorite guard is a Brett Guard although it will cost the arm & leg you are trying to keep from cutting off.
      Bill "Hickory" Simpson

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

        Hi Bill,

        The Brett Guard was another one I've been looking at. Kelly Mehler also talks highly of it in one of his books. The drawbacks, if you can call them that, for me were the arm possibly getting in the way and the limited types of splitters that work with it. How, if at all, have these things affected your use of it.
        Brent

        SPCHT

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

          Since this guard appears to be made by hand, is it something that one can build in his own shop or is working with the polycarbonate difficult. Just asking

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

            Warren

            If you take a look through this page of Lee's you can decide for yourself.

            http://www.leestyron.com/sharkguard_plans.php
            If a man speaks in the forest, and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong

            Comment

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            • #7

              Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

              Originally posted by WarrenC
              Since this guard appears to be made by hand, is it something that one can build in his own shop or is working with the polycarbonate difficult. Just asking
              This is a picture of the one I built for my old saw but have now moved to my new saw. It's a bit cruder and no pawls but I can now saw mdf with almost no dust escape. What's not shown in these pictures is the dust collection hose attached to the top of the guard which was done later.

              An important part of this design is the tapered interior angle on the leading edge as a lot of particles are thrown off the top of the blade forward and become trapped and redirected upwards when they hit.

              The slots for the splitter are longer than the width of the splitter so when the workpiece enters, the leading edge of the guard can tilt upwards. When the workpiece reaches about midway point, the guard falls back on top so it's again riding level as shown. The entire guard can just be lifted off the splitter if a close fence position is required. In the new installation on my Delta contractor saw, the splitter is drilled then bolted into the factory holder however, the ratchet nut shown for the shark would be a nice improvement to avoid having to use a wrench to remove the splitter for dado cuts etc.

              Also, as I was in the experimental stages, I didn't want to final glue and so assembled this unit with clear silicone. I wouldn't recommend using only silicone for the final assembly as the joints aren't very strong.
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                Where would one get some polycarbonate plastic in small sizes needed for a guard. I live in the middle of nowhere and getting anything a little off the beaten path is impossible.

                Warren

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                  Hi Warren,
                  Most Medium size cities have commercial plastic supply companies. You can often get off cuts for a real discount. What part of the country do you live in? Is there anyone around that makes signs? JG

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                    JG,

                    I'm from the West Kootenays in Southern Interior BC.

                    Warren

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                      Great review Steve. I have been looking into the Shark guard recently and spoke with Lee today. He had not designed a guard to fit my 50-220 General saw but he is going to work with me on it. I emailed him some pics of my factory guard with dimensions of the splitter. He is going to send me an alumium splitter prototype and from there build a guard with a 4" outlet. He expects this process to take about 5 weeks. Now he is shipping everything using USPS. If you want to build your own he has step by step plans on his site.

                      Comment

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                      • #12

                        Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                        Warren,

                        Glass shops will have a variety of plastics - you can get off cuts like others suggested for cheap. I made my guard out of Lexan - very tough stuff.

                        Matt
                        SPCHT

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                          Matt,

                          thanks for the info. I kinda thought they carried stuff like that.

                          Warren

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Shark guard review - warning several pics

                            Try a sign shop too. I live in a rural area and people often dump garbage along the roadside. Last year there was about 30 fairly big pieces of plexiglass dumped at the roadside so I cleaned it up (some was white). On some there was a shipping label - it was a sign shop.
                            Robin

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