Subscribe to TIC

Hot News Flash: Table Saw Safety

Carpenters looking for new jobsite table saws have probably noticed that riving knives are now standard equipment on ALL table saws (see TiC issue three), a critical safety improvement that not only saves fingers but also improves table saw performance.

But if lawyers have their way, we may soon be seeing SawStop technology on every table saw. And that will mean a significant improvement in table saw safety AND a significant boost in table saw prices, too. Read more by visiting this article.

“Last week, a Boston jury agreed in a landmark trial, awarding a Massachusetts man $1.5 million for mangling his hand on a table saw made by Ryobi, one of the world’s largest saw makers.”

SawStop brings table saw blades to a halt

Comments/Discussion

50 Responses to “Hot News Flash: Table Saw Safety”

  1. big bob

    Several responses: 1) Now that the government knows more about our business than we do, when will their regulations ever stop? They are NEVER satisfied!!; 2) This product is being promoted by an attorney, yet no one sees the conflict of interest here. 3) we get paid to take risk, and demonstrate skill. Yet here is another area where someone (initially the inventor) is convinced that they can force a solution on us that many of us do not want. We used to live in a land of liberty. Now our tools, profession and finances have been overtaken with some form of regulation. Now it feels more and more like we are living and working in the Soviet Union I grew up reading about. Who knew?

    Reply
    • Dave Murrell (Kansas City)

      We should always be skeptical of government, BUT we should always keep our eye on the larger picture. Here we are talking about a small added cost to the price of a dangerous piece of equipment. Why trade a couple of fingers for $69 and a new saw blade? Get the picture?

      Reply
    • Dean

      I’ve been a woodworker for over 30 years and recently, after being a general contractor for most of my career, I went to work for a big construction firm. Because of all the safety regulations it was almost impossible to use the table saw for some cuts. The riving knife was continually snagging the wood and the blade covers never fit quite right because of repeated use by various people.

      I don’t have a problem with the SawStop, it seems like good technology, but I have the same sentiment as some of the other posters here. A good woodworker has to assume personal responsibility for his or her actions, because sometimes the fix is worse than the original problems….

      Reply
  2. Al Constan

    The saw stop is a great invention but it should not be pushed into people’s throat.
    What about the time proven finger saver known to millions as the “push stick” or asking the person using the table saw not to remove the blade guard.
    The push stick I used many times when I was in the door hanging business did a very good for me and it saved me from losing a few fingers.

    Reply
  3. Ray Menard

    This quote from the article – Power Tool Institute has claimed that replacing the cost of SawStop’s brake, $69, and blade, about $100, after an incident would burden consumers. – Does the PTI believe that loosing a few fingers or otherwise mangling a hand would not impose a burden? What a pitifully lame line of reasoning.

    I’ve been pushing stuff through all manner of table saws for over 30 years and thank you, I have avoided all mishap except for a few scary kickbacks. Good habits and lots of luck. If I were looking to purchase a new saw I absolutely would invest in a Saw Stop.Very cheap insurance.

    No government regulation has ever mandated me to take safety courses or compelled me to set such time aside for my employees – though from a safety point of view one could make a strong case for the need for such regulation. I don’t think that requiring saw manufacturers to incorporate a Saw Stop or a similar device of their own design on all new machinery to be built by 2015 would be an unreasonable imposition. Certainly all trade schools or Habitat for Humanity work sites should be using a Saw Stop device. The Power Tool Institute should stop obstructing and rather get behind the development of retrofit kits or redesigning the standard table saw so that it could easily be adapted to a Saw Stop. Lots of problems and costs associated, I know, but how can you deny that this unit will save thousand and thousands of fingers and hands. This would result in huge savings in trauma care, the wising up of saw users who just got real lucky and the potential of students or trades people being able to continue making a living or developing their art. If cost is the concern, such results are just good economics to me.

    I don’t discount personal responsibility. Shop & tool safety should always be the priority for each individual approaching a piece of machinery. I think, however, that juries will decide in favor of the “injured” party over and over again because it just stands to reason that as Saw Stop has been proven to dramatically improve the safety of table saws, saw manufacturers should want to make the upgrade. Accidents happen. And yes, just as the driving public has accepted the cost of airbags – and NO, it hasn’t made drivers more careless – we table saw users will be happy in time to pay the extra for a saw stop device.

