SawStop rolls out a more affordable cabinet saw, aimed at serious hobbyists
This year looks to be a relatively quiet one at AWFS Vegas, but at least one manufacturer has big news for Fine Woodworking readers. Until now if you wanted SawStop’s revolutionary finger-saving tablesaw technology, you had to choose either a $4,000-plus industrial saw or the more recent contractor-style saw, which falls somewhat short of the power and capacity of a true cabinet saw.
I got a sneak preview this morning of SawStop’s new Professional Cabinet Saw, which has been designed to offer just about everything its overbuilt (for most people) big brother has, with the benefit of some recent innovations, for about $2,900. SawStop decided to throw in shipping, too, to make the price even more attractive.
SawStop did a complete redesign for this smaller cabinet saw, from the table (3 inches shorter) to the trunnions (a bit lighter) to the motor (available in 3-hp, single phase only). Basically they built this saw for people who don’t like compromises, but also don’t run the saw all day long the way a huge industrial shop would, beating on it for years on end. I get the sense it has plenty of mass and accuracy for a serious furniture-maker. For example, SawStop kept the true-vertical trunnion elevation, which means the trunnions move straight up and down instead of pivoting to make height changes. Among other things, that means that one turn of the crank moves the blade exactly 1/8 in., from any position.
But the big news with this saw is dust collection. A slick new blade guard accepts a dust hose and teams up with improved dust collection in the cabinet to capture 99% of all dust produced, according to the SawStop guys. You won’t get this new blade cover on the Industrial or Contractor saws, though SawStop plans to roll it out for those models at a later date.
As SawStop’s Mark Pennington told me this morning, “We solved the biggest safety issue–cutting your finger off–but when we visited shops we found wood dust to be the other big issue. Other woodworking tools have made big improvements in how they collect dust, but the tablesaw category has lagged behind.”
Using just a small 120 cfm shop vacuum, Pennington demonstrated how the saw was able to collect almost all the dust when he ripped a piece of MDF, with just a light sprinkle left on the saw table.
The fledgling company has been profitable for some time now–a rare success in these tough economic times–and they used those profits for the R&D on this new-and-improved saw, Pennington said.
At under $3,000, the new SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw is aimed squarely at small-shop pros and serious hobbyists. Fence capacities of 36 and 52 in. are available.
A nicely designed new blade guard grabs almost all of the dust that doesn't get sucked into the cabinet.
In response to user feedback, SawStop built a quick-release handle into its latest throat insert.
Pennington demonstrated the dust-collection efficiency of the new saw by ripping a piece of MDF. Only a very light sprinkle of dust was left on the saw table.
Pennington demonstrated how the anti-kickback pawls can be tucked up and out of the way on the new blade cover. Notice also how the cover rests in the upright position when you need it out of the way to line up a cut, for example.