Stephen Colbert Takes the Sizzle Out of SawStop

comments (191) February 14th, 2012 in blogs, videos

MKenney Matthew Kenney, special projects editor
thumbs up 330 users recommend

Video Length: 4:56
Produced by: The Colbert Report/Comedy Central

First, a warning. This clip from the Colbert Report contains edgy, adult-oriented, late-night humor and satire. It's intended for adults. So, if you're easily offended, have no sense of humor, don't get satire, or become enraged at the possibility of federal regulation, you probably shouldn't watch it. Really, some of the footage is adult content. So, I've warned you.

Who would have guessed that the SawStop controversy would grow big enough to make onto Comedy Central's Colbert Report. As you probably know, the show features Stephen Colbert doing his best to imitate and satirize a conservative pundit (his inspiration was Bill O'Reilly, I think). I'm sure Colbert is trying to make us think critically about current events, but he is also trying to make us laugh. This video hits on both accounts, but mostly it's just funny. I find it interesting to see how mainstream media envisions the controversy. I'd say Colbert simplifies the issue, which isn't surprising. The way he portrays it is far easier to understand and lampoon than it would be if he dug into all of the nitty gritty and ancillory issues (like whether or not it will work on a jobsite saw). At any rate, I say enjoy it for what it is: comedy.

Of course, you can let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, you might ask why I'm posting this to It's news about our craft and our industry. It reveals something about how one segment of the popluation views a big controversy in woodworking. So, it's worth sharing with you.


More on Tablesaw Safety

Fight Kickback with a Riving Knife - See kickback in action and learn how a riving knife can help prevent it.

Blade Brake Inventor Aims to Compete with SawStop - When this blade guard senses flesh, the blade stops in about 1/8 of a second.

Hear Woodworkes Talk About Accident Stories - Hear first-hand accident stories and learn practical safety tips for your own shop.

posted in: blogs, videos

Comments (191)

Tri_color_Turners Tri_color_Turners writes: This video is funny, but not in a ha, ha way.

I am all about technology and improved safety equipment as long as it doesn't make the machine operation less safe. There is also no "silver bullet" and process is as equally, if not, more important to safety.

SawStop lost me in their approach to integrating it into the industry. Thanks.
Posted: 8:23 am on March 7th

Lumber_mike Lumber_mike writes: I don't like government making rules but the saw system is great also it only cost about $80.00 dollars to reset the saw when tripped a lot cheaper than losing fingers
Posted: 10:34 am on January 24th

Ddimas Ddimas writes: I think the main reason woodworkers dislike saw stop is that when it activates it drives an aluminum block into the blade. This ruins the blade, the arbor assembly, and the stop block. The repairs run into several hundred dollars and the saw is down until it is repaired.

Granted that's all much less debilitating and cheaper than cutting off a finger or so, and then having to have emergency surgery. But it still means that it is a problem, and no one ever really thinks it will happen to them.

Get people a non destructive technology that does the same job and it will be quickly adopted. The government won't even have to get involved.
Posted: 10:59 am on December 31st

Razorarrow Razorarrow writes: Great to prove a point we push wood through a saw with bubble wrap on our hands. It would be better if you prove the safety of your saw with your own finger instead! PUSH STICKS!!! Don't you people use them? Guess not! Next after saw stop is forced into the millionaires club because government forces us again, we can ban a real killer. STAIRS! Stair accidents 1307 death a year, Firearm accident ( non gang bangers, or criminals killed while committing a violent crime.) 776. Stairs kill and should only be used by trained emergency personal! Do you see where you want to go!
Posted: 1:11 pm on January 27th

Razorarrow Razorarrow writes:
Posted: 12:53 pm on January 27th

Razorarrow Razorarrow writes: Stairs kill and injure more people then firearms they never to force you mindless idiots to install electric seats in your stair cases. Stair cases should be only for trained emergency personal. Period!!! Their are 4 thousand fingers cut of because you don't fear the tool, And sorry I would never push a board through a saw to prove a point WITH MY HAND IN PLASTIC WRAP!!!!
Posted: 12:53 pm on January 27th

Kyle_Blank Kyle_Blank writes: All of the comparisons to seatbelts and airbags regarding this technology do not hold. The reason is because of how this technology drives up the cost of the saws. Imagine if adding airbags to a car drove up the cost by about $10,000. That is the problem. If this technology was cheaper, than it would be a no-brainer, otherwise it is nothing of the sort.

As for the argument that it's easy on paper to argue against something like this technology until you actually cut your fingers off, well no one is arguing against the technology's existence. They are arguing against it's being mandated. Arguing that government should be permitted to protect us from ourselves can lead to all manner of infringements.

Product safety is about protecting consumers from the product harming them when it is not supposed to, not from their own stupidity. I have no problem with regulations that make sure that the power saw is manufactured where the blade won't just detach mid-use and thus fly off and saw somebody. I do have a problem with government mandating the addition of a feature to protect people from their own lack of precaution.

Those talking about cost to the healthcare system, well then should we implement a special "fat tax" on all junk food? You know, because obesity-related health problems cost the healthcare system billions in this country.

Also, maybe we should mandate that all cars be limited to 100 horsepower, a top speed of 60 mph, and cannot accelerate from 0-60 in under twelve seconds. You want to do 70 or 80 mph on the freeway? Too bad. You going to pay for the healthcare costs if you get into an accident at that speed?
Posted: 3:55 pm on January 23rd

Refined_Wood_Designs Refined_Wood_Designs writes: Why hasn't other table saw manufacturers developed similar technology for their saws? They would not have to force everyone to purchase saws with the device attached but could offer it as an option. They must figure that it is a gimmick.
The videos often show a hot dog slowly coming into contact with the blade. I wonder if the injury would be much greater if a person were to quickly move their hand or body part across the arc of the blade.
Posted: 12:13 am on April 10th

Velluch76 Velluch76 writes: Damn government always trying to interfere in our lives. First making car manufactures put put seatbelts and airbags in our cars. Then requiring us to make the kids sit in booster seats in the back away from the airbag for "safety". They interfere with pharmaceutical companies and make them do safety test on medications before their released to the public. Now this "sawstop". I mean its my god given right to cut my fingers off, then cram my kids into the car with no seatbelts and drive myself to the emergency room, so I can can have a dr tell me that they cant reattach my fingers but subscribe a non regulated pain medication and antibiotic. Thats my right! Right?

C'mon people. Some of you are way to paranoid about the goverment. This is an outstanding technology and I hope it gets mandated like all the other safety features on many of our tools. Everything evolves
Posted: 10:04 pm on November 11th

Denru Denru writes: If this is really about government intervention, then how come no one's complaining about regulations that require the manufacturers to provide the inexpensive riving knives that Europe has had for decades? The people who are against this are the same reactionaries who helped the auto manufacturers delay seat belts and air bags. We should be angry with the saw manufacturers that are only too happy to risk our fingers to save a buck for themselves, not at the creator of SawStop who deserves every dime he can and should make. This will, as others have pointed out, suddenly become a must have feature as soon as his patent runs out.
Posted: 10:45 pm on August 11th

