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CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations

comments (270) June 15th, 2011 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
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The CPSC wants a safer tablesaw on the market ASAP, and time is running out for an ammicable licensing agreement between the makers of SawStop and other industry leaders. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The CPSC wants a safer tablesaw on the market ASAP, and time is running out for an ammicable licensing agreement between the makers of SawStop and other industry leaders.



SawStop technology won't save you from kickback.
Here we go again. The long-simmering story on tablesaw flesh-sensing technology is heating up once more. The controversial tablesaw lawsuit that launched  tool safety into the spotlight last year is right in the back of all our minds.

This week, news emerged that Consumer Products Safety Commission Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum has directed her staff to draft a new tablesaw safety regulation package, which will be released for public comment in September. Does this mean we're one step closer to higher tool prices? Who knows? The fact of the matter is that opinions differ widely, regarding exactly how much SawStop-style technology (watch a demonstration of Sawstop technology) would add to the base price of a tablesaw. While SawStop inventor Steve Gass puts the cost at about $100 per unit, other industry insiders beg to differ. And quite frankly, they're not too keen on having to pay Gass and his crew for the licensing. Case in point: Bosch, which is trumpeting its own newly designed blade guards before the feds. According to Bosch representatives, their new breed of tablesaw blade guard is hands-down, infinitely better than the old school guards so many woodworkers habitually take off their saws the moment they assemble them.

Victims Come Forward
Federal regulators have long turned their ears towards tablesaw users who have suffered serious injury at the hands of a spinning blade but the debate rages on as to whether their injuries were the fault of the tool or that of negligence while using it. Adam Thull, a 30 year-old woodworker from Crosslake, Minn., was one of four victims who spoke out in favor of tough regulations back in May. Thull apparently reached over his saw's spinning blade to catch a piece of wood that was falling off the table and suffered devastating injuries. While sympathetic to his plight, critics point out that the injury was of his own making.


An X-ray showing tablesaw injuries to Adam Thull's arm.

Who Stands to Profit?
Of course, the outcome of all this potential regulation really rests with SawStop. As the inventor of a technology with a healthy amount of patent protections, Steve Gass might just be the linchpin of this entire "battle." We've said it before here at Fine Woodworking and I'll say it again: Steve Gass didn't mean to go into the tablesaw-building business. All along, his goals lay in the engineering of an ingenious technology that could be licensed to other manufacturers. Trouble was, nobody bit--for a variety of reasons. It seems as though Gass' holding out might just be leading up to one massive pay-day.

 

CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations
Catch National Public Radio's June 15, 2011 story on the potential for new regulations.

 



posted in: blogs, sawstop, CPSC, tablesaw safety, flesh sensing technology


Comments (270)

WaltB WaltB writes:
I have watched the Saw-Stop demos and I am unconvinced the technology, while maybe benificial, is not as safe as represented.
I would like to see Gass move his hand into the saw blade at the speed accidents happen not as a snail moves.
If it works I will buy his saw.
Posted: 5:01 pm on December 2nd

EKWicks EKWicks writes: I have followed these comments on regulating saw safety for some time and even contributed to the debate once. But as I look at the comments again, I am struck by how many commenters castigate those who disagree with them as idiots, "unthinking ignoramuses," or some other equally derisive term. Or they attack legislators and regulators as worthless, ignorant, power-grabbing "pencil necks." What ever happened to civil discourse? There are obviously legitimate arguments to be made on both sides of this issue, and reasonable people should be able to recognize that without attacking those who disagree with them as being ignorant or stupid. I have never understood why some people who contribute to these online debates seem eager to demean those with whom they disagree, using terms they never would if they were talking to the person face to face. Calling people names and attacking their character adds absolutely nothing to the debate; it sheds no light on the issue, and reasonable people should find it offensive. Come on, people, let's be civil!
Posted: 8:03 pm on August 11th

JimKoren JimKoren writes: sawzall316 definitely has the best summary to date.

First, I've noticed was that fabrication shops and schools in my area are using the SawStop table saws. But construction sites and lumber yards are still using the old saws. Interesting that the lower skilled workers are afforded the least protection by their employers. This is a clear example of why we need better table saw safety regulations.

Second, the contributors and editors to FW are wimps more worried about their ad revenue than their readers safety. The latest videos on table saw safety don't mention this technology. Recently FW has added more table saw safety articles, videos and even a quiz, most of which don't even mention this technology.

In the "Tablesaw Techniques with Marc Adams" video series Marc talks about safety but doesn't even mention this new technology even though he is using a SawStop table saw.

And Roland Johnson spends a whole video on how new saws are now using the riving knife. OK, I agree it's an important topic. But isn't technology to save you fingers also worth a little discussion.

The moral high ground is to promote the technology. The financial high ground is to not piss off their advertisers.

How many FW fingers, or friends and family fingers, will it take for FW to see the value in this technology.




Posted: 2:14 am on May 1st

JimKoren JimKoren writes: sawzall316 definitely has the best summary to date.

First, I've noticed was that fabrication shops and schools in my area are using the SawStop table saws. But construction sites and lumber yards are still using the old saws. Interesting that the lower skilled workers are afforded the least protection by their employers. This is a clear example of why we need better table saw safety regulations.

Second, the contributors and editors to FW are wimps more worried about their ad revenue than their readers safety. The latest videos on table saw safety don't mention this technology. Recently FW has added more table saw safety articles, videos and even a quiz, most of which don't even mention this technology.

In the "Tablesaw Techniques with Marc Adams" video series Marc talks about safety but doesn't even mention this new technology even though he is using a SawStop table saw.

And Roland Johnson spends a whole video on how new saws are now using the riving knife. OK, I agree it's an important topic. But isn't technology to save you fingers also worth a little discussion.

The moral high ground is to promote the technology. The financial high ground is to not piss off their advertisers.

How many FW fingers, or friends and family fingers, will it take for FW to see the value in this technology.




Posted: 2:14 am on May 1st

DACWAPREZ DACWAPREZ writes: Warning long post.

I have been reading these posts with some interest and only decided to reply to this ooooold thread after seeing the last post was yesterday.

First some background. I am 50 yrs old and have been a "skilled" construction worker for over 30 years (both union and merit) and a woodworking hobbyist (among others)since I was probably 5 or 6. I actually have 2 fingers with grooves in the bones from a table saw.

A table saw is not a toy it is a dangerous piece of equipment and no one has any business using one if you have no idea how it should be used whether as a hobby or in a workplace environment.

This is the United States and we have the right to purchase and use all sorts of potentially dangerous items that, if misused, can and do cause all sorts of injuries and in some cases loss of life.

If one chooses to do this on their own the onus is on the individual to "train" themselves. If in a workplace the onus is on the employer. Its that simple. There are multitudes of government regulations on workplace safety and several were broken in this case by the employer not the manufacturer.

I can think of several things that could be made safer that cause many more accidents than table saws that most would not think should be required. Padded tubs and showers quickly comes to mind. Or better yet airbags with sensor technology that detects a sudden movement so that they deploy before an individual can get hurt. Furthermore the government should mandate that all tubs and showers be retrofitted with my technology so I can make more money. Hey, statistics show more people are hurt it the bathroom than anywhere else, certainly more than injuries from table saws. But then again statistics can be manipulated to show anything.

There has been a lot of talk about greed on the parts of the manufacturer and the inventor of Saw-stop. It does exist on both sides. It is inherent in any business. They only exist to make money. This includes the employer of the injured man.

Tool manufacturers make all sorts of tools at all sorts of prices with all sorts of features. There are plenty of after market accessories for these tools, some which can make them safer to use. There is a "choice" in what gets purchased and how it is used. This goes for most products. That is why we have safe haven laws.

The Saw-stop inventor has a singular product being promoted as the latest and greatest and needs to be used for safety's sake for the public good. If he really believed that he would license it for free. Others have in the past.

The employer is the worst by far but this is also a symptom of an underlying long term problem in this country. The greed of developers and corporations in the construction industry as a whole. This employer bought the cheapest most unsafe tool possible for the job, he hired unskilled workers and provided them with no training and furthermore removed safety equipment provided by the manufacturer in violation of government regulations.

Why? quite simply to make a bigger buck in an industry where for 30 years the powers that be have tried to keep their costs as low as possible.

To build anything you need 3 things. Materials, tools and labor.

Materials and how they are used are now engineered to use the least amount needed. There are warnings on wood I beams stating where you can drill in them or they will fail.

Tools have been engineered down to make them as cheap as possible to get the job done. In most cases out sourced to countries that have very cheap labor and no pride of workmanship. There are tools still made that are good and safe and will last a lifetime but they cost more.

That leaves labor. What used to be a workforce of skilled people who had pride in their work has been replaced with a workforce of mostly under educated immigrants. I don't fault these workers at all. Everyone has a right to better their lives.

Over the course of 10 years I went from running a crew of USA born, blue collar, knew how to use tools guys to a crew of 16 Bolivians. Among them were a pharmacist, a kindergarten teacher, a store clerk and a guy who chopped off the heads of chickens. I had to train them in every aspect of what they had to do, slowly learning Spanish on the job so I could communicate better with them. Under no circumstances would I have ever let one of them use a table saw without a guard and a lot of training.

Just as after my dad died and my sister said she wanted his table saw, so she could finish her basement, it came home with me. I love my sister, and her fingers, and she should in no way use any machinery of that type.

This is the other symptom of society brought about by the cheaper tools and proliferation of DIY sources that make people think it is so easy and simple a child can do it.

I have certifications that I have to have to use certain things on the job that anyone can buy/rent/lease and use on their own without training.

I do many things around my house I was never trained in the workplace to do. I research and practice and read the manuals for any tool I use for the first time. The onus for my safety is on me.

Even today in the workplace there are times I have to use something I never have or haven't used in years. I take the time to (re)familiarize myself and ask someone who does know. I bear the responsibility to make my employer aware if I don't know how. Recently my employer heard I could weld and set it up for me to get certified. Whereas I can weld, certification is something beyond my scope and I haven't welded for years. I got with the welding instructor at my hall after work and had him assess my work as to the requirements of certification. I called my employer the next day and explained to them that I wouldn't pass without 2 months of classes and lots of practice. (of course my employer would like me to do this on my time so they benefit without cost) Anyone can go buy a buzzbox and start melting steel together without a helmet. They also could go blind.

Putting any part of your body near a serrated steel disc spinning at a high velocity is stupid. I know that now just as I did 38 years ago as a 12 year old who tried to flick a cutoff out between the fence and the blade and caught my finger on the blade. As I screamed and yanked my finger away sending a stream of blood across my dads shop from one end to the other I didn't blame the saw, I didn't blame my dad. I blamed me. (the second groove came from my little brother running into the shop and into me. I blamed him, he learned his lesson at my expense.)

This is all about the degradation of our litigation prone capitalist society where things are decided by overt or covert cost benefit analyses by entities sometimes diametrically opposed to each other. Use the cheapest labor, use the cheapest stuff, hope nothing goes wrong and get the biggest profit. Then if it does, sue the one with the most money. While on the other hand having armies of inept people sitting in offices either constantly coming up with new regulations because if they don't there is no reason for their job or finding ways to pass the buck or blame onto someone else.

The injured man made a cost benefit analysis that job equaled food, housing etc. The employer and manufacturer as above. The workmans comp company/lawyers decided more money over responsibility for safety. The saw-stop guys sees $$$$. The CPSC bureaucrats see job security.

The winners are all the people who are making a buck from this injured man, he is the only loser.


PS: I hope sawzall316 is using incompetent in the legal meaning (unknowing)and not the common usage(should know)as any untrained person is incompetent











Posted: 1:58 pm on February 19th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: Lets review the facts of why we are where we are reletive to this issue:

1.Incompetent man cut off his fingers.
2.Incompetent man had no training in the use of table saws.
3.Workmen’s comp. Insurance filed the law-suite in incompetent man's name against Ryobi.
4.Workmen’s Comp. Insurance wins the case and recovers costs and Incompetent man also gets $$$ through no action of his own.
5.Too many foolish woodworkers/tradesmen blame the Incompetent man for filing the lawsuit and totally ignore the fact that he did not, it was an Insurance company that filed the suite.
6.Government will issue a ruling in favor of the only tech available, the sawstop tech.
7.Again, more foolish woodworkers/tradesmen with adolescent senses of logic and immaturity argue nonsensicals against the only tech available to prevent harm.

The tech is over ten years old; at what point do you think it is reasonable for manufacturers to start implementing this technology? The patient runs out in six or seven years. Who wants to make a bet that all manufactures will magically start producing their version of SS-tech if they have their way because of silly baseless arguments?
Mr. Glass developed a wonderful tech and a silly bunch of crying little girls with to much unfounded pride, ego, and hyper-testosterone levels whine that they should have the right to blah-blah-blah. The tech exists to prevent harm regardless of blame, fault, responsibility, etc...It is a no-brainer.
The end blame falls on the manufacturers because they did not implement the tech early on; if they had, the costs would not be an issue today. Piss poor legal advice, is now coming to bite them on their backside. No jury on the planet will side with manufacturers given the fact ten years have gone by since the tech was established; it implies willful negligence by manufacturers. Ten years!


Posted: 4:24 pm on February 18th

gbkout60 gbkout60 writes: Yes, accidents happen, but let's not forget what started this mess. The person "responsible" was NOT using any safeguards provided by the manufacture. The SawStop technology can be turned off. If you are not smart enough to use the safeguards provided, you are not smart enough to use the tool! I believe justice was done.
Posted: 11:55 pm on December 3rd

JimKoren JimKoren writes: ThomasStork wrote:
quote:

"1) pass a new law requiring ....."
"2) watch the free market ......"
"Bingo! No government intervention, and people ....."

What do you mean no government intervention!!!! Your first statement is "Pass a new law"

We don't want government intervention but then we do! I think many people here would not like the world without some government protections.
Posted: 10:31 am on July 7th

lwj2 lwj2 writes: Quote: ….. If you’re Steve Gass, have you gone too far, using patent law to make a buck? Are you just the other side of the same coin as the saw manufactures?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Excuse me? That is EXACTLY what patents are for, making money for the inventor.
Posted: 10:41 am on July 5th

lwj2 lwj2 writes: Pardon me, but Mr. Thull's injury as depicted in the radiograph accompanying this article is far from devastating.

He appears to have a fractured ulna with an internal fixator in place. No evidence of soft tissue injury (i.e., a cut) is shown.

As a retired radiographer, I can state that I've seen worse broken arms from bike wrecks.

Reaching across a spinning tablesaw blade is an act of utter stupidity.

As a former medical professional, I'm all for safety but let's get real, stupidity is not something that can be regulated.

Leon Jester
Roanoke, VA
Posted: 10:33 am on July 5th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: OK, lets look at the insurer side of the equation. The insurers operate in the free market just like the rest of the companies. And your are right sawzall316, they don't want to make payouts they don't have to make, especially to cover somebody's stupidity. My argument on insurers is that if they insert a clause into their contracts that basically states "if you knowingly and/or willfully disable or remove the safety device from a dangerous piece of equipment before use, then you will personally assume all risks". (Now, lets not criticize my legaleze because I don't like to speak in a language that is intentionally confusing or misleading.) When I was in the military there was a determination that was made by the doctor on every patient visit, the euphemistically called it the Line of Duty determination. What it amounted to was the determination of whether or not your injury was an accident or whether you are to blame for ignoring basic safety guidelines. If the LOD was marked "no", the bill for treatment was on you.

If insurers want to raise their rates or drop customers who do not own a saw with saw stop, then so be it, that is their choice in the free market to do so. And with that choice comes the risk that they will loose customers (and therefore the income derived from those customers). There will be an insurance company that will pick up the slack on this, I assure you. Look at auto insurance, there are companies that will insure older cars that do not have seat belts, and there are companies that will insure people even after they have gotten a DUI (or four), or all those "fun" (stupid) stunts from the idiots on Jackass (not auto insurance, but insurance all the same.)

Even the actions of the insurance companies are part of the free market operation. We may not like how they act, but I much prefer an insurance company telling me that they won't cover my risk when using a certain product or performing a certain task, to the overbearing hand of government dictating what products will be available and at what cost. I am always free to find another insurance company that is willing to cover the risk...at a price that I may or may not like, but again that is part of my freedom of choice. So, no...I didn't miss the point. The point is I am not as willing as some to give up my liberties so the nanny-state can try to protect someone from himself.

You see, the insurance companies don't have the power to remove your freedom of choice. They simply offer to assume the risk for the consequences of your choice or they choose not to assume that risk, you still have the freedom to choose that course of action if you so desire (at your own risk). I perfect example of this is people building houses in flood plains, the insurance companies have chosen not to cover that risk. The government has chosen to assume the risk for these people (somewhat unconstitutionally I might add) with the Federal Flood Insurance program. I can pretty much assure you that if that program stopped, the majority of those people would not choose rebuild their home in those flood plains. You see the government doesn't have to regulate where you can and can't build a house, it just has to be made very clear that if you choose to build in a flood plain, you are assuming all the risk. And, I project all the flood plains would very rapidly become wilderness or open farm land, with no government intervention required (the magic of the free market at work).

Posted: 7:47 am on June 28th

SalSclafani SalSclafani writes: Here we go again....The auto industry is a mess, the medical industry is a mess, the banking industry is a mess, the housing industry is a mess, the employment market is a mess, but we still let the "federal government" step forward and create more regulation on something they know very little if anything at all about! Somehow I do remember the Constitution stating "limited government"....hmmmm

As for me, I will relish the thought of purchasing a quality table saw at a deep discount just before the "new law" kicks in, in the mean time I am buying real light bulbs!

I could lend credence to the cause if it were a group like Fine Woodworking,but the Federal Government....come on these people have never, never done anything that works as planned!
Posted: 1:53 pm on June 27th

Brian74 Brian74 writes: I just read an article on this issue in Bloomberg Businessweek, June 13 edition. It mentions an accident by a guy who lost the tips of two fingers when "the wood jammed and yanked his hand into the spinning blade." My question is, how could this happen? How the heck can a blade that is spinning toward you yank your hand into the blade? I suspect that this accident was much like the Ryobi case, where the saw bogged down and instead of slowing the feed rate of the workpiece, the guy pushed the piece with more force and his hand went into the blade. I say suspect, because the article mentioned above is not at all specific, and it does not mention whether he used a blade guard. I'm just curious about other folks' reaction. To be clear, I do not own a table saw, but have used one under the supervision of someone with a great deal of experience. I am in the market for one, but my space and my budget are limited. Now, I;m worried that I will buy one and should anything break, I won't be able to get parts to repair it because the technology has changed. Anyway, I was just wondering what people thought of this article; my first intention was that it was very misleading, although maybe not intentionally so. I'm going to email the writer and see if I can get some more info. I find this entire issue fascinating. I'm an aspiring woodworker who is also a lawyer fighting government regulations that help no one and add unnecessary costs that ultimately fall on the consumer.
Posted: 12:12 pm on June 27th

ThomasStork ThomasStork writes: Here's a proposal for people who want to take responsibility for their own actions and not be forced to pay for some reasonably-priced safety technology on their tablesaws. It's basically a two-step process:

1) pass a new law requiring anyone buying a new tablesaw without proven safety technology to sign a waiver taking responsibility for it. This waiver would exempt health insurance companies and public healthcare providers from paying for injuries resulting from that lack of technology. Anyone suffering from a career-ending injury that results from use of a saw without that technology would also be ineligible for worker's comp, social security, or any other income replacement program.

2) watch the free market spring into action, as manufacturers line up to offer saws so cheap that they're worth the potential cost of point #1, and health insurers and income-replacement insurers line up to offer special policies to people using saws without protection.

Bingo! No government intervention, and people are free to make choices and take responsibility for those choices--and the rest of the public doesn't have to pay for them.
Posted: 7:02 am on June 27th

philroe philroe writes: I'm a bit saddened to see how how this debate has polarised between the libertarians and the regulators.
I feel some sympathy for both positions myself. But like it or not, regulation is coming, and some dialog
is needed if it is to be reasonable. I'd like to offer a tentative suggestion of what might be acceptable.

After a certain date in the future, it would be illegal to sell a new TS without OSHA approved safety
features. The nature of these features would have been determined by representatives of OSHA, the
tool manufacturers, the insurers, the construction industry, and the woodworking community. After
that same date, or a later one, it would also be illegal to allow anyone under your supervision to operate a TS
without the safety equipment in place, and without proper instruction.

I would very much like to see constructive criticism of this, because I am sure it can be improved, but note a
few things. If the date is far enough ahead, it gives the TS manufacturers and other inventors time to produce
safety devices that really work, that can be competitively priced, and that few people will be tempted to
remove. I'm quite sure that these are being worked on already. The proposal allows that if, in the privacy
of your own shop, you want to remove them anyway, then you can. But if you remove a couple of digits, you can
expect a protracted conversation with your insurers. The proposal would have put blame for the
incident that started all this squarely where it belonged, on a callous employer who knowingly
put at hazard some poor mutt who desperately needed the job.

Posted: 5:24 pm on June 26th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: Snowdog, your missing the point. Insurers do not want to pay for "a laps our judgement" a.k.a our manning up for making a tragic misstake or whatever you want to call it. It is only a matter of time before the insures push hard to get what they want. Insurers spreading the cost is not anougher topic, it is directly related. The insurers will play both sides---make you and I pay more of a premium for being a woodworker/tradesman and go after manufactures for being negligent thus minimizing insurance companies pay outs and increasing their respective profits. It is one industry going after anougher and using the levers of power to do so. It is really that easy. We as individuals and the gov get out of my life extremists are really sitting on the sidelines with respect to this issue.
Posted: 1:20 pm on June 26th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: In response to pdjones1: do you really want to go down the road of the government doing something to lower the cost to society. Given the recent events involving the sterilization of orphans (a.k.a eugenics) in an effort to "lower the cost to society" of these "types" of people. As far as the banking collapse goes, ask Barney Frank is his ilk the true reason the housing market completely collapsed (pst - its because the government "regulated" the banks into giving loans to people that couldn't afford them and artificially inflating the housing market).

Yes corporations are obligated to turn a profit for their stock holders, that would be us (you do have a 401k or IRA don't you). In the information overdose/litigation happy society we live in, they don't need government regulation to make safe products. And they do make safe products, if they are used according to the instructions provided.

As far as insurers spreading the cost of injuries to all of their customers, that is a completely different topic that has nothing to do with government regulation. Except for the fact the "I'm not responsible for my own actions" society we live in has fostered this behavior by those companies. Maybe the insurers should start adding a "stupid" clause to their policies.

And finally, before you can call yourself a conservative you have to know what it is you are trying to conserve. Here's a hint - its not money. Its a little thing called freedom. This includes such things as the freedom to decide what profession you choose to pursue, what hobbies you choose to pursue, which risks you choose to take, and yes even the freedom to fail and get hurt if you are too stupid to take reasonable precautions to protect yourself during an endeavor that is obviously dangerous.

If you CHOOSE to buy a saw without the saw stop technology, and you CHOOSE to remove all the guards, and you CHOOSE to not use the fence or miter gauge to make a cut, and you loose a finger or two; its not the saw manufacturers fault or problem, its not society's problem - its your problem. So MAN UP and take responsibility for your own actions, and stop asking society to pay for your stupidity.
Posted: 8:33 am on June 26th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: A couple of notes:

The Ryobi lawsuit was filed by the workman’s comp insurance on the goofballs behalf. Should the employer have had this person running a machine that he was note very experienced on? Probably not. The employer is legally insulated but the TSmanufacture was not and so the insurance company follows suit to recoop its losses.

There will be more lawsuits against TS manufacturers in the coming years. The insurance companies will see to that. When it comes to wielding power, the TS manufactures are children compared to the power insurance companies have. With that, there is no jury or judge on the face of the planet that will excuse manufactures given the timeframe the technology has been available. It just shows negligence the more time goes bye. All manufactures should have the Technology available as an option. Totally ignoring the Sawstop tech at their legal peril is just stupid and foolish.

The Sawstop patent will expire within the next decade. If the TS manufactures make it this far without being run out of business by the government, guess who will offer the tech the moment the patent runs out. Guess who will file a racketeering case against the TS manufacturers at that very same moment. Gass will get his money sooner or later.

