Hinge Mortises on the Tablesaw
How to Sharpen a Spokeshave
Speed Up Handplane Honing with Your Ruler
How to Sharpen Hollow Chisel Mortising Bits
Workbench Tool Storage Solutions
Capture More Dust from Your Router Table
Simple Cabinetry with Pocket Hole Joinery
Customize Your Router for Centered Mortises
A Woodworker's Guide to Grain Direction
Drawbore Your Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery
Simple Tape Trick for Tight Fitting Through-Mortises
Smoothing Plane Tips and Techniques
The Coolest Cutting Board Ever?
Finishing Technique for Greene and Greene Furniture
The Essential Tool Chest
Tablesaw Safety Goes Under the Microscope--Againcomments (178) February 4th, 2011 in blogs
According to a USA Today article, tablesaw safety in the United States is getting another look from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and saw manufacturers may get a call to testify as to why the problem has not been addressed sufficiently.
The CPSC says there are about 10 finger amputations a day, and that is in home shops alone. That’s too many, says CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "The safety of table saws needs to be improved,” she says, "All options are on the table for CPSC at this time."
|More on the Great Tablesaw Safety Debate
We've been covering the developing story for a while now. Be sure to catch all the dirt on this increasingly controversial topic.
• Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit
• More Details on the Osorio Tablesaw Lawsuit
• How to Win $1.5 Million
• Defense Outgunned in Osorio Tablesaw Suit
• New Study Discusses Tablesaw Injuries
• Tablesaw Techniques I Wouldn't Recommend
• Using the Tablesaw
Already U.S. tablesaw manufacturers are complying with a UL requirement of equipping all saws with a riving knife, as European saws have been for years. A riving knife is designed to prevent kickback, which often results in hand and finger injuries. But there also is a push to incorporate “flesh-sensing technology” into the saws. This technology, pioneered by Stephen Gass, senses the presence of a body part and stops the blade before it can do harm. The technology, combined with the antikickback benefits of a riving knife, make for a safer tool, says Gass.
Gass had tried to sell his idea, called the SawStop, to a number of saw manufacturers, but in the end his efforts were rejected for a number of reasons (cost and the possible admission of liability were two major ones, according to an article published on finewoodworking.com).
Gass and his colleagues, David Fanning and David Fulmer, went on to start their own saw company, which now offers three tablesaws under the SawStop brand: two cabinet saws and a contractor saw. But Gass also has been actively pushing the CPSC to require better safety standards for the industry, many of which were brought to light last year, when a jury awarded $1.5 million to a man injured in a tablesaw accident.
I called a few major saw manufacturers, who declined to comment on the situation. But some representatives who did not want to be identified say that including flesh-sensing and blade-halting technology will have a profound effect on the woodworking tool industry and will increase the price of any tablesaw. Gass agrees. “It would require the redesign of every table saw in the market,” he says. “This will require a significant investment on the part of the power tool manufacturers and it will increase the cost of the lowest price table saws.”
Gass says a more expensive saw is a far better option than paying for and living with a devastating injury. “I think the end result is that woodworking becomes a safer endeavor, which will lead more people to engage in it,” he says. “Everybody benefits.”
PROPOSAL TO CPSC
posted in: blogs, sawstop, tablesaw technology
Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking
Become a Better Woodworker
ABOUT TOOL ADDICTS
If you enjoy woodworking then you probably also suffer from an addiction to tools. Whether you collect hand planes or seek out the latest and greatest in power tools, our expert tool addicts will keep you in the loop with news, reviews, and commentary on the latest in woodworking tools.
New: Don’t miss posts by contributing editor Roland (aka Rollie) Johnson. Over the year’s Rollie’s tested countless tools for the magazine. His fascination with motors and gears goes beyond woodworking, he's also an enthusiastic hot-rodder who likes to restore old cars, and is the author of Automotive Woodworking (Motor Books International, 2002).