Wade01 Wade01 writes: I fine it interesting that most woodworkers appear to NOT want this. I, like them, feel that way, not because it may save a finger but because the "big brother" has gotten involved and may yet require it.
After many years of seeing the government try to cure a preceived problem and failing, actually making it worse. I just don't have the confidence in them to do it well.
Why has NO one talked about the down fall of this produce?
You can "TURN IT OFF" that makes it a failure in my opinion because it puts the decision back in the hands of the user, remember he is the one that is going to make a bad decision and cut off his finger.
For you who do not know, electronics isn't perfect either, it has improved greatly over the years I've been in the business but it still isn't perfect. When you assemble an electronic device there is a failure rate of the devices right off the assembly line. I've seen it go from 20 percent down to now less that one percent. So what does that mean, it means that of all the new Sawstops out there in use now, there are some that will fail to work when you need them too.
It will be interesting when the first law suit is filed naming Mr. Gass for his device failing to SAVE a finger. He does have the odds on his side, so of those bad units will end up with users that are good woodworkers and never test the module.
Also, there isn't anything NEW about this technology he is using, it's been around for years, but he does get credit for putting it together with a tablesaw and that is all he gets.
Anytime someone has a new idea and the American public doesn't force it on the saw makers in this case something is wrong. I think that would have happened with time.
At present Gass is playing to role of "good guy", well, bull. If his motive is so noble then lower the price of his saw.
At present I have a Unisaw with a form of riving knife made by the Gripper folks. If you don't have one, look into their newer metal version but I've been using the plastic one and it has performed well for several years. The most important thing is to keep the saw adjusted properly.
(the further we go toward socialism the worse things get)
did you know that it wasn't that long ago that there wasn't even Federal taxes or an IRS, google it most of you will be surprised.
Posted: 9:00 am on August 4th

KasilofLeif KasilofLeif writes: I feel the same way about Sawstop as i do about Motorcycles and helmets. I'll support your right not to wear helmets as long as i don't have to pay for your head injury.
Trouble is, i do have to pay for your injury - and so do all of you. 25% of American's don't have health insurance because the costs have gotten insane. How many Americans only have Medicare? You are paying for that,too.
So, when you can show me a viable way not to be forced by some idiot to pay for his helmet-less ride (It is his God-given right), and for him cutting off his fingers on a table saw (another God-given right, apparently), I'll be glad to join your fight against needless gobment intrusion. So rant all you like, AFTER you show me how i can get out of paying for your injury....
Posted: 10:28 pm on May 10th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes:
Unfortunately, what most do not know is that the insurance industry is the black-hand lobbying legislation for these new laws. Since the manufacturers have failed to act by ignoring SS tech for ten years now, the insurance industry has made its mind to force manufactures to incorporate SS tech into their T-saw products. The insurance industry has infinitely more influence than manufactures of a niche market. And that my friends is that…so you crying little girls who are so unhappy that you will be forced to use a tool that eliminates the chance of you harming yourself, please go home and suckle your T-saw and cut your fingers off now so you can brandy about how free you are to do so, while the rest of humanity can go about its business.

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, silly logic, 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 in today's world. 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.

Posted: 5:35 pm on March 21st

Josephindus Josephindus writes: or have him pay the fee's to replace the saw blade and saw stop technology whilst keeping his finger. I think it's better to have our example keep his finger, despite his carelessness. I mean it could happen to you or me too.

This is sort of caring for humanity's needs too. Once again, humans are not perfect, and if we can pay more to prevent more injuries, this is a great sign for humanity itself.

Posted: 9:22 pm on February 25th

Josephindus Josephindus writes: Humans are imperfect. Even the best of us, the most alert, responsible individuals can be susceptible to injury. There may just be one day where your mind isn't right, or you get distracted by accident and cut/injure your hand/finger. No matter how much we train ourselves to be safe and focus on safety, it's never enough to be 100% immune to injury.

The safest car driver in the world could have never expected to be in an accident with this other irresponsible driver. When the airbag deployed, I bet they were thankful.

Just as the carpenter who gets accidentally pushed into the tablesaw blade at work will be hella thankful this technology was put in place. Or how about the groggy, tired worker who makes a careless mistake and realizes his whole finger could have been gone, that will surely wake him up! Now... would you rather have his wake up call be losing his finger, costing him and the healthcare bill hundreds to thousands of
Posted: 9:17 pm on February 25th

avartist avartist writes: How much government intrusion we accept depends on what it costs us. If a $1400 saw were to be required to include this technology and the price remained at $1400, then there would be no controversy. I'd dare say we would tolerate if not welcome the government's intrusion. But that's not how it works, is it? We see the obvious price increases and we immediately remember how important our constitutional rights of freedom and personal choice are in this country. Gass knows how the system works now. Forget the free market. If you want to make a big pile of money, just lobby congress to extort it from us. Sure, you won't find these laws admissible in the enumerated powers granted to Congress within The Constitution, but we stopped caring about that old piece of paper a long time ago. I would love to have the choice personally and I do. I can go buy a SawStop if I value this feature and if I can afford it, which fortunately I can because the government hasn't quite figured out how to take everything from me - yet. Oh well, enough of this. I'm going out to my shop to practice responsible woodworking on my trusty Unisaw.
Posted: 9:51 am on February 25th

Julimor Julimor writes: I began my apprenticeship as an electrician in 1974. I've never been seriously hurt but I have had a few stitches and smashed fingers over the years. Most of the injuries that occur on a construction site are to the hands. No surprise, they do most of the work.

For decades, I rarely saw anyone wear work gloves, except when it was cold. It was one indicator of how tough you were. It didn't take much for me to understand the advantages of wearing gloves, five stitches to the back of the thumb. I was a second year apprentice when I began wearing gloves at work.

I could go on forever telling you all the objections I've heard from the guys I worked with over the years about the downside of wearing gloves. No matter the logic, they always found a "better reason" not to wear gloves.

All the safety products in the world won't stop injury or death because in every case people are involved and ultimately they are the ones making the final decision how a dangerous product will be used.

About ten years ago, I started seeing a new type of glove on the jobsites. After decades of wearing leather gloves, I saw this new glove offered most of the same protection plus it was nimble, offered a better grip and lasted forever. The guys LOVED them! I did too. And hand injuries started to go down. Soon, the contractors started issuing them to their workers and everyone was wearing them.

To employers: You have an obligation to make the workplace a safer environment. Do it and it will pay for itself.

To SawStop: Make a product that the rest of us WANT to buy instead of relying on the government to FORCE us to buy it.

"Build it and they will come."
Posted: 8:45 am on February 25th

HIGHTOR HIGHTOR writes: Quite a number of people have made comparison to Seat Belts and Air Bags, but this is not a valid comparison. Both those safety devices are extremely helpful, but driving automobiles is a whole magnitude more dangerous because of all the other automobiles around you and coming toward you. And even with driving, any expert in the field will tell you that the most effective safety device is a good driver.

The safety or lack of it involved in using a Table Saw is totally dependent on the user and no one else.

Comparisons to single user tools or machines are the only ones that apply.
Posted: 4:24 pm on February 24th

kkryzynski kkryzynski writes: While I think it is a great invention and if I could afford it, I would certainly purchase a Sawstop or equivalent type of safety for my shop. But in no way should it be mandated by government. What should be mandated is tablesaw safety and proper instruction on the use of the tablesaw to those not qualified. I am a carpenter and a woodworker and nothing scares me more than a jobsite saw on the ground and worker hunched over the machine making a cut that shouldnt be made. Many of my colleagues have balked at my homemade pushsticks, amazed at my zero clearance inserts and other safety devices I bring to the jobsite. But I have all my fingers. Now I did nick my finger last year on my chopsaw making a 45 on crown moulding. But it was my own carelessness and hasty decision making that caused it, not the saw manufacturer. People need to accept responsibility for their own actions and my sympathy does go out to those who have been injured.
Posted: 8:16 pm on February 23rd

ptwob08 ptwob08 writes: Jimi C...

