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If you have ever damaged a blade - or yourself - during the changing process, the Saw-Jaw could be for you!
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The Saw-Jaw

An innovative idea that works!

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   Changing and handling blades can be one of the better ways to wind up with nicks or cuts at the table saw. The Saw-Jaw, made in the U.S.A. by Hiqol L.C., (Cedar Falls, IA) is a new, thoughtfully designed tool that virtually eliminates these problems. The Saw-Jaw replaces jamming a piece of wood between an expensive blade and the saw's table when loosening or tightening the arbor nut, an accepted technique that I have never been a fan of.

Initial Impressions

   The Saw-Jaw is injection molded using a heavy plastic that balances rigidity and flexibility appropriately for the task it is designed to do. The overall sizing is nice in that while it totally contains the blade, covering the cutting
tips, it is small enough to fit in a drawer should you choose to store the blade in it. This design feature literally means you do

The retainers that prevent the blade from turning or falling out of the Saw-Jaw work very well and fit every blade we could find to try in it.
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not have to touch the blade itself during installation or removal!

Design Features

   The Saw-Jaw is designed to wrap around a 10" blade. Its split handles make it easy to capture a blade whether it is installed or not. One side is almost totally open but covers the cutting edges completely. The other side has a 4 1/8"-diameter opening (closed around a blade) that provides easy access to the arbor nut and washer. Most blade stabilizers can also be removed or installed through this opening.
   The inside edge of the Saw-Jaw has two triangular projections that fit securely between the teeth when closed to prevent the blade from spinning when loosening or tightening the arbor

The locking clasp is automatic, secure and easy to use.
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nut. Four tabs project from the outer rim (open side) inwards to keep the blade from falling out once the Saw-Jaw is locked around it.
   The handle has a spring-action ratcheting tab that locks the Saw-Jaw around the blade. Lift the tab and the Saw-Jaw opens so it can be easily removed from around the blade. The handles project a bit more than 5" from the outer diameter of the blade, providing more than adequate leverage during installation or removal.

In the Shop

The Saw-Jaw does not get in the way of using wrenches, including two-wrench systems as on my Delta table saw.
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   While the Saw-Jaw looked like a good idea from the first time I saw it, I became a true believer after using it in my shop. Add the Saw-Jaw to the short list of products that function at least as well as claimed.
   One of my initial concerns was if the Saw-Jaw would actually lock the many tooth patterns available using only that pair of locking teeth within its outer rim. I have a number of blades with tooth counts ranging from 24 to 60 and the variable tooth design Porter Cable Razor that I thought would surely give the Saw-Jaw a problem. It fits them all. I even tried clamping it around the Razor in various positions, the locking teeth straddling different tooth design/count segments but it worked anyway.
   The only problems I had installing the Saw-Jaw around the blade was clearance between the blade and the boss that secures the splitter assembly on my saw.

The opening on the nut side is easily large enough to remove even stabilizer washers.
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The Saw-Jaw does fit but it's close. Once installed, the Saw-Jaw closes around the blade and that clearance problem goes away for removal or installation.
   My saw uses a two-wrench system for changing blades. One fits on the arbor behind the blade and the other on the arbor nut. The Saw-Jaw is slim enough that it does not interfere with the wrenches at all. The Saw-Jaw also grips the blade well enough that I can loosen or tighten the arbor nut without using the arbor wrench.
   The opening in the shrouded side of the Saw-Jaw is more than sufficient for installing or removing arbor cup washers or blade stabilizers. With the blade elevated fully, I had no trouble reaching past the Saw-Jaw to get to those parts.

The Saw-Jaw also protects the tips from contacting metal surfaces during installation or removal.
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   During the evaluation process, I unintentionally tested an unadvertised benefit of using the Saw-Jaw. While setting up for another photo, I accidentally knocked an expensive carbide-tipped blade off the saw. Fortunately, it was wrapped in the Saw-Jaw and despite landing on the concrete floor directly on its edge, suffered no damage. Without the Saw-Jaw, the blade would have certainly needed repair or replacement.
   In normal use, the Saw-Jaw protects the cutting tips from contact with the metal components within the saw itself during installation or removal. If used to store unused blades, it protects the teeth from damage in the drawer as well.

Conclusions

   The Saw-Jaw is a well thought out tool that does everything its marketing claims - and more. With the Saw-Jaw, changing blades is a much less dangerous affair for you and the blade. This is another tool that makes so much sense I wonder why no one has thought of it before.   

Pricing Link

For me, just eliminating having to pry that piece of wood against the blade when loosening or tightening the arbor nut is worth the price.
   With a street price of only $16.95 (5-9-2005) the Saw-Jaw is hardly a bank-breaker. At that price, more than one Saw-Jaw might be in order to protect all of your expensive blades when not in use.

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