    Reply
    • Ken Ewald

      We need a good global law that says new safety technology must be provided on all new equipment that can use it. It should also provide for some means of retrofitting existing equipment to meet the new standard or provide a way to scrap the old equipment over some reasonable period of time without imposing an untenable financial burden on those who cannot afford to do so.

      We now live in a global economy, so all laws should be global in scope. The United Nations needs to be revamped so that all nations have an equal voice, and so that they can pass laws that are globally enforceable by local courts. At the same time, the use of arms to enforce the laws should be severely restricted to countering acts of violence.

      Safety = common sense + safe design.

      Bet this message gets some replies from the nay-sayers!

      Reply
  4. Bob S

    I’m afraid the table saw manufactures brought this on themselves. The history of SawStop technology is well documented. It was offered for license to all the major manufacturers and they declined. As I understand it, one reason they declined is that to accept would in effect be admission that their previous saws were unsafe. I’m not a lawyer, but I’d bet I’d be able to convince a jury that a manufacturer who knew of an available technology to make the saw safer and didn’t use it is neglegent.

    Winning this law suit does not necessarily mean the CPSC will make any changes to its rules. And I’m sure Ryobi will appeal and may win, or at least reduce the amount of the award substantially.

    Should such technology be required, the additional volume of SawStop technology production should reduce the price by spreading the costs over more units, so the hit to new saw prices would not necessarily be the current difference between a SawStop saw and a comparable competitor.

    Reply
    • John Downing

      I used to work part-time at the Leesburg, VA Woodcraft Store and had the privilege of demonstrating the Saw Stop cabinet saw. Not only is it a quantum leap in saw safety, the saw itself is in a class all its own as far as fit, finish and functionality.

      You can criticize the inventor for being an attorney, but that is ridiculous! (I am an engineer, so don’t bust my chops!) The saw is the finest one I have ever encountered and I am selling my Unisaw, left to me by my late Dad, this year and replacing it with a Saw Stop Professional model. It is a heck of a saw, even without the safety mechanism. The way you can change the blade guard and riving knife is incredible!

      The legal decision is absurd. The plaintiff knew about Saw Stop and he was too cheap to pay the extra $2500 for it. He made that choice and he should be required to live with the consequences. Too bad, but you get what you pay for!

      Reply
  5. Michael Smith

    When people get so stupid as to blame the saw for their carelessness, and others try to force those of us that are careful, to buy something to override stupidity, then what do you thing is next? I realize that some people will lose a finger or two, regardless of how careful they are, is like realizing if many people cross the road against traffic, some of them will get hit by a car..What do we do then?? Put automatic sensing devices in all the cars to slam on brakes when someone gets in it’s path.. Oh well, maybe that wiill come up next year.. What a funky world we live in…

    Reply
  6. Drago

    As a qualified carpenter I would definitely buy a saw with a SawStop, even if it did cost one or two hundred dollars more. In fact I’d place this over any saw that did not have a SawStop.

    I’ve only had one cut on a table saw. This was prior to being trained as a carpenter. I was making a Kitchen and needed to do a weird angle cut on a small piece of timber; from memory it was even held horizontal against the fence. The saw blade cut into the very tip of one of my fingers. My reaction to pull my hand was instant, but it took a week to heal. Thankfully, I have more equipment these days to avoid such hazardous cuts. My biggest problem is my dad. He’s apt to go where no others will venture. He’s also apt to interject at those crucial dangerous moments (standard actually). Having meditated over 15 years I have to also be conscious to remember to tell my dad to back off prior to doing anything that might be dangerous with my attention diverted.