No sir, I I sure wasn't. Could I have avoided the injury if I was? perhaps. but I didn't. You know what I did?? I made a conscious choice, as an adult, to use a saw that didn't have some very smart and handy safety features. and I paid for it. Lesson learned. If you want to mandate to your own children (i.e. legislate) that they take certain safety precautions in their activities, be my guest. Have em play in a mattress lined play ground, make them wear kevlar reinforced jeans so they can't fall down and end up with stitches in their knees. The government is NOT my parent, or my nanny, or my safety net, and I'm shocked and disheartened at the amount of people that want them to be. My issue isn't with common sense (I agree that it isn't very common and you may even think that I don't have any cause I managed to hurt myself...fine) my issue is with government intrusion and expansion. Where does it end? styrofoam nails so people can't have a painful nail gun accident? a $2000 router or that kills the motor so you can't grind your finger tips off? This shouldn't be legislation, plain and simple. You can't legislate common sense and accident prevention any sooner than you can legislate the poor into prosperity.
Posted: 7:27 pm on February 23rd

woodpuppy woodpuppy writes: It's a great product but let the market decide. I think if I was an employer and supplying health insurance for my employees and paying for worker's compensation insurance I know what I would do. I would buy this safety device. If I owned the patent on this product I would offer it to all saw mfgs. for a reasonable price and make hay while the sun shined. It's inevitable that somone else will figure out how to compete in a less costly manor. I'm not sure we need big brother deciding what is best for us and stifle creativity. Mark my word someone will make a better mouse trap(stop)!!!!
Posted: 6:12 am on February 23rd

Thunderbolt2Ben Thunderbolt2Ben writes: Mr. Colbert- I would give your feature regarding the Saw Stop
a two (2) thumbs up if I still had them. Keep up the good work. Regards, Thunderbolt2Ben
Posted: 3:14 pm on February 22nd

AJCoholic AJCoholic writes: For the negative comments regarding the Sawstop line of table saws - unless you have actually owned or used one, how can you suggest one way or the other, the quality, or the reliability is suspect? I have been running one of the Industrial 5HP models for the past year. It replaced a 20 year old Delta Unisaw (a quality made in USA machine but without a decent guard, no riving knife) I used for the previous 23 years.

The Sawstop saw IS a great saw. Very smooth, excellent dust collection, smooth adjustments, excellent fence. I feel that the extra grand or so I paid VS getting another Unisaw, was well spent. If I am unfortunate enough to have an accident where my hand comes in contact with the blade - I will gladly cough up the $120 for a new Forrest woodworkerII, and an $80 cartridge.

My father nearly severed all the fingers on his left hand in 1996 on that old Unisaw. A very gruesome injury that took many,many years of operations and therapy to gain very limited use back. I would pay the cost of the entire saw ($5K) to not have to go through what I saw him go through.

The technology is sound, proven and will save you much grief if it happens to be triggered. And no, the Sawstop doesnt just "go off" for no reason.

There is nothing else on the market like the Sawstop technology today. I feel my hands are worth the extra $$. No regrets whatsoever and I can say I'd buy another in a heartbeat if needed.

Andrew J. Coholic
Posted: 8:26 pm on February 21st

Geir Geir writes: In a letter to the editor he didn’t publish I reminded him that in the last issues tablesaws generally have no splitters, or tiny low splitters, and seldom a blade guard. I received the latest issue today and I count almost a dozen tablesaw blades completely without safety measures.

I find it tragic that instead of genuinely preventing accidents on the table saw, Mr Gass, with kind assistance from FWW, has managed to turn all the focus over to reducing damage when the accident happens. This is not good safety management. The small nicks in his sausages is a severed finger if a hand slips into the blade at full speed.

Tablesaw accidents happen a) at kickback b) when a hand is moving in the direction of the blade and nothing stops it when the hand slips. When using sliding tables the hand never moves in the direction of the blade. A blade guard will stop the hand if it slips. And a riving knife and good jigs will eliminate kickback. These three elements have reduced tablesaw accidents in Europe, why is it impossible in the US?

A perhaps more important practice from professional safety management is substituting something dangerous you can not control with something safer. A router table and bandsaw can take care of your dadoes, grooves and tenons and is far safer.

Another thing: the common comparison with seatbelts and airbags is nonsensical. Yes, they are measures to reduce damage when accidents strike. But remember, we have a long list of other safety measures on cars that has no equivalent in the world of tablesaws.

If you want to compare driving a car with airbags with sawing with “fleshsensing technology”, you have to add: no formal training, no license, no speed limits, no red lights or other regulations, barriers on the motorways, the list is endless.

Posted: 1:19 pm on February 21st

SawDust913 SawDust913 writes: If our government can step in and make SawStop mandatory on all table saws then they need to have the technology implemented and mandatory on all chainsaws, circular saws, band saws or why not say EVERY POWER TOOL WITH SOME SORT OF CUTTING BLADE! While at it every vehicle on the market or sold in the USA must have bullet proof glass and completely armored. I don't know the statistics but I'll bet there are more people injured in or around a vehicle. Power tools are dangerous. I have cut myself worse with careless use of a Power Washer, get a hand in front of a 2,550 psi power washer and see what happens. The only ones that push a mandatory law like this is "MAKING MONEY FROM IT". I was shown a demonstration on a SawStop and the biggest point they seem to promote is how smooth of a start up and shut down it has by putting a nickle on edge. When I got home I tried that on my Ridgid TS3660 and 5 of 6 start up and shut downs the nickle stayed on edge and the cost of the Ridgid is 10 time less then the sawstop, not to mention the cost of replacing blade and parts that need to be replaced every time it is tripped. I'll bet the SawStop will trip sometimes without having a body part come in contact with the blade. Who pays for that? Respect power tools and learn to use them in a safe manner and don't take short cuts when using power tools. How many Butchers with 20+ years have all their fingers? Out of that number, how many have never even used a table saw?
Posted: 7:53 am on February 21st

Xee Xee writes: I am not American, but you guys baffle me. You have a guy who has actually invented something new, instead of copying something. It unquestionably solves a real world US problem, costing US citizens probably hundreds of millions a year, not to mention the anguish caused to families with a father/son/mother/daughter with a mangled hand.

You have a moribund table saw industry that stopped inventing anything years ago, to the extent that they have allowed chinese and taiwanese manufacturers to make money copying 30 year old machines.

I am a canadian living in Australia. If they sold Sawstop them here I would have bought one. Instead I had to recently buy a taiwanese saw with no riving knife, no sliding table, a guard that gets in the way, and a comprimised ability to take a dado blade.

America should celebrate the fact that they have inventors, who are inventing something useful, and that prevents serious injuries.

And FWW - if you want to do something useful, you might consider running another series of articles on how to make jigs that make operating table saws safer.
Posted: 7:33 am on February 21st

JimKoren JimKoren writes: In the latest issue of FWW there are two letters from readers with opposing views. One is written with sound logic and based on first hand experience. The other,all emotion and no thought. I find most people against this technology are the same people who want their freedom now but will be the first to sue once a finger is cut.

What really bothers me is that the editors of FWW are afraid to take a stand. They repeat "facts" from the industry that are patiently wrong. (i.e. the industry's estimate of costs) They give equal weight to thoughtful dialog and irrational rantings. They ask us to send our opinions to the CPSC but refuse to take a stand. Matthew Kenney's comment, "Enjoy this for what it is: comedy." completely ignores the sarcasm in Cobert's piece. OR maybe I'm wrong and he just doesn't get it!
Posted: 2:01 am on February 21st

bluejae bluejae writes: ("Angry words about the way things are going"), ("Contented and smug words of the way things are now and of my own personal experience and abilities"), ("Ignorant words of the real world and of others experiences")
Posted: 10:43 pm on February 20th

Burly56 Burly56 writes: I’d like to know what percentage of the injured had little experience vs. those who had many hours on a saw. I know the big lawsuit that got this rolling was with a person who was not taught how to properly use a saw and had safety gear taken off.
Posted: 10:05 pm on February 20th

nrajr nrajr writes: I once read a report that there is not a single known case of someone cutting off a finger on a table saw where the blade guard was properly installed. While there are operations where a stock guard must be removed, there are also after market guards out there that never need to be removed. There is already sufficient technology to protect users from accidentally removing their fingers. So no, it is not a “seat belt” issue. Before seat belts, there was not a workable safety measure already in place, save not riding in an automobile at all.

Nor is it an issue of “greedy corporations” putting their profits ahead of safety. If the market demanded SawStop technology, then it would certainly be implemented on every tool manufacturers’ table saw. But the market has not demanded it. There aren’t a disproportionate number of SawStop saws being sold as compared to other table saws. Saw manufacturers put those features on a saw that they believe their customers want. If they are correct they stay in business, if they are incorrect, they either modify their product or go out of business.