Personal responsibility for your own actions is not enough of a defense when the option to eliminate major harm from the equation is there. Government regulation and intervention is a bye-product of the inaction by those entities that should do the right thing on their own for the public good but don’t.
Posted: 5:08 am on June 26th

mcottrell mcottrell writes: I purposely stayed away from this discussion for a while, after posting several days ago. My only comment after revisiting is this:

The Federal government, in the form of Congress, has mandated educational standards for public school students in the United States. These include, ostensibly, the ability to spell, to construct sentences and paragraphs which make sense, are logical and readable, and convey basic ideas which readers can understand.

Reading the responses here, I can estimate that these standards have not been met by a large portion of those who post here.

How, then, can we expect the Federal government to mandate engineering design decisions for woodworking machinery? This has nothing to do with the Patent Office, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or any other governmental body with any shred of technical knowledge. This has to do with legislators and their staffers--the most overpaid, ignorant (and if you don't know the meaning of that word, look it up--if you even have a dictionary), self-serving, money-grubbing, destructive body of "public servants" ever devised by humankind.

Someone complained after my first post that I described supporters of this kind of Government intervention as "ignoramuses" and as being "delusional." (That same person could not, apparently, even read my name correctly and re-type it in their comments--but that's yet a different problem). No one bothered to comment on my remarks about other dangerous tools and devices used in everyday life. That just proves my point. If you really think that mandating SawStop technology will contribute to the common good to the degree that seat belts, air bags, and double-insulated appliances do, you are an idiot. If you think that knives, baseball bats, hammers, wooden clubs, and other blunt objects are not dangerous in the hands of an unthinking person, or in the hands of a deranged person, you are an idiot. If you think legislators should regulate all of those dangerous items, you are an idiot whose vote will eventually result in the destruction of civilization as we know it. But then again, if you think that, that is probably what you want in the first place.

Those of you who deny personal responsibility for your own actions, in favor of Government regulation and intervention, scare the living hell out of me.
Posted: 10:56 pm on June 25th

Option31 Option31 writes: I could not agree more that we need to keep the government out of this. Having said that anybody buying a saw without stop technology is playing with losing a finger, hand, arm or worse if they have employees. Weekend warriors - well they just don't work around the equipment enough to stay on the ball.

We bought a saw stop when it first came out. I would never purchase another saw with out it. We hire people and really to expect them to be on top of their game every minute of the day is asking for the impossible. We recently had a new employee shut the saw off and then grab the offal because it was riding the blade. Yes the guard was up - which she was told not to do but really somebody cuts a finger off and then you're going to rip them on safety policy? She tripped the saw stop and NOT EVEN A SCRATCH!!! Now without the saw stop it would have been a trip to the ER and at the minimum several thousand dollars, maybe several 10's of thousands. Not to mention workers comp increase or the loss of a finger. An a 19 year old going around for the rest of her life without a finger.

My question is why is this not available on jointers and band saws? I run a jointer 40 hours per week in a production enviroment running between 4000-7000 bdf ( not lineal ) per week for the last 25 years. I and am missing parts of two fingers - not because of negligence - your hand slips, board jumps or split gives way and up the dust chute goes your finger. The sheer volume of wood I run across that jointer it is a wonder I have not lost more.

$1000.00 would be cheap compared to the loss of time, fingers, limbs or an employee lawsuit. At $100.00 of slightly more its a no brainer.

Why is this industry so CHEAP?! Or maybe its macho..... People and businesses won't spend a few bucks for a safety device that works but they'll spend 4+ hours in the ER spend weeks off work, lose a day of production from the unhurt employees because their all standing around talking after the accident, lose the use of a finger ----- all to save a few bucks.....

Stop buying saws without a stop feature and the government won't regulate. The companies will either put them on or go out of business.

By the way, the saw stop is one of the best if not the best saw I have seen even if it did not have the stop technology.


Posted: 12:21 pm on June 25th

Mikangus Mikangus writes: Really! Don't we have enough regulation on are daily live's,now were going to have it in are wood shop's.Common sense belongs in a shop not reg.If your going to have a couple beers and use a saw,Well your an idiot! If you don't know how to use one safely you have know business using one. COMMON SENSE PEOPLE!!!!!
Posted: 7:34 am on June 25th

67321 67321 writes: What's next, a training wheel for my #3,20mm gouge?
Posted: 7:26 pm on June 24th

CaGal CaGal writes: I have been around wood working all my life as my father was a carpenter. My first experience with a table saw was when I was about 10. Dad felt I was tall enough (I was 5' 4") to use it safely. There were no blade guards, push sticks or riving knives. There was common sense and personal safety rules that he made sure I understood and followed. You don't stand in the line of fire, you don't reach over or across a spinning blade, saw gets turned off before your hands get near the blade to remove the piece you just cut, eye protection is a must and never use any power tools when you are tired or there is alcohol involved. 45 years later I still have all my fingers and so does he. A few years ago I started looking for a new table saw. I took my time and did my homework and looked at many different saws. I had it narrowed down to 2 saws and the SawStop was one of them. I liked the safety feature. Then the Royobi crap came up and Mr Gaas took advantage. I bought the other saw. The point is, when are we as a society going to go back to using common sense, take responsibility for our actions and the resulting consequences instead of blaming someone else. For God's sake stop getting the goverment involved.
Posted: 12:02 pm on June 24th

pdjones1 pdjones1 writes: To regulate or not to regulate has a very simple answer. When the cost to society is lower with regulations in place, then regulate.

We removed the regulations on banking and finance and we all know what happened and how much it has cost - in terms of bail-outs, lost jobs, and foreclosures. Corporations are legally obligated to maximize profits. So, if not retooling to include a safety feature, and more importantly, not exposing themselves for litigation from all the people who bought saws without the safety feature, then they are legally obligated to pursue that path - whether it is in the best interest of their customers or not.

When an insured person is hurt, everyone insured by that company pays for that injury. When an uninsured or under insured person is hurt, it is every tax paying citizen that pays.

If you are truly fiscally conservative you would choose the least expensive route. Remember, this is not just the government telling you that you must by a saw with a safety feature, it is the government telling everyone they must by a safety feature... including those of us who do not exercise good judgement.
Posted: 8:23 am on June 24th

abcabc abcabc writes: If they all refuse to use the guards, then guess what will happen after the first time the SawStop false-fire because a piece of damp wood is fed into the blade just right (it does happen)? The guy will just cuss the $100 cost to replace it and the destruction of a $150 blade. Which means, it will not be replaced. So all in all, a loss of $300 for no benefit.

Using the tablesaw without the guard is as stupid as riding a motorcycle without a helmet. The easy fix is to change the libel laws to immediate find fault with the idiot.

The government has gone control crazy about everything from equipment to diets. A manufacturer that stays in the US is nuts.
Posted: 8:09 pm on June 23rd

Stagecraft Stagecraft writes: It is possible the government will write a safety regulation requiring a general level of safety in certain power tools, but not a specific technology.

In the air bag example, the government amended vehicle safety standards to "require cars produced after 1 April 1989 to be equipped with a passive restraint for the driver. An airbag or an automatic seat belt would meet the requirements of the standard." (Wikipedia)

This way the government gets it's higher safety standard, but provides a more flexible regulation that allows manufacturers a number of ways to comply. It also allows for future innovations without a need to re-write the regs.
Posted: 7:14 pm on June 23rd

ramram ramram writes: With over thirty years of experience as an operating room nurse I have seen many table saw injuries, including two in just the past few weeks. I always ask my patients how the accident happened and, without exception, it happened because they were careless and/or violated a basic safety rule. (Last week's patient was trying to shave down a shim and when the blade pulled the shim in, some fingers came along for the ride.) My favorite was, "The accident happened right after my second beer." Table saws are safe if used safely. All tools are. Having the government regulate tools is a slippery slope we don't want to get on.
Posted: 8:55 am on June 23rd

rogeroger rogeroger writes: What's next, a blade guard on my steak knife? Sharp tools are, by thier nature, dangerous. They cut materials they are designed to cut. They also cut flesh and bones that are placed where they don't belong. I have a divot in a finger that remindes me each time I approach any of my power tools. I was lucky. I still have most of my finger and work much smarter now. Government intervention will not wipe out stupidity. Mandated blade brakes will price tools out of reach of the hobbyist. Consider that revenue loss to our economy. When do we begin to accept responsibility for our own actions?
Posted: 12:23 am on June 23rd

GREENE4ME GREENE4ME writes: There seems to be a lot of comment on Steve Gass profiting on his invention. Hello??? That is what our capitalistic economic system is based on - private enterprise. Mr. Gass had an idea, he researched it, he built it, he tested it, he took the steps to patent it. Then, logically, he began to market it to saw manufacturers and he deserves any royalities or fees he can negotiate. What is this talk of "holding the industry hostage"? Mr. Gass is offering a square deal; negotiate to use his invention or go and design your own. Personally I feel that we have an option with the SawStop product to purchase a saw that is safer than others in the "maiming by spinning blade" department and that is sufficient; we don't need a government mandated safety device. What I do not understand is why don't the saw companies see that there is a market for safety (just look a SawStop sales) and fill this niche. Why did it take the government to mandate riving knives and blade guards before the saw companies stepped up and added them. I will pay the premium for a SawStop table saw without regard to the cost of a safety module insert - if I were to ever activate the insert, even for a nick, I can easily justify its replacement expense when I consider the cost of replacing what I didn't lose.
Posted: 8:04 pm on June 22nd

Richinsd52 Richinsd52 writes: The tablesaw is not the relevant point. Some guys seem to think this is about the quality of their Sawstop. Uh, missed the point son. One idiot that says these devices should be mandated for routers and every power tool. Well, what can you say to that besides not much? Obviously this is not about a tablesaw or offering a safety system. The real story is about the self respect we show in ourselves to own our personal actions.

One school of thought is that the Feds, in their infinite wisdom should take full responsibility for our choices. Has anyone considered placing guidelines or limits as to how far that could be taken? Oh, hey I trust the Feds to be reasonable, don't you?

The other train of thought is that we should take personal responsibility for our individual choices and actions. Hmm, a novel idea in today's culture but I'm in that camp along with most on this blog I'm sure.

Every time we tell government that it's ok and invited to invade our personal (responsibilities), we inch one step closer to losing everything we've ever fought for. In some sense what we have fought for IS the RIGHT to use less than perfect devices if we CHOOSE to, AND the responsibility to own the impact of our actions as well. I know that there are guys in here that will just not get that. They think choice is about what we want. For those that might not understand, choice is about what we are willing to take responsibility for. When we give up responsibility we are giving up choice and that is freedom. Where along the line did we lose that concept? I wonder in what age group that concept will not be clear.

So here's the real deal. My tablesaw is not going to jump out of my garage and dismember my next door neighbor. It's not using public roadways and will not harm anyone who does not approach it. It's an inanimate object that I do not need to be protected from. I will regulate and take full responsibility for my personal useage of it, as I have for many years. In fairness, if we're talking about a commercial environment where workers are mandated to use the tool, then let OSHA deal with it. That is their purpose in life after all. Do you want OSHA in your garage? I don't. Do you want to fund that rediculous endeavor? We couldn't if we tried. Is that really a far fetched concept? Nope

So great, offer the safety feature and if I choose to purchase it,, Fine. If not, it's my choice and the Feds have no business in my house. Get Out, Stay Out, collect your taxes and leave us the H alone. I think the Feds have bigger fish to fry anyway. End of story. [grin]
Posted: 6:37 pm on June 22nd

burrrs burrrs writes: I dont mean to down play the accident of Adam Thulls,but looking at the xray its a severe break.I just wonder how a turning blade causes abreak like that.It does'nt look like a cut at all
Posted: 11:56 am on June 22nd

Old_Ironballs Old_Ironballs writes: If one of the previous comments is true and the saw stop system can be turned off (for cutting green wood) then does this not open the door for saw stop to be sued as it's a feature you can disable?

Ryobi got sued as a result of some idiot contractor disabling safety features on his saw (fence, guards, knife). What's the difference? But then I don't see car firms being sued when people have accidents after turning off their traction control. I've got a car with no traction control and ABS (with 350BHP), both are available on the market as safety measures for the car firm to use, but they don't get sued when someone skids and crashes.

It goes back to the Ryobi case, should never have made it to court. In the UK it would have been the employer in the dock
Posted: 7:00 am on June 22nd

JimKoren JimKoren writes: …..if you’re a home hobbyist like me, you probably need a SawStop because once in a while we will forget a simple safety practices between uses.

.….if you’re an independent contractor, it’s good insurance. One mental slipup could cost you your career.

.….if your employees use saws, you have an obligation to ensure that that one mental slipup don’t cost them their career, arm, or life.

….. if you’re the insurer of saw users, run the numbers and give the SawStop owners a discount if warranted.

.…. If you’re a saw manufacture, man up to your responsibility and do what’s right for your customers. At least offer some type of stop technology as an option.

….. If you’re Steve Gass, have you gone too far, using patent law to make a buck? Are you just the other side of the same coin as the saw manufactures?

…..If you’re the lobbyist for the saw industry, is your data accurate or have you sold your soul for the almighty Dollar! (Sorry but I keep thinking of the cigarette execs and the banking execs all telling Congress what we know were lies.)

….. If you’re the regulator, publish accurate information so citizens can make informed comments regarding any proposed regulations.

…. And if you’re the editors of Fine Woodworking, why can’t you do a better job than throw out a half baked blog on the subject?


Posted: 1:09 am on June 22nd

oldbutcher oldbutcher writes: To 2dtenor and others of like mind: Remember that the reason we have to pay for the mindless people who hurt themselves thru their own carelessness is that UNCLE forced us into the system we have today. I challenge anyone to find a true constitutional basis for this system. If you haven't read the Federalist Papers you're likely to rely on flawed Supreme Court decisions to prove me wrong. When George Frank ran a shop, he had the right idea for insuring his workers. He self-insured. When the shop jerk hurt himself, thereby using up the fund that would have gone to bonuses and an annual party, his coworkers saw to it that it didn't happen again. Peer pressure is powerful. UNCLE, on the other hand, is a tyrant in Mrs. Doubtfire's clothing.
Posted: 11:20 pm on June 21st

2dtenor 2dtenor writes: "Let's all take responsibility for our own actions" sounds good, but . . . what happens when someone gets disabled as a result of a table saw injury, or a ladder injury, or a scaffolding injury, etc.? Social Security Disability or SSI is what happens; who do you think pays for that? In our society, when someone gets injured, we all pay so that injured person can receive benefits. Unless and until that system is drastically changed, you are all missing a very important point.
Posted: 9:03 pm on June 21st

fixrite fixrite writes: Too much regulations makes things one big pain. Bottom line is this, if you know it can hurt you and you don't LEARN how to use it then you deserve what you get. To me that is just common sense. For those that hurt themselves and cry to the manufacturer I got two words for you.....YEAHHHH DUMMMMY. Adults drive cars AFTER getting licensed, here we ask not to be licensed because we can learn to do things safely. If that is too much to expect then too bad. Next thing they will want you to become certified to use the fricken blender, or the coffee machine, could get scalded you know... Can you tell this crap ticks me off.
Posted: 7:42 pm on June 21st

DasHornetson DasHornetson writes: Richinsd52, and other like-minded commenters, have it correct.
One more example of the 'Nanny-State' out to protect us from ourselves.
"We Have Met(Seen)The Enemy And He Is Us" - Pogo
Posted: 5:45 pm on June 21st

seacruise seacruise writes: I bought a SawStop two years ago and I think it is a fine machine. My thinking is, buy a SawStop or do not own a table saw. If you can not pony up the cash to buy one, or it you are to mocho to have good sense, forget the tablesaw and by some really good hand saws. I would recomend Bad ax, or L-N. And, there are several other excelent brand saws too.
Posted: 4:11 pm on June 21st

checkall checkall writes: Let's eliminate the jerks in Washington and take responsibility for our own actions.
Posted: 2:26 pm on June 21st

dalewis dalewis writes: I see this very much the same as seat belts, ABS on a car. Both are of great safety is the extra is paid a time of purchase. But they are both optional or a default enticement to show how the producer cares for you.

Can the woodworkers present this to your government, I'm an Aussie,saying it should be the same. Obviously there needs to be some warning on the box/ instructions When will these warnings get to 'diabetics must check their blood sugar levels prior to usage'. Blood pressure for heart concerned users?

I see the liability/ neglegance solely on the employer foolishly not requesting a display or asking if he was able to do such woodwork and sign for the statement.

BUT maybe lawyers would go broke - ohh. Some are parasites on others dissatisfaction.
Posted: 2:16 pm on June 21st

Kyman Kyman writes: I think one of the big problems is education. Not enough people are trained in safe operation. Schools do not teach woodworking anymore. That is a problem not matter what the educators say.

Posted: 11:43 am on June 21st

Richinsd52 Richinsd52 writes: The Sawstop has an override which turns the feature off to prevent unintended tripping when cutting green wood. As with blade guards and other devices which make a saw less convenient, I wonder how many people will just leave the feature off rather than keep switching back and forth anyway?
A healthy respect for the blade in motion goes a long way toward preventing accidents. It would be interesting to see what happens to the accident ratio when the fear factor is removed and the safety feature is accidentally left off.

I guess we'll need to legislate redundant safety features to insure the previous safety features remain safe and in place. We need an oversight committee to mandate personal saw safety procedural training and periodic saw inspection. Load your saw in the car every two years and take it to the local Federal inspection station for a mandatory safety check. Of course we'll need a monitoring device to log the hours of operation with the feature left off and the saw will need to be internet connected so this information can be sent to the Bureau of Saw Safety. There should positively be a corresponding fine for using the saw in an unsafe mode. Hey, it's not about revenue, it's for your protection. Let's not forget tablesaw licensing, requiring an IQ test and a mandatory three month training program as a condition of purchase. Oh and a two week cool off period before taking delivery just to let you consider whether or not you really need such a dangerous device in your home. Do you have kids? Well just in case all tablesaws need an electronic locking system with retina scan biometrics. After all a small child might find a key or witness a code being entered, curious little buggers that they are. Ah the table saw of the future. Hey in California where I live, give an inch and some bonehead that's never seen an evil tablesaw would likely come up with all of it.

Legislation is a joke. Best intentions are ALWAYS taken to extremes and rarely serve anyone but the legislators that have to justify their existance. Protecting people from themselves is an industry of its own. After all, You are not capable of making rational decisions as to whether or not you need an expensive feature. YOU need to be told. How did we ever manage to survive without legislators?

Oh and as for remembering when people complained about seatbelts, I remember when a sub compact economy car didn't cost $30,000.00.
Posted: 10:57 am on June 21st

MrGhrelin MrGhrelin writes: The government can and should mandate some kind of contact safety system now that it's been proven that it works. You could put it on saws, routers, planers or other tools that are hand fed. But the real problem is, that there is only one source for the technology, and it is unfair to blackmail manufactures through the courts. Manufacturers need to take tool safety seriously while keeping them usable. A cheap tools is just that, a cheap tool that often sacrifices user safety. I remember how people hated seat belts,when the government mandated there use.
Posted: 11:23 pm on June 20th

kurek@attglobal.net kurek@attglobal.net writes: No matter the safety device, stupid people will make stupid mistakes. You can't cut all types of wood with a Saw Shop device installed -- wet wood, green wood, soft metals, etc. the best safety device is first -- education, RTFM, think, training, and a riving knife. Most other devices get in the way. Also, be sure to use a proper fence of miter guide. Use a zero clearance insert. If you don't know how to use any of the above, don't use a table saw. I am not saying the Saw Shop device is a bad thing, I just don't the government should be legislating this device. Besides, who is going to buy a $200 contractors saw when it is mandated to have a $300 device added to it.
Posted: 7:59 pm on June 20th

BamaBelle BamaBelle writes: I'm curious as to whether the Senator or Congresman pushing for this "save-me-from-myself" legislation is from the home state of SawStop? Does anyone know? I'll bet a dollar to a box of doughnuts SawStop has contricuted handomely to his/her "campaign" fund.


Posted: 6:27 pm on June 20th

fjegrih37 fjegrih37 writes: Stupid is as Stupid does. I've seen the Saw Stop in action and yes it's a nice feature but remember this. Once it's been activated it cost about 250 dollars to repair it. Is the government going to subsidize this expenditure or are they going to view it as it should be viewed. An option for those who can afford it. Personally, I've had things fly back at me because I wasn't paying attention or I was in a hurry and as my shop instructor used to tell me. "You Know Better Than To Be Stupid When Using A Table Saw" and she was right. Failure to plan out you're cutting is planning to lose an arm. I have no sympathy for people who do stupid things when using a Tablesaw. Pay Attention Adam Thule of Minnesota. You're injury is a reminder of what happens when we as consumers allow the enablement of Stupidity to supersede the dictates of common sense shop etiquette and let the government tell us how to cut wood.
Posted: 3:13 pm on June 20th

rdly13 rdly13 writes: In my opinion its just more of "save me from myself so I don't have to think or use common sense". Why do we need the government stepping in every time someone doesn't want to be responsible for there own actions??????
Posted: 1:07 pm on June 20th

ParallelDesign ParallelDesign writes: I desperately need a new tablesaw, Mine is getting very old and sloppy... but I want one with some features that SawStop doesn't offer on their saws. I've been waiting for years now for this law to pass so that other manufacturers will step up and do this before I buy my next saw. Hurry up already dammit.

I've got two creative teenage daughters I'd like to teach how to use the table saw.... but not until this is a feature my saw has.... because I'd have to kick my own butt sooo hard if my beautiful daughter cut a finger off because I didn't buy the safest tool possible.

A couple hundred extra bucks? BFD. My kids fingers are worth that... and... Ummm so are mine. I lost 4 toes in an accident 25 years ago, and let me tell you, I'd pay a load of money to get those back.
Posted: 1:07 pm on June 20th

dalee dalee writes: i'm a 70 year old woodworker. i have a General 650 table saw which was manufactured prior to the addition of riving knives. i am considering getting the the General "add on kit", but am balking a little at the price. i always work without the blade guard, although i have a shop made guard i use when doing a lot of ripping and i use a shop made sled rather than miter guage for most cross cut work. guess what i have all my appendages and i plan to die that way. a table saw is a dangerous piece of equipment and should be used with respect and caution. i won't exhaust you with my usual work regimen, but i use push stick, splitters etc. mostly i use care and common sense. the closest i've come to an injury was from a kick back. fortunately i, like always, was standing where i should have and the only injury was to my shop refrigerator. alas, people are always trying to save us poor woodworkers from ourselves. they realize that we are not the best and brightest. if we were, we would be driving while talking on our cell phones, or better yet, texting. come to think of it wouldn't it be better to stop people from doing DUMB things that can hurt someone else and let us do with ourselves what we will.
Posted: 12:56 pm on June 20th

taxus taxus writes: I´m an American cabinetmaker living and working in Germany. I was telling an older collegue of mine here about this new Saw-stop technology that I´ve been reading about in FWW. He told me that he had seen a demonstation of something very similar at a trade fair here in Germany when he was a young man about 25-30 years ago.
My question is, did the Saw-stop people invent this technology or has it been around for a long time?
Posted: 12:21 pm on June 20th

taxus taxus writes: I´m an American cabinetmaker living and working in Germany. I was telling an older collegue of mine here about this new Saw-stop technology that I´ve been reading about in FWW. He told me that he had seen a demonstation of something very similar at a trade fair here in Germany when he was a young man about 25-30 years ago.
My question is, did the Saw-stop people invent this technology or has it been around for a long time?
Posted: 12:21 pm on June 20th

tbw tbw writes: Awesome. It's about time. Just the hint of stiffer regulations got the industry working on safer machines. I'd like to see the Bosch guarding system.
Posted: 10:44 am on June 20th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: It is unbelievably silly to read about ones personal responsibility, as a justification for not having a technology that eliminates the chances of maiming one self---how illogical is that. No one desires Gov. intrusion in their lives but there are issues that are for the public good and like it or not this is one of them.
I have been reading with distained amazement over the years on how fellow woodworkers, specifically Joe-home owner types, can be so childish and brandy about a twisted machismo about a technology that can save them and their loved ones from disaster dispite their incompetance. If this technology had been implemented early on, this whole issue now would be a non-starter. It would be standard fair with only the conspiracy theorist---which are legion in our ranks---ranting on.

