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A SawStop brake mechanism; sprung and (mis)spent.
Three of us were gathered around the SawStop in the Fine Woodworking shop yesterday afternoon, peering into the darkness of the throat opening, pondering what to do next.
One of us was working hard to conceal his embarrassment at having tripped the saw’s electronic brake mechanism by failing to set up the saw properly. A few minutes earlier, I’d managed a fairly brave face when I asked my colleagues for help in removing the brake and the dado cutter it had stopped cold. Told them I needed the benefit of their experience with this sort of thing…
After taking turns wrestling and prying at the saw’s innards (with great care, mind you), the three of us fell silent, leaning over the saw table and studying the situation. I think we all felt stymied for a moment, but then Assistant Editor Matt Kenney looked up with a sudden smile. “Hey,” he said. “I think I smell a blog entry!”
Well, yes. So here I am.
And here’s the lesson: Most SawStop owners have probably already learned this one, and probably in simpler fashion. When you install the electronic braking mechanism for use with a dado set – or any blade, for that matter – be sure to use the hex screw to adjust the brake’s position so that it gives the cutters 1/16 in or so of clearance. Leave the brake too close to those spinning cutters and, WHAM, you’ll trip the mechanism. Those cutters will stop and drop. Or at least that’s what happened to me.
After a little wiggling and futzing around, Associate Art Director Kelly Dunton was able to slide the mechanism easily enough off of its pins. Luckily, the cutters hadn’t yet spun up to full speed when the brake engaged. I suspect that’s why we were able to extract them, relatively undamaged, from the brake’s soft aluminum block.
So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Now comes the fun part – showing this tripped brake to our shop manager. I’m tempted to wrap it first. Merry Christmas, Bob!
– Steve Scott
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