This is really a debate on the role of government and the amount of power we want to give the people who run the government. Our government has already shown itself to be like the camel in the story of “The Camel’s Nose in the Tent”. I know there are people who are comfortable with this sort of government and would be happy to have every aspect of our lives legislated for “the public good”. I however, at least on this point, agree with Thomas Paine in that “That government is best which governs least.”

Posted: 7:50 pm on February 20th

markcanada markcanada writes: To all the commenters talking about personal responsibility, I assume you're going to be paying out of pocket to cover your medical bills, not using you're insurance coverage to get non-table-saw-users to foot the bill, if/when an accident does happen? And I'm sure that none of you are old enough to be covered by Medicare, so taxpayers won't have to worry about footing the bill either?

The fact is that table saws are causing a huge number of injuries resulting in enormous medical expenses, but these costs aren't reflected in the purchase price of saws. And users of saws don't respond to the potential injury costs since they won't have to foot the full medical bill if an injury does happen, since insurance or Medicare will cover most of it. Many others simply underestimate the chances of themselves actually having an accident on the tablesaw.

All you free-marketers, this is what's considered a 'market failure', where the market prices don't actually reflect the true costs to society. And that is when it's appropriate for the government to step in. They don't necessarily have to make safety features mandatory. There are other options such as implementing a 'table saw tax' so that the purchase price of saws properly reflect the cost of the injuries that those saws impose on the rest of society. Regardless, it's not unreasonable to expect the government to get involved in cases like this.
Posted: 6:43 pm on February 20th

plfn plfn writes: I am all for it ! Every hammer manufacturer should also be obliged to bundle a steel thumb cap with his product!
Posted: 5:53 pm on February 20th

evandene evandene writes: Just to let you know that we "finewoodworkers" can't get to see the video from "the Colbert Report" in Canada.

Please and if you give your judgement consider in your judgement the learning curve of each student woodworker or hobyist.

Posted: 2:47 pm on February 20th

tompossin tompossin writes: There is no law that can protect anyone from stupid.
I have no desire to put a thing on my saw that destroys itself and the saw blade when some system decides my finger is too close. Smart is both easier and cheaper than trying to cover the entire world with foam rubber. Woodworking is inherently dangerous.
The money aspect of this is also important, the saw-stop guy wants the government to require his device on every saw made. Can you say government mandated gravy train?
The insurance company that sued Ryobi for the actions of an idiot that messed up their saw and then proceeded to get hurt on it are also responsible. As are the legal system that went along with this madness.
Has anyone invented the litigation-stop yet?
I was given my first TILT-TABLE table saw when I was 14 by my 9 1/2 fingered uncle with one simple instruction. He held up his stub and said "be careful stupid happens fast". I still have 10 fingers 40 years later. And just for the record he lost his finger with a skill saw not a table saw.
Woodworking is inherently dangerous.
Posted: 1:53 pm on February 20th

Jabba Jabba writes: As a person who has had an accident with a table saw I fully embrace this new technology. Almost 40 years ago I was using a saw doing repetitive cuts and was momentarily distracted. The piece that I had been cutting bound and twisted, pulling my hand into the blade, cutting off the tip of my thumb. Was this a preventable accident? Yes, it was totally my fault. The end result was, I was off work for better than two months. I was fortune enough to have a Doctor who had the skill to reattach a thumb tip and it was successful procedure. According to the hand surgeon, if it hadn’t been a thumb amputation there would have been no attempt to reattach the severed member.
That episode was a life changing event. The nerve damage to my thumb bothered me, aching continually for the first six months; then it hurt whenever my hand became cold for almost ten years. Even when wearing gloves, the cold caused a deep pain and aching that was almost as severe as the original incident. I had been an avid duck and goose hunter but I gave that up due to the extreme discomfort exacerbated by cold wet conditions when hunting.
Long story short is I still use table saws and attempt remove all distractions; if I was in the market for a new table saw I would certainly strongly consider Sawstop. The inconvenience of losing time or having to purchase and replace parts is far less than the down time from an injury to your hand or amputation of fingers. I’ve noticed there are a lot of new saw blades available but I’ve yet to see a replacement hand or fingers.

Posted: 1:14 pm on February 20th

cash15 cash15 writes: The government has way too many safety regulations. They require interstate highways to have guard rails near steep drop offs and on sharp turns. Drivers should be responsible for staying on the road. Collapsible steering wheels are also required. If I want to run off the road, go over a cliff, or impale myself or rupture my Aorta, that is my business. This safety stuff costs us all a lot of money. And why do I need safety glass in my aluminum door. If I want to slam the door and large shards become deadly missles, that is my business. How hard is it not to break a large pain of glass. And why do I have to go the expense of buying cribs with rails so narrow that infants heads can't pass between. This adds to the cost, and I can take care of my own kids. Actually very few kids were choked to death each year before these regulations, and in almost all cases, it was due to the avoidable negligence of caretaker. Another thing, all power tools are double insulated. If I am so stupid as to get my feet damp, I deserve to be electrocuted. It is getting so safe I just don't feel the need to think any more. And what about phones in elevators. If I am worried about getting stuck for a few measly hours, I can just take the stairs. It's my choice. And my kids don't need fireproof pajamas that prevent them from burning to death. I will just make sure they don't get near a flame. My kids, my responsibility. And oh, I really miss the unpadded metal dashboards we had as years back. They were great to crack peanut shells against. How stupid can the goverment be, to increase our product costs just to try to protect us from injury, maiming, and death. This should be a matter of personal responsiblility. I could go on and on and on. Shortly after the industrial revolution you really had to think. Death and injury was in every corner. We were a much smarter nation back then, we had to stay alert to stay alive. Now the government tries to make every nincompoop and dullard able to avoid injury from any carelessnes, incapacity or neglect. Preventing us from cutting off our hands is just the latest lame safety effort. In China, you can any of these products with NO SAFETY DEVICES required. They produce things a lot cheaper than we do. And I really like the quality of cheap Chinese tools. You can't beat the price. I miss the good old days.
Posted: 11:13 am on February 20th

chawig chawig writes: I take issue with Gass's comment that table saws cause injuries. The MISUSE of a table saw is generally what causes an injury, plus blade contact is not the only cause of injury. It's the same as the "guns don't kill people..." argument.

I think SawStop is a great choice and I am glad it is available, but I take great issue with the government possibly forcing all manufacturers to adopt the technology and taking the choice away from consumers.

I agree with requiring seat belts and airbags in automobiles because they may save you in an accident over which you had absolutely no control, and cars can often have several different drivers/passengers. How often does this happen with a table saw? Maybe on a job site, but when I am in my home shop there is no one there but me, and it is up to me to use the saw in a safe manner. In over thirty years of power tool use I have never contacted a spinning blade, but I have had 3-4 instances of kickback, both on a table saw and with a circular saw.