The patent on the technology will run its course within the next seven or eight years. I will guarantee that all the TS manufactures will come out with sawstop tech on their machines, and low and behold, the cost will be what it will be at the time. Gass (with the help of insurance companies) will sue the industry for racketeering, win God knows how much and life goes on at our expense. As far as the goofball who won the millions, it was the workman’s comp insurance company that sued on his behalf. The writing on the wall is that any individual who works for someone that requires him/her to use a TS can and possibly will have their relative workman’s compensation insurance company suing on their behalf to cover their expenses plus punitive costs that by extension affect solo home shops as well. The lobbyist that are driving this issue are the insurance companies that do not want to foot the bill anymore since the tech exists to prevent major incidence thus increasing their respective profits if they can force manufacturers to implement the technology. It is really that simple. However, when you have to deal with people with child like minds you cannot argue logic with their illogic mindset. My children make wonderful arguments relative to their 10 and 12 year old minds but they lack the maturity to see beyond themselves and their selfishness---a situation that is clear with the SawStop, government in my life, conspiracy theorist since they cannot see the forest through the trees when it comes to this issue.

Posted: 10:42 am on June 20th

Peltrie Peltrie writes: I can pretty much agree with everyone in this forum. There are many good points. Everyone feels that there's a government takeover in the industry or one man reaping all the benefits. I'm an intermediate woodworker as a hobby and this has been discussed for over 20 yrs. Now that I'm almost 50, a man developed technology that could potentially result in no injuries and people are pissed off. If you don't know it by now YES! It's greed, YES! Someone impeding on your rights, YES to all your concerns! But those who are responsible need to drill it into the heads of those who are making the dumb mistakes. And then have the ordacity to want to sue because you didn't turn the saw off and let the blade stop spinning! We should all ask ourselves? How in the h**! did we arrive here anyway?

A lot of the blame is on the user. If one would take time to read instructions or be taught by someone with years of experience then the accidents wouldn't be so high? In my line of work, soldiers die. The question is? Will you take the time of putting on that guard to save an arm or finger. Accidents do happen, paying attention to detail and be repetitive in safety. Now let's all get our tablesaws and blow sawdust on the White House lawn!
Posted: 10:26 am on June 20th

ryno101 ryno101 writes: There has been a large amount of vitriol flying around in this forum about this, and while I'm opposed to mandating this technology for all saws, it's not because of my view of the government, per se.

Ultimately, I think that the free market should determine this issue, and we should not let users performing dangerous cuts drive legislation. The injury that spurred this legislation in the first place was CLEARLY caused by user error. The guy was ripping hardwood flooring on a cheap saw, without using the fence, a blade guard or a push stick. The fact that the technology existed to "prevent" his injury doesn't imply (IMHO) liability on the part of the manufacturer of the saw, it's HIS EMPLOYER that should have been held liable!

Whether adding SawStop technology costs $100 or $500, that cost will ultimately lead to the elimination of the low-cost, benchtop saw, which is not built to handle the stresses of stopping the blade. Like many, my financial situation meant that if I wanted to get started in woodworking, there was no way I was going to be able to go out and buy a $800+ table saw. I'm now on my 3rd table saw in 6 years of woodworking. I will continue to buy the best tools that I can afford, and would love to get a SawStop, but my Craftsman "hybrid" cabinet saw was what I could afford.

I see this legislation as having the potential to eliminate the "weekend warrior" DIY'er, or worse, turning woodworking into something no longer accessible to all, regardless of their economic status.

I'm all for safety, when it doesn't contribute to the growing gap between the "haves" and the "have nots". If the jury on the case that spurred this had been woodworkers, we would never have gotten to this point.
Posted: 9:59 am on June 20th

woodsurgin woodsurgin writes: My only table saw injury was kickback. No, it was not reported. Sawstop would not have prevented this. my worst injury was to the tip of my finger on my jointer.
It is a sign of this generation to make everything like a Fisher Price toy.
one of the best cautions I remember was "Be careful, we don't have insurance.
I retired from a major aerospace foundry. Their approach was when someone got injured, the tool was taken away from them.
Where do we stop?
Posted: 9:56 am on June 20th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: You might (and even this is slim) have and argument for government regulation is the "evil" saw manufacturers were involved in some malevolent plot to keep this technology from ever seeing the light of day. But, it is out there on the market for anyone who wants to buy it.

And, lets think about Mr. Gass' claim that it would only cost $100 per saw, honestly, I don't think that would even cover his licensing fee per saw. The brake cartridges alone are $69 - $89, and how about the cost of re-engineering each saw to withstand the phenomenal amount of force it takes to stop a saw blade that fast and violently. Which leads to the astronomical increase is price for these newly engineered tabletop and contractor saw, which most of us started out on because of the price point. Looks like that $100 is a just a pipe dream.
Posted: 9:56 am on June 20th

JFoley JFoley writes: I agree that the technology is good but what's next... blade-stop on your lawn mower, chain saw, hedge trimmer, circular saw, chop saw, band saw, scissors, pencil sharpener... the list goes on forever. We can't be protected from everything.
Posted: 9:05 am on June 20th

hoover031 hoover031 writes: When I bought my table saw two years ago I thought long and hard about which one to buy. Should I go the low ball, medium or higher end. I bought the Sawstop contractors saw. It fits my needs and by the way it is a great saw. I read all the comments about accidents being the persons fault. Yep I agree. ALL of us make mistakes . I bought the Sawstop so that when and if I make a mistake the odds are on MY side. All of you who are gung ho anti regulation and think all those folks who made mistakes and suffered serious injury were at fault, good luck. I truly hope you don't have an injury. For me, I'm glad there is a company who sells a product with my safety in mind. If you insist upon using that table saw that cost you a few hundred bucks less, please make sure you have really good health insurance to cover the thousands of dollars for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation services.
Posted: 8:24 am on June 20th

Bedrock608 Bedrock608 writes: As I am part neanderthal, I say we all go back to handsaws to rip and cut our wood. Forget making the fancy cove moldings, the tenons, the dados, grooves, and rabbets, etc., made on the table saw with all kinds of jigs and whatnot. Handsaws, Marking Knives, Hand Planes, and Molding Planes made them all for centuries and I don't remember seeing any one armed carpenter/furniture builders in the old line drawings and paintings! (this is somewhat tongue in cheek!)

Now for the politial part)If you want a Sawstop, buy one!
Unless we are giving up on the open market/capitalism, then the government has done enough by requiring the inclusion of riving knives on new table saws. I still like having a choice in what I buy and how I use it.
That is what is great about America!
Posted: 8:11 am on June 20th

Old_Ironballs Old_Ironballs writes: I often read these debates with interest and from afar (I live in the UK) and it's fair to say that most UK woodworkers are equally incredulous that the Ryobi case ever made it to court and that you lot still don't seem to be prepared to embrace riving knives, guards and pushsticks (in the majority).

If you don't do those things then an accident is inevitable, these threads are always peppered with guys saying they've been using saws for years without protection and with no accidents, right up until the other day when X happened. We're always taught to use guards and knives, to stand out of the firing line of wood that could be kicked back, to always use a pushstick from the side to keep lateral pressure on the piece and to use a pushtick going towards the blade as soon as your hand reaches the table. You should also only have the fence projecting as far as the first gulley on the saw blade to reduce the chances of kickback, not across the length of the table. People often forget that table saws in rip mode are not about achieving the final finish, it's the first step in the machining process so you shouldn't be trying to do things with the saw that get you closer to that final finish and closer to an accident. Rip fences are a prime example of this.

I think in the US you will end up with SawStop type technology being mandated on all new equipment and you'll all have to pay for it. The fault for this can be laid at the feet at your suing culture and a very poor attitude to health and safety; it's not the wild west, you're not trying to tame or conquer a piece of wood and you have to get past the issue of "no-one is gonna tell me what to do"
Posted: 7:40 am on June 20th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: I have an idea for a new power tool, just put all your wood into the hopper at one end of a big black box and the completed project comes out the other (sanded and finished), that way we are never exposed to sharp things or dust or chemicals. And my target price for this is $100 ... or so. If you want the options that lets you decide what is made, that will cost a "little" more.
Posted: 7:18 am on June 20th

pilot_151 pilot_151 writes: Although I agree that Sawstop is an awesome product and I intend to purchase one this fall, I totally disagree that there should be a regulation that puts the whole shooting match in one mans pocket. Does Monopoly ring a bell. First and foremost, I disagree that government should be allowed to tell me what I can buy for my workshop. I have no problem with drafting guide lines and setting up incentive programs to put more money into R&D.

Someone needs to explain why we can have regulations that tell us that we must wear a seatbelt but we can't force a law that motorcyclist must wear a helmet (at least in Connecticut). There are more deaths with a motorcyclist not wearing a helemt than people getting hurt with a table saw.

So until we get a government that can run the country properly, stay the heck out of my shop!!!!!
Posted: 7:17 am on June 20th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: Just cruising through the discussion here again, I noticed that there are a lot of hand surgeons posting here, and each one sees 2-4 table saw injuries per week - Really? That's 100-200 per year, and "amputation" injuries make up about, what, 10% of table saw injuries. So that means 1000-2000 (BTW 72% on table saw injuries are from kickback) table saw injuries per year just in each of their towns/cities. And that's just table saw injuries, add in routers and drill presses, planers and joiners, and ... Oh My God its a blood bath out there. The tool manufactures are trying to kill off all the woodworkers, the government need to ban woodworking or we will all be maimed or dead in just a couple of years. How do people involved in car accidents or having heart attacks even get into the emergency rooms packed with injured woodworkers, something has to be done... and it has to be done for the kids how can little Johnny learn how to catch a football when his dad doesn't have fingers to throw the ball.
This whole acting like a fear mongering liberal thing is fun, I can almost see why you guys do it.
Oh, the percentage stats are directly from the National Safety Council (yes another #$@!% govt bureaucracy) web site, so don't whine that I just made them up. In fact, I am sure that the percentage of injuries from kick back are much higher, because I am positive they all don't get reported.

Posted: 7:16 am on June 20th

lash66 lash66 writes: But a tip of the hat to The Laminator as well. Having taught high school shop, I was always a near, nervous wreck whenever the tablesaw was running. If we're going to require something, it might just be that schools use only saws with Stop technology. Here we go, the government that would so require the saws use is also cutting funding for our schools. Want to start yet another topic for discussion?
Posted: 5:04 am on June 20th

lash66 lash66 writes: In Readers Divided by Tablesaw Verdict, Jeff Justis speaks favorably of government mandated safety technologies. As a retired hand surgeon, he's well aware of the awful things that can happen on a tablesaw. I owe the continued use of my index and middle finger to two hours of work by a hand surgeon after my hand coming in contact with a tablesaw blade. I'm ever grateful. Losing a finger is tough to afford, however, as a retired hand surgeon, Justis is well able to afford whatever the price of preventing exactly that. Expensive enough, tablesaws wont get any cheaper with Stop technology required. I have what I can afford. A Craftsman Cabinet Saw. Having nearly cut off two fingers, my fault, four years later, I still use the same tablesaw. Far more carefully.
Posted: 4:45 am on June 20th

The Laminator The Laminator writes: I taught kids woodworking (often terrifying) and the fact that someone had the brains to invent something that can avoid the loss of limb or digit and then has to start a company to get a saw equipped with it into the market says far too much about the real safety concerns of the tool industry.
Yeah we should all be careful and not over reach and not drink poisons and get pregnant when a baby is not the intent, but stuff happens. And if there is an easy proven way to help avoid these things who wouldn't advocate for their use?
Should we be forced to throw out or old table-saws? Of course not.
But in the future, one should use the new fangled wheel instead of dragging stuff from point to point by polesled , prevent diseases with vaccines and utilize the inventiveness of your fellow man to avoid injury.. And get these blade stop things onto saws...
Hey if Delta and Porta cable and Powermatic etc (aren't they all the same at this point?)want to invent a better safety saw stop rather than buying Gass's technology, Lettem do so..... Remind me , was there something stopping them from doing so while Gass invented and tried to peddle his idea to them? I didn't think so...
Posted: 4:40 am on June 20th

Ferdinandfrog Ferdinandfrog writes: I have a Sawstop and it is fully worth it. i know that if i do something stupid it is going to be there to back me up. Sawstop should be a mandate and all other companies making tablesaws should be forced to stop making their tablesaws. Sawstop should be the only option
Posted: 10:41 pm on June 19th

dalefv dalefv writes: A table saw is a very dangerous machine to use, it is not a machine to just walk up to turn on and use without some amount of conscious thought. Personally I do not want to own a saw stop nor would I want anyone else to have to purchase on if they did not first want one. The reason is quite simple, I do not want people to experiment by touching the side of the blade as it is running to see what happens. The cost is to high and the ware on the arbor of the saw to great. The idea of having a shop is not to see how many times blades and stops can be replaced. I have been using table saws for over 35 years and have been harmed in one incident. Having a stop saw would not have saved me from the incident, I was not touching the saw in any way when the incident happened. Shit happens and one must be aware of what can happen and be ready for it. Making a business pay more for something which will no adequately protect someone is not good.
Posted: 10:41 pm on June 19th

marcor marcor writes: It is sad to me that when we have the technology to make things safer the industry puts profits first, it will be great if they where to lower their prices and make it available to all of us. In one hand you have government intrusiveness and in the other you have only those who can afore a stop saw with all ten fingers.
Posted: 10:22 pm on June 19th

paulmouse paulmouse writes: Several years ago I cut myself on a portable table saw. It was my fault and I did not sue the manufacturer or anyone else. It was a stupid mistake that I plan not to make again. Even if you were given no training on how to safely operate a table saw, who would not be fearful of using one? Careless or whatever doesn't matter, you can't fix stupid with laws. By allowing people to sue over a careless mistake or improper training has made everybody's insurance go up. The lawyers are happy. This guy sued the wrong people. Even if it just adds $100 to a job site saw, that could add 50% or more to the cost of a saw. The saw manufacturer was not at fault and the lawsuit against them should be thrown out.
Posted: 9:09 pm on June 19th

tbro tbro writes: Well, the nice thing about a good table saw is that they never wear out. Mine's 34 in July and will outlive me, so Inez Tenenbaum can .......

I think it would be reasonable to require manufacturers to offer them and let the market decide the value or if it warrants a purchase.

If they would affect insurance rates, why have I never seen a rate adjustment offered by my insurers?

Yes, I've got scars on my hands, but they came from grinders, and I've got no one to blame but myself.
Posted: 9:04 pm on June 19th

ChrisRautman ChrisRautman writes: OK. I have a 1952-vintage Delta Unisaw (by Rockwell Manufacturing, no less!), which I dearly love and have used for years.. No guard. No flesh-sensing technology. I have always felt that the knowledge of that spinning blade clearly visible at all times kept me sharp and focused.

However, yesterday afternoon, the unthinkable happened. I was just finishing up making some cove moulding, using a nifty jig to ensure that every thing would be held firmly where it should be. Again, very aware of where the blade was at all times, the piece was finished and I was removing it from the table area.

Blang! It happened. Somehow I had let my guard down at the very last split second (in relief that the inherently somewhat dangerous operation had been completed successfully?), and my middle finger contacted and was smartly kicked back by the spinning blade. Yup. It had happened to me. Un-freakin'-believable!

I had six hours (and time for 14 stitches) in the ER to think about this whole debate, which I have been following since the beginning. Will I go out now and pop for a SawStop. What about "intrusive government? Heck! What about my beloved 1952 Unisaw!?? What about my (firm) belief in personal responsibility?

My wife tells me it was a true "accident". I knew what I was attempting to do. I had prepared by researching the procedure and by building a suitable jig to reduce the risk. I used extreme caution in executing the cut, taking it slowly with many repeated passes over the blade, and -- indeed -- I was rewarded with a perfectly cut 48-inch length of cove moulding.

Yet there I was, in real pain bleeding from a sliced fingertip (that could have been much MUCH worse). And I'm here today hunting-and-pecking my way through this comment, when I'm a good touch typist. My miserable finger hurts!

No, I'm not going to sue Delta. No, I'm not going to sue whoever it was who posted the article with the plans for the jig I was using. Or the place that sold me the wood. Everything worked exactly as it should have -- except that I let my guard down 10 milliseconds too soon.

They say that "Pride goeth before a fall." Yet there was no "pride" here, thinking that >>I<< couldn't get hurt. I was fully aware of the danger and had tried to reduce the risk appropriately. I consider myself a very safe and cautious driver, and my driving record bears that out. Yet I always fasten my (government-mandated) seatbelt and my vehicle has (government-mandated) airbags. I'm still thinking about that 10-millisecond gap.
Just food for thought.....


Posted: 8:41 pm on June 19th

10fingerswis 10fingerswis writes: It will never end.The government will always decide was is best for us up to the time we speak up.Don't like what they say??? Do something,speak up,or just shut up sit down, whine and let them do it.Some one once said the pen is mightier than the sword.Write and tell the Consumer Products Safety Commission to drop it.Being a member of the "silent" won't do a thing.
Posted: 8:40 pm on June 19th

kingwood kingwood writes: Nearly everything we use is dangerous and requires great care and all the protections provided.My table saw is still waiting for the guards to be installed after a 12 year wait. Our eyes are included when all else fails. The government does a sorry job of regulation in my opinion.. Harry
Posted: 8:19 pm on June 19th

planesnboxes planesnboxes writes: Although there are many interesting perspectives and an equal number of compelling arguments either way, this as with any case of it's type, comes down to money. Mainly for the litigators, not necessarily to the injured party. Yes, this may be a cynical view, but I contest an accurate one. If this technology truly cost only in the $100 range to include, Most saw makers would have bought the license and included it in their mid and upper level saws. Newsflash!! They didn't. Plus, clearly the saw manufacturers in this case can not be responsible for making sure every user is both properly instructed and using the equipment properly. That would be about the same as a spray paint manufacturer being held responsible for the user spraying it in front of their furnace, regardless of the warnings plastered all over the can. Labels, government intervention, additional costs, and safety features cannot impart common sense. Do not misunderstand, I like the technology, and think it can be improved upon, and I think it will. Communication is a good thing. Suing anyone for injuries due to your own negligence is why our insurance rates are so high.
Posted: 8:03 pm on June 19th

elhat elhat writes: Table saws can be dangerous tools, even in hands of experienced users.
The dangers are clearly visible even to inexperienced users.
Most of the existing regulations regarding tools are to protect from invisible risks or from injuries that might
occur during normal, proper use.
Buyers have a wide range of safety features on various models from which they can choose.
Table saw users constitute a relatively small percentage of the total population.
Table saws are generally not purchased (or used) by children.
Anyone who wants a SawStop saw can buy one.
Commercial enterprises using a less safe technology risk potential liability claims and/or loss of productivity and/or additional costs. It is prudent for them to assess those risks versus the cost of mitigation.
Table saw injuries caused by the blade are rarely fatal. Kickback is much more likely to produce fatal injuries.
Table saw injuries are generally confined to a single individual per occurrence.
Society's cost from fatal injuries is minimal.
Society's cost from non-fatal injuries is far less than from a great number of other unregulated products.

Exactly what societal problem exists here that trumps the individual's right to choose and so requires federal government regulation?

One common argument is that table saw injury rates cause everyone's homeowner's or medical insurance premiums to be higher.
-Really? Table saw use must surely be an infinitesimal component of the amalgamated risk which would include such things as climbing ladders, peeling potatoes, running barefoot, food poisoning, playing sports, etc,., etc., etc. Does anyone really believe that if table saws were banned entirely our insurance rates would drop?

Table saw injuries are sometimes severely/permanently disfiguring/disabling.
- Is this a rational reason for stipulating the design of the tool? Would you apply the same rational to minimizing hunting accidents? skiing injuries? boating accidents? chronic sports injuries?, and other hobby/recreational activities and equipment? It has been applied, and properly so, to those activities which are necessary and pervasive in our society and broadly endangering relative to the instigator - such as automobiles, commercial aircraft, refrigerators, etc.. Table saws do not yet fit in this category although I'm sure the tool manufacturers hope someday to be there.

If you support the SawStop design requirement for table saws, would you also support OSHA regulation of home workshops?

Posted: 6:42 pm on June 19th

shoptool61 shoptool61 writes: It seems to me that if they cost only 100-200 bucks mr Gass would be selling them like hotcakes to schools and other resposible manufacturers just to lower thier insurance rates.
If they can prove that it can be an add on to any saw, bench top included for only 200 bucks I think people wood start adding it on thier own without the government intrusion.
Posted: 6:34 pm on June 19th

PatriotWorks PatriotWorks writes: Jef spews: "Take two valium and call me in the morning. When the 'market' does not respond on safety issues, the government must!"

You flaming socialist!

First the insult, then the guilt trip.
This is deeper than getting an "ouchy".

Tyranny exists because of people like you, not despite people like you.


"So be it"


How causal you can be with liberty!

A decidedly Canadian accent reveals even more. You people seem doomed to repeat the history of the past.

The idea government dictates what is safe and what is not is not only abhorrent but unsustainable.

I am willing to extract a pound of flesh for the ongoing insanity promoted by our recently elected Faith Hope and Change bunch.

I do not accept an outside authority telling me what is safe and what is not safe nor do I accept government making a criminal out of me!


SawStop is a fair product that should be marketed.
The decision should be left to the consumer.
Next case.

What is really happening is American's ability to produce is under attack by a Saul Alinsky advocate in the white house.


I'll take the valium, you do the jail time comrade.






Posted: 5:44 pm on June 19th

jef_keighley jef_keighley writes: Fine Woodworking friends:

Take two valium and call me in the morning. When the 'market' does not respond on safety issues, the government must! Detroit didn't put all the safety features we find in today's automobiles because the 'market' delivered the goods, so government had to act in the absence of market action. The same goes for tools. I for one welcome safer tools. Yes I am careful. Yes I take pride in knowing how to use my tools safely. Yes I still have all my fingers and thumbs. But I know that every time I'm in my shop, I could have an accident and do myself some serious lifelong harm. So if safer saws add somewhat to the cost of tools, so be it. With regulation, manufacturers will be compelled to research 'better mousetraps', and if the history of the auto sector is any guide, they will do it and do it well and we'll all be the better for it.

By the way, that's be $100 for the medical advice.

Jef Keighley,
Halfmoon Bay, B.C.
Posted: 5:08 pm on June 19th

tripan tripan writes: So, buy a saw with saw stop technology, remove the sawstop mechanism, get hurt and sue Steve Gass & Co.... done.
If one can remove existing safety technology, sue and win, what's to prevent removing future tech, suing and wining?

Futhermore, I wonder, if I drive my car and do not wear the seat belt, crash , go through the winshield, and end up in a coma for three months, can I sue the auto manufacturer... no, everyone simply says... you should have worn your seatbelt, jackass.
Posted: 5:00 pm on June 19th

PatriotWorks PatriotWorks writes: I find proponents of government mandated SawStop advocates utterly repugnant.
Our nation is under attack by a socialist schemes and you lemmings are dancing to the tunes.

Fine Woodworking indeed!
Posted: 4:03 pm on June 19th

PatriotWorks PatriotWorks writes: Let the market decide the course of The SawStop!
If we let government determine our future, few of us will be capable of getting out of bed!
I, for one say the SawStop wrecks the wrong component.
Instead, The SawStop should deliver the same energy used to destroy the saw to the user.

Table saws were around when I was a yoot.
I'm 57.
I am to believe the table saw has been determined by government officials is such a dangerous tool the males f one of the smartest species on the planet is incapable of besting this tool?

Or is this just another in a long line of Saul Alinsky style attacks on America conducted by The Usurper is Chief?

What is needed is a SawStop on Obama's ..........
Posted: 3:54 pm on June 19th

Richfo Richfo writes: Sawstop should be a required item in say vocational schools and where teaching is the main objective. However to invite the government into our own homes and dictate to the consumer what equipment is required is a government that has way too much power on their hands. If a consumer feels that sawstop is a good investment-he will buy it.
Posted: 3:10 pm on June 19th

rlstutzman rlstutzman writes: How many woodworkers take off the blade guard cover and throw it in drawer after trying use it...lots! I would suspect the sawstop feature would be disabled right after the electronics falsely triggered and distroyed a $150 carbide blade. I work in the electronic mfg business and know the reliability of electronics trying to measure human "touch". Sadly our Government believes they have the right to spend more of our tax dollars on increasing the cost of a table saw to keep us more safe. Well maybe after USA gov goes totally in financial default,this kind of nonsense regulation will finally end.
Posted: 2:18 pm on June 19th

jezwakefield jezwakefield writes: I have listened with interest to the comments being posted over the last few months on this issue. In February this year I was using my table saw to cut a small pen blank with all of the guards in place and using a push stick in my right hand. When I finished the cut I bent down to turn off the saw not realising my left hand was on the table. My hand must have slid as I did this and as a result I shattered my left index finger on a brand new blade. Whose fault was this? The saw manufacturer, the legislators, perhaps it was the blade maker, after all I was using all of the current safety equipment.
NO it was mine I have worked with wood for 30 years without serious injury, I knew better, but I made the error, no one else was to blame.
The saw manufactures make their machines as safe as they feel they can within the price customers are prepared to pay, no one wants years of litigation. We cut wood, this needs sharp blades and inherently dangerous equipment that will do this. If you are worried about this take up knitting (but remember to put a cork on the ends of the needles for safety!). People need to own up to their own mistakes and to stop blaming others, legislation should only be used when it is obvious that a machine is so unsafe as to show a clear danger to the user, not to make up for unsafe practices in the first place. Are we to be told next that chisels should have automatic guards fitted as they are sharp?
Posted: 2:15 pm on June 19th

macropod macropod writes:
What happens when the manufacturer of the brake module goes out of business as companies do from time to time? Does the government bail them out because they are just too important to fail?


