Shopping for an Overarm Blade Cover

Sharing experiences with different makes and models. February 25, 2005

I'm thinking of getting an overarm blade cover to help with dust in the shop. I've looked at Excalibur, Exactor and one offered by Penn State. Does anyone have feedback on these? Are there other ones I should consider? Are there other ways to deal with dust off the table saw that would work better? Any suggestions would be appreciated

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection, Safety and Plant Operation Forum)
From contributor R:
I have two of the Excaliburs and one Exactor mounted on cabinet saws. They are in use daily, so I guess I can give you an honest opinion of these two particular brands.

Excalibur - Good to excellent dust collection, difficult to remove from saw in the event that you need clearance to mill large parts. Very nicely designed dust hood, which is easily manipulated to provide optimum safety and dust collection.

Exactor - poor dust collection. I bought this model because of price ($249 three years ago) and while I do not totally regret the purchase, I have not been very impressed. They advertise as having a 3" dust collection boom, but in reality it is much less because the boom reduces from 3" to 2 1/2" and then even further down to 2" at the dust collection hood. On the plus side, the boom does swing completely out of the way for milling large parts, but I have to say this is the only plus. The dust collection hood is very difficult to adjust and is somewhat flimsy, where the Excalibur's is solid.

But here is the final proof of which is better... On any given day doing equal tasks on PM66 saws hooked up to identical 3HP dust collectors, the Excalibur will pick up one full dust collector bag and in that same amount of time, the Exactor will have only picked up about 1/8th of a bag.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the info. That's exactly what I need to know. Do you find there are some drawbacks to using these covers? Do they limit what you can use the saws for? Do you ever use a cross cut sled with them?

From contributor F:
The new model Excalibur includes a swivel base and dust extraction is below the top of the saw table. The unit is also easier to remove and replace.

I have an Excalibur EXBC. There is also a model that can be hung from the ceiling.

From contributor B:
I have the Penn State, around $200. I should have spent the money on the Excalibur, as I am not happy at all with my choice. Dust collection is better than nothing, but not much.

From the original questioner:
What do you like about your Excalibur?

From contributor F:
I like it all - excellent dust collection from the table top and I can still count to 10 using my fingers. ;-)

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I've got one ordered (I made sure it was the new design). I haven't used a blade cover for years. I am looking forward to the extra safety. I'm thankful I can still count past nine, too.