I too have an issue with the fact that SawStop destroys the blade and you have to have another cartridge and blade on hand to go back to work. I look forward to Whirlwind hitting the market.
Posted: 9:03 am on February 20th

Detroitcarp96 Detroitcarp96 writes: While the Sawstop is a great invention, there's no way we can buy one. This isn't a matter of cost but one of buying American. Almost every tool in our shop is US made and if I'm going to shell out $4,500, it's not going to be for a chinese made tool. Also, when we did look at them, they just didn't seem nearly as well made as the US made Deltas that we did end up buying.
Also, if you've ever worked in a production shop, you know all too well that most accidents aren't a result of body to blade contact. What good would this saw do in those situations?
Posted: 4:39 am on February 20th

myxylplyk myxylplyk writes: This is a much simpler issue than many of the respondents have made it.
This is *NOT* a safety issue. Mr Gass has stated several times that "... he just wants to make table saws safer...". This is clearly untrue. Otherwise, he would release the tech to the other manufacturers.
In an open market, the consumer will choose the best product for a purpose. If safety were the primary concern, then Mr. Gass would be the *only* table saw manufacturer in the country. No one would buy any other brand because he has successfully patented all components of the "flesh detect" tech to the point that, currently, no competitor can avoid violating them. (See Cannon vs Xerox 1968)
This is a MONEY issue from BOTH perspectives, producer and consumer. You can tell this is true because Mr. Gass has repeatedly attempted, and now apparently succeeded, in trying to get government/legal authorities to *force* other manufacturers to license his "flesh detect" tech from him.
Since this is rapidly becoming an issue that our government is acting in " the best interest" of both the market and consumers, then perhaps the same action that was taken by the courts to break Xerox's patents should be applied to this situation and truly turn it into a safety issue.
Posted: 3:12 am on February 20th

marcjb marcjb writes: I find it is illogical and difficult to follow a thread in reverse chronological order. At least offer us the choice of how we would like to view comments. If not, please show the comments in their natural order, first to last. Thanks.
Posted: 12:44 am on February 20th

jpruitt jpruitt writes: The way I understand it Mr. Gass went to all the big tablesaw manufacturers to license the technology as he didn't want to be in the tablesaw manufacturing business. However when everyone passed the only way he could monetize on his invention was to manufacture SawStop. This is called capitalism folks...

Here's the deal, accidents happen. SawStop can potentially reduce the severity of a specific type of injury.

Are you still angry that the government made seatbelts mandatory? How about banning lead paint, asbestos, DDT? This is called progress folks...

The only difference in the above examples is if the SawStop mandated technology comes to fruition, you can still keep on using your old tablesaw, so keep on trucking and RELAX.

Posted: 10:19 pm on February 19th

Peajay10 Peajay10 writes: An old friend was a fine, cautious, professional cabinetmaker for many years. He quit after severing two fingers on a table saw. I would never have thought it of him--the accident or quitting like that. It only takes a second. SawStop works in less time than that. I'm all for it!
Posted: 7:16 pm on February 19th

Schwe Schwe writes: Has anyone noticed that the blade is on backwards in one of the close-up shots? Canadian users can view the video on Comedy Central. (
Posted: 6:48 pm on February 19th

beem beem writes: Wow! Given the responses in this thread, I can see how the material for the Colbert Report writes itself. Seriously guys, no one is going to take your table saws from you.

I tell ya what, if the government does takes your table saw from your cold (or warm) dead (or fully functional) fingers (however many digits), I'll buy you a brand new SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw fully loaded. I'll even use the phrase "nanny state" in a follow-up post.
Posted: 6:09 pm on February 19th

beezee007 beezee007 writes: Our government is TOO BIG already! Liberals think they have to protect everyone from themselves.... Leave us and our well earned freedoms alone!!! God gave us common sense and if we choose to ignore our God-given sense that's our own damn fault. Leave big government OUT OF IT!!
Posted: 4:49 pm on February 19th

totara totara writes: For me the issue would be the cost of adding SawStop technology to todays saws.

From what I read SawStop wanted a low commission rate initially from Ryobi and then would increase it as soon as the technology was popular (>25% penetration).

That approach tells me this is more about profit than safety.

Surely as a technology becomes more mainstream the cost REDUCES ?

I am all in favour of safer and better products and would love to be able to afford SawStop....look at that iTunes did for music - make it cheaper and more people buy !!

Rather than legislate for change, make the technology affordable (Mr Gass - this means you), and insurers offer better premiums to encourage adoption of the technology.
Posted: 4:26 pm on February 19th

td2012 td2012 writes: All this talk about the government misses the issues. It's not about the government giving me the freedom to cut my fingers off or not.

It's about not having my fingers cut off in the table saw because I was tired or careless or slipped, saving myself thousands in hospital bills and saving myself a lifetime of adjusting to not having those fingers.

My next saw will be a SawStop. Stuff that up your derriere covering corporate butts DeWalt, Ryobi, Delta and all the others putting profits above safety.

It makes me equally angry that FineWoodworking's editors appear to be siding with corporate profits over safety.
Posted: 3:51 pm on February 19th

notdoneyet notdoneyet writes: I can see both sides of the issue and both have equal merit. I play several musical instruments and REALLY love using ten fingers to do so. A good many years ago I carelessly ran my hand along the underside of a one by twelve I had crosscut to knock the splinters off. As I did so my wife was unplugging the saw which lo longer had an on/off switch. I ran my hand across the blade. The force threw me clear across the garage and my hand slammed into the wall. My quick thinking wife grabbed all the ice in the freezer and wrapped the ice and my mangled hand in a towel. It took many surgeries and a long battle through physical therapy but I'm one of the truely lucky ones. I have virtually full use of my fingers. Had she not unplugged the saw the story would have been quite different. I take full responsibility for what happened to me and have a healthy respect for ALL tools both power and hand types. A sharp chisel can be even more dangerous than a table saw--I know!!

Now, I want to be completely honest. When the first accident happened I was a heavy drinker and I know the alcohol dulled both my judgement and my reaction time. If I were to make any observation it would be that, even as a completely sober person, the chisel that slipped caused quite an injury. I nor anyone else don't need to increase the risk by coming to the workshop in any way diminished. I have learned the hard way to never take unnecessary chances with my or anyone else's safety.

My point is that, while saw-stop and other devices are wonderful innovations for the safety of woodworkers, common sense and strict adherence to manufacturer's reccomendations are of the utmost importance. I would like to suggest to the staff of Fine Woodworking that you run a series of shop safety articles both to educate newcomers to the craft and to REEDUCATE those of us who from time to time become complacent.
Posted: 2:52 pm on February 19th

Jimi_C Jimi_C writes: "ptwob08 writes: I'm one of the most recent statistics the video mentions. less than 2 months ago I suffered a severe kickback crush injury..."

Sorry to hear about your injury, but were you using a riving knife and/or pawls? This is why they're called accidents - no one intends for them to happen, but they do. Minimizing the opportunity for accidents is what this legislation is about, not trying to replace common sense (which is entirely not common at all).
Posted: 1:23 pm on February 19th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: Lets repeat the facts yet again for the crying little girls that continue to miss the mark of why we are where we are relative 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 theirs costs and Incompetent man also gets $$$ through no action of his own.

5.Far 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.The insurance industry is infinetly more powerful than a nich market that runs a potenial half a billion dollar tab in medical bills.

7.Government will issue a ruling in favor of the only tech available, the sawstop tech.

8.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, silly logic, 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 in today's world. 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.
Posted: 10:51 am on February 19th

fpmill fpmill writes: I grew up in the millwork business,my world when I was young was filled with flatbelts and old machinery.I still use some of that machinery today.I have no problem with machinery getting safer,but the real issue for me are these liability lawsuits.
I would like to know out of these 40,000 injuries how many were following the proper safety re gulation of the manufacturer and how many were doing something stupid.i've been cut twice in my life and both times it was because I was wasn't the machines fault at all.
Ryobi was held responsible for a carelass man.(and I'm being nice at that).Would he have been cut if he followe the man. instructions no! This opens up a can of worms not just on tablesaws,but where will it stop.Will some manufactures choose not to make certain types of machinery because of the chance of a liability suit like this one!Thats my concern is where will this end!Remember ther will never be a safety feature that can replace the one between your ears1
Posted: 9:54 am on February 19th