Posted: 1:44 pm on June 19th

papaworx papaworx writes: I wonder, how much it costs a company in lobbyist fees to get a government agency to declare a proprietary techology to become compusory?
Posted: 1:30 pm on June 19th

fjjf1 fjjf1 writes: Sounds like sawzall316 is the one who needs to grow up. budh17 makes a valid point if you agree with it or not. I happen to agree with it, but am surprised by the number of people who don’t. I guess they are the reason my iron says not to iron clothes while wearing them.
Posted: 12:58 pm on June 19th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: budh17, grow up, your missing the point.
Posted: 11:34 am on June 19th

budh17 budh17 writes: I am typing this note with about 2/3rds of my left index finger missing. I lost it about 10 years ago one December morning working in my shop. I had been making beveled trim for a oak wall cabinet and had gone to the house for lunch and when I returned I grabbed a piece of red oak to check the bevel, held one hand below tht bit and one above and before I knew it ,as the oak touched the bit, it caught the oak and pulled my finger thru the bit faster than the blink of a eye (5 milliseconds?). I changed the height of the bit before I went for lunch and did not notice I had raised the flat vertical part of the bit above the table before I tried the bevel. Result. loss of finger to the first joint.Did I sue anyone? No! My own fault, not the bit, not the router mfg, not the table mfg, no one. And I didn't ask the government to only sell bevel bits with without any vertical/flats on them. We don't need the government mandating what I need on my next Unisaw (19 yrs. old)if it ever wears out. You can't regulate common sense and that is what is needed. Too bad they can't regulate common sense to some juries. That's where the problem lies
Posted: 11:21 am on June 19th

WyoRob WyoRob writes: I own a SawStop cabinet saw. I willing paid the extra money for the safety system, and perhaps lost in all this is the fact that besides the safety system, the SawStop is a high quality table saw.
I smile reading about those who boldly proclaim “keep the government out of my shop!”. What rubbish. Without government protection the tools we use, the finishes we apply, etc. would all be made as cheap as possible, and although “let the buyer beware” is easy to say, who among us has the resources to truly investigate each and every tool, chemical, and so on to be sure it meets minimal safety guidelines?
Left to their own, any industry will forgo safety for cost. Most of the stuff we buy, tools included, come from China. With the track record they have, do you really want to put your safety in their hands? Remember the lead paint in toys, and poison in pet food? Imagine how dangerous driving a car would be without regulations. I agree that government tends to overdo it at times, but is this technology really overdoing it? I think not.

Posted: 11:13 am on June 19th

Splinter1 Splinter1 writes: I understand the debate and back-lash but I can testify sometimes, even when you are careful and have a great track record for safety, you can become injured. I found that out the hard way! After 30+ years experience, in a blink of an eye, and you can not take it back! Is it worth $100 - $200? Years ago I would have said no! Now I say yes!!!!
Posted: 11:06 am on June 19th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: How silly is it to read about personal responsibility, as a justification for not including a tech that eliminates the chances of maiming one self---how illogical is that. Read this and push that ridicules concept out of your mind, The SawStop Tech is a very real necessity!
I have been reading with distained amazement over the years on how fellow woodworkers can be so childish about a tech that can save them and their loved ones from disaster. When you have to deal with people with child like minds you cannot argue logic with their illogic mindset. My children make wonderful arguments relative to their 10 and 12 year old minds but they lack the maturity to see beyond their years---a situation that is clear with the SawStop neigh Sayers since they cannot see the forest through the trees.

Posted: 10:45 am on June 19th

philtomlinson philtomlinson writes: Really, you just gotta love all the "free-market" fanatics out there. Do you all really think the marketplace would be better off with no regulation?

Can you imagine football with no rules or refs? How long would it take before there were a hundred players on a side, armed with bats and guns?

The purpose of good government is to set the rules of the game and then let the players compete. Were it not for the government rules there would still be no seatbelts in cars (auto manufacturers were SURE it would send the wrong message and frighten people), no airbags (same reason), no water or air pollution controls, and so on. And if most free-marketers had their way, there would be no way for injured parties to sue because of so-called tort reform.

The best way for the CPSC to handle this is to make a set of general rules about saw safety, and let the industry find a way to comply. Surely SawStop can't be the only possible solution to tablesaw injuries. Let other inventors and manufacturers come up with solutions. Let them compete.

I've been a woodworker for 35 years and still have all my body parts. But history tells us that manufacturers will NOT make changes unless they have to. So let's raise the bar.
Posted: 9:52 am on June 19th

OldSneelock OldSneelock writes: Rather than repeat well explained detrimental reasons. I just vote no.

Posted: 9:49 am on June 19th

davidwood davidwood writes:
The sawstop is a good invention that can be used in many industrial machinery and not just the tablesaw.

The tablesaw is a bad idea and tool.
The perfect tool to show you that you pay for any and all the mistakes, even for the hidden one's.

If many of us had the luck to have 10 fingers after so many cuts..cudos to our luck and nothing else.

If the machine requires perfection in all fronts the answer is simple. The machine is not made for humans.
The machine requires training and not to be sold to anyone without a licence.

Here is a simple scenario.
Young kid looks at the ease of cutting wood in a tv show and he wants to make something for his house..ending up in the emergency room and get blaimed for his stupidity.

The stat's are enough to pull that tool out of the market or make it better. Sawstop, sawdrop...whatever it takes.

But again, even with all safety devices and jigs the machine is not designed to do many tasks that are shown on forums, TV and books. A removable riving knife is a removable riving knife. A removable guard is a hanging guard.
Do you like to make tablasaws?
Make it safe ( knowning the facts presented to you)
or face the jury...why you made an unsafe tool knowning the facts???

I stopped using tablesaws long time ago.
I use newer methods and inventions.
But I cant see a TS without a sawstop or a similar device.
Never mind the politics and the money that inventor deserves to make... The offering of an unsafe tool to anyone is bordering a crime.

IMHO and many future court cases...
9fingered VS TS manufacturer, educator, marketer, retailers, magazines and even schools...

Posted: 8:56 am on June 19th

umbach umbach writes: Safety features are almost always a good thing. Saw stop technology, or the like, may make a difference and reduce injuries. However, the consumer should decide what features they desire in their equipment, NOT the government. EVERYTHING we do has some inherent danger. It's up to each individual to decide how to manage those risks.

Nothing in history, that was preventable, has caused more disabling injuries and death than alcohol. Therefore, every container should contain a built in breathalyzer (sp?), so one cannot open it unless they test below the legal limit! Sounds stupid, but we are headed that way with this line of thinking and government legislation/ mandates!!
Posted: 8:55 am on June 19th

EKWicks EKWicks writes: Many commenters argue that the SawStop safety mechanism should not be required because most of the accidents are the result of the human error, inattention, or stupidity. But how does this observation, which is probably accurate, negate the argument for requiring the safety mechanism? The same could be said for most auto accidents. Human beings make errors all the time. That's the point! I lost the feeling in one finger as a result of a mishap with a biscuit jointer. In hindsight, I know this was because I did something that was unsafe, but I didn't realize that at the time. Is there any woodworker who hasn't done something that was unsafe? When it's possible to safeguard against this at a reasonable cost (which $100 certainly is, if that's the price), then it should be required.
Posted: 8:25 am on June 19th

NoelNNY NoelNNY writes: Richard Davis, developer of the Second Chance protective vest, demonstrates the effectiveness of his product by shooting himself at point blank range, or others shooting him - and totally survives. He has demonstrated the effectiveness of his product in this manner over 200 times.

Is Steve Gass, engineer and inventor, willing to do the same to show the effectiveness of the this product in the same manner?

A hotdog on a slab of plywood is not a human finger - Steve Gass has ten of them - but is he willing to sacrifice one of them to stand behind his invention?

I think not - I think he envisions his name to change at the expense of others stupidity and careless ness - and if this goes through he will spell his name - $teven Ga$$.
Posted: 7:11 am on June 19th

Stangage Stangage writes: While the Sawstop will prevent much damage to a hotdog being slowly pushed through a spinning table saw blade (not so the $100 saw blade and the $60 cartridge) a little bit of simple analysis would demonstrate that it is probably much less effective against the types of careless use that have triggered an interest in this supposed savior of fingers and arms.
Let's say a user is pushing small stock through the blade fast. About 7 feet per second is probably not unrealistic (about the speed of a moderate walking pace). At 5 milliseconds to stop the blade, the cut is still going to progress about 1/2 inch through the flesh and bone of the contacting digit. If the user is slipping or falling or reaching out quickly to grab a falling piece of stock, probably even worse.
The next time you see a Saw Stop demo, instead of being sweet talked into a false sense of safety by the slow push demo, take the hot dog and gently slap the top of the blade - and proceed to pick up the 2 pieces.
I'd lay odds that if the demonstrator is a factory rep they won't let you do this predicated more than likely on the argument that "it's too dangerous". What's wrong with this picture?
You're only safe when you work safely. SawStop will give you the false illusion that you're protected from dumb or inattentive behavior. You're not!!!!!
Posted: 12:47 am on June 19th

charlie_olsen charlie_olsen writes: While we're at it, let's see if we can get the brakes out of cars. They just lead to over-confidence, in my experience, and they're lethal on ice. Yet the government forces us to pay for them, whether we roll through stop signs or not! If brakes really worked, we wouldn't have so many traffic fatalities. But statistics show that almost every collision involves the use of brakes. The skid marks spell it out. And did you ever notice — brake lights are red! Well, that tells you every thing you need to know, doesn't it. I mean, if I want to stop, I just hit something — or somebody, if I don't want to lose any paint. Hence, my new bumper sticker: "I've got a horn, why do I need brakes?" Every freedom lover needs one. Just send a check or money order to...


Posted: 11:17 pm on June 18th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: I agree with those who say that when it comes to my PERSONAL shop, whether for hobby or livelihood, it should be my choice. My opinion is different when it comes to shops that employ others. Employees have no control over the quality of equipment that they are asked to use. They are at the mercy of their employer's discretion. Employers should take reasonable steps to provide reasonable levels of security and safety. You can say that the sawstop technology only protects the foolish, but the undeniable truth is that we are all foolish (evidenced by the fact that we choose not to pursue a safer hobby/livelihood). The real issue is the coincidence of our foolishness with the bad fortune of a circumstance that can cause harm. To wit - we have all taken our eyes off the road while driving, but most of us have been lucky enough not to hit anything. The less often we are foolish, the fewer occasions for coincidence.

From a practical side, if you are an employer, and you pay for workers' comp insurance, you are truly a fool not to have a SawStop. Given that any injury with a table saw is likely to be severe, investment in a SawStop is far less costly than the increase in your insurance premiums that will come from nearly any table saw injury.
Posted: 11:07 pm on June 18th

bobwojo bobwojo writes: Safety is my responsibility not the governments.
Posted: 10:23 pm on June 18th

woodchuck1954 woodchuck1954 writes: Tell me something? If it only adds $100 for each new tablesaw, how come the prices of Sawstop saws are typically double or triple the price of most other manufacturer's saws? Contractor saw for $2000. It seems to me, only fools and idiots need this technology. Would you want to work near one of these guys. They ought to be banned from woodshops, for life.

woodchuck1954
"A legend in his own mind."
Posted: 10:21 pm on June 18th

terry359 terry359 writes: Three points:

1. I am impressed by the number of thoughtful, balanced comments on this issue, particularly from those who realize the value of improving safety in the workplace, and who are open to stronger safety regulations for table saws.

2. There seems to be an assumption by some commentators that the government will "force" people to buy a Sawstop. This is nonsense. I'm tired of the hysteria about government "control" over individual choice. There are a million free choices in our lives for every one government rule. My guess is that we will see a proposed set of stronger rules modeled after European safety regulations, which are clearly more advanced than those in the U.S. There will be robust debate over the economics of incorporating Sawstop technology into the various levels of tablesaws on the market. Woodworkers will weigh in.
Manufacturers will weigh in, but be met with skepticism by those who remember the wild exaggerations of automakers about the costs of requiring seatbelts. Insurance and medical statisticians will weigh in, etc.

3. Regardless of what kind of safety rules emerge from the CPSC review, they will help us all even if we never stick a finger into the blade of our Unisaw. Everyone who refuses to wear a helmet on a motorcycle, everyone who wants to stand pat on tablesaw safety technology, everyone who fails to wear a seatbelt--a percentage of these folks are going to get hurt or killed because of their "free choice." That means massive insurance claims and medical costs passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher health insurance premiums. It means lost wage earners in families. It means higher workman's comp rates, and higher costs of doing business.
Posted: 9:57 pm on June 18th

brunelle brunelle writes: OK, we now have available a technology that produces a significant safety enhancement. It has the same downside as airbags in a car: once fired, the tool or vehicle is out of commission until serviced. That's in addition to the first cost and the cost of servicing.

At the present level of devlopment, it sounds like a reasonable mandate for a workplace, where people of various skill levels and temperaments are constrained to work in whatever environment is provided.

It doesn't sound like a reasonable mandate for equipment I use in my home shop, or a one-man owner-run shop. In these situations, the owner/user has control of the purchase - and there are LOTS of ways to removes fingers that don't require a tablesaw. And there are LOTS of smart ways to ENSURE one's digits simply don't get close to the blade. So, depending on one's mix of work, that "$100" might well enhance safety more if spent otherwise.

Now, here is what I see as the commercial challenge: how about a SAFE retrofit that equally well stops the blade - but could be reset immediately following at no cost? And, perhaps, could be applied to portable saws, recipro saws. bandsaws, routers . . . hm, maybe even milling machines in metalworking shops. How about if this technology could be applied to most such machines for $50 or so to start, and fell into line with variable-speed controls after a while? And how about we make it in the US?

How to do it? I don't know; if I did, I'd be doing it and selling it, and every manufacturer would want it as much as Detroit wanted the intermittent-wiper control. It IS a challenge. But a government mandate won't get it for you.


Posted: 9:52 pm on June 18th

spook291 spook291 writes: From my understanding all of the so-called accidents that have led to this latest uproar have been essentially self-inflicted injuries primarily because the operator either didn't follow the manufacturer's operating instructions or was using unsafe practices. In any case it was not the fault of the equipment.

The vast majority of incidents may or may not be accidental. Inattention while using power equipment or any sharp instrument is not acceptable safe shop practice and when one is in the shop one must always have one's mind on the here and now.

I have been a professional woodworker for over 40 years and I still have all my digits. I have a few scars and a few other momento's of some stupid inattentive moments but I will be the first to admit that each of my shop accidents have been my fault - primarily because I became distracted. To me the jointer has got to be the most dangerous machine in my shop -- I know - I jointed two fingers. Yup, hurt like the blazes.. but they grew back. Then I cut my ring finger when I was distracted by the phone. But again, these accidents were my own fault because I let my attention wander from the task at hand. Luckily I still have all the parts God gave me when He made me.

The majority of accidents are the fault of the operator, not the equipment. I would much prefer to see folks read the operators manual and UNDERSTAND what is in the manual before they attempt to operate any machinery. That is the difference between a professional and a rank amateur.

Too bad we don't really have real apprenticeship programs anymore. It used to be up to the masters to teach their apprentices the proper safety techniques. Today it seems more hit and miss than teaching.
Posted: 9:50 pm on June 18th

Deaftom Deaftom writes: Regarding the problem of potential SawStop mandatory licensing fees reaching excessive levels:

There is a precedent in history that might solve this problem. The Wright brothers had critical patents covering the methods of controlling airplanes; court challenges by Glenn Curtiss and other aircraft manufacturers always ended up in favor of the Wrights. A few manufacturers paid the license fee to cover their own aircraft, but most persisted in ignoring the Wright patents for various reasons, and so the litigation wore on for years.

Came World War I, and the U.S. needed to have lots of military aircraft built in a hurry. But the Wright patents were a major roadblock to this. The federal government solved the problem by buying the patent rights from Orville Wright (Wilbur having died in the meantime) and then released the patents into the public domain, free for any aircraft manufacturer to use.

Perhaps something similar could be done here: the feds could buy the SawStop patent rights from Mr. Goss for a couple of million dollars, then release the technology into the public domain. I think then that marketplace pressure would push other saw manufacturers to incorporate the technology into their own new tablesaw designs fairly quickly (as has been pointed out by others here, it's impractical for most existing designs to incorporate it; it must be designed in from the start).

With other tablesaw manufacturers free from the spectre of unlimited license fees, I bet that within a decade or so, nearly all new cabinet-style and hybrid saws would have blade-stop technology on a voluntary basis. Contractor-style saws are another matter, though perhaps those could include just the blade-stop mechanism without the dropping blade. Sort of like how some cars now have a larger number of protective airbags than other (usually cheaper) cars do. All cars must have a minimum number of airbags, but more money buys more airbag protection.
Posted: 9:22 pm on June 18th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: Beem - Why do some states NOT mandate helmets for motorcycle riders? Why are cars legal? Flying? Knives? Bathtubs. The industry is NOT culpable. Why do you feel a need to blame others for individual irresponsibility? I see many people talk about their injuries and they blame themselves, not the tool. Heck, I cut my finger while taking a router bit out of the protective plastic/rubber coating. Whose fault is that? Woodcraft for putting the coating there? The more we the people defer to the gov't, the more the gov't (those who make the laws) profit.
Posted: 9:14 pm on June 18th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: Hey Badger - Define safety. It appears the people here have differing definitions...

Posted: 9:06 pm on June 18th

billoreid billoreid writes: To all you people who are saying it's worth an extra $100 or so "just in case," I have a few questions for you. Do you wear your seat belt when you're in a car (front or back)? Do you wear a helmet when you're on a motorcycle? A bicycle? Do you have maximum coverage on your auto insurance? Do you have maximum coverage on your home insurance? Do you have all the riders available on your home insurance? Do you have life insurance? Do you have enough life insurance? Do you have disability insurance?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then don't tell me I should dish out extra cash for something if I don't want to.
Posted: 8:56 pm on June 18th

JMiloG JMiloG writes: I supose next we will have to assure that all of our plane irons are dull so they won't cut our tiny little fingers. My worst shop injury came at my own hands, one of which held a well-sharpened chisel, the other of which was in the way. A severed tendon, a lot of blood, a batch of stitches, and a 2-week stay away from the shop made me a bit wiser. If you want to see a really dangerous tool, look at the band saw. Butchers ust those things to zip through a half a cow. An arm is nothing to a bandsaw. How about a lathe? Ever seen flying lathe tools from a careless catch on a bowl?

I hope my Kleenex is soft enough so the CPSC might leave it alone.

I want the feds the hell out of my shop!

Posted: 8:54 pm on June 18th

beem beem writes: @danrademacher - best comment yet. Thank you!

@DRGoldZ - as the rest of my comment points out, FWW mentions nothing about the culpability of the power-tool industry in bringing about this situation by sitting on their hands for nearly a decade when the technology and R&D was available to improve table saw safety. Hence, FWW's skewed and in my estimation irresponsible position on the matter.
Posted: 8:31 pm on June 18th

kmpres kmpres writes: I doubt very much whether $100 will retrofit most existing tablesaws. Most not originally designed for Saw Stop technology would have to be severely retooled to make enough space under the table for a retracting blade mechanism. Also, no mention has been made of the thousands of saws whose motor and drive mechanics are integrated into a single headstock. For example, my tablesaw is a Shopsmith. It cannot be retrofitted no matter how you retool it. A lawsuit like this could put them out of business (again), this time for good. And no, I won't be replacing my Shopsmith for a Saw Stop. My shop is way too small for stand-alone tools (exactly 8ft x 8ft, hence the need for the Shopsmith). Even it is, at times, too big as I have to haul it out into the driveway whenever I need it for sawing operations, but it's doggone useful when I do need it. I suppose they'll be going after the thousands of Sears and other radial arm saws next. It'd be interesting to see how they retract those blades out of harm's way.
Posted: 8:21 pm on June 18th

danrademacher danrademacher writes: About 15 years ago, I had a tablesaw injury 9 months into my professional cabinetmaking career. I was lucky: worker's comp covered it, I didn't cut anything off, and other than nerve damage, I'm good as new. But it cost workers comp about $25,000 in microsurgery and physical therapy, not to mention temporary disability.

Was it a dumb mistake? Yes. Could it have happened to any young (or old) woodworker tired at the end of a long day? Yes.

In my experience, too many woodworkers are macho cowboys. People who say they know the risks they're taking daily are the ones who've never had an injury. Tell me it wasn't worth the $100 after you're out of work for four months and the state is out $25K because you made a split-second mistake. And that was a best-case result! I'm still building cabinets all these years later. Lots of other people are not so lucky.

I saved up for five years and finally got a Sawstop. It's so much better than my used Delta Unisaw in so many ways. Best tool purchase I ever made.

If you're a new woodworker and can't afford a $200 saw instead of a $100 saw (who buys these things?), get a used saw, be vigilant, and squirrel away your money until you can buy something with real safety features.

If you're buying a new $2000 cabinet saw, spare me the whining about $100 for Sawstop technology.
Posted: 8:08 pm on June 18th

DRGoldZ DRGoldZ writes: I did not and do not take the heading "Here we go again" to suggest a position on the issue on the part of FWW (as "beem" seems to think). I think they were simply telling us readers that the issue has re-emerged. My own feeling is that Mr. Gass deserves to make a bunch of money from his invention. If others can replicate it without violating his patent, all the better. For those who find the idea of a government safety requirement repugnant, please think about 1) automatic lawn mower shut offs when you take your hand off the handle, 2) food label warnings, 3) seat belts. We have gotten used to all these things. I consider them very good examples of good government actions.

Who among us has never done something dangerous in a moment of carelessness? Where I live (Oregon) a high end custom furniture outfit had a Sawstop automatic shut down happen during operation, saving fingers of a shop employee. I have met over the years at least two guys personally who lost fingers to table saws. Of course, the guy who had his forearm torn up did something stupid-reaching over the blade. I am an occasional hobbyist and find table saws scary but I cannot claim I work with 100% safety. So, I would welcome having that technology available at reasonable prices.
Posted: 8:07 pm on June 18th

amaonline amaonline writes: I wouldn't trade my Sawstop for any other Table saw. The govt. has been instrumental in making cars and tools safer and they will continue to (somtimes successfully sometimes not so much). All this bs debate over not wanting to spend a buck and being tight a@@ed. It was and is worth every penny. If you don't want it don't buy it, buy used and rebuild. Mr. Gass I hope you get everything you deserve.
Posted: 7:59 pm on June 18th

buzzell buzzell writes: You know, it's great when someone comes up with a new idea - especially one that helps people or makes things safer. However, when he pushes to get it legislated so everyone HAS to give him money, that's nothing short of extortion and he should be ridden out of town after being tar-and-feathered.

After knocking on some wood, I'll keep doing my best to be smart and safe, and to pass that on to my boys and/or anyone else who steps in my shop.
Posted: 7:35 pm on June 18th

Archon Archon writes: Two things. First, "what is wrong with you people?" Lawyers. It was clear that there absolutely no reason other than deep pockets for suing the saw manufacturer. There were guards and if the worker had used them, and if the employer had observed the modicum of OSHA requirements there would have been no injury. So, stupid worker, sloppy employer, greedy lawyer (well, maybe just a hungry one).