    I’ll be blunt; most people’s consciousness is really, really bad. This has to be studied and understood to know what I’m talking about. If you look at the funniest home video shows and general life for that matter, you will see that there are also a lot of very stupid people. For those offended by all of what I’m saying, you are probably in this category. A SawStop on every saw would definitely save a lot of injuries. On the one hand you can’t take a knife manufacturer to court. On the other hand I’ve seen it compulsory to remove lock buttons on angle grinders. I liked the lock buttons (fatigue), but can see why they have been removed. You could say that for those that want to pay for safety let the better manufacturers put them on, they will sell. On the other hand it will probably be the really stupid people that buy the real cheap products, wanting to do a handy mans job, that end up losing their fingers. It comes as no surprise that Ryobi took the brunt of all of this. I’ll be interested to see how this all turns out, while hoping that I can buy a table saw with a SawStop on it.

    Reply
  7. Damien

    The sawstop contractor saw weights 280 lbs, where a Bosch for example weights 100 lbs. With a sawstop the victim could have hurt his back (1 million), fell with the saw when going upstairs (one model has wheels for transport), have the saw fall on top of a bystander when he climbed on top of the unstable overhanging table (20 million), have an exploding blade hurting him in the face (6 million).

    Reply
  8. Wally Kunkel

    Every machine we use has some kind of thing that spins round and round that removes wood from bigger wood to produce some other kind thing that hopefully makes us money. While I do think that the Saw Stop is very cool, and for some, completely necessary, it should not be jambed down our throats. What would be next ? Shaper stop ? Jointer stop ? If it did become law , what incentive, aside from the finger saving, is in it for us ? Will our insurance premiums go down ? Ha Ha Ha !! Our costs just go up and up. Have you seen the cost of a Saw Stop ? And it’s not about to come down.

    Reply
  9. Michael A. Mahoney

    I have to agree with all the postings.
    Safety is a very important on the job site or at your home. If you are an employer it is even more important that you follow a safety course and make sure it is refreshed each month.
    Power tools are normally modified by the individual Owners, thus voiding any liability towards the manufacturer.
    A brake stop is a nice safety feature, accidents should not have to happen for this to be implemented, it should be mandatory at manufacturing.
    The whole problem with this country is that people do not take responsibility for their actions. They are quick to blame others or point a finger and the attorney’s are waiting for an opportunity to strike.
    Remember,safety starts with the operator,If you don’t know how to operate the tool safely then don’t use it.

    Reply
  10. Handyman_Business

    I know of at least two individuals that have lost part of a finger because of a saw accident. Having this technology would be a good option for beginning wood workers especially in say school wood working shops. However, for experienced woodworkers this should be an option. Consumers should be able to make their own choice on matters such as this.

    Reply
  11. David Tuttle

    Well, to be a pessimist, the way things are going all the saws will then be made in China to keep cost down and profits up, and the saw blade will come flying out of the trunnions do to substandard metal… or plastic.

    Never mind the cost increase that will be charged to the customer to ad this technology.

    Not usually so negative but my 20 year old worn out tools on craigslist are next to my 3 year old worn out tools.

    Reply
    • David Tuttle

      One more thought… In Gary’s video he shows a push stick that he uses, I copied it in December 2007, I should make a new one as it’s getting a little chewed up. BUT as was posted on JCL Forums a lot of people do not use any kind of push stick, ONE case was “Mr. Forrestt” who has now passed on, in videos and show displays he would have his fingers with in millimeters of the saw blade, and this has justified a generation that it is ok to not use a push stick if the guy who made the best Made in USA saw blades could do it so can I.

      I also worked with a guy last week who never wore hearing protectors… and for MY BAD I did not wear a dust mask when I was up in the attic, setting some framing… next day I did.

      There are a lot of tired and over worked mistakes made out there and there is also a lot of STUPID mistakes, where people don’t even know they are doing wrong.

      Reply
  12. redbeard

    Do law makers think that because their house cost them a bit of money that the carpenters who built it have money to replace their tools at will? I have a wife who is already helping me with “tool regulations”. I don’t need a guy who has never been on a job site, except to complain how long it is taking, to tell me what tools to use.

    Reply
    • Adam spiller

      I’m a carpenter, I live in England, and the trade is much more regulated here than it is in America. I have worked in America, on a lot of jobs. I can’t even use my makita table saw without the guard, its impossible. England’s a police state, or nanny state.

