American pork chop planer guard

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Established Member
4 Oct 2010
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Ottawa Canada
Hi boys
as you may know i am from Canada and the pork chop planer guard is king.

The bridge guard comes in two forms. The ones i have seen and used are rigid and
yes when edge jointing you pull it back just the thickness
of the stock being processed. Remember the void is filled up by the
wood when you are working. There is another source for bridge guards, the
Suva guard has a pnuematic lever that allows the guard to remain in place and the lever allows the guard to be pushed out of the way when edge jointing just enough to pass the stock through. It is in my opinion the best possible solution but that also isn't free. They go for 1200+.

The Bridge guard is also raised to allow the passage of the stock when face
jointing and I consider it much safer than the porkchop guard. The porkchop only works when you are not using the machine, otherwise it is
retracted allowing the cutterblock full access to your body.

I REALLY hated the pork chop one came with my Bursgreen and gladly made a bridge guard. I'd never go back now, even with a narrow machine . The Bridge guard is so much easier to use once you get used to it and there is never any exposure from the top of the knives, outside of a thin space the thickness of stock when you are edging.

Just to clarify my statement.. I find the pork chop style guard to be the most dangerous when face jointing, nothing like 10 or 12 inches of exposed knives staring you in the face after passing a board over the jointer.
I don't think the bridge guard poses any significant problem when face jointing. You raise it just high enough for the board to pass below it. Your hands stay above the guard blade at all times and the guard is wide enough to provide adequate protection from coming into contact with the cutters.

this is the Bursgreen with a shop made pork chop.

this is it with the bridge guard in place.

What are your thoughts on the two types of guards? And please show any guarding you have made.

Well I have to adisagree with you Jack as I like the pork chop type of guard myself. I have a planer and a seperate planer thicknesser in my shop. The planer is a grizzly and is fitted with the pork chop guard and the Elu planer thicknesser is fitted with the bridge guard so I have both. I find the bridge guard gets in the way when trying to surface wood on it whereas the pork chop guard is easily moved out of the way exposing the blades as it goes. I find it difficult trying to do the acrobatics with my hands to feed the timber through below the bridge guard while attempting to keep the timber seated on the bed. Only my own opinion as I know most people here in the UK prefer the bridge guard.
Yeah I agree with alan. He Pork chop does have that problem at the very end but none of them are fool proof. The same is true if you are edge jointing a wide board on the bridge style at the end the knives are unguarded.
I find the bridge guard a PITA when surfacing so it stays retracted (= no guard). I've always like the look of the pork chop one in action but never had one to try. I quite like the idea of a pork chop with a strong spring and maybe with rollers built to keep the work pressed up against the fence when edge jointing. It's on the round-2-it list to make one to try one day.

A double pork chop would be ideal, if the guard came in behind the wood. Best of both then.
I don't have an opinion, save to day that your bridge guard is one heck of a nice piece of engineering! =D> =D>

Kinda what I would have expected from the land of the Veritas! :wink:


I would have thought that you liked the bridge.

what are the regulation on guard types UK?
Is the pork chop used in industry or DIYers?

I am new to the bridge Guard setup and was hoping some of you could explain best practice with this guard.

What happens to your hand if the planer grabs the timber and flings it, your hand would go into the block with a pork chop guard. Speaking as someone who lost a bit of thumb(perhaps 15mm) when using a pork chop guard, I know which one I prefer.
I don't think the pork chop is used in UK industry at all. Certainly never seen a new machine offered for sale with one on in the EU.

I think you are suppose to set the bridge low enough to just pass the workpiece under and then feed in with a paddle or other push device and hope for the best. Then grab it with a second paddle once enough has emerged past the bridge to apply pressure as required.
As I said earlier, I hate the things and just expose the minimum width of cutter block when surfacing and always use paddles.

I am with Bob on this as I too use puch blocks to feed the timber. I made two up with a flat base with non slip rubber on. If the wood is ejected from the block the push block gets it and not my fingers. :wink: I can replace puch blocks......I can't grow fingers!
A tip for making non slip paddles is to use the rubber sheet sold for repairing table tennis bats. It has a good grip and room for any dust to collect.

I have the bridge guard on mine and I agree with the previous comments that it is good for edge jointing but I move it out of the way for surface planing which probably defeats the point in the whole thing...

I think these sort of discussions are why good manufacturers should focus on making the safety mechanisms convenient to use as the primary focus, rather than as safe as possible to use. I don't know anyone who uses a pillar drill with that awful springy guard thing. If the safety mechanism makes the thing inconvenient to use, then people in a rush will not use it no matter how well intended they be. The result if they arent convenient is no safety mechanism at all, and we would be better off with a good mechanism used 100% of the time than an amazing mechanism used only 75% of the time.

It's the same for storage solutions and the reason for shadow boards etc... if they aren't easier/more convenient to use than not, things just don't get put away properly.

The well designed safety stuff is integrated into tools in such a way that it is easy and just makes obvious sense to use when operating the machine, that's actually very clever.
Bridge guard every time, it’s so easy to use I think you two must be doing something wrong, and what you are doing is definitely very dangerous. I would suggest you get some instruction before you have a serious accident.
Its pork chop for me. Its ease of use like sams 93 said. My current jointer has the bridge style guard and I am not loving it.
My 1980s Japanese planer jointer (side by side rather than over under) has a pork chop guard. It is 6" on the jointer side and the pork chop works well. I added a knob to the top left corner to allow me to pull it open for when I want to lower a bowed board to flatten it, one half at a time. Same for jointing when the edge is far from straight. The bonus was discovering the guard can be used to hold the board against the fence when jointing the edge when the length is reasonable.

So for 6" or 8" jointers I'm a pork chop fan. If I had a larger machine I think I would prefer the Suva over the bridge type but have an open mind about either. What manufactures should do is have the option of quick changing to the the other types of guards as the user sees fit or the work dictates.

Nice job of making the bridge guard for your Bursgreen.

I am totally with Cabinet man on this one. The key with surfacing is dowwards pressure on the outfeed table. It is quite straightforwards to start feeding the pice onto the cutter with pressure on the infeed and transfer over the cutter guard and then continue. I have a newer narrow Hammer/Felder guard so it is a bit easier than some of teh older larger pressed steel variants.
To me the chop style guard almost encourages you to apply pressure on the infeed table and then maintain that as you pass timber and hand over the cutter block. This might be OK with a thick board but definately not with a thin and or wild grained piece
Interesting given the recent threads on tablesaws and guards etc than anybody would use a chop style guard
for me, there are distinct differences. The pork chop guard, always exposes the cutter block at the beginning and end of the cut . this requires you to use push blocks which have to be set back down so that you can bring the piece back to the front front table for repeat cuts. it also forces you to use the cutter block against the fence and does not give access to other sections of the cutter block. Meaning you're going to wear out the knives closest to the fence more quickly then knives on the far out board side . the bridge guard gives access to the full cutter block at least for surface planing . The bridge guard also allows you to skew the board across the cutter block where the pork chop would not allow. Lastly, the largest advantages are on wide planers were a pork chop would be ridiculously poking out and obstruct your stance . I'm not sure if the technique of sliding work back under the bridge guard for heavy timber is frowned upon, but the bridge guard allows for this unlike the pork chop.
Nice shop or would playground be a better description? There are definitely advantages to a big jointer that I would love to have but I'll have to make do with my Hitachi combination toy. Besides my shop is above the garage and your big machines would work with gravity to land on our cars.