Second, "why hasn't Sawstop technology been licensed?" It would seem to be a no-brainer for manufacturers to do so. Since they haven't, and they do have experience with lawyers, it would appear that the patent holder has some really vicious licensing. If we get rid of patents, and instead look to the market to establish reasonable margins, the tablesaw might be a good deal safer.
Posted: 7:34 pm on June 18th

gmiller25 gmiller25 writes: Doesn't anyone remember what the business term "MONOPOLY" means anymore. Does anyone even remember that Ma Bell was broken up into the "baby bells" because of a monopoly, or Microsoft because the courts determined that they had a Monopoly on certain technologies?

Well, guess what! Mr Gass is also a monopoly when it comes to "flesh detecting technology". So why doesn't the CPSC go after him, and break up his monopoly on the technolgy, and let competitors in on the market.

Maybe then there will be fairer pricing for tablesaw manufacturers to get a piece of the action. The Sawstop technology will NOT work on lighter weight bench and contractor type saws in its current form.

Does anyone realize the torque that is expended to stop a blade spinning at 3500 RPM,and its effects on light weight cabinets? Some saw manufacturers do! And so does the PTI working on their own "Saw-drop" technology. What professional or serious non-professional who has nor other option in the field wants that much force exploding a light weight cabinet in their face if they're STUPID enough to reach into the blade in the first place.
Posted: 6:58 pm on June 18th

beem beem writes: A question for the FWW editors. It's clear that this issue is a lightening rod for your constituents, and that by opening up this issue in such a free-for-all fashion as you have done here on FWW, you stand a very good chance of increasing FWW subscriptions, selling more Taunton published books than usual, generating larger hit counts on banner ads from advertisers, and so on. Nevertheless, do you think it's ethical to cash in on the hysteria and vitriol that has been so clearly demonstrated on your website and to do so in such a direct way?

Don't you think you could have approached this issue in a more responsible manner than with the "Here we go again..." opening? Did you think about presenting a more balanced perspective that might have included the refusal of industry leaders to implement such - decade old - technology?

Or was the sensationalism of Steve Gass' profiteering more "news worthy" than the profiteering of power-tool manufacturers' refusal to voluntarily make their products safer years ago when they had the chance? They still have that voluntary chance by the way.

You're current calculations have been very well played by any business standard and I'm sure you will be rewarded handsomely as a result. But since the emotive level around here is at such a fever pitch, let me offer my own emotive response.

If several years from now it's your child who loses a finger, hand, or arm in a table saw accident because the regulations that could have prevented such an accident were defeated, do you think you would change anything if you could?
Posted: 6:57 pm on June 18th

Metsch Metsch writes: I think the problem is in the courtroom, not the shop. I bought a Sawstop because I thought the safety feature was worth the money and it's a good tool. When I bought equipment for my company I spent the extra money to get better safety and comfort. The table saw is the MOST dangerous tool in the shop, but not the only one. The Sawstop feature can be bypassed (with some effort) and must be if you are cutting wet wood or metal, so you are still free to cut off your hand.
I don't think this rises to a PUBLIC safety issue like seat belts and airbags. It is a WORKPLACE issue and should be regulated there.
BUT, the government is really bad about enforcing regulations.
Posted: 6:54 pm on June 18th

hedge42 hedge42 writes: "If government were a product, selling it would be illegal." PJ O’Rourke
Posted: 6:23 pm on June 18th

Jimcricket Jimcricket writes: As a plastic surgeon specialising in hand surgery [and a hobbyist woodworker] I have absolutely no doubt of the efficiacy of the Sawstop technology. We see 2 or 3 saw injuries a week in our unit and I am thoroughly tired of seeing good hands mangled up in these machines. They never work as well as before even if you do replant the bits. Economically, it is a no brainer for companies. The down time following these injuries can be very lengthy - even if folk can or want to return to the same work. Individuals can choose but I know what I am buying when I get my tablesaw. Legislation ? The technology is there, it seems silly not to benefit from it. Seatbelts aren't questioned too much any more
Posted: 6:17 pm on June 18th

GraniteBayWoodworker GraniteBayWoodworker writes: I agree that a patent holder has the right to profit from that patent. However, do not think that any regulation should dictated method, only outcome. Any method that makes the product not cut off fingers, etc., is an acceptable solution. (It is nice that SawStop causes only a nick, but is bigger cut okay if it is cheaply implemented?) If the SawStop patent unduly limits innovation for other methods, perhaps that has to be addressed. (Example: I believe that the new Bosch method may actually be in violation of Gass' patent.)
Posted: 6:16 pm on June 18th

michael2160 michael2160 writes: I am going to second, for the most part, what mcnervy has written.
Since most of these product liability issues are adjudicated at the federal level, I would suggest the CPSC be authorized to create a rule, that if followed by the manufacturer would shield the manufacturer from a liability for an injury if the unit is properly installed and operating. The savings in liability insurance cost may outweigh the cost of the protective unit.
Posted: 5:41 pm on June 18th

mcnervy mcnervy writes: Fact 1 by numbers table saw is the most dangerous woodworking saw in the shop.
Fact 2 Sawstop currently has the most effective safety feature ever developed for a table saw
Fact 3 if all saws had this technology there would be thousands of woodworkers with all 10 fingers.

Moving away from Facts

If we could all have Sawstop feature on our saws we would. ALL OF US. Let me debunk a couple items
"it ruins the blade"; only whe saving your fingers
"I will start to do dangerous things because I know its there"; your then an idiot and needed the feature already.

1. Steve Gass invented one of the best safety features for one of the most dangerous common tools. (if i had done that I would expect to get PAID also)
2. He then shopped around the feature. No one bought it. Why Lawyers, They feared the addition would me increase in thier liability. He thought as I do that it was crazy that no one bought it.
3. He then tried forcing it on the power tool industry through legislation.(where most of you started hating him) If I had invented it, and I knew thousands would be saved horrible injuries and I would make lots of money I would also do this.
4. He started his own company as this was the only way to accomplish getting his great idea to market.

I think that he did what any inventor would have done with such a Game changing device.

I think that the goverment should do two things. One force adoption of this technology or prove equilivent technology.
Ensure that since Mr Gass has a monolopy he is not allowed to overcharge.

Its a great device it should be in all saws;
everything else is just noise in the equation


Posted: 5:00 pm on June 18th

Muscleguy Muscleguy writes: @SeamusO
The reason dado heads are not allowed on table saws here in Europe is because the sort of thing you would use it for they think should more safely be done some other way, like with a router. The prime objection is that in dado mode the blade is by necessity unguarded and there is no provision of a riving knife replacement. I understand they also don't trust the ability of the brakes to stop the extra weight. I don't have a tablesaw (I'm more of a hand tool guy) but even if I did I would not want to use it that way. I'm more than happy to use the router to cut dadoes and if for some strange reason I don't want to hand cut a tenon I can use the router table (with all the requisite guards, hold downs etc). The point with safety measures is that anyone can lose concentration momentarily, and it only takes once to ruin your life.
Posted: 4:56 pm on June 18th

Riffler Riffler writes: Ed Pirnik:
Based on the strong interest in this issue, I propose that Fine Woodworking act as a coordinator to urge all members of FWW forums to weigh in on the decision making process of the CPSC when the time period opens for public comments. This is the best way to ensure that the CPSC does not go off half cocked. I agree with the sentiments of many of the responders here who feel that we are not yet at the point of choosing the most cost effective technology for improving table saw safety.
Posted: 4:45 pm on June 18th

toolguy3058 toolguy3058 writes: Well, let's see... you don't need to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle and school buses don't need seat belts, but there is am overwhelming need for the government to force me to buy a Sawstop...Will routers, drills, sanders and air nailers be next? God knows there are numerous cases of injury from these as well. How about the potential for chipper/shreader or snow blower injuries. Maybe we need to mandate the use of Chopsticks so no one has a knife,spoon or fork injury. Please give me a break! Keep the government out of my shop.
Posted: 4:09 pm on June 18th

Dunkin Dunkin writes: The problem Mr Mosser is that the government or anyone else, cannot legislate enough common sense to make the world safe enough for people. Sometimes you just have to think for yourself ! "Gee, I don't have any formal training on this tool or proceedure... hmmm , maybe I shouldn't use it till I have some." The fact that you are spinning up a tool with SHARP blade in it should be your second clue. There are alot of ways to get hurt or killed in the world. Ultimately it is the individuals responsibility to take care of himself/herself. I understand that TORT law has given most of the attornys and the legal world a good living. But that doesn't make the legislature right. I personnaly shouldn't have to pay for someones else's stupidity and neither should the manufactur or the product. If you think the manufacture isn't going to pass on higher insurance costs to the consumer due to frivolous lawsuits... think again. I am very sorry that this happened to this young man and I am sorry about your lose of friends in avaiation.
I know of countries that have such legislation and suggest people who want the government to be responsible for themselves should move there. I prefer to have the right to use my tools and buy my tools as I choose. Not you or anyone else.
Posted: 3:44 pm on June 18th

unTreatedwood unTreatedwood writes: Hey Joe Y,
Look up the term anarchist before go throwing it around. You act like you know what it means. I have forgotten more than you will ever know about what this government is doing and it is dangerous, tyrannical, and the antithesis of allowing freedom. That is NOT how anarchist thinks. Get your terms straight. You clearly want a nanny state. Go for it. I for one, want the freedom granted to me the constitution. As one posted asked here: Where in the Constitution does it give the Federal government ANY rights to do what they are doing? No where.
Posted: 3:39 pm on June 18th

Mooser8 Mooser8 writes: I find it odd that people that drive cars, fly in airplanes, and use gas and electric appliances in their homes are complaining about government requiring that dramatic advances in safety are not forced on the tool manufacturers. Without government setting safety standards and rquiring airlines to adopt them we would be flying passengers in open cockpit cattle cars without the benefit of GPS, radar, or maintenance standards. Let's face it, an individual consumer cannot force a manufacturer to adopt best practices and the proposed government rules are supported by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The issue is not who is to blame; the operator or equipment. I am a former military pilot and I knew a number of pilots who lost their lives because of a preventable mistake. The military aviation industry has striven for safer and safer aircraft since Curtis and Billy Mitchell in order to reduce the possibility of error without regard to pilot error. That is safety engineering.

Since the introduction of the Saw Stop technology I have been amazed that none of the tool manfuactuers have adopted it or at least something comparable. As a retired trial lawyer I understand their hesitancy to do so, but be that as it may they need to bite the bullet. They have product liability insurance and if it is the insurance providers that are calling the shots then shame on them and that is exactly why you need government intervention.

As to the cost, well those that do not want to spend the extra money will be able to buy the presently defectively designed table saws for a song in the future and they can take their life and limb in their hands. On the other hand, there are many that use table saws that would like to have a Delta, Powermatic, Grizzly or whatever major brand saw, with the latest safety technology included. There are certain things about the Saw Stop saw separate from the safety features that do not satisfy me and I would like a choice. Because of the obstinacy and shortsightedness of the tool manufactures, most notably in putting profits before safety, I have been deprived of choice in the market place. None of the them will go bankrupt by adopting the technology and the argument the cost of the item will increase is simply a red herring.

In my opinion the government should have taken its proposed action at least a year ago.
Posted: 2:17 pm on June 18th

gbkout60 gbkout60 writes: It has been said too many times over, "The best safty device is between your ears." That being said, it should be mandatory that before purchusing a power tool, one must first pass an I.Q. test.
Posted: 2:11 pm on June 18th

mcgrewsky mcgrewsky writes: The federal government needs to sit down and shut. Their only job is the only job they won't do. Protect our borders. I'll watch my fingers and lock out the power to my saw when neccessary and they can stop the flood of ilegals. That way I can keep my fingers and my job.
Posted: 1:54 pm on June 18th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: I keep seeing comments saying things like "the big manufacturers don't care about the safety of their customers". If you don't think Delta, DeWalt, Ryobi, Felder and the rest of them don't care about you...then, STOP BUYING THEIR SAWS!!!! I'm sure Mr Gass would love to have your business. And from reading the many reviews, Saw Stop makes a very nice and very accurate saw, go buy one and leave the rest of us alone.

If the government wants to purchase saws with this technology for schools, prisons and govt workshops; absolutely fantastic the technology is available from Saw Stop.

If insurance companies only want to insure businesses that use this technology; great, and again that is between the insurance company and its customers and better yet the technology is readily available for purchase from a reputable (and I use the term loosely) saw manufacturer.

When the big "evil uncaring" saw manufacturers start to lose market share they will do what they need to do to rectify the situation, that's how the market works. And better yet, it doesn't even require government intervention and the creation of yet another bureaucracy at our expense.

The most important and effective safety device ever created has been provided to each of us free of charge and its use can't be mandated, its located just above you shoulders, use it.

Get it through your thick skulls nobody in this forum is anti-safety, most of us are just pro-freedom. And yes, with the freedom of choice comes the freedom to fail, and the freedom to learn from the failure.

As uncaring as this may sound, if someone freely chooses to remove the guards from his saw (or turn off the Saw Stop technology if it is so equipped) any then cuts off a few digits, or otherwise maims himself, it is NOT MY PROBLEM.

Keep the following corollaries to Darwin's Law in mind: 1) No matter how hard you try, you just can't fix stupid, it just can't be done. 2)If build something that is idiot proof, they will build a better idiot and they will do it with frightening speed and efficiency.
Posted: 1:51 pm on June 18th

oldguy21 oldguy21 writes: I have been calling on woodworkers and cabinet makers for over 35 years and have met many folks who have been injured on table saws, joiners, shapers, routers, hinge insertion machines, and even a laminate roller press and not one has ever blamed their injury on the tool. In every case, they have said that they made a mistake, weren't paying attention, or gave another reason of their own making. I have also met two folks who were "saved" by the Saw Stop technology and they were very grateful because the mechanism saved them from serious injury due to their own negligence. It's like the old ARA argument, guns don't kill, people do. Machines won't hurt you, if you are careful and use common sense. Unfortunatley, that can not be legislated.
Posted: 1:42 pm on June 18th

Peechee Peechee writes: Great. The government is going to save us from our stupidity. Who is going to save us from theirs? Whenever we surrender our responsibilities for our own actions we surrender our freedom to choose to perform those actions which may be stupid.
Posted: 1:29 pm on June 18th

tommy_60 tommy_60 writes: I totally agree with what KRENZR said about the "Stupids" our whole country is being taken over by them. How did these people get so much power. I have said this before how can a judge rule in favor of people like this. Most of these cases should have been thrown out of court because the Stupid involved never followed safty procedures even after they were shown the proper way to operate the saw. I realize accidents happen even when we do the right thing but they are what they are just accidents "Sh.." happens. We have become a country of Sue Happy Stupids its sad very sad. We have been letting the government mandate more and more what they feel is right for the whole. They need to stay out of this one. Someone else made a good comment and brought up a very key point "Insurance Companies" need I say more. They are salivating over this whole mess.
One last thing, someone else posted a comment about the rest of the industry being more interested in profit then saftey. This person is naive if he thinks Mr. Gass isn't interested in profit. He wants to make a big buck just like the rest of them
Posted: 1:24 pm on June 18th

808Bryan 808Bryan writes: Hey Krenzer, I totally agree with you about the masses of Stupid people that America is generating. Not only stupid, but a bunch of whiners. If an accident occurs, the person at fault blames whoever has the deepest pockets. The majority of America will not "man up" to his/her fault. Also Darwin's theory requires eons for a specie to adapt to his surroundings, but the human race is producing stupid folks just as fast as bunch of rabbits. Thus eventually, the stupid folks will overrun those with common sense.

After living overseas for over two decades, and just finally coming back to America, its disgusting to see how the attitudes have changed in the American people. Two of the culprits that are degrading America and its once great ingenuity are Greed and Lawyers. They feed upon each other.

But I digress. From what I read, Sawstop is a great technology and it should be used in areas such as in an Educational environment or perhaps a business where a liability may occur. Being a hobbyist, I cannot see why Government should be involved. Rather than mandating that every table saw be equipped with a "Sawstop" feature, perhaps Gass should develop a system that is adaptable to the various models of table saws on the market. It should be made as an option for the people. I personally purchased a Delta cabinet saw upon coming back to America, primarily because I had a similar unit prior to leaving America and was not familiar with a Saw Stop unit.

By the way, is it just me or has the quality of tools degraded quite substantially within the last 20 years.


Posted: 1:23 pm on June 18th

AEW AEW writes: I guarantee that the SawStop inventor did not and does not have safety as his primary objective. Follow the money. The next regulation will be for prevent knives from having a sharp edge.
Posted: 1:19 pm on June 18th

ajgus ajgus writes: If all users would use saws like they are told to ,we would all not have to pay to make them idiot pruff
Posted: 12:57 pm on June 18th

Hackettoid Hackettoid writes: As with so much that the government gets involved with, its focus should not be on requiring all new saws to have this feature, but to be sure that the feature is available, which it obviously is. It may be worth while to provide incentives for development of aftermarket devices for older saws. It may also be helpful for the government to require that the licenses be available to all manufacturers, and even that they must offer models with the devices. But the government should not, in principal, require that all saws have this feature. I use a seat belt every time I get in a car, but I should not be required to use it. I will have to lay some blame on the industry. Somehow the notion that buyers don't want to have to pay extra for this technology sounds very similar to the car maker's laments that people won't pay extra for seat belts or air bags so the government winds up requiring those. The fact is the public is interested in safety and is willing to pay for it. I doubt seriously that someone shelling out $2,000 - $3,000 for a table saw is unwilling to pay a nominal amount more for a significant safety feature.
Posted: 12:48 pm on June 18th

JimPS JimPS writes: Some people may not realize that a lot of the other tool companies have banded together to produce their own SawStop-type system. They have been farting around for several years with it. I read somewhere a year or two ago that they had a working prototype, but commercial availability is apparently nowhere in sight. In other words, they rejected SawStop in 2003 or so, and have come up with nothing to show for it.

I would love there to be more competition in the marketplace for safer saws, but every manufacturer besides SawStop ducked the opportunity to compete - even though they knew years ago that a government regulation could be coming. Instead of getting mad at SawStop, maybe we should be getting mad at the others. They're the ones who chose to maximize their profits at the expense of their customers. SawStop chose to aim at the top of the market. Maybe some other company could have aimed at more affordable saws for the home user.

If a regulation is passed, everyone will be forced to compete, and I bet we'll see affordable, safer saws very quickly.

If you choose to stick your head in the sand on table saw safety, you should be aware that there are tens of millions of older saws out there. Once affordable safer saws become available, I bet you'll have your pick of cheap Unisaws. People will be giving away their old stuff.

And give us a break on the "next they'll be regulating kitchen knives" crap. It's dumb to reject safer table saws that would prevent countless injuries just because we can't create a "wiffle world" where no one ever gets hurt by anything. Table saws cause the most injuries of the stationary power tools, and we have to start somewhere. Should we reject air bags and seat belts for cars because they don't work for motorcycles? Where is the logic in that?

Jim S.


Posted: 12:45 pm on June 18th

watertownwoodshop watertownwoodshop writes: How would folks feel if some manufacturers make the table saws that were electrocuting people when they hit the on/off switch, or some of the blades were prone to flying off. Would they want to see something done about it, or would they be willing to let the market take care of it. We now expect the wiring to be safe, and the machine to hold together. We are used to the inherent danger of the current technology and can rail against government intrusion/regulation. But it is unreasonable to expect an agency whose mission is to reduce injuries to consumers to ignore a technology as effective as Saw-stop. If research shows that an improved blade guide is as effective as the Saw-stop, then both should be available. But one should not be ignored because the other exists. The other sad fact is that the cheapest saws are the most dangerous, but the prices of those saws will see the biggest percentage increase. So their manufacturers will fight this the hardest.
Posted: 12:42 pm on June 18th

elhat elhat writes: It seems a shame to introduce facts into such an aerobic debate, but what the heck. Regardless of whether you're pro or con on this regulatory initiative, take a look at the data and see if your position is the same afterwards. Go to http://www.cpsc.gov/neiss/2009highlights.pdf . In a time of finite resource constraints we must prioritize which problems to attack. After looking at the data, would you move this issue higher or lower on the list of "things that must be fixed"?

Posted: 12:41 pm on June 18th

HowardA HowardA writes: June 18, 2011

Government should revised product liability laws so they protect manufacturers and employers against "stupid", "careless" people and greedy lawyers!
Posted: 12:38 pm on June 18th

macropod macropod writes: Question: Will the magazine take on an advocacy roll with the CPSC in this matter? Or is this only a place to vent?

If flesh-sensing technology were to be applied to table saws, how long before being required in hand held circular saws? I’m sure legislators regard the tools as the same.

I’m not really interested in making Gass into the next Gates.

Nor am I interested in retro fitting his technology into my Shopsmith. Were it to activate it would take out the whole shop.

Posted: 12:36 pm on June 18th

FarRed FarRed writes: I wasn't aware that the SawStop DIDN'T destroy the blade when engaging.

I assume the gov't will get it's way regardless of what the citizens want because, hey, the gov't knows best ;). D@%# the facts, full speed ahead.

In all fairness, if manufacturers are mandated to use this technology, they should NOT have to pay royalties to SawStop, or else let them devise their own. Hopefully the new reg will not be so specific as to eliminate all but SawStop's device.
Posted: 12:33 pm on June 18th

Krenzr Krenzr writes: Remember when:
• sitting in the back of a moving pickup truck was exciting and quite refreshing on a hot summers day
• if there was no more snow on that hill, we put wheels on our sleds and made our summer runs
• trying to get that merry-go-round to go as fast as lightning then jumping on
• getting enough speed on that giant swing to make a full 360
• jumping off the railway bridge to land in the deepest section of the creek

These are just a small number of things we did. Common sense was our greatest asset. Next to common sense was experience. The smarter ones new when and what to hold onto in the back of that truck. The smarter ones knew how to avoid that tree at the bottom of the hill. The smarter ones new their own limitations on how fast was too fast. The smarter ones knew how to ride that swing. The smarter ones had spotters keep an eye open around the bend for that train. They also knew, everyone had to share the responsibility of being a spotter.

The stupid ones never had the savvy to take into account what needed to be done for self preservation. As a result, rules were made that forbade ‘everyone’ for doing any activity deemed dangerous to the “Stupids”. The general public could no longer enjoy the antics (if they were so inclined) because it was too dangerous for these “stupids”.

What’s really scaring me now is the “Stupids” cannot distinguish between self annihilation and mass destruction. Case in point “Texting While Driving”. Need I say more on this? We have to start making laws to protect us normal folk from the “Stupids”!!

You bring home a new appliance. Over 40% of that manual is written for the “Stupids”. Really folks, they put these pointers in there because someone has tried it out before.

Think about it, look at all the rules out there telling you the dos, the donts, the cans, and the musts. It’s not for the safety of the general public. It’s to protect the “Stupids” out there.

The natural order of the “stupids” is to seek out new ways in cleaning up the gene pool. As each avenue gets blocked off by these always growing number of regulations, they (the “stupids”) have to find new and more creative actions to attain their goal in life. Remember the “Stupid” who tried to go after the city citing the minimum speed limits on the freeways was unfair to cyclists. Do you realize the amount of money that was spent to uphold that law? Were YOU going to take your bike on the freeway? No, because you weren’t stupid. I wonder, is that “Stupid” is still around or did he find another way to meet his density(destiny to us smarter folk)?

This recent lawsuit is only one of the latest examples of humanities evolution to “Stupidoids”. This time there were 12 “Stupids” in the jury box, a “Stupid” on the Plaintiff side and one more low life @$$hole lawyer making an asinine amount of money as he reduces humanity down yet to another level.

We must eradicate “Stupid”. We must do it before it’s too late!

The solution is so simple. Why are we not acting on it? We just need to remove caution labels, stand back and let the natural course of evolution take hold.

Help Darwin clean up the gene pool. Don’t worry about offending anyone, the “Stupids won’t know what we are talking about anyway.


Posted: 12:31 pm on June 18th

klabr2 klabr2 writes: Bottom line for any commercial shop,i.e. employers: If you don't have SawStop technology on your table saws an injured employee is going to own your business sooner rather than later. The technology is available thanks to Gass. Major tool manufacturers don't like paying for patent rights of others (Microsoft is case in point - just lost patent infringement case in unanimous Supreme Court decision.) Employers should be lobbying for the regulations in order to get choice back into the equipment decision - Saw Stop saws will be the only saws that their insurers will soon cover. Workers' Comp insurers should be lobbying for the regulation as a first position in a safe-haven defense against claims from negligent employees.
Posted: 12:18 pm on June 18th

Arts327 Arts327 writes: At our school we have been using 2 Sawstop tablesaws for years - they have saved at least a few bad cuts - well worth twice the price of the saws given today's emergency room costs. I have never had to replace a blade after the safety mechanism fired - with a decent blade on the saw the worst damage has been a couple of teeth needing to be replaced. Please stop trying to blame the good folks at Sawstop - the real culprit is the rest of the industry, far more interested in profit than safety.
Posted: 12:09 pm on June 18th

birchwoodguy birchwoodguy writes: I would be interested in a group of options to add safety to my existing General 350. Mostly I think of the kids -not myself when I say this. I can see a saw-stop or similar technology being a good investment for a school or commercial business, as it should pay for itself in Reduced Insurance costs. I did say "should", but Will the insurance industry acknowledge the reduced risk of the technology? If not, why not?