      Reply
  13. Marty

    I hate government mandating anything. I am entirely for the free market. I bought a SawStop back in 2009 for MY safety. It’s anyone’s free choice to do what they want. That being said, I do the believe the technology benefits many people, especially those who may use table saws infrequently like students and Habitat work sites. Push sticks are great, and I use them, but accidents happen.

    Reply
    • Ray Menard

      Yes,I completely agree. No one should be forcing this technology on the consumers. The big but is – we currently don’t have the choice. Here is this really superior piece of technology, but for all kinds of reasons, it is only available though one manufacturer, and it is really quite expensive.

      We are crazy in our society about suing others for our deficiencies and neglect. If Ryobi puts a saw stop on one of their saws they are admitting that they know about the merits of this tool and therefore (in the eyes of our legal system) are negligent for not incorporating the technology on ALL OF THEIR SAW MODELS. This sucks but so it goes. We all suffer. Consumers should have a choice. That is my point of developing saw stop like systems that could at least be offered as an option on ALL SAW MODELS. If you choose to buy a saw without, then you are choosing at your peril, but at least you are choosing.

      I don’t think that the government should mandate an immediate retrofit of all saws by I sure believe that RESPONSIBLE saw manufacturers should make this a priority. We in the trades should be demanding it. Accidents are not all due to carelessness or “stupid” people. We all know that pushing stuff though a table saw is a very dynamic activity – a loose knot, a knock on the door, a release of tension in a board – and all of a sudden you are a victim. Those who have missed this drama are as lucky as we are careful. Take care out there.

      Reply
      • big bob

        so, will you be going back to retrofit all of your clients for the upgrades coming to building codes in the next 12-18 months? I suspect you will not be. Same difference.

        Reply
  14. Bill

    I thought this was America. If Ryobi wants to make a less expensive saw with out all the latest technology why are they negligent. The customer had a choice. He picked the less expensive model. When Saw Stop won the award in Atlanta in 2000, all the major players approached them for their idea. Saw Stop wanted 20 % royalties. The average is 2 to 10. None of the big companies could justify those numbers and the added cost to each machine. I think Saw Stop is responsible for the technology not being more wide spread do to greed. Since everything is looked at upside down now, maybe Saw Stop should pay the settlement.

    Reply
    • Ray Menard

      This from the article posted above 20% royalties? …”saw manufacturers have countered that SawStop’s technology is “unproven” and “speculative.” They’ve accused SawStop of pushing its technology for its own financial gain.

      SawStop asks for licensing fees of 3 percent of the saw’s wholesale price to start. As the device becomes more widespread, the fees could increase to 8 percent. The price of table saws range from $200 to several thousand dollars.

      Saws currently on the market can not be retrofitted with SawStop’s device. Manufacturers would have to redesign saws, which could cause a price increase of about $150.

      Reply
  15. Jim Seybert

    …and just imagine, this court case and discussion might not be an issue if the manufacturers had listened to their customers over the past 50 years and actually developed effective, safe, usable tablesaw guards.

    Reply
  16. John Carsten

    Kind of reminds me of my days as a construction super back in the’70s. We were building powerhouses and had about 3500 workers on the job. When OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Act) went into effect there were a lot of opinions on its benefits. The big detriment, of course was added cost to any building activity at all.

    One pundit drew a cartoon of a cowboy on a horse. He had a lasso in his hands and there was a net all around the horse to prevent the cowboy from landing on the ground in case he fell.

    The first OSHA COWBOY was born.