RodShinall RodShinall writes: The position taken by davidgs on Feb. 18 regarding government regulation was well taken and absolutely correct. Those who advocate that the government dictate personal behavior for others(abortion, gay rights, etc.) but cry foul when it applies to themselves lose all credibility. Accidents happen despite the best safety practices and training. The freedom to buy equipment without the best possible safety features has consequences beyond your own personal liberty. The cost to insurers for injuries that could have been prevented by Saw-Stop or similar technology are eventually passed on to everyone.
Posted: 9:17 am on February 19th

modernrocker modernrocker writes: That riving knife you mention is now "mandated" on tablesaws now sold in the USA. No older saws are required to be outfitted. No black helicopters showed up to drag away our powermatic, our delta, our scmi, or dewalt tablesaw after the law went into effect. Any ruling would affect ONLY future saws sold in the united states, not outlawing older saws. Riving knives have not rendered tablesaws unaffordable or sent any manufacturer into bankruptcy. The law does not specify the means of attachment or the ease of removal. (read FWW'S review of these new generation tablesaws)Similarly, the ruling would not specify the method by which flesh senseing technology would stop and/or drop the blade upon contact with your hand. "Blade Brake" and other competitors would soon offer non-destructive methods so your theoretical teenage hotdog pushers wouldn't cost you a fortune. And you can still bypass the system when you need to. No amount of experience can prevent every accident, and no system is perfect. This is not a political issue, it is a common sense issue. Think it through before you type.
Posted: 8:20 am on February 19th

brotherman brotherman writes: About Saw Stop, riving knives and other safety features that effect our craft; it's not always about stupidity or carelessness, all tho there is plenty of both to go around. I and my partner and friend are in our sixties and have cut a lot of wood. Between the two of us, we have six table saws and we each maintain our own. Only mine had guards of any kind until last spring. We both have had injuries from careless mistakes, usually from being in a hurry, he is missing a finger tip, and I have been hit once by kick-back. Last spring, he felt faint and started to fall. Unfortunately, he was working on his unguarded Unisaw and tried to stop his fall by sticking his hand in the blade.............lots of stitches The next day, his son had a brand new Saw Stop sitting in that space. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation you just can't control or imagine.
Posted: 8:13 am on February 19th

Zenworker Zenworker writes: Hi, can't add much to safety debate but I can help with not seeing the video.

If you live outside USA you will probably need to access this video is a way that doesn't permit the FWW website to know where you are. The technology required is called a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

I use a free one from called "hotspot shield". Once installed you simply run the program, it will start your browser, hit 'connect', then navigate to wherever.

One small step towards a freer internet!

Posted: 3:13 am on February 19th

ptwob08 ptwob08 writes: I'm one of the most recent statistics the video mentions. less than 2 months ago I suffered a severe kickback crush injury...about an inch of my left middle finger was amputated as a result. my hand never touched the blade. they are dangerous tools no matter which way you cut it (pun intended). I'd give up the rest of my fingers in a safety feature-less table saw before I had one more government intrusion on my life. Just for God's sake leave us all alone. If the market (woodworkers) decide that its worth the money to be safer, then the technology will take off, other companies will be forced to compete, and my hat will be off to saw stop and their invention. The government needs to leave its grubby paws off my finger saw. My trigger finger is still working fine.
Posted: 2:27 am on February 19th

stnls stnls writes: As a retired Sheet Metal Worker I worked for 35 years around some of the most dangerous and debilitating machinery ever invented. When I started my apprenticeship in 1969 there were very few journeymen that I had contact with that had all their fingers. As a matter of fact our international association offices in Washington D.C. have a statue in the foyer of three generations of Sheet Metal Workers. A young apprentice his father and his Grandfather, who is handing down a hand tool to him as he starts his trade. The Grandfather has two fingers of the hand offering the tool missing. My point is this is an old image and rapidly changing. I did not see or hear of a serious accident involving machinery in the last 20 years of my working life. The reason is safety education, and improvement in equipment. However, the machinery was never made so safe as to render it unusable if a mistake was made. We need to hold ourselves accountable for our own safety. The seat belt analogy is weak. A seat belt protects us from the stupidity of others as much as our own. When we use a table saw we are in control. There should no one else involved unless you run a very helter skelter shop with people running around playing grab-ass in which case you have other problems. At any rate I don't think the product safety commission has any business deciding what saw we should buy. I don't even agree that SawStops should be mandated for school wood shops. Too many kids I know would put a hot dog through them just watch it stop. After the first or maybe second time it would not get fixed. There is no replacement for proper safety and teaching practice, and appreciation of and respect for the tools we use.
Posted: 2:11 am on February 19th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: And, for the record, no one is trying to force something on you. You can do whatever you want. Someone (in this case the people whose JOB it is to do so) is trying to force an industry to minimize danger. They are not going to tell them exactly how to do it, so Mr. Gass's invention may be one of many this time ten years from now.

Posted: 12:17 am on February 19th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: I find it funny that people get so bent out of shape over this.

And I find it sad that people with no knowledge of product safety (other than using them) are so bent on trying to convince the world that this is bad for the industry, bad for the economy, bad for our society, etc.

Do you really know? Because unless you're in the business of developing products, you probably didn't realize that this sort of discussion goes on every day across America and around the world.

Everyone uses the seatbelt analogy, but product safety surrounds us. And it didn't come from the manufactures, I can tell you that much.

Without the CPSC, I'm guessing many of us wouldn't have made it to adulthood. Sure, they are annoying sometimes. But is it really the end of everything great and good about our society if they're just trying to make something dangerous a little less dangerous?

Posted: 12:15 am on February 19th

slowlearner slowlearner writes: i haven't cut off my finger with a table saw yet, but you never know. the workshop is full of hazards and no amount of legislation will make it completely safe. For instance I have plenty of clamps, but get lazy and sometimes don't use them. This results in messing up the wood and sometimes I get hurt. I can't imagine how the government could regulate this activity. Maybe the best invention is the riving knife. I once got a large blue bruise on my groin from a piece of plywood that I fed at the wrong angle through a table saw blade. I made sure that my wife didn't see it until it healed. After that I got a table saw with a riving knife and pawls. I still don't use a blade guard because it obscures the cut and I think it makes cutting more dangerous. Better, too, to use a feather board for straight boards to keep the wood against the fence.
the SawStop is a great invention. I would have bought one, but made a conscience decision to save the money and take the risk. We make decisions like this everyday. Life is like this. A perfectly safe lifestyle would be both boring and extremely expensive. Let consumers,insurance companies,wives, etc.. make these decisions and leave the government out of it. Government is the last place we should look for guidance in our lives.
Posted: 11:57 pm on February 18th

Leo73 Leo73 writes: If a person like the poster-boy in the Ryobi case while trying to fill his windshield washer fluid with the engine running and stuck his hand in the blades of the radiator fan should we require sawstop-technology as part of every new car? People can and some do remove the protective shroud, or more commonly, wrap their fingers around it.

We've abolished strike-anywhere matches to many campers and hikers chagrin. How far should we go in the name of safety? Should people be allowed to buy anything other than stuffed-toys? (And then only if no kids live in the household.)

I see the trend: "If only everything with moving parts could harmlessly self-destruct if a person or pet came close enough to be stupid, then we could at last be safe."
Posted: 11:20 pm on February 18th

Leo73 Leo73 writes: I've used a tablesaw for 40+ years and appreciate the benefit of a riving knife and anti-kickback pawls. But more important than that was being trained to keep my hands away from any moving blade, whether it is a tablesaw, bandsaw, jointer, or any of the other many, many potential hazards. I love my hobby and spend hundreds on it. But my income and the cost of living for my family won't let me spend thousands on a single safety feature. And like millions of hobbyist woodworkers, I have heard many stories, and learned from them, but never seen any of the stupid accidents dramatized on this issue because I would never permit that kind of negligent behavior in my shop.

Yes I expect schools to use it because the discipline I learned is not permitted. Any horse-play when I took shop classes and you were out and transferred to another elective course, but even pottery-making with the kiln, or basket-weaving with the sharp cutters could be dangerous for those who wouldn't follow safety instructions. That doesn't mean the gov or FWW should push it on everyone who does follow safety rules and also think about safety before and during every step of every project.

You can't replace common sense. And shouldn't legislate this. Where it makes sense it will become commonplace. But in many places it is one issue among many and not perhaps the biggest risk. And I want something that drops the blade but doesn't destroy the blade.