I have seen that the saw stop can be operator disabled; this may defeat the whole point of a government dictated safety feature. In any event most of us already have "older" saws and will continue to use them, evading any new rules. So why not focus on available options for new equipment and retro-fit style safety features for existing ones and let the market decide. If cost savings result from insurance markets for those using the new safety features it will become widely adopted, if not, then likely not.
Robert.
Posted: 12:01 pm on June 18th

gsm627 gsm627 writes: Apparently common sense isn't that common. To all of you that think this technology is so wonderful. It exists, it's on the market, go buy it if you love it so much. LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE ! I've been using power tools for 40 years and the worst injury I've ever sustained was from someone else using a chisel next to me.
Posted: 12:00 pm on June 18th

GPPatnude GPPatnude writes: I have been doing woodworking since about 1975. In 2004 I had an incident while using my table saw resulting in serious injury to my left hand: 1 digit missing [the bird finger] and 3 others damaged considerably. The fault was clearly my own, and I don't blame the saw or the saw maker. Yes, SawStop would probably have reduced the severity of the damage, but I don't think that the government at any level should be in the business of mandating safety except where there is broad exposure to the general public, as in food and drugs, public transportation [planes, trains, automobiles] roads, and public transportation terminal locations.

I believe that Bassman00 has succinctly described the situation. We are already paying for more government that is necessary, and it is growing every day – a self-perpetuating beast like the hydra of Greek mythology.

As citizens, we need to tell our representatives stop!! If they won't then it is our responsibility and duty to replace them!!

Posted: 11:57 am on June 18th

Dekker Dekker writes: In response to DB100. SawStop makes a blade brake cartridge for a dado set. I use it on my SawStop and it's very easy to switch out the cartridges.
Posted: 11:57 am on June 18th

sslaw sslaw writes: It's astounding to me that any woodworker would want the government to decide how table saws (or any other tool) should be made. If the CPSC decided to mandate the one way to make tables, chairs, or other furniture, woodworkers would scream bloody murder. Yet this is exactly what many are now proposing the government do with table saws. All this will do is price certain people out of the market for new table saws, meaning they will purchase older and less safe saws on the secondary market, and it will stifle innovation. That's always what happens when government tries to mandate one way of doing anything.

Here's the bottom line: saw makers have the right to make saws that their customers want to buy and their customers have the right to buy the saws they want. If there are problems, the customers can sue the saw makers, as they often do. Otherwise, the government should stay out.

I feel sympathy for anyone who injures himself with a table saw and admiration for a guy like Gass who invents an effective way to prevent it. But both cease at the moment that either of these people decide that their injury or their good invention provide a reason to limit my freedom and my choices. You want me to use a sawstop, convince me. Otherwise, stay the hell out of my life.
Posted: 11:56 am on June 18th

Dekker Dekker writes: I don’t understand what everybody is up in arms about. government mandating of table saw safety is not a conspiracy; it’s intended to protect the user. People are concerned about their blades being damaged when the blade brake is engaged. For Pete’s sake it’s just a blade not a hand, it can be replaced. As other folks have said, this technology is here to protect the consumer, just like seatbelts. If you’re adamantly opposed to seatbelts, then don’t use them. The SawStop technology can be manually turned off by the user too. The technology needs to be on all saws, suck it up and pay the extra 100 dollars.
Posted: 11:52 am on June 18th

DB100 DB100 writes: Basic requiremens of Saw stop.. With a hand speed of 1 foot / second, the blade shall stop with less than 1/8 deep cut.

My problem is that hand speed can be much higher than 1 ft/sec. Applying that logic, say at 4 ft/sec, the engagement would be 1/2 inch and at 8 ft/sec 1 inch. These are very achievable hand/arm speeds if your hand slips or something else cause rapid movement. In my mind, 1 ft/sec does not handle all of the problems than can occur on a table saw. It may help in a number of conditions, but not all. I know at many times I am ripping lumber at rates greater than 1 ft per sec.

A good guard system offers better all around protection when it is in place.

Also how does this system work when you are running a dado blade or other tooling that can be install on a saw arbor. I don't believe that we want to limit use of a table saw only to a single saw blade.

Also his equipment as I recall only covers saws up to 12 inch diameter. My say handles blades to 18 inches.

DB100
Posted: 11:52 am on June 18th

Delphinus_06 Delphinus_06 writes: As with so many issues, this has more facets than a cut diamond. I agree with those who say that operator error is a big factor in table saw accidents. Sometimes that error is fatigue, sometimes momentary inattention, sometimes failure to read and think about all of the cautionary safety statements that the manufacturers provide. However, I also agree with those who point to machine design issues.

Many of us remember how slowly the industry responded to user frustration about poorly designed blade guards and the absence of riving knives. Unfortunately, too many manufacturing companies are now controlled by accountants instead of engineers, so the companies are being driven by people who want to generate huge profits, often at the expense of quality and reliability. The cost of adding Saw-Stop's technology might kill the "low-end" table saw market.

All of that having been said, if I had a saw with Saw-Stop technology, I'd never quite trust it to protect me. It might take 25 years for that first accident, and I would always wonder if saw vibration, accumulation of sawdust, random voltage surges or something else that no one ever thought about had compromised the ability of the Saw-Stop to do what it claims to do. I think I'll rely on that three pounds of complex nerve tissue that resides inside of my thick skull...
Posted: 11:52 am on June 18th

gsm627 gsm627 writes: What's next? Mandatory chain mail gloves for kitchen knives. No amount of technology can overcome the ignorance of the user. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions. This is nothing more than big brother.
Why can't the government stick their noses into things that really need help. Rotting infrastructure, the failing education system, and bringing the manufacturing base back to North America come to mind.
Posted: 11:50 am on June 18th

RWoodCutter RWoodCutter writes: I retract my previous comment... Mr.Gass is interested in all of my power tools.........once the tablesaw feature is passed through, the flood gates are going to open up.


Do a patent search for SD3, LLC as assignee and see what other tools he is going after next. This is more than just making money on a tablesaw feature........

7,621,205 Bandsaws - issued 11/24/2009
7,784,507 Router - issued 8/31/2010
7,353,737 Mitre Saw - issued 4/8/2008
7,055,417 Mitre Saw - issued 6/6/2006

7,707,918 Power tools - tablesaws, miter saws, bandsaws, hand-held circular saws, jointers, shapers, routers, up-cut saws "and other machinery".



Posted: 11:49 am on June 18th

CrystalLeather CrystalLeather writes: So, What's Next?

I Know!!!!!

Garbage Disposal Stop!!!

Using SawStop Technology, applied to Garbage Disposals, This "New Feature" Instantly detects flesh contact with the spinning blades of the garbage disposal, and slams the blades to an instant stop and then automatically dials the nearest "factory authorized technician" to come out and replace the now $500 "Door Stop" that was your former "World's Safest Garbage Disposal".

Replacement brade cartridges are free, if you send the used one back to SawStop, 6 to 8 weeks? If want to keep one "on hand", $70 for the standard brake, $90 for the dado brake.

Does anybody know if the saw blade that was stopped is still usable, or if the brake rips the carbide teeth off your favorite Forrest Saw Blade or Dado Set?

The video shows how easy it is to replace the used brake cartridge in minutes, but the saw blade and brake cartridge are removed as a single unit, not a good sign.

At $50 to $140+ a pop for a new saw blade or dado set, this might be the way to teach folks to use a saw guard to protect their wallets.

$0.02
Posted: 11:48 am on June 18th

clavoi clavoi writes: The reality is; mistakes happen! People often have more money than sense - they get tired - rushed to finish a project, etc. - corners inevitably get cut intentionally or not.
It's pathetic that table saw manufacturers know safer designs and features but are not offering them because they're trying to minimise production costs. Is it really that difficult to add a riving knife? how many people have to get hurt (1 million +)? If it takes a lawsuit to get them of their As* and design something safer (so be it!). It boggles my mind that they have not attempted to provide safer alternatives or a pared down model for those who like risky behavior.
In addition, all the animosity to Mr Gass is sad (I think you're all jelous that you didn't come up with it first) Looking at you Bosch, Rigid, Dewalt, etc.
Posted: 11:41 am on June 18th

oakleafjoe oakleafjoe writes: "Seat belts" darn tiny screen.
Posted: 11:38 am on June 18th

oakleafjoe oakleafjoe writes: Sear belts in cars is for the good of use all? Yes but no one company profits from their use and they don' need to be replaced every time!
Posted: 11:27 am on June 18th

oakleafjoe oakleafjoe writes: I am opposed to this guy becoming a multimillionaire with my money. He should not be the only one alowed to have a finger saving type device on a saw.
No monoply.
Its my decision if I want this on my saw.
I would want to see his company to offer the first blade ruined be replaced free, a accident does teach a lesson.
40 years and I have all my fingers.
Let the goverment worry about cell phone use safety and driving. More dangerous to the drivers and people around them. Oh wait I forgot that the billions of dollars in cell phone usage could be at stake, my bad.
Its all about the money.
If this becomes a law then this guy should not be excused from lawsuits if it fails and hurts someone.
Posted: 11:23 am on June 18th

dhasterok dhasterok writes: Personally, I would welcome the new regulations. I realize that almost all injuries boil down to a user mistake, but anyone can make a braindead mistake every now and then. Even though most don't end up in serious injuries, $100 even $150 for such a huge jump in safety is a small price to pay for a significant part of my life without fingers, hand, arm or worse.

I would like the new technology anyway, but I don't necessarily want a Saw-stop brand saw. But since the other manufacturers refuse to add it to their saws, even as an option, I am glad I may soon be able to buy any saw I choose.
Posted: 11:17 am on June 18th

RonBrogan RonBrogan writes: This is further proof that a strong, well funded lobby can overcome anything including common sense. I cannot deny that flesh sensing technology is a wonderful thing; and those who choose to buy it should have it. On many automobiles you pay extra for side inflating airbags, rear cameras and collision sensing systems -- IF YOU WANT THESE FEATURES!

I believe this technology is slowly shutting down many high school level wood technology programs. These schools are already under financial stress, and adding a requirement to introduce Saw Stop technology into the classroom shops is prohibitive. Our small school district used to have an outstanding woodworking program. This program gave three young people the start it took to go on to college level wood tech programs do do great things. Here is an example of two brothers who have provided a real boost to our small town economy - Their factory is in a town of 700:

http://www.westhoffco.com/

Another graduate runs an excellent custom cabinet shop here too.

There was recent discussion of re-vitalizing the program but retooling with this kind of technology is prohibitive. This is where guys like us often get their start.

RonB
Posted: 11:16 am on June 18th

MadScientist MadScientist writes: I am all for choice in the marketplace. I am curious as to the sales figures of the Saw Stop. Because we live in a capitalist society, we vote with our wallets. Effectively, government regulation stifles this freedom and can do the same for innovation. If they write the regulation in such a way that all manufacturers have to use the Saw Stop technology, that prevents others from coming up with better solutions. Perhaps something that does the same thing but doesn't ruin your blade.
We can argue about personal responsibility and the function of government all day long and not come to an agreement. We can say that it is a woodworker's choice to remove their safety equipment from their table saw. But what does that say about the safety equipment? When it is known that a high percentage of people disengage their safety equipment, the right thing to do is redesign it to be less obtrusive. Government steps in when manufacturers refuse to do the right thing.
Posted: 11:10 am on June 18th

RWoodCutter RWoodCutter writes: As I see it:

If the CPSC or Mr. Gass was truely interested in "MY Safety and MY fingers/arms", it would be legislating safety features for all of the stationary woodworking tools in my shop and not just one the Mr.Gass can profit from. PERIOD!!!!!!! They would recommend a ban on the sale of any tool in the "home" shop until such time a "safety" feature was added to it. Just talking about the Tablesaw safety, when your are running an 18" bandsaw with a resaw capacity of 18" using a 1-1/2" blade or a 16" jointer is nuts.

The new step, if this becomes law, is Mr. Gass releasing other tools with "his" safety feature and forcing it onto all manufacturers using a similar tactic. In addition, he is most likely posed to butter up the insurance industries(homeowners and medical) to label "woodworking" as a hazard hobby and not cover injuries "unless" the tool has a safety shut-off system. This would make sure existing tools without the feature are labeled "un-safe" and you would be forced not by the CPSC to upgrade, but by the insurance companies to upgrade the tool if possible or throw it away.

In the long run, there are still alot of really smart and inventive folks out there that are more than able to come up with features for most all woodworking tools that would save stupid person from stupid acts, as well as, a smart person from a momentary lapse in judgement.

And I am pretty sure the pockets of the big tool manufacturers are deeper than Mr. Gass's and they will come up with an alternate method and they will get it written in law. That's just the way big business works in the USA.

Posted: 11:04 am on June 18th

glennwarner glennwarner writes: With all the problems facing our country, it nice to know that Uncle Sam is so concerned for the table saw user. Very comforting to know that the 20% un and under employed can retreat to their shops and saw blissfully under the wings of a government that is so caring. Anyone look at Steve Gas's political contributions? Will there be a tax credit for the saw stop, like there is for the Volt? Can I get a free replacement cartridge and blade if this gadget misfires? If this becomes the law, it will wind up as a new chapter in Freakonomics, ie a new example of unintended consequences. Be careful what you wish for.
Posted: 10:55 am on June 18th

fidolido fidolido writes: This is in response to WATERPENNY, by your own admission, you used your HAND to push the table and therefore got nicked. You weren't paying attention, and you weren't practicing safety. You got what you deserved. You take a shortcut, you pay the price. PERIOD!
Posted: 10:55 am on June 18th

NoWuss NoWuss writes: How about a bumper sticker..."Those who can, are woodworkers...Those who can't, regulate those who can."
Posted: 10:55 am on June 18th

jlsuker jlsuker writes: I would like to see better safety standards adopted by saw manufactures. For years the adage was to buy a European saw because they were safer. Tool companies in the U.S. could have made saws better but it took a huge lawsuit for Bosch to upgrade their guard.

For years I have looked for aftermarket upgrades for my Powermatic contractor saw which I have never been able to find.

It is a shame that it will require Federal regulation in order to get these tool manufactures to innovate. Most saws are the same design from 40 years ago.
Posted: 10:54 am on June 18th

rsteramoto rsteramoto writes: Why stop at table saws? The feds should require flesh sensing technology in firearms ammunition, automobile bumpers, etc.

If Mr. Gass were truly altruistic, he would gift his technology to the industry rather than protect it through patents.
Posted: 10:51 am on June 18th

fidolido fidolido writes: The problem here is 'choice'. And that choice will be made for us whether we like it or not. As stated, the injuries here are the fault of the user, not the tool. The fact that many remove the very guard that would have saved them self injuries is testament to how royally stupid we all can be in the name of convenience.

I don't know why users aren't held responsible for their own stupid actions. As stated by Adam Thull himself, he openly admits to reaching over the spinning blade to save a piece of wood falling off his table. Two things, he didn't have an extension to his table saw and secondly, sounds like he removed the guard.

If one just practices the basics of table saw safety, many accidents would be avoided, but the truth is, we are always looking for shortcuts by not setting up the saw properly, not setting the feather boards right, not using clamp downs, and most importantly, not using push sticks. Many if not all lost fingers are due to not using a push stick, or blade guard.
Posted: 10:48 am on June 18th

Blue_Rocco Blue_Rocco writes: This has NOTHING to do with safety and EVERYTHING to do with profits for Sawstop! Sawstop is simply selling their product to the government instead of consumers. If it is such a great saw, why don't people buy it instead? The problem lies in product cost and usefullness, NOT safty. If this is a great product, sell it to me, NOT the STUPID good for nothing polititians that sit on their brains all day and spend my money!! I have a friend that bought a Sawstop. After going off on a wet spot in the wood he couldn't afford or optain replacement parts that weekend, now it is jerryrigged to work without them. How many people are going to do that? But then you can't sue the mfg right? So their butts are covered and you have a saw that is even less safe than the ones made without sawstop. You want to save people from sawing off their hands, educate them, don't hogtie them with regulations. I'm over fity, I still have all my fingers and toes and I've been doing this all my life!
Posted: 10:47 am on June 18th

NoWuss NoWuss writes: Few things have gotten under my skin more than this entire saga. I'm a life-long woodworker and retired university woodworking instructor. Safety and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY are and always have been CORE and top priority for myself and all my students for all tool use, including hand tools. Anyone not able to accept those two pre-requisites has not earned the privilege of using the tools. Period. Require saw manufacturers to install SawStop technology and you'll have someone slashing themselves with an ExactoKnife suing for lack of a safety mechanism on the blade. (You know where I'm going with this.) I think manufacturers should offer SawStop technology as an OPTION, but not as a requirement. What SHOULD be a requirement for ALL tool use is a sense of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ... as so many folks (mainly older, I might add) in this discussion have said!

BTW, I wonder how many proponents of SawStop technology have ever used it. If you haven't, I suggest you spend a day doing so before singing its praises.
Posted: 10:47 am on June 18th

joeBleau joeBleau writes: As a nation are we better off than we were before the nanny state came into existence? The more government dictates every aspect of our lives the poorer the U.S. becomes. Saving water is essential so the government forces toilets upon us which have to be flushed two or three times whereas the pre-nanny state toilets one needed one push of the lever. The environment is being damaged because the nanny state is outlawing incandescent lighting while poisoning the land with mercury due to govt. mandated light bulbs. This is known as unintended consequences. A mindless Congress seeking to establish its authority over the people passes a law designed to radically alter our health-care system after being told that you "have to vote on this bill to know what's inside," (paraphrasing Nancy Pelosi.)

I've always seen woodworkers as pretty independent people so I am a bit surprised to find so many subscribing to further government control. It's really all about control. The more we allow government to control our lives the easier it becomes to establish totalatarianism in this once free country.

And by the way I think that so long as my carbon footprint is less than Al Gore's I'm fulfilling my duty as a citizen.
Posted: 10:46 am on June 18th

Bubbaduck Bubbaduck writes: Can any one who is against this explain to me how it is different from when the regulations mandated that our electric hand tools be double insulated(and how many of you would want you kids using the old zappers)
Posted: 10:45 am on June 18th

WaterPenny WaterPenny writes: I did not take the time to read everybody's rant against government regulations. I have an incident to tell of what actually happened to me. I was working in a wood shop and one day I was at the sliding arm table saw cutting blanks to size. As I was cutting blanks I suddenly noticed blood on the pieces. My first thoughts were how did blood get on the boards. I had not touched the blade. I looked at my right hand and on the area below my thumb I saw blood. It was not flowing profusely rather just oozing out. I must have swiped my hand over the blade because that was the only way the pattern of the triple chip blade would have just glanced the skin, leaving its pattern on my palm. Now I could not figure out how that happened because the way I was working did not bring my hand near the blade as I was taking the blank from the pallet, placing it on the slide arm and making the cut. Yet the evidence was right before my eyes, the pattern of the triple chip blade on my palm! The injury was minor. A bandaid stopped the blood oozing and I continued to work being careful to watch the process of my work to see where I got my hand near the blade. I still could not see how I got my hand close to the blade. Yes, the saw did not have a blade guard attached. There was one from the manufacturer but it was so clunky and bulky it interfered with our work. I really wanted to see the blade because I could then know if I had my hand in a dangerous position. By pure luck all I had was a glancing touch from what ever action I did and was spared a much more serious injury. I still have all ten and complete hands. I emphasize I thought I was working safely (yes, with no blade guard) yet I did something that got my hand close to the blade unknowingly. So accidents will happen. Now with SawStop technology installed on that saw, and its flesh sensing technology, I would have cost my shop the price of a new blade and SawStop mechanism, production down time and loss of profit margin because the safety mechanism functioned.

All I want to ask all you "let me be free" and "no government rules" people, how do you address my situation? I was working, yes without a blade guard, but in a manner that should not have brought my hand near the blade. There was no reason for my hand to be near the blade as I held the blanks against the fence and stop, yet there on my hand was the pattern of the triple chip blade! This was just an accident that could have cost me my right hand. Having a SawStop mechanism would have still let me have the pattern on my palm but I would have been alerted to an unsafe working procedure that I was not aware of and all of my fellow workers followed. It is not just me but every other worker in the shop who is protected as we would discover how our procedures put ourselves in danger when we thought we were working safely.
Posted: 10:38 am on June 18th

akgranpabo akgranpabo writes: "No liberal woodworkers", "left half of the bell curve", "polluting the gene pool", etc.!!!!! Is this a discussion of saw safety??? It seems that very few of the commenters know their facts and are speaking in "wandering generalities". It seems like the whole blog deteriorated into a political right against the left!!!! Kudos to "kenerv1"- the one poster who seemed to present the "essential facts".
Posted: 10:35 am on June 18th

rlp1949 rlp1949 writes: I am completely in favor of safer tools. I am completely and pofoundly opposed to government dictating what I can and cannot buy.
Posted: 10:28 am on June 18th

BobbyB BobbyB writes: To preface this: I'm in favor of new regulation. But aside from my personal beliefs about government intervention and personal responsibility and workplace safety, the real issue here is liability. Saw manufacturers, other than Sawstop, are in the unenviable position of having rejected a technology that, in hindsight, would have prevented untold horror stories. If they were to now accept this technology and license it, they would be admitting guilt, that although given the opportunity to prevent injuries, they chose not to. They would be admitting that they "willingly" put their customers in jeopardy and would be opening themselves up for an onslaught product liability law suits based on injuries of thirty or forty years ago. They're now damned if they do and damned if they don't. They must maintain their position that the usefulness of the technology was not so obvious (I was going to say "clear cut") when they rejected it. I'd predict that these regulations will take effect and regulators or the courts will give the manufacturers some sort of "free pass" on past injuries. If not, the lawsuits would probably bankrupt even the largest manufacturers. The Sawstop technology is amazing and I wish I had one while I still have all of my fingers and toes.
Posted: 10:22 am on June 18th

Sherpadog Sherpadog writes: The cartridge costs $69.00 ($73.00 with MA tax). That's much better than the pain and suffering I have gone though due to Delta's lack of care for the woodworker. Hell, they even completely redesigned the Unisaw and still didn't improve safety. Don't dump on Gass. He was only trying to find a way to make table saws safe.

By the way, my new SawStop cost me less than my 5 horse Unisaw and sure costs far less than the new Unisaw.

It's time for the government to step in. There are other inventors out there besides Gass and the big saw makers have a few of them.
Posted: 10:20 am on June 18th

fdhicks_69 fdhicks_69 writes: @notrapsoptonlinenet writes: "Although some people seem to feel that all government regulations have some underlying malevolent purpose, it is clear to me that among government’s legitimate functions is to protect its citizens."

Government regulations do have a malevolent purpose, their existence is a perversion of the Constitution as Congress has effectively delegated lawmaking to what really amounts to a fourth branch of government that makes law using unelected bureaucrats that use the power to advance their own agendas. Although it is a legitimate aim to protect citizens, it is a substantial overreach to attempt to mandate increasingly complex and expensive measures on what is an inherently dangerous product. Furthermore, you have a developer of intellectual property trying to use the regulatory process to force the sale of his product through regulation, an economic mis-allocation. If the product is not selling, it is priced too highly given the benefits. He should lower his price or we can wait until it goes off-patent.


"It is true that everyone should be responsible for their own actions and safety. Wouldn’t it be better to insist that dangerous tools be manufactured “idiot proof”?"

They will only engineer and build a better idiot.


"With regard to making a profit from licensing the Saw Stop mechanism, isn’t that what our free enterprise system is about? However, I think that government has the right and duty to set safety requirements for table saws."

I have no objection to someone profiting from their intellectual property, it's great. I do have a problem with an unelected bureaucrat who decides that I need a "Saw Stop" or something similar. Given the benefits, I may buy one myself, but at the least, I should be entitled to make my own decision.

Also, the government does not have "rights" it only has "powers", only people have rights and the people delegate powers to governments.