    Reply
  17. Danny Waite

    I have been in the construction trades for over 30 years and in this time I have done some pretty stupid things BUT I have also been real lucky with the outcome–ALL body parts intact (except hearing). No amount of government intervention will prevent me from doing anything stupid in the future. And as such, I can, and will, hopefully, live with that.
    After the final outcome of the Ryobi vs “accident victim” case I think I will devote my time to future inventions to protect “humanity”. How about a “router stop” that would only add an additional $200 of cost, an additional 2.5 pounds of weight, put and obscene amount of money in my offshore accounts; all this added to the cost of a $40 dollar Chiwanese homeowner special tool.
    Only in America!
    How about a skil saw stop? I am sure that a blade stop feature legislated by Uncle Sam would put millions in my account. Just get over the fact that again another 2.5 pounds of weight and $200 is added to every portable saw sold in this country.
    How about a nail stop that will protect human flesh from unwanted contact with pneumatically driven fasteners? I did do this once–shot myself–but then decided that I needed to be a little bit more careful in the future. The thought of going to a lawyer and suing Senco never entered my mind simply because I took personal responsibility for MY stupid action and did not try to blame someone else. Must be pretty Old School to still think like that!
    How about a drill stop? How about a bullet stop? How about a criminal stop? How about a drunk stop?
    Where does it end? Maybe the best would be a LAWYER STOP!
    Only in America!

    Reply
  18. Lyle Henning

    I am 60 years old & enjoy many activities, woodworking included. I remember cars without seat belts, bicycle riders without helmets, and we all participated in snowball fights, tag, & dodge ball. When will we be allowed to be responsible for our own actions? Is the “GOV’T” going to dictate safety? If I were going to buy new, I may consider a “SawStop” table saw, but I will strongly object to having one forced on me!
    Maybe we soon will be no longer free!!….

    Reply
  19. William Duffer

    OSHA, FDA, FCC, they are all regulatory organizations that were developed for our protection. Look what happens when we are not regulated enough, AIG, ENRON, TOYOTA and countless others. I am a realist and unfortunately we live in a corrupt and ignorant society and this is what we get. So my point is, if a company knows there is a safer/better way to make something and it can save numerous injuries then why not do it. Most companies re-engineer their products every year or two anyways so it shouldn’t be a huge injustice. I love this country but maybe not everything it does and for those of you worried about losing your freedom, don’t be ignorant.

    Reply
    • big bob

      Woaha there cowboy. I’m not sure you have a complete understanding of what you are mentioning. While you mean to demean the companies of AIG, Enron, and Toyota, I’m thinking the real problem is in the first list of alphabet soup in your post: OSHA, FDA, FCC. The agencies you mention have absolutely no accountability, and function in an unabated granny state. The abuse and fraud that has taken place within these agencies never comes to the light of day, while AIG and Toyota have virtual fabrications of abuse, (especially in the case of Toyota). Enron was the outcome of regulation during the Clinton years and was outright deception…no question. However, this comment reflects the mainstream misconception that the government is always functioning in OUR best interests, and corporate American NEVER is. This attitude has no basis in reason or common sense. There is no tradesperson alive who wants to be incompetent!!! And the government has less information about my needs and I do. Therefore, I will never yield my liberty to an agency for any reason, and I suggest that we think long and hard about allowing bureaucrats in D.C. to override what we know to be best practices in our respective trades. BTW, I have done extensive research on AIG, and can talk at length about what REALLY happened there. HINT: it starts in the Senate and House banking committees!!

      Reply
      • Tim Smith

        Amen, Big Bob,
        The real corruption is with this left wing government of ours. I can’t believe that this court ruled in favor of this guy and against Ryobi! Do all cars have air bags? If they don’t then you could sue the manufacturer for NOT putting them in your car EVEN THOUGH YOU KNEW BEFOREHAND THAT THE CAR DIDN’T HAVE AN AIR BAG! Why is it Ryobi’s fault that this guy cut himself? When he bought the saw he knew that the saw didn’t have the sawstop technology. Therefore he was willing to take the risk. This is not Ryobi’s fault in any way. At the time sawstop technology was an available option for this guy yet he chose to use the cheaper Ryobi. The fault is all on himself. I personally bought a sawstop since I was setting up a home shop and knew that I would never forgive myself if I or someone else had a serious injury with that saw. But it was MY choice. We still live in the land of the free, we’re free to be stupid (which I have been at times with tools), but nobody can prevent all types of accidents. That’s why we have insurance companies, to cover us for those times when we will need them. I believe this ruling will be overturned upon appeal.

        Reply
  20. Teeg Merchant

    I have worked in the trades since childhood (my father was an architect). I have personally witnessed many accidents involving many things, such as: tractors, rebar, scaffolding, ladders, hammers, plywood, drills, excavations, ever so many varieties of sharp metal objects, nail guns, flammable liquids-and-several times-table saws. In every instance (except for the plywood, a true accident, involving a man wearing jeans and gloves but still needing 13 stitches from a splinter stab that occured while unloading a truck)
    ALL others were a result of (pick 2 or 3) carelessness, haste, fatigue or ignorance. No one sued, though aome were significantly hurt. I love safety and work carefully (though I may have erred in my youth, I’m 58 and have the requisite number of digits and eyes), I don’t have an answer though I certainly don’t blame Ryobi. I personally would rather be looked after by buearacratic sheep than corporate wolves but that’s just me. I’m sad for our childen and I’m sad for our country, maybe we can grow up to be Canada. Best regards, TGM

    Reply
  21. John Chinn, owner of III Nails Carpentry, Richmond VA

    wow, if you’ve read this far down you must be interested in my opinion! I hear ya, wally,I’m all for it, as long as there also comes a discount on my liability insurance and worker’s comp for using a government required safety element!

    Reply
  22. Sackbut

    What a country! We now live in the perfect nanny state where little boys worship at the alter of government intervention into every aspect of our lives in the guise of “protecting” us from ourselves and big corporations.

    I suggest we are worshiping the wrong god.

    Reply
  23. William Duffer

    Wow you guys believe there is no corruption in the trades and corporations and only in the government. I hear all the time some contractor screwed some home owner, and all the time I hear of corruption in the private sector. As well in the government. You don’t think there is one contractor out there that stuffs his pockets from using inferior products and performing inferior workmanship. People die all the time from inferior workmanship and products. So your saying when a baby dies from inferior cribs the C.P.S.C. should do nothing because the company shouldn’t be regulated. The government shouldn’t concern themselves because the company knows best. I am no little boy I am and retired infantry soldier and I served my country in Iraq. So I say what I want, I do what I want, and I go where I want. Isn’t it great that I can say my opinion and there’s not a thing the government can do about it. You have the freedom to stand up against what you feel is unjust. So stand up against it and let them hear you roar.

    Reply
    • big bob

      Actually, I personally believe there is potential for corruption EVERYWHERE. What I see in general, however, is a massive attempt to portray corporate American as the SOLE source of contempt, incompetence, and yes, corruption. I do not accept that. I believe that government is the one organization, both currently,and historically, where corruption can thrive without accountability for decades. After all, when you mention Enron, do you actually know what happened? Or do you know what the media SAID happened? How about the years of Senate and House Finance committee meetings with auditors and agency regulators when any corruption and favoritism mentioned was denied by Senator Dodd and Rep. Franks? How much did you hear about that? Probably nothing. so I am only saying that Liberty should be our highest ideal, and to that end, it should NOT be the government’s prerogative to isolate and criminalize corporate American, when, in fact, their own pockets are ridiculously full of graft and kickbacks, just to name a couple of perks they enjoy. I am only suggesting that we look at this honestly.

      Reply
  24. William Duffer

    Nothing would surprise me Bob I will do my homework on Enron I always prefer the truth over the news. There is nothing better than a well informed and active American that stands up against the Government when it is needed. I know that there is corruption and greed in the Government. Just don’t think they all are bad and there is no good being done. I always appreciate a good conversation.

    Reply
  25. BW

    What’s next? I mean there are devices available now for routers, band saws, jointers, planers, etc. Will these become mandatory? And at what additional cost? There’s always going to be a better way to do something and the things we do, but we should always have the right of choice – a principle of this country.

    Reply
  26. Dave MacMorris

    I had some one working in my shop that did not take the precautions, such as a push stick and had a warped board get away from him. The SawStop would have made a difference. Also he was in charge of the task and chose not to use a safety device for one reason or another. He was injured and takes no responsibilty for his own actions, because he can put it on someone else, such as me. We all know the risks and take precautions, but accidents happen.

