Miracle Shield Blocks Kickback
Two Pennsylvania engineers recently demonstrated an innovative tablesaw safety device, called “WoodStop,” which promises to put an end to dangerous kickback. At a March 29 Scranton, Pa., press event, WoodStop co-inventor Reuben Goldberg caused a piece of maple to kick back on a large cabinet saw, and industry journalists watched in shock as a small panel at the front of the saw sprang up to block the projectile, which smashed against the cast iron with an ear-splitting clang.
“SawStop is great at sensing hand-to-blade contact, but it does nothing to prevent the most dangerous tablesaw event,” co-creator Martin Van Nostrand said proudly once order was restored. “WoodStop is better than a flack jacket, stopping the bullet before it reaches you.”
The device works by sensing a rapid change in workpiece direction and velocity, and like the SawStop skin-sensing technology, fires a cartridge a few milliseconds after activation, which in turn raises a 12-in.-square, cast-iron panel at the front edge of the saw.
Journalists’ main questions focused on that panel, which shoots up at a rate of 85 ft./second. “Doesn’t that pose a whole new threat to the operator?” asked Fine Woodworking’s Patrick McCombe.
“Potentially, yes,” admitted Van Nostrand, “but not if woodworkers use specially designed pushsticks to keep themselves out of harm’s way.” He also passed out a well-illustrated, 95-page guide that details a host of other ways operators can handle common tasks while staying out of the panel’s path.
Many of the journalists in attendance, including FWW’s McCombe, ordered a WoodStop-equipped tablesaw for their own testing, though some admitted they were hesitant to give it a whirl in their own shops. Stay tuned for McCombe’s report on this exciting new technology.
WoodStop's Reuben Goldberg creates a dangerous kickback as journalists look on. The company recommends long push sticks for use with the new device.
As the workpiece goes airborne, onlookers begin to duck out of the way.
Within a few milliseconds, the WoodStop deflection plate shoots upward, blocking the projectile before it strikes Goldberg.