Posted: 10:16 am on June 18th

shopkingdom shopkingdom writes: Unfortunately, you can't fix stupid. That's where this all began.
Posted: 10:13 am on June 18th

Joe Y Joe Y writes: Accidents happen. Sometimes they are due to negligence; sometimes ignorance, sometimes circumstance, sometimes times inexperience and sometimes stupidity. But they are accidents none the less.

Accidents happen in our lives very frequently, usually it is just some spilled milk, or a broken dish, sometimes it's a scratch on the car. But they are all accidents.

So someone uses his intelligence and develops a very clever way to avoid accidents. Thank you Mr. Gass, for saving many appendages and possibly keeping some people off of long term disability benefits.

So Mr. Gass tries to get manufacturers to license his technology. What's wrong with that? Shouldn't a person be rewarded for his cleverness and diligence? Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were.

But the manufacturers didn't want to price themselves out of the market -- because they apparently believed that woodworkers were too stupid, cheap, and/or arrogant to pay a premium for safety. Maybe they were right -- some woodworkers are proud of they wounds like military veterans with battle scars.

But litigation awarded a lot of money for one particular accident which obviously had many of the aspects listed above. And the manufacturers panicked. They were afraid of the precedent, so they probably petitioned the government to level the playing field for all of them by establishing consumer product safety standards for table saws -- which obviously must incorporate the latest SawStop technology. If the government didn't update the rules, who would?

So now, some anarchists are accusing the government of unnecessary intervention, prohibiting them from choosing between price and safety.

Yes, there is nothing in the Constitution which requires the government to provide a safe environment.
-There is nothing which requires street lights, traffic lights, caution signs, yellow lines and guard rails on our highways, but I'm glad they're there.
- There is nothing that requires safety switches, insulation, circuit breakers, and grounding devices in our homes, but I'm glad they're there.
- There is nothing that requires FDA regulations for food processing and pharmaceutical manufacturing , but I'm glad they're there.

So why are some woodworkers so adamantly opposed to safer tools?



Posted: 10:06 am on June 18th

Lutro Lutro writes: Irresponsible manufacturers lead to irresponsible lawsuits, which lead to clumsy governmental regulations. I don't like any part of the equation. But it doesn't make sense to attack the last element of the problem. Manufacturers have implemented large-scale redesigns of their tablesaws several times in the last fifty years, with all the associated retooling costs. For better safety? No, that is a small part of the goal. Generally, the major focus is "style". The recent revamping of the Delta Unisaw is an example. A good saw got better, but the only big step forward is the riving knife, and it doesn't have the options and flexibility that it should have. And then they whine that redesign for safety would be too expensive.

The limitations of saw guards have been obvious since the fifties, and yet, manufacturers still haven't incorporated some obvious improvements. I'm glad to hear that Bosch has a new design. Supporting "choice" is a great concept, but the industry doesn't generally offer choice, unless forced.
Posted: 9:54 am on June 18th

LeeJor LeeJor writes: Please, everyone here who is for these regs being implemented be acutely aware of this fact; Mr Gass originally went to saw manuf and tried to get them to install his system; too expensive, with no real, long term, research as to its effectiveness. When this did not work he went to Congress and whined and moaned and cajoled trying to get it legislated then.

Like the entrepreneur that he is he finally said screw it and had his own line created in CHINA. Now that this idiot in New York won this suit he's back on the legislation issue in concert with the CPSC. Does this mean he will discontinue production and sales of the SawStop line to concentrate on the research, development and production of his system for all the manuf that have to make the change?

Somehow I doubt he will kill the SawStop line. Think about how much cheddar he will rake in selling his own line and being the exclusive supplier of the system
MONEY GRAB

Posted: 9:48 am on June 18th

highfigh highfigh writes: Did anyone else notice that the damage to Thull's arm was a jagged break, not clean-cut by a spinning saw blade?

If the damage to Thull's arm is from what was described, it's his fault, regardless of what he said. He didn't support the material as it left the saw table and that's one of the most basic rules when using a table saw. He got a lawyer to make a strong case in order to persuade stupid people to see this as "the big, bad machine manufacturer ruined my life and I want money!" IIRC, Gass is a lawyer. There's no way he designed the Saw Stop device for any reason other than to make money. The speed with which he got his patents and other legal support wouldn't be possible if he was just "a guy with an idea".

$100/unit? Not as a retro-fit. Each cartridge costs more than that now and you can't just add it to an existing saw. The trunnions and bearings wouldn't withstand the forces exerted when the blade is made to stop as fast as it does when the aluminum block jams into the teeth. Then, there's the cost of a new blade. Not that the cost of the cartridge and blade should be more of a consideration than physical damage but with all of the people who have safely used a table saw for decades, I have to think that the risk lies with the user and this shouldn't be mandated by law.

Personally, I think the home improvement shows bear a lot of the responsibility for sending the message that anyone can do what they show on the programs. I see unsafe tool use every time I watch one of these hacks tackle one job, or another. I don't always see blade guards, push sticks, eye/ear protection and in some cases, I see a completely untrained person using a power tool that could cause a lot of harm. They need to make it clear that these can be operated safely, but it takes a bit of thought and planning.

I narfed my left index fingertip with my brand new T&G router bit. Did I whine and sue someone? Hell no! It was MY fault. I did something stupid and I will never do the same thing again because I learned from my mistake.
Posted: 9:47 am on June 18th

CR9999 CR9999 writes: While eating lunch yesterday I accidentally stuck my fork in my eye. I sure wish that the government had mandated some kind of guard on the thing or at least put a warning label on it as to how dangerous it could be! Who knew!
Posted: 9:45 am on June 18th

Bubbaduck Bubbaduck writes: As a woodworker and an ER doctor I see ALOT of table saw injuries,as many as two or three a month,and often from very experienced users.I think we need blade stop technology in the same way we needed seat belts.let's face it it's a hell of a lot cheaper to buy a blade stop then to pay me.

- bubbaduck
Ps to the good folks at delta if you put a blade stop on your big unisaw I will buy one tomorrow
Posted: 9:42 am on June 18th

woodscraper woodscraper writes: I will keep adding this to every Government overstep till the day we lose ALL of our freedoms. "Show me where in the Constitution the ""FEDERAL"" Government has the power to do this."

With Freedom Comes responsibilities. I cannot believe how people can keep saying this is no big deal. This crap is getting very scary!

You want to to fight this then start with your state. They have more power than the feds. Look at what Texas is doing. They are banning the TSA in Texas and they are in the process of passing a law that does NOT ban the incandescent light bulb. They are fighting back and the Feds are furious but their hands are tied.

START WITH YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES PEOPLE. FIRST YOUR GARDENS, THEN YOUR TABLESAW, THEN YOUR GUNS AND LASTLY YOUR FREEDOM!!
Posted: 9:42 am on June 18th

JimKoren JimKoren writes: I'm sick of people stating that the government screws things up. We forget about what the workplace was like before OSHA! There were 350 deaths per 100,000 workers in 1920. Today that number is less than 1 per 100,000. Do you really want to go back to those days!

Safety regulations are based on the simple premise that humans make errors and these errors shouldn't cost them their fingers, hands, or lives. Anecdotal evidence provide here doesn't change the fact that safety systems on equipment saves lives and limbs. Most managers in factories know that safety systems saves them money.

I've been working with table saws since I was 13 years old. I've yet to loose a single finger. But several times I've asked myself "What the #$%@ was I thinking!" after I did something stupid. We all have those moments.

So last week I purchased a SawStop.


Posted: 9:31 am on June 18th

unTreatedwood unTreatedwood writes: In past blogs here, it's been clear that the "wording" of the new regulations just happen to be what Gass has written and wants put in place so he can reap the new monies. I dont understand why this is not transparent to ALL!! Every single industry in our country in being subjected to these ridiculous regulations. As though a centralized government in one place can know what the best way to do something is in the rest of the country. How is it that lawmakers, most of whom have NEVER even held a skil saw, is now telling us how to use a table saw? Oh and by the way, you HAVE to use the new device designed by Mr. Gass, that just HAPPENS to add anywhere from $500 - $1000 per saw. Doesnt anyone else see this? This goes along with new rules to shut down coal mines, dairy farms, oil drilling wells, painters, remodeling...etc., etc. I had no idea that so many trades people were THAT incompetent, when ONE guy uses a portable table saw in such an egregious manner that he hurts himself, and it's the saw's fault, and now we all have to change what we do!!! For the record, I upgraded my table saw this year to a Grizzly cabinet saw because I knew this would happen with this administration. I know how to use a table saw safely, my boys know how and I don't need the government regulator who has probably NEVER used one to tell me what I need and don't need. THis is a very large step away from freedom and the chances of having that freedom again once this joke is passed is virtually impossible. Rules, Rules, Rules. I predict there will be within 10% just as many accidents. Stupid users are still going to be stupid, saw-stop or not.
Posted: 9:20 am on June 18th

JeffB JeffB writes: Look, I make mistakes in the shop and will the rest of my life. I'm human. So saying that it is the woodworkers fault that a finger gets cut off doesn't re-attach the finger. I don't like government intervention any more than the next guy, but if that is what it takes so be it.
Posted: 9:18 am on June 18th

DustyToo DustyToo writes: I don't know where the ba____ds think they get the authority to regulate a tablesaw i may buy . . . it is certainly not in the Constitution, the only place they get any lawful authority. Whether or not it's a good idea has absolutely nothing to do with it, only something to keep us talking about a non issue. It is whether the government has lawful authority to regulate it . . . THEY DON'T.
Better get out the pitchforks now before they're regulated into ones with blunt plastic tines only.
JohnP
Posted: 9:09 am on June 18th

michaelmouse michaelmouse writes: After reading some more posts after submitting my first post I thought: I'll bet there aren't too many liberal woodworkers. This hazardous activity makes you think you are responsible for your actions every time you start one up!
Posted: 8:59 am on June 18th

michaelmouse michaelmouse writes: I don't know the stats on table saw injuries but that cannot be the governments real priority. For instance, if an industry caused 40 or 50 thousand deaths each year you would think the government would be motivated to stopping those deaths, considering their table saw position. Abortion is a hazard to your life. I never encounter an abortion but I'm sure if I did I would not be here typing this. People make poor choices every day driving and we haven't put big time bumper guards on cars yet.... Vote accordingly!!
Mickey's 2 sense's.
Posted: 8:53 am on June 18th

swingman swingman writes:
Once upon a time in human evolution you had to be smart, agile and cautious to survive, a process that arguably strengthened the gene pool and benefited the entire species. Along comes government intervention, protecting the left half of the bell curve from themselves, polluting the gene pool in the process, and, if little else, benefiting corporate interests, lawyers and politicians. Jump on any urban freeway in the country and experience the results up close and personal ... but please be extra smart, agile and cautious.
Posted: 8:45 am on June 18th

chuckls chuckls writes: I do not believe table saw injuries have imposed a burden on the tax payers so why is regulation needed? Regulation of table saws is one more example of nanny-state politics run amok. What ever happened to personal responsibility?

Just because some political appointee or bureaucrat thinks it is a good idea is not good enough. Regulation of table saws will provides very little advantage and will impose a significant cost to table saw manufacturers and buyers.

The $100 cost Steve Gass implies is misleading because that is just the material cost and does not include the percentage licensing payment other manufacturers would have to pay. Also, testing and certification costs go hand in hand with new regulations and would raise the price of all table saws, even a Saw Stop.

The manufacturing, licensing and regulation costs will increase the cost of a table saw by several percentage points. This is a significant burden on the market.

Let the market decide. If more people buy Saw Stops then other manufacturers will improve their safety features. Regulation is not required.
Posted: 8:43 am on June 18th

Melchizedek Melchizedek writes: And now for a little comedic relief...

My profile picture is of my son dressed up for a zombie walk last year.(Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9J3hffFhrM&feature=fvsr )

After reading the blog comments, I'm considering jumping on this gravy train.

Imagine the testimony:
"My poor son was trying to multi-task. He was making a 2 inch rip pushing the wood with his head, when unexpectedly his head came in contact with the spinning blade. If only the evil saw manufacture had used flesh sensing technology!"

If that doesn't work, maybe he could be the poster child for Mr. Gass?

OK that was for fun but seriously, I'm not in support of government regulations on what I can and can not buy. The loss of a limb is terrible but the loss of our freedom is just as bad. It is not the government's right to "rule" over us, it is their responsibility to protect our freedom.

I am in support of using the saw stop or other advanced safety technology in industry and education. That should be driven by insurance premiums not regulations. For most of us, the best advise is to use our heads...But, not like my son!

Now get back into the shop and let's be safe out there.


Posted: 8:26 am on June 18th

marcowyo marcowyo writes: Several things coem to mind for me here. First of all cudo's to Mr. Gass for his invention, it has given all woodworkers a choice in what level of safety they choose to have in their shop. In regards to the govt. regulation, I agree that we don't need anymore intervention in our lives on their part.

With that said, the other tool manufacturers have seen this coming since the day the Sawstop hit the market and have ingored it causing the govt. reaction. I do realize that the case that is driving this had a ridciulous outcome and should have never come to fruition in my mind.

I think a good solution here would be for Mr.Gass and the other tool companies to work together and create the technology derived from the Sawstop to create an optional device that is able to retrofit new and existing tools and leave the option in the hands of the consumer and not the govt.
Posted: 8:15 am on June 18th

woodpuppy woodpuppy writes: I wore a seat belt long before it was mandated by law. I practice saw safety and if I cut off a finger I hope I learn from it. I take responsibility for my actions and I don't blame anyone else for it. Carelessness if the responsibility of the owner of the accident. Most saws already have saw guards which are removed by choice so the mandated safety feature doesn't always work. If the Saw Stop is activated and not replaced the mandated safety feature doesn't work. Lets leave it up to the owner of the equipment to decide if he wants safety for him or his employees. His insurance compay and osha will help him decide.
Posted: 8:14 am on June 18th

judgebill judgebill writes: Manufacturers have, for years, been reluctant to add safety features to equipment. In the 1950s, the auto makers stated flately "The American public doesn't want safety", when discussing whether auto makers should install seat belts. Well, now we have not only seat belts but 3-pt. harnesses, padded dashes, reinforced A-pillars, anti-lock brakes and a whole host of other safety equipment. Also, please note that most of these safety features came about as a result of lawsuits filed against the auto makers. This has significantly dropped the number of severe injuries from auto accidents. Look at the safety features on household appliances. True, if the operator is careful, most "accidents" can be avoided. But unfortunately, when untrained people can purchase potentially dangerous merchandise/equipment, people get hurt. And the marketplace won't introduce safety features until somehow forced to do so. Lawsuits forced auto makers to improve the safety of cars. Now it looks like the same thing is happening to woodworking equipment. Thank god for trial attorneys.
Posted: 8:09 am on June 18th

Irritable_Badger Irritable_Badger writes: A few points:

- The tool manufacturers have had many opportunities to make their products safer but they did not. If they don't care about their customers safety then the government needs to step in and do something about it. That's what we pay them for. (This only applies in situations where the "free market" hasn't worked. Airbags and seatbelts are good examples).

- Good on Mr. Gass if he makes some good coin off of his invention. That's the idea behind innovation.

- A bigger issue here is that implementing this great safety feature in other applications has been stalled because SawStop has had to develop, manufacture, and market their own line of saws instead of advancing their safety device technology.

- There is a lot of precedent for intellectual property being purchased by the federal government and the patents discharged. This puts the patents into the public domain and eliminates licensing costs for implementation but still pays the inventor. It is entirely possible, likely even, that the tool manufacturers are pursuing this line through lobbying efforts.

- Safety (especially in the case of something as specific as a single application (table saws)) is a genie that can't be put back in the bottle. No matter who/what "started it" the argument is public now and some measure of safety standards are inevitable, as any argument "against safety" can't be won and only makes those supporting "no safety" look silly.
Posted: 8:08 am on June 18th

merrill772 merrill772 writes: Adults have a constitutional right to make their own decisions, including those that may threaten their own safety. Want a safer saw? Buy one! Think you can get along fine without it? Great! The government needs to spend more time managing their own problems (like the budget) and less time meddling in the private affairs of others. FWIW, I now own a SawStop, but used a standard saw safely for 2 decades.
Posted: 8:04 am on June 18th

cedarlog cedarlog writes: I am shopping for a table saw. What impresses me about SawStop is that it works, that it can be triggered by things other than wieners and fingers such foil, that it prices me out of the market for a new saw. What impresses me about the discussions of the issue is that every "expert" downplays the cost differential for installing the brake and completely ignores the very substantial cost / waste of replacing the brake and blade, preferring to play up the high cost and trauma of accidents. I would like to have this technology but it costs too much.

Several previous comments voice reverence for free markets and disdain for government. My view is that the best role for government is to encourage competition. Adopting one technology as the standard is not the best way to make all saws safer. Business will not respond unless there is competition, and even then responses may miss the mark. Example: riving knives that are thicker than the thin-kerf blades I like to use. Whoever produces riving knives has not responded to that market signal.
Posted: 8:01 am on June 18th

BudBond BudBond writes: I am a professional woodworker in the Virgin Islands. I have spent the last 16 hrs working in open air shops in a high humidity salt air environment. I would not trust the sensitive electronics of a saw stop to hold up six months here. A saw stop would then become a false sence of security , which would only lead to the complacency and lack of attention that cause most accidents. Can you imagine the lawsuits resulting when a saw stop fails to work?????
Posted: 7:58 am on June 18th

jsmorgan1 jsmorgan1 writes: I started trying my hand at woodworking a few years ago when my father in law passed away and I got his Delta table saw. I had no knowledge of "how" to use it so I started reading different books and watching videos of Norm and others on the TS use. While all were informative, they did not show just how quick a mishap can turn into a disaster and injury. I've had a few injuries due to my not knowing exactly how to make a cut properly. Kickback was involved in all of them. I try to be very aware of where my hand is at all times in relation to the blade. I have made some cuts and thought, wow, I wasn't paying attention to where my had was and that was a near miss! Bit kickback happens in a flash. I once was ripping a 12" wide shelf. Instead of being 12" wide all along the cut, it was a little wider at the end and with the magnet feather boards holding it down it bound and broke the feather boards kicking back the board on the left side. The board caught my had and at first I thought I'd lost a finger but was fortunate and didn't. My point is: I did not know how to properly make the cut. I didn't realize if you use strong and tight fitting feather boards the piece needs to be the same width or perhaps leave the feather boards off.

All in all, Saw Stop or not, Proper Usage is what should be mandatory. As someone pointed out you can walk in and buy a table saw without any knowledge on HOW to use it and take it home, set it up and injure yourself. Perhaps there should be a short school on how to use such a tool? We have to go to a class on hand gun usage before we can get a concealed carry license even if we have been shooting for years, war veterans or professional shooters. I know you can't make people use tools as they were meant but an instruction class for beginners would be a great help and possibly cut (no pun intended)back on injuries.

As for Saw Stop and their licensing fee, well, I wish I'd come up with their technology! After all, isn't that the American Dream?
Posted: 7:50 am on June 18th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: kiesha, Good for you. This is how the free market works best.
Posted: 7:44 am on June 18th

wbillmc wbillmc writes: What is this really about? Politics, Money, Safety? We can all speculate, but to me the bigger question is why so much focus on 1 tool in an environment where 100s of tools exist? Some 30 years ago I injured two fingers on a table saw while using a Sears molding blade that should have never been put on the market. Even then, the injury was caused by me not following the basic principle of keeping my digits out of the cutting area. I would rather see a mandated safety test be put in place before you can purchase and operate any "dangerous" tools. Then the injuries can be sorted by: "You knew better!"; "There is a real issue!". All of this noise is generated by a case of "He should have known better!". The BS law suite should have been the manufacturer against the irresponsible person that made the tool available to another irresponsible person. Where is the real accountability in all of this?

Billmc, Texas
Posted: 7:41 am on June 18th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: When was the last time we had an unfettered free market? Not in either of our lifetimes. FWIW, air bags were available in cars LONG before the gov't started mandating it. They were expensive and very few people wanted them. However, that is apples and oranges. Other careless woodworkers will never put me at risk in my shop.

Please don't bring kids up. Even if I had a Saw Stop, I'd set it up so it was disabled when I left the shop. Anyone who truly cared would too. A larger danger to young children playing with table saws is kick back and Saw Stop will not prevent that.

This is very simple. Those who like it, buy it. Those who don't, don't buy it. Saw Stop should not be outlawed and it should not be mandated. We have a choice. Choice is good.
Posted: 7:40 am on June 18th

borderdogs borderdogs writes: For a hobby I started making sheepdog (border collie) whistles many years ago. These are machined from various materials, brass, stainless, aluminium, corian, etc. Now it's become more than a hobby it's become part of my yearly income. One thing I have learned there is a limit to what people are willing to pay for certain improvements. A table saw is no different albeit much more expensive. I wouldn't say the sheepdog world is cheap but they are fugal really no different than the woodworking world. Even though a manufacturer can improve their product it isn't always what the customer wants. When there is no choice in my opinion the customer looses. I am not against someone making a profit I am against the government mandating & limiting choice.
Rob Drummond
Hillsboro, NH
Posted: 7:37 am on June 18th

lindhrr lindhrr writes: By far more ,more of a HAZZARD......the RADIAL ARM SAW and SHAPER........................Do they SAW STOP these machines also............Then how about the hand held grinder and routers....................Lets consider the fact that the gentleman who started this mess....did not properly use the little table saw correctly in his flooring installation job......resulting in his injury...THE COURTS SHOULD HAVE ......HOLD HIM RESPONSIBLE NOT THE WHOLE WOOD WORKING COMMUNITY.........PROPER TOOL USE RESULTS IN SAFE OPERATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 7:23 am on June 18th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: Tartan, the gov't regulates the banking and finance industries plenty. The problem IS the regulation. The pols set regulations so their friends and "$upport$" have an unfair advantage. Remember SOX? Came out after Enron et al to protect that public from unethical companies/auditors/consultants? How'd that work out for us?

Trusting the US gov't to protect us is literally like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Except, I'd bet the hens are safer. Simple example is the insider trading laws and their application to congress. Look it up.
Posted: 7:22 am on June 18th

philroe philroe writes: A really bad outcome to all of this would be if the sawstop technology were enforced, and that as a result people started to think that tablesaws were safe. Safety engineering is as much about psychology as anything else. If you straighten out the road at an accident "black spot" people just drive faster. You do reduce accidents, but not by as much as you expected.
Posted: 7:20 am on June 18th

kenerv1 kenerv1 writes: Let's not turn the issue into a knee jerk nebulous left-right political argument -- rather let's try critical thinking on the specific issue at hand.

o Are large numbers of experienced and inexperienced sawyers seriously damaged from table saws?
o Is there affordable and practical technology available that would meaningfully reduce such injuries?
o Is there a significant risk of an inquisitive 8? year old child (or visiting grandchild, nephew/niece, neigbor) avoidably injured by a table saw?
o Has the industry acted (or likely to act) in a timely and effective fashion on its own?

I suspect there is not a great deal of disagreement on the answers to these questions.
Posted: 7:16 am on June 18th

kenrup kenrup writes: Wouldn't be easier for the government just to outlaw being stupid? That would cover many situations.
Posted: 7:15 am on June 18th

kiesha kiesha writes: I am an amateur woodworker with three table saws and 60 years experience. I was assisting a plastic surgeon in the OR last week when he received a call regarding a table saw injury. He exclaimed "damn, that's the third in 10 days!!" When I observed that I still had all ten digits and had 3 saws he said all the table saw injuries he had treated were EXPERIENCED woodworkers!I have put in an order for a Stopsaw!
G T Riley MD Oakville, Ontario
Posted: 7:11 am on June 18th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: One thing people are missing is this is amounting to a gov't backed monopoly. If the gov't is mandating skin sensing safety technology on table saws and someone owns the patent on it, where is the competition?

If Mr. Gass and the gov't were actually concerned about table saw safety, the license fee would be $1. It's not. Why? Because it's not about OUR safety. It's about THEIR wallets. Mr. Gass makes a fine saw with some impressive safety features. He also owns the patent and I'm sure will strictly enforce it as is his right.

Whoever makes a comparison of mandated car safety features is either intentionally or unintentionally misleading this discussion. Table saws don't crash into each other. Another woodworker's careless use of their table saw does not put me at risk unlike careless motorists.