    Reply
  27. Tommyt

    From what I,ve read about the lawsuit and the litigant, he was a Columbian who was learning English, working for an oriental employer using a table saw on the floor without any of the safety guards installed. It reeks of attorneys looking to make a quick buck who care nothing about that individual at all. My problem lies with the inventor and owner of Sawstop, Stephen Gass, being involved in the matter. His sour grapes attitude because he was turned down by the major manufacturers of table saws in this country for the use of his idea has now gotten into the courts. Come to find out he’s also an attorney (patent). Smells like a fox in the henhouse to me. While sawstop is great technology, at the moment its being overshadowed by his involvement in this case and will do more damage to his credibility than good. It will be overturned by a higher appeals court and Sawstop will go by the wayside as newer technology will become available from other more prominent manufacturers in the future at much lower cost.

    Reply
  28. Don Kerkhan

    We can all have an accident if we are not carefull. The advertisement for this Sawstop device shows a saw blade that is foolishly high for what is being cut. And then the mans hands are foolishly close to a blade that is way to high. Granted he’s trying to make a point. If any kickback occurs, with the way he using the saw,he stands the chance of loosing much more than he’d enjoy loosing. He would be mamed for life,so, he needs a Sawstop. The blade should only protrude above the material being cut by perhaps 1/4″, or so, to help avoid a more serious injury. A sliding table or push stick should be used to push something so small through the saw……not your hands. Your hands should never come close enough to the blade to be cut if kickback occurs. Then if there is kickback, the sliding table or pushstick take the damage and not your hand. Of course this little Sawstop destroys the blade it stops, so just go ahead and replace the blade! Blades can be $50 and up, to a lot more, for just a small saw. What if this new technology Sawstop shorts out, and you have to change to a new blade, make another cut, and this thing stops the new blade again? Then again! Just keep digging into your pockets to keep replacing the blade. This device is being marketed to all of us because too many untrained saw users are making mistakes by making cuts they shouldn’t be making in the first place. Training an operator is necessary. This Sawstop, to me, is a bad joke!

    Reply
  29. Lou Cosme

    I confess, this moronic mindset of anti sawstop machismo is beyond my paygrade. If the technology had been put in place years ago, it would be very cheap today and a none issue, period. All table saw manufactures, by playing the waiting game and ignoring sawstop tech have no one to blame but themselves. This law suit is just the tip of the iceberg. What untill the patent expires and all the manufactures suddenly come out with sawstops tech. Anyone who is injured with pre-sawstop tech will be compelled to sue because the tech has existed for a moon and none of the manufactures implemented it sooner. I can’t believe no one can see this coming. A buddy of mine believes as a lawyer that the lawsuits will drive the cost of table saws through the roof as manufactures will pass on the costs of these suits on to the consumer if it does not put them out of business. Not to mention the possibility that SawStop the company might have grounds to sue all other manufactures for some ungodly amount of money—think intermittent window wipers…

    Reply
  30. Arnold Torres

    Why is the guy in the video is unsafe as well – where are his safety glasses? Or does the device know that the operator is not wearing any? Isn’t Operator error the Operator’s error?

    Reply
  31. David

    The same argument was made about seat belts, anti-lock brakes, safety glass, steering wheels (remember those hard plastic steering wheels?), air bags, etc. Selling a car nowadays without those safety features would completely unethical.

    Every employer that requires someone to operate a table saw has an ethical and legal obligation to provide, and require that the operator use, every reasonable safety precaution and technology. The cost of this SawStop technology is peanuts compared to the lifelong disabilities that are inflicted by table saws. No one making $10 an hour should be asked to use a table saw without flesh-detecting technology. Period.

    And just because the inventor of this technology has a conflict of interest (assuming there is one) does not mean that the technology isn’t a great idea. One should be wary of a person with a conflict of interst but it doesn’t mean that what he is peddling is flawed.

    As a matter of fact, the patent system was created in order to reward inventors, such as Mr Gass. And it seems to me that such incentives are a primary reason that the United States is the greatest creator of technology that has ever existed.

    Reply
  32. Greg S

    I’ve been using a table saw for over 35 years and never had any tablesaw-related injuries. I had a good mentor who taught me how to use ALL power tools safely. This year I finally decided to upgrade my old contractors style saw to a Saw Stop Professional cabinet saw. I went back and and forth between the new Delta saw and the Saw Stop. I read the reviews and did a hands on evaluation of both saws. In the end I chose the Saw Stop because of the blade break. I believe in and am willing to invest in items that give me an extra margin of safety. Common sense is always my overriding rule. If I don’t think I can cut it safely on the table saw, I rough size my boards and then move to my table saw. I am always aware of where my hands and fingers are when I am using the table saw and always use feather boards and push sticks. Choosing the Saw Stop with its blade break, was a no brainer selection for me.

    Reply
  33. joinery45

    Every job I’ve ever worked on, some fool removes the riving knife or breaks the blade guard. These are the same people who insist on setting the rip fence with a tape measure rather than relying on an accurate calibrated fence scale.

    One guy on a job had a cartoon of Calvin peeing on the word ‘Socialist’ until I reminded him that we owe the weekend, workmans comp, and that ‘we’ must be paid in money, not script for the company store to ‘Socialist’ .

    I loved the reference to the CCCP, the big difference is Saw-Stops work and the Soviet version wouldn’t.

    Reply
  34. Ray Menard

    Here is a link to a blog by A.J. Hamler posted in the new edition of Woodshop News about this story.

    http://blog.woodshopnews.com/workbench/?p=238

    Sorry I don’t know how to make a hot link in this format.

    Quick summary is: The guy who got hurt was absolutely NOT qualified to use a table saw. If he had been using a 3 hp saw or bigger, he might have been killed by kickback.

    As one respondent to the blog wrote- a car is not safe because I can drive into a tree.

    I’ve written above trying to make a case supporting SawStop technology (or the like) being incorporated on all newly manufactured saws, BUT I’ve got to say that in this case the problem was absolutely the fault of the user and no safety technology could have helped this rank amateur. If the 11 points noted by Mr. Hamler are accurate, I believe, the operator’s boss should have been held accountable and Stephen Gass, the Saw Stop inventor, would have generated a lot more credibility had he acknowledged the gross negligence of the worker.

    Lawyers win/ Common Sense in the toilet

    Reply
  35. Jerry Jaksha

    I have made millions of cuts on the tablesaw in the last twenty years without having my hands within a foot of the blade. The technology is inexpensive and works on any table saw.
    What is it ? A hold-down and feather board. Not only do they replace fingers, but they also stop kickback.

    A Saw stop might not cut your fingers, but does nothing to prevent kickback of a binding board that never gets to the splitter. It does nothing to stop the kickback of a piece of plywood being dadoed. A plywood kickback has ripped many fingers off.
    Should the Saw Stop company be sued because they did not offer the extra protection of a table saw feeder?
    I don’t think so, but the same logic exists as in the Roybi lawsuit.

    Reply
  36. John Graybill

    I mangled my right thumb pretty good a few months ago.
    I nearly lost my left thumb years ago when the owner of the business jumped onto the boat I was working on which rocked the table saw causing the wood to slip etc.

    Cost $12,500, out of work for three months.

    This time it was entirely my fault.
    I was very stressed working for a perfectionist. No matter how good your work was he would find some little thing wrong. The mini table saw was set-up in a garage with the door down so no one walking by could see our tools. The only light was far too the right so that the rip fence was casting a shadow over the blade. Which I had set to high. Remember the maxim “Set it as deep as you want it to go into you”? My thumb was broken (no cast).
    The task at hand was to cut cedar into long rips. After I had finished cutting I put down the push stick and I reach over the spinning blade for the long rip’s sticking up. I drug my thumb into the blade. I quickly wrapped the mess in surgical tape and put my a glove on to hide my injury and keep working. I went to the ER that night to have the pad sewn-ed back together.

    Total cost $1,900
    I continued to work.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please note: Your first comment will be held for moderation/review by our staff before it appears. After you have one comment approved, all of your subsequent comments will appear immediately. Read our comment policy for more information.