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This simple tool makes changing blades easier, and safer. I will not change my table saw blade without it again.
Click image to enlarge

Blade-Loc

Make blade changing safer for you and the blade

Text and photos by Tom Hintz

   Changing blades on a table saw is an everyday task for woodworkers--and a frequent opportunity to get hurt. Done incorrectly, it also represents a good way to damage an expensive blade.

   While we are talking about working with blades, we can incorporate a short psychological test. If you work on or around the blade with the saw plugged in, you are an idiot. End of test.

   Like most woodworkers, I held the blade with a scrap of wood wedged between the front edge of the throat insert opening and the teeth of the blade. One time I noticed the blade deflect slightly when the wood I was using to restrain it slipped on the rounded edge of the throat cavity. Leveraging a piece of wood against a few teeth of a ten-inch blade I paid good money for and spin at a high rate of speed in front of myself just can't be a good idea. I also pondered the pain and embarrassment of cutting myself on a blade being turned by my other hand.

The top photo shows how many loosen or tighten the arbor nut, often in compliance with the instructions that came with our saws.
The bottom photo shows a more rational way of doing it. Using the Blade-Loc is safer, easier to do and just could save your blade from unintentional damage.
Click images to enlarge

   Then I saw a Blade-Loc, made by Bench Dog, Inc.

   The Blade-Loc is one of those things that makes you wonder why nobody thought of it earlier. Simply put, the Blade-Loc is a hard composite tool that encloses the top of a ten-inch saw blade, engaging the blades teeth internally. A pair of legs rest on the saws table allowing moderate downward pressure to lock the blade so the arbor nut can be loosened or tightened. Its function is pure simplicity, but I suspect developing a workable design and material required considerable effort.

   The instructions on the Blade-Loc say it will slip if the arbor nut is over tightened. That may be true, but it is no excuse to test the theory. Arbor nuts need to be tight, not as tight as you can get them.

   Another thing I like about the Blade-Loc is that it can remain in place while reaching into the saws throat to remove the arbor nut and washer. I have scratched myself more than once on the blade teeth when trying to retrieve those very parts. Remove the Blade-Loc before lifting the saw blade out of the saw, it's not a carrier.

   Despite the fact that the Blade-Loc does not increase horsepower or have shinny chrome parts, it remains an attractive piece of equipment because it enhances safety and protects the investment we make in saw blades.

   The Blade-Loc is a very inexpensive way to protect your hands and saw blades. If this ingenious device prevents one cut or saves one blade, it has paid for itself many times over. For me, every time I change my table saw blade, I consider this a very good investment.

Visit the Bench Dog Tools web site!

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