Then there is my bandsaw, scrollsaw, power drill that might bind, scary sharp chisels, and many other things too. I think I'll have to keep using good judgment, good work methods, and learning all that I can from others.
Posted: 11:02 pm on February 18th

swintjun swintjun writes: Accepting the fact that the saw-stop table saw can reduce, if not eliminate damaged hands and fingers, what becomes of the millions of existing table saws in garages everywhere that lack this safety feature? Will the feds put agents on every street corner to police garage sales? Will Craig's List be restricted from accepting ads for used non-sawstop table saws? Perhaps the government will dispense funds to existing table saw owners in a manner similar to 'Cash for Clunkers'.
Posted: 8:40 pm on February 18th

modernrocker modernrocker writes: The $80,000 was direct, out of pocket costs NOT covered by Brent's insurance. That does not include lost productivity for our shop, the months of recovery, his subsequent addiction to the pain medication, his incomplete recovery from the accident, the four to six times a day he drops something from his inability to feel sensation in two fingers (usually cabinet parts, damaging them), the fact that he has had to relinquish cabinet construction due to this and now focuses on finishing and sales, and the burning feeling he gets in the cold from the steel rod still in his pinky finger. Should it be mandatory? In all commercial and educational settings, yes. The cost of the blade and brake cartrige? inconsequential. We have never had a misfire. Twice, employees have run metal or sopping wet wolmanized wood(containing copper) through it without using the bypass key, firing the cartrige into the blade. If you set it off by running your hand into it, sawstop will replace it for free.Can it still hurt you? sure. I had 14 stitches from a long oak splinter that kicked back despite having the "antikickback guard" in place. No, I didn't call a lawyer or cry like a baby about incompetant design. There are competeing systems developed, just look at the top of this page. There are still many processes on the saw that passive guarding systems cannot protect you (cove cuts and blind stop cuts come to mind). Only an active system that functions with similar instantaneous reaction time will help if things go drastically wrong. If you feel that this ruling would impinge on your "freedoms", why not legalize all drugs? you would only be harming "yourself". A truely selfish notion, indeed. There is a good reason they banned tilting top tablesaws, too.
Posted: 7:58 pm on February 18th

redserge redserge writes: When I bring up the page it shows that the video is unavailable.
Posted: 7:11 pm on February 18th

ricswood ricswood writes: The Sawstop inventor is an attorney?! What, he wasn't making enough money sueing people/companies??!!
Posted: 7:02 pm on February 18th

PushkinsButton PushkinsButton writes: This sawstop issue is a prime example of the kind of virus infecting our country. For every accident, misstep, or hardship...some one else is to blame and should pay! I went to a sawstop "presentation" at my local Woodcraft store and was blown away by the propaganda and lies - a fingerless woodworker led the presentation! If we as woodworkers do not take a stand, we will be forced to pay more, be inconvienenced, and technologies that we may or may not want will be forced down our throats! I am a physician who knows all too well the impact of "someone else is to blame...smoking, fast foods, asbestos, etc". Gass is an attorney out to make his yours and mine expense. Take a stand...tell your woodcraft store owners (woodcraft is supporting the sawstop iniative) that you will not support this kind of kidnapping.
Posted: 6:51 pm on February 18th

HAGAR440 HAGAR440 writes: When I was growing up,my father advised me to "Never put your fingers where you would'nt put your foot". Good advise for the workshop, too.
Posted: 6:10 pm on February 18th

Montgomeryguy Montgomeryguy writes: It is unfortunate that this particular accident example is used, but perhaps it is appropriate, at that, because it shows that anyone can buy and use a power tool, regardless of skill, aptitude, training or intelligence. We as a society tend to resist safety in many respects, yet statistics do show that there is a need for such. Guns come equipped with safeties for a reason. Race cars did not always employ use of helmets, roll cages, HANS devices, flame-retardant suits, etc. Drivers today are still notoriously reluctant to use seat belts. Many motorcyclists resent having to wear helmets, and the list goes on.

Table saws are inherently dangerous- notwithstanding any misuse of inflated accident stats to exaggerate or distort the issue. Even the most experienced craftsmen do experience accidents-- which, by definition, are unintentional. One need only ask the victim of an unintended injury whether, in retrospect, he (or she) would have preferred avoiding the loss of an eye, or a digit, or a limb, had he to do it over again.

That such safety technology now exists benefits all, to include reduced risk of injury, reduced insurance rates, and the consequent pain and injury that such losses can cause. An ounce of applied common sense outweighs a ton of careless macho bravado.

Should "Big Brother" then be permitted to induce such standards as mandatory, especially if it generates increased costs? Look no further than air bags and seat belts for an answer, as well as a supporting rationale.
Posted: 6:08 pm on February 18th

Jimi_C Jimi_C writes: "The point that most here miss is that the government should not have the ability to force us to do anything."

This is just ridiculous. Do you drive whatever speed you want on the highway? Do you refuse to license your car? Do you pay taxes? The government forces us to do things every day, our Constitution and local laws give them that power. Our Congress has created an organization that has the power to set minimum safety standards on consumer goods. You don't like it? Go lobby your congressman/woman and quit complaining.
Posted: 6:07 pm on February 18th

workgoose workgoose writes: Can't see the video in Australia, even though we get Colbert on free to air TV. Seems the government or some other meddlers are already telling us what we can and cannot see...
Posted: 6:01 pm on February 18th

GREENE4ME GREENE4ME writes: Its unfortunate that this particular case was used to decide the need for flesh sensing technology on table saws. Clearly the operator and his employer are to blame for carlessness. It's the guy who is using his table saw in the safest manner possible and sustains a catastrophic injury that should be the basis for a paradigm shift. Sure, its easy to say "if he had been using the saw in the safest manner then he would not be hurt" but just simply moving your hand right to left over the blade like you've done a thousand times before can, on that one occasion, be the time your trajectory is slightly off and WHAM your life is changed forever. And for the people who advocate "taking" the patent rights of SawStop, REALLY?, individuals and entities are entitled to their intellectual property; its why innovation happens. We are fortuanate to live in a free society and taking anything from an individual is nothing less than barbaric.
Posted: 5:23 pm on February 18th

Old_man Old_man writes: Video...?? All I could see is : video not available from your location. I in Canada not that far away !!!
Posted: 4:56 pm on February 18th

powermil powermil writes: kxxPaulCPxx writes:" pay for it. Set up an insurance fund...costs of hand reconstruction... $80,000.$40,000 for that.Multiply $120,000 per incident by the 4000...500 million"

Do you know what a "shill" is?
Are you really going to quote made-up numbers? There are not 40,000 incidents per year that need anything more than a bandaid. You need to investigate where these numbers are coming from. I HAVE looked into it and this mag is misrepresenting the numbers. I suspect for advertisement dollars.

PaulCP, why don't You pay for your own carwreck, I don't want to. You pay for your own inherited genetic diseases, I don't want to...etc.

- Let's force anti-colision sensors in ALL cars for an additional $10,000

- Let's force genetic testing for ALL people so that we can exclude them from the insurance.

-Let's reqire intellegence tests and licensing for all operators of power equipment.

Better yet, Let's start a campaign to force SAWSTOP to give up the patent rights so we can all be safe without safety training!

Posted: 4:49 pm on February 18th

Telescopaholic Telescopaholic writes: We all pay for tablesaw accidents through our health and liability/accident insurance premiums. We would all save money by requiring that all table saws were equipped with Sawstop or similar protective equipment. So by defending the right for stupid/careless people to cut off their fingers, we are truly cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

And that brings up the question, what happened to radial saws, which I think are far safer than table saws. Moving the wood, by hand - even with finger boards and push sticks - past a spinning blade is a recipe for accidents - as you hand can always slip. Placing your hand in a safe place, away from the path of the blade, is always much safer
Posted: 4:42 pm on February 18th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: I like your thinking xxPaulCPxx! Here, Here!!
Posted: 4:33 pm on February 18th

powermil powermil writes: The point that most here miss is that the government should not have the ability to force us to do anything.

So, in the name of "safety", "lower healthcare", "being more comfortable", I think that the gubment should...

-- FORCE SAWSTOP TO GIVE UP ALL PATENT RIGHTS in the name of Safety, healthcare costs, and comfort...