Like with all products, the market should decide. If the cost/benefit of Mr. Gass's technology is deemed desirable enough, the market will demand it and manufacturers will change. Regardless, WE have a choice. Want a Saw Stop? Buy it. Don't want one don't. What is the problem?

And finally, yannick, if you believe the US gov't is not screwing its citizens, you have been asleep for the past 30+ years. But, that is a discussion for another forum.
Posted: 7:10 am on June 18th

Tartan30308 Tartan30308 writes: The other day I was asked whether or not a friend should buy the SawStop. I asked if he had small children or grandchildren around. As his answer was 'yes,' I urged him to go with SS. Otherwise, I suggested he should decide on the basis of how much self discipline he practices in his shop. IN ADDITION, isn't it interesting that Congress hesitates to regulate the banking and financial services industry, but is all to happy to be experts on table saw safety.
Posted: 7:10 am on June 18th

NTFer NTFer writes:
A good friend always says "Be smarter then the tool". That and a little common sense goes a long way to working safely.
We don't need no stinkin' Saw Stop!
Posted: 7:06 am on June 18th

Mandolinman Mandolinman writes: The Government is too big and the ever increasing intrusions into our daily lives is apparent now! We need to stop these infringements of our liberties. Get out of my life! I am perfectly capable of living and enjoying my success without you.
Liberty for all "We the People"
Posted: 7:03 am on June 18th

kowtow kowtow writes: I am not opposed to the safety technology. I am opposed to the way it's coming about. I do not support a government regulations that makes one man rich by default.

If this is a big enough issue (and maybe it is) then the government needs to do the following:

1. Identify the real risks if it's a spinning blade/knife problem then fine. Make it all spinning blade/knife tools.
2. Give the industry time to respond and either develop their own competing technology, or close down the SawStop line of table saws. Because if the technology and the Table Saw line are out at the same time there is a chance for market manipulation.
3. Personally I am not for the regulation. But only because I have a really bad taste in my mouth for how this particular event has gone down. I think that Mr. SawStop is slimy.
Posted: 6:57 am on June 18th

4545 4545 writes: I'm with beem, villareal and yannick 100%. It's an imperfect world and we can be pretty sure no government will get things absolutely right, but an unfettered free market system has a history, and for little people like me and probably most of you it is not pretty. When I see my grandchildren strapped into their mandatory car seats in cars that the government has required to have seat belts, air bags, and highly engineered frames and think about the cars I rode in seven decades ago and why they are different now all my reservations about government regulation in a democratic society melt away. Nonetheless I'm glad to see there will be a market for my old saw.
Posted: 6:51 am on June 18th

lark4 lark4 writes: Just food for thought.
1/ What will it mean for resale?
2/ Will you have to update your saw, or will it be less expensive to scrap it when you wish to upgrade?
3/ Will insurance refuse to pay for injury if this device is not installed on your saw.
4/ If the govt gets involved in saw safety, where will it end, will we need a licence to operate a jointer or planer,or how about kitchen knives?
The best safety equipment, hands down, is a simple device called" Common Sense"


Posted: 5:43 am on June 18th

Mickey T Mickey T writes: Out of interest, dado heads in the tablesaw in Europe, (I'm from England) are in effect, illegal. The top of the riving knife is higher than the saw blade and this typically has the crown guard bolted to it. This renderes a partial thickness cut impossible and it is illegal to remove these items. Also, the rise and fall on tablesaws that have been manufactured for more than the last ten years, does not descend the blade significantly lower han the surface of the table, rendering partial thickness cuts un-doable, taking away the temptation to remove the riving kinfe and guard anyway. Many saws do not even have an arbour spindle long enough to take a dado blade. If the guard was in place on the saw of the unfortunate user shown here, he would not have injured himself in this way and the need for a sawstop totally unnecessary. If the American way of working was to have a proper riving knife/crown guard setup, as we have had in England for decades, and dados (we call them housings over here) were cut with a plunge router and guide, I doubt the saw stop would ever have been invented. Dare I say it, but I doubt such technology could be applied to all the other machines we use, so I think the benefit of such a device only very weak. It is like only making it law to fit seat-belts to Fords, but not any other vehicle.

As much as I love Fine Woodworking, I do think that they have not helped your cause by showing table saw operations with 'guards removed for clarity'. Many of the operations shown in the magazine could not be done with guards in situ, making that disclaimer moot to say the least. The public consciousness of American woodworkes is that it is OK to remove guards, and this should never have been the case.

Mike,
Posted: 4:58 am on June 18th

907jdavis 907jdavis writes: How will the industry incorporate this technology into router tables, chop saws and planers? I've worked with machine tools for 40 years, wood and metal, all facets, and still have all of my digits, am I doing something wrong? I think not. I'm being careful, following directions and assuming responsibility for my actions. If anyone wants to incorporate this technology into the table saw they intend to purchase they should have that option but it should not be a requirement for those of us that have enough tool savvy and common sense to stay out of harms way.
Posted: 4:01 am on June 18th

DavidEspinosa DavidEspinosa writes:
What are the most common tablesaw injuries? Are they really from direct contact with the blade? Or are they from wood that the saw kicks back?

We have a SawStop at work. The boss (not a woodworker) was seduced by the dramatic demo. Otherwise, we might have bought a Hammer or Felder. I bet a sliding table is a lot safer than a SawStop.

Misfires on a SawStop are pretty expensive. You need a new blade and a new aluminum brake insert.


Posted: 3:02 am on June 18th

superchip superchip writes: good luck to to gass if he makes loads of money so what personally my self i do what i want to do i have been doing joinery cabinet making professionally for over 35yrs had a few minor scrapes and im big enough to say every single one of them was my fault and i learn by them and in all those years i have survived on what i have earnt if the only way in this business you can make money is to engineer something from metal so be it if you dont want to use it dont man up
Posted: 2:57 am on June 18th

Fabuladico Fabuladico writes: If I were Steve Gass, I'd be estatic. What could be better than to have the government make it a law that every woodworker MUST buy your product? There would be no choice whatsoever. You want to use a table saw, you do business with him. You want to manufacture a table saw, you do business with him. Think of it. How cool would it be to invent something and it becomes mandatory to buy your invention? I mean talk about inventor heaven!

That famous case was not a problem with the saw, it was a problem with the operator. He was an idiot. Trust me on this folks. There is no way to idiot proof a machine. If they legislate Sawstop into everyone's life, some idiot out there will still find a way to injure himself on it. And then there's the inevitable failure. Some imbecile will stick his finger into the blade just to see if it really works and there will be that one in a million time that it won't, then Gass will be sued.

Of course, naturally some woman who probaly has never so much as touched a power tool in her life came up with this idea. It will then be voted on by other people who have never touched a power tool. But then lack of actual knowledge on a subject has never posed a problem to legislators before, why should it now?
Posted: 1:44 am on June 18th

beem beem writes: The more compelling story here is not about Steve Goss but about the reasons why the power tool industry has not been proactive in providing such safety features when the technologies were available. The quick answer is that industries are never proactive when it comes to safety. They've always been forced through regulation to make their products and services safer. Industry has never been inherently interest in product safety or consumer protection and never will be, but once again we find ourselves standing at the side of industry interests to the detriment of our own interests. It's an all too familiar story with all the usual suspects playing all their usual roles. Oh how we love the music of the Pied Piper.
Posted: 1:12 am on June 18th

mouppe mouppe writes: Wow. There are some really nasty comments here. "Ignoramuses?" "Delusional?" Thanks mccottrell. I guess I must be one of those because I support the sawstop technology. To all the naysayers, I suppose in your fantasy world accidents never happen.
It's not about avoiding responsibility, it's about minimizing the impact should an accident occur.

By the way, dado heads are not illegal in Europe, so whoever wrote that should do his research properly rather than just re-hash what he read on some internet forum.

Anyway, I won't get involved any more on this forum. After about 5 posts, it just got out of hand, rude and irrelevant.
Posted: 11:22 pm on June 17th

loveww loveww writes: When a machine thinks for you, you no longer think for yourself!
Posted: 9:31 pm on June 17th

notrapsoptonlinenet notrapsoptonlinenet writes: Although some people seem to feel that all government regulations have some underlying malevolent purpose, it is clear to me that among government’s legitimate functions is to protect its citizens. It is true that everyone should be responsible for their own actions and safety. Proper training and technique would prevent most accidents. However, the reality is that, at some time or other, everyone makes careless (and possibly dangerous) mistakes. Some people make more than others. Saying woodworkers have to be responsible for their actions doesn’t grow back fingers or pay for medical bills. It takes only one instant of inattention for an otherwise careful woodworker to become an injured woodworker. Ultimately, we all may have to contribute to paying his medical bills. Wouldn’t it be better to insist that dangerous tools be manufactured “idiot proof”?

With regard to making a profit from licensing the Saw Stop mechanism, isn’t that what our free enterprise system is about? Other manufacturers had years to come up with an alternative safety system and they did nothing. (Adding the riving knife was a no-brainer and a European innovation.) I disagree with the court ruling that gave rise to this debate, especially the apportionment of blame. However, I think that government has the right and duty to set safety requirements for table saws.
Posted: 9:26 pm on June 17th

mcottrell mcottrell writes: The respondents who think that mandatory Saw-Stop technology is a good thing, especially if forced upon us by Government, are all unthinking ignoramuses. Why don't we ban kitchen knives? Hammers? Baseball bats? Axes? Chain saws? Or, God forbid, AUTOMOBILES??? We still KILL (not maim, not cut off fingers, KILL) 40,000 to 50,000 people PER year with automobiles. How about banning electricity? Lots of people hurt themselves every year with that. Maybe no more aspirin or Tylenol, so that nobody overdoses on over-the-counter medications? The list just goes on and on.

What the hell is wrong with you people? Can you not take the slightest responsibility for your own actions?

Of course accidents happen. Take reasonable care to avoid them. Don't do stupid stuff. If you do stupid stuff, accept blame for your actions, and move on.

And oh by the way--when are we going to have Lathe-Stop, and Drill Press-Stop, and Chisel-Stop, and Draw-Knife-Stop, and Hand-Saw-Stop, and....It drives me nuts when ignorant people argue from the specific to the general (as in, "I once hurt myself with my table saw, so table saws need to be regulated"), but I have to tell you that the most serious injury I ever inflicted upon myself was with a chisel (and a good, sharp one). Am I maimed for life? No. Do I have a scar? Yes. Do I want some bureacrat telling me to not use a tool which humankind has been using for thousands of years to stop using it? Use your imagination, if you have any left.

The kind of thinking that promotes mandatory Saw-Stop technology will doom our civilisation to self-destructive mediocrity. Wake up, folks.

Anybody who wants this stuff is delusional
Posted: 8:42 pm on June 17th

jovenx jovenx writes: Drove over 40 years without going thru a windshield. None of my cars had air bags; witnessed an armored truck take too wide a right turn and broadside a Subaru waiting to make left turn. The truck (carrying the Subaru) came to a stop, after crossing two lanes and a broad sidewalk. We could not tell how the driver was because the air bags had deployed; she was quite shaken but no apparent injuries. She did not complain one bit about the bureaucracy sticking their nose into how we drive and forcing the car companies to include seat belts and air bags as standard equipment. Shortly after bought a new car with air bags.

When my Delta burned its third motor after some Bocote and Jarrah chairs, checked every TS out there, including the rare Inca; bought a Saw Stop because it is the best in the market right now. It was pricey; but when I get to the old woodworkers' home, I'll take up piano lessons.


Posted: 8:04 pm on June 17th

elhat elhat writes: This has absolutely nothing to do with safety or with the public health cost. It is simply the convergence of entrepreneurial lobbying, an aspiring political appointee, and the tort lawyers; all nurtured along by the "Vision of the Annointed". Affected deep abiding concern for the safety of their fellow man or for the drain on the public coffers create a smoke screen for advancing an elitist agenda.

"If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot" - unknown woodworker (number of remaining digits also unknown)
Posted: 7:33 pm on June 17th

Snowdog4 Snowdog4 writes: Here's a novel thought, how about letting the free market determine if the Saw Stop technology is implemented by other mfgs. After all if all the people whining about safety and the need to have someone protect us from ourselves would just shell out the few extra bucks to purchase the Saw Stop saws, the other mfgs would lose market share and then have to adapt in order to stay viable in the market.
For example look at what just happened with the riving knives and easily removable guards, we the consumers were demanding changes, and the mfgs realized they had to meet demand or start losing sales. Oh, and they had to wait for some bureaucrat to change the rules to "allow" them sell saws with the newer technology. One size fits all government solutions are ALWAYS the wrong way to go.
As far as that lawsuit goes, the mfg had no liability in that case. The employer is the one who purchased that saw, no forced him to not buy a Saw Stop saw (I don't believe Saw Stop was even available in that style at the time of the incident). And the guys operating the saw without the guards bears the brunt of the responsibility.
How about the next lawsuit where someone cuts off his fingers after turning off the safety features of his Saw Stop saw, should Saw Stop be held liable for that? Think about it.
Posted: 6:53 pm on June 17th

JShine JShine writes: I think the saw-stop technology is a great option but certainly shouldn't be made mandatory. Are there any petitions going around or any way to appeal to the commission for those of us that don't want to see this regulation/law passed? What happened to majority rules?
Posted: 6:38 pm on June 17th

DustyTrails DustyTrails writes: Talk about a disaster waiting to happen, take:
- A few lawyers looking for work,
- A political appointee trying to justify their position,
- An entrepreneur hoping to get rich selling licenses to a patent.
Mix well and stand back.

Posted: 6:34 pm on June 17th

PushkinsButton PushkinsButton writes: I know where this is going.........as a physician, it is this type of government meddling and legal profiteering that have created the enormous health care costs in America! Please, please tell everyone you know that enough is enough!
Posted: 6:25 pm on June 17th

Bowtie3 Bowtie3 writes: Ok lets all roll up in a ball and let the GOVERNMENT protect us from ourselves. We Have seen The Enemy And He Is Us.
Posted: 6:06 pm on June 17th

Robertz Robertz writes: Quite a few people get injured on table saws. While most are their own fault and you could argue that each individual is responcible for their own safety..the medical cost of these injuries are paid by all...either by being build into the insureance rates we pay, or increase hosipital rates for those who use hosiptal with no insurance...and the legal costs which become imbedded in the product cost.
How much are these costs? how do they compare with $100/saw claimed additional cos to make them safe? I do not know.
It takes innovation like Saw Stop and the threat of regulation to drive change for better safety...for all.

Saw Stop technology is several years old now...but no one to my knowledge adopted it other than Saw Stop.

I would rather the change happened without regulaton..but if we want medical cost to go do...we do have to change things.
Posted: 5:48 pm on June 17th

RickAllyn RickAllyn writes: I wish all of you anti-government people would just let the government do what it is supposed to do: things people cannot accomplish by themselves like national defense, large infrastructure projects, and regulating big business. I think we all know that a safer table saw is a good thing, even for us long time woodworkers (it can happen to anyone), but you can bet manufacturers will alway opt for extra profit and extra sales over safety, unless they are forced to help keep digits attached. Go CPSC!
Posted: 5:47 pm on June 17th

Ginmark Ginmark writes: Just another example of government butting into our lives. I would bet not a single person in that bureaucracy has ever used a table saw and yet, they see an opportunity to lord over those who do. If I want a saw with a certain feature on it like the saw stop, which by the way I think is ingenious, I'll buy it! I do not want it shoved down my throat by a bunch of pencil necks in Washington. I really don't feel free anymore as an American citizen. Today it's the table saw, yesterday it was some ridiculous EPA edict, last week it was healthcare... when does it end? IT DOESN'T.
Posted: 5:38 pm on June 17th

ejhh ejhh writes: I can't believe the number of negative comments (and the editorial message) here on improving the safety of table saws.

You may be a careful and experienced user of your saw but what about other people out there? No qualification is required to purchase or use a table saw and we all know they can be dangerous things.

Your government legislates to make many everyday items safer for you. Seat belts and airbags in cars. Electrical safety in all electrical items. Stringent rules in the design, maintenance and operation of all airlines.

It is the government's job to protect people. You could argue that it was Bill's OWN FAULT that he suffered terrible injuries on his table saw. So what is the solution to stop other Bill's out there suffering the same fault?

To protect the users of a dangerous table saw you either have to require every purchaser of a table saw to get a qualification first..... or make the table saw safer.
Posted: 5:38 pm on June 17th

JeffS JeffS writes: I should have also said I do NOT think the SS technology should be mandated... but I do think tablesaws should be made safer by better designed blade guards and riving knives.
Posted: 4:57 pm on June 17th

JeffS JeffS writes: I don't understand all the bashing of SawStop inventor Steve Gass. If *you* invented something novel that could be useful for those who choose it wouldn't you expect to be paid for it? That is the whole basis of capitalism and our patent system- doesn't matter if it is a tablesaw or any other widget. Does Apple give away its iphone or ipad patents? Is Coke expected to hand out its formula so everyone can enjoy its flavor and make it at home?
Posted: 4:52 pm on June 17th

Schleiff Schleiff writes: All of these companies that make their machines in China will have to re-engineer their equipment to adapt to the saw stop technology. This and the re-tooling costs will really jack up the price of these homeshop saws. People who realize the machine can be dangerous, pay attention to how they use the equipment and don't get injured. I've had the same direct drive Delta table saw since 1992 and "knock on wood" have yet to be injured.
Posted: 4:37 pm on June 17th

Schleiff Schleiff writes: All of these companies that make their machines in China will have to re-engineer their equipment to adapt to the saw stop technology. This and the re-tooling costs will really jack up the price of these homeshop saws. People who realize the machine can be dangerous, pay attention to how they use the equipment and don't get injured. I've had the same direct drive Delta table saw since 1992 and "knock on wood" have yet to be injured.
Posted: 4:37 pm on June 17th

wrecker42 wrecker42 writes: I have had my share of accidents (all my fault). But luckly I have all my body parts intact. Let's face it any tool, power or non-power, IS inherently dangerous in inexperienced and ,yes in experienced hands. We don't look for accidents. That's why they are called accidents. Mandating design based safety doesn't even scratch the surface of the problem. It might temper a specific issue somewhat, but in the end accidents will happen because a human is involved. How may regulations are there out there controlling cigarettes-and people continue to die. By the way look at the cost of those beasties since regulation. Personal safety is a combination of training, experience, knowledge, attitude, health, fear, common sense and design. You can have the best designed piece of equipment, but without the other elements, it is potentially dangerous even if it is just sitting on a bench or isn't turned on. But that is another story. In the end safety is a personal responsibility.
Posted: 4:36 pm on June 17th

SeamusO SeamusO writes: Why would there be restrictions on using a dado set on the tablesaw?
Posted: 4:27 pm on June 17th

murrmac123 murrmac123 writes: I just wonder how long it will take for the European legislators to follow suit.

It is already illegal in Europe to use a dado head on a tablesaw.

Or rather, to sell a new saw with an arbor long enough to accommodate a dado head.
Posted: 4:11 pm on June 17th

ricksite ricksite writes: I have a Bosch 4000 table saw. I like it but it has its limitations. I also have a Festool TS55 track saw and I recently purchased the MFT/3 multifunction table. One aspect I like about the Festool setup is that it is very safe. I don't have to worry about kickback (it has a riving knife) or touching the blade. Put a 8x4 piece of plywood on a sheet of styrofoam and you can make safe, accurate cuts with the plywood fully supported. That was a big challenge on my little table saw. The MFT works well for cutting panels and I even use it to cut smaller material like rails and stiles for face frames. I mostly just use my table saw for ripping now.
Posted: 2:57 am on June 17th

GrenadaBarefoot GrenadaBarefoot writes: I am a professional woodworker and have been for over fifty years I have all my fingers and have never had an accident. I follow my gut, if it tells me this doen't feel right or comfortable then it isn't. I use push sticks, hold downs, and I keep my fingers outside the red throat plate zone. I have gotten tired of people not taking responsibility for their own actions, Im tired of the government having to get into everything and then screwing it up. Would I buy a Sawstop, no! For that kind of money I'll buy a european saw with a sliding table. In the mean time I'll stay with my Delta unisaw. The lawyers will make loads on this, Gass may get richer since it does not appear he will open up to the public domain. The saws will get more expensive and the woodworker will be paying the whole cost. Thank you to the twelve jurors who don't understand being responsible for your actions.
Posted: 8:06 pm on June 16th

John_Schaalje John_Schaalje writes: What would be the problem with leaving the system as it is? If I want a saw with this safety feature than I can buy it; if not I can buy another saw.
Posted: 4:07 pm on June 16th

Wixom Wixom writes: I'm still wondering why Sawstop uses aluminum brakes instead of plastic ones which the company said it would use when the technology was still being developed. The brakes that are being used now damage the blade, and if you have a $100 Forrest blade on the saw, it adds up fast. Plus the cost of replacing the cartridge isn't cheap either. Granted, it's still cheaper than a hospital bill, but if you use all of the approved safety gear, like push sticks, featherboards, and, most importantly, common sense, you wouldn't need this technology. I agree with ncosman, who stated that schools should use these saws, because the kids are easily distracted and not always paying attention to the job at hand.
I don't think that other manufacturers should have to pay Gass for the licensing of this technology; if he were really trying to reduce injuries as his only goal, he would let the technology end up in public domain where anybody could use it, and he wouldn't benefit from it. He is still making money from the sales of his tablesaws, and a lot of it, last I checked. But then again, all lawyers think the same; they will benefit from somebody else's injuries
Posted: 1:30 pm on June 16th

villareal villareal writes: child-proof refrigerator doors, padded dashboards, seat belts, air bags,... Industry has a poor safety record in these matters. I don't know if sawstop or better guards is the answer. One thing is certain though, that table saws are quite dangerous and will be continued to be used by people who are not fully trained to use them. Take a $100 saw. The person who uses such a saw will most likely be a week-end DIYer. This is a recipe for serious injury that statistics sadly bear out. We need to get serious about safety of table saws especially at the lower end. For me, $100 is a reasonable amount to pay for the thousands of devastating injuries that occur each year.

Posted: 1:02 pm on June 16th

cblouin cblouin writes: ncosman, yep. In a school setting, this is definitively a great feature. Forcing it on all tablesaw is another story, I agree.
Posted: 12:18 pm on June 16th

RogueWorker RogueWorker writes: if people are smart and know how to use the tools with the push sticks then this problem would never of happened
Posted: 11:14 am on June 16th

ncosman ncosman writes: cblouin, I have never had a "mis-fire" of my personal saw that I have used almost every day for the last two years. I work at a school where every shop has been converted to sawstop. Real-stops happen all of the time. One of the shops keeps the blades and brakes hung up on the wall as a reminder. I would say 65% are from metal contact (nails, clamps, mirrored plexi), 35% are fingers. Money well spent. I've been in a shop where the brake was triggered and if it didn't I am convinced a girl would have lost a couple fingers. she had a little knick on the side of her hand!
Of course, I'm still talking about schools, not home, not work. Do I think the brake should be required legally: absolutely not.
Posted: 10:56 am on June 16th

cblouin cblouin writes: Every time that I see a sawstop I wonder how likely it is for the mechanism to misfire because of a "false alarm". Anyone knows?
As for the actual topic of this post, well, forcing workers to be secured to something when they work on a roof isn't to take their freedom away, but to prevent falling down. Cash strapped businesses aren't in a good place to make up their own safety regulations... and it's their employees that pay the price (and their families).
Posted: 5:50 am on June 16th

yannick yannick writes: Come on, I don't believe the US government is on a secret mission to screw its citizen.
I for one believe that car security belt, or removing latch door on fridges etc were all good mandates.
I agree that following basic safety rules would prevent 99% of those tragedies, but people make mistakes every day. Why can't we learn from it and avoid those costly one time mistakes?
Every time someone mangle his hands, there's a cost for all of us.
Posted: 9:21 pm on June 15th

ncosman ncosman writes: Oy.
I love my sawstop, but dont love the idea of the government forcing the issue amongst manufacturers and consumers. It's a terrible precedent to set. We all know that most accidents can be avoided with proper education and having well designed unobtrusive safety guards in place. Working with any kind machinery is inherently dangerous, I've known two or three people who have been seriously injury using a drill press, should they add flesh-detecting technology there? Im not drinking that kool-aid.
Posted: 3:35 pm on June 15th

jer7440 jer7440 writes: If I could add Saw-stop technology to my future table saw for $100 I'd be all for it. But...any time the government starts sticking their nose in something, they usually screw it up.
Posted: 2:25 pm on June 15th

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