After all, SAWSTOP is just another greedy rich capitalist...

Also, force skill saws, bandsaws, drills, routers, jointers, lathes to have a SAWSTOP type mechanism.

It will only add $100 to the $29 skill saw price.

Posted: 4:29 pm on February 18th

xxPaulCPxx xxPaulCPxx writes: Tell you what - everyone who believes they should have the liberty of cutting off their own fingers: Fine, you pay for it.

Set up an insurance fund that will cover the cost of specifically NOT using SawStop. Further down in the comments you see the actual costs of hand reconstruction... $80,000... and the is ON TOP of the basic care that stops the bleeding... say $40,000 for that.

Multiply $120,000 per incident by the 4000 incidents a year... that comes to just under 500 million. From tablesaw use - that is the cost to society. Every year - EVERYONE pays that cost, because you are in the same risk pool as everyone else.

I'm all for everyone having free liberties... as long as YOU are footing the bill for it. As long as I am paying for your sorry butt in the hospital, you are darned straight you should be using the safest available technology!
Posted: 4:23 pm on February 18th

Haroun Haroun writes: Hooray for sawzall316! The guy who was hurt in this case was using a table saw so dismantled as to be unsafe if it was unplugged fro what I recall of the case this is based on. If he had tripped & fallen on the saw while it was unplugged the blade was so exposed he'd have been cut. The saw operator & his boss are all squarely to blame for this. Not only carelessness, but gross stupidity.
This reminds me of the whole "stupid cop qave me a ticket" story you hear from people who got ticketed for speeding while they were speeding. Drive faster than the speed limit & get a ticket, you earned it. Cut yourself on a power saw chances are you earned it. Carelessness, distraction, removed the guard. I know a lot of folks who've been bitten by thier table & other saws & they all told a story that started "well, I know I shouldn't have done it that way but..." . I've a small scar on my left hand I got tossing brush under a chainsaw blade that was spinning down after I'd let the throttle go. I always look at it when I start the saw up now & thank my lucky stars it's a small reminder on my hand, not an empty space. And I'm careful as hell with my saws now.
Trying to make tablesaws foolproof will fail due to the persistence & sheer quantity of fools.
Posted: 4:14 pm on February 18th

bob3318 bob3318 writes: SawStop technology's original patent my be running out soon, but you are forgetting that Gass is a patent attorney. He has enough patents that will prevent other manufactures from using their own technology. What the cpsc should do is mandate the technology for job site saws, not cabinet or contractor saws. In spite of their name, contractor saws have become too heavy to be readily used as a job site saw. Most of us regularly watch "This Old House". On one of the recient episodes, a job site saw was in use with all the guards removed. Shame on you Tommy.
Posted: 4:13 pm on February 18th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: Lets repeat the facts of why we are where we are relative 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: 3:56 pm on February 18th

Hal W Hal W writes: Video? What video?
Posted: 3:51 pm on February 18th

Canonstyle Canonstyle writes: What a bunch of cry babies. Whaaa! Nobody is going to force me to buy technology that will save my fingers. Whaa! Whaa!

I have a very intelligent co-worker who accidentally put his arm into a chop saw that was spinning down after a cut. He cut muscle and tendons all the way to the bone. He went through a year of therapy just to learn how to use his arm again.

I wish I could send you all some meth and a syringe (with no needle stopping technology) so you could shoot it up, because the government has said you can't do that, it's illegal. The "government can't tell me what I can do" attitude you all have pathetic. Don't give me the lame excuse that it would make table saws too expensive. It wouldn't add that much more money to a saw, and eventually it would come down in price, That's the way the free market works.

"Cutting off your fingers to spite your hand" seems like an appropriate thing to say right now.

Bunch of freaking morons.
Posted: 3:41 pm on February 18th

brianhabby brianhabby writes: Sawstop is not available to everyone, for people in the UK for instance. So we have no choise over here other than to treat the tablesaw with the respect it deserves and use it, as we should use ALL power tools, with common sense. Use of a riving knife and blade guard are two of the simplest things to do and yet so many people discard both - WHY?

By the way, we can't see the video in the UK either! Does anyone know how we can view the video in the UK please?
Posted: 3:29 pm on February 18th

gusser33 gusser33 writes: TO JOE FOR LIBERTY. Your analogy is stupid, stupid, stupid. You are biting off your nose tp spite your face. How would you feel is your son, or daughter, or perhaps a freind, cut off a finger or lost a hand while using your equipment? I think your logic is misguided. the technology for this feature was offered to every single manufacturer and they turned it down. Do you think it was for your LIBERTY? Get real. It was because they were concerned about their profits. They could care less if you lost a finger, hand or your life. I will tell you one thing, and to me it is important. Using this saw has greatly reduced stress for me. No one has become more careless in using my saw, in fact, they probably don't even think of it as a Saw Stop. I FEEL BETTER. Now i can let a teenager use it without fear. It is just so much more relaxing when out in my shop without that huge fear hanging over your head. but, i guess you thought of that and didn't care. You wanted your freedom. Well, we all have choices. I hope yours was the right one.
Posted: 3:27 pm on February 18th

davidgs davidgs writes: All of this "government cramming (insert outrage of the day) down our throats" whining would be more believable if it applied to everything. But it never does. I don't remember the same outrage over airbags, seat belts, etc. All technologies that "government crammed down your throat." Seems it only gets whined about if it's something you happen to either not like, or not fully understand.

Here, I'll throw gas on this fire. "Less government regulation of our lives, but no gay marriage or abortion." (Hint: outlawing gay marriage, and outlawing abortion, are in and of themselves government regulation of people's lives.)

The Table Saw manufacturers will fight this until they can each invent their OWN technology to do the same thing, without having to license it from the inventor. At that time, they will all spin around and ask to have it be mandatory.
Posted: 3:19 pm on February 18th

gusser33 gusser33 writes: I purchased this saw and i will stand by that decision. The argument that this technology will increase accidents because users will become lax is simply stupid, Stupid, Stupid. Almost as stupid is the courts awarding money to the man that purchased a saw and then injured himself. He had the chance to purchase a Saw Stop, but chose not to. Knowing the risks he was injured. Tough Crap. He was Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. I do agree that the other manufactures should make use of this technology as when someone does get hurt, they don't pay the bill(s), the insurance company doe, which to me seems unfair. If we left it up to the Automobile manufacturers to put in safety equipment, there would be none, but once one started, in order to be competitive, the others followed and they they competed to see who could offer the best systems. The same would hold true for the Woodworking equipment manufacturers. I think they should expand it further to include band saws, etc. It is good technology and it does save people from serious injury. In Europe, they have had splitters or riving knives of all of their saws. They prevent the wood from binding and causing a kickback. A kickback can cause serious harm to the user or a bystander, yet, American manufacturers chose not to offer one, Until SAW STOP made it standard on their machines. Now, the others have followed. For those of you who scoff at this technology, i hope this never happens, but if and when it does, the attending Doctor should look at your hand, then you, and simply say. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

Posted: 3:16 pm on February 18th

shelleystallings shelleystallings writes: I am a 60+ year old woodworker, former Industrial Arts teacher and grandfather to 5 amazing grandchildren (it will be obvious why this is important as you read this. I have used power tools for 50 years and feel fortunate I have all of my digits, although several have been nicked, cut or smashed a bit over the 5 decades of power tool use.
I bought a Saw Stop 4 years ago, just as my oldest grandson was getting to the age to show an interest in woodworking. So, like many, I obviously still have some delusions that if I am experienced, smart, and careful in my shop I will not cut off my own fingers. But was I willing to take a chance with the people I love most in my life, my grandchildren? No. I believe the Saw Stop technology is both amazing and worth every penny it cost. Do I think everyone should have to buy a saw with this safety feature? From a libertarian viewpoint, no. But from a practical viewpoint given the cost to all of us for the medical care and lost income due to tablesaw accidents I believe it is the best policy to require all companies selling new tablesaw have this safety feature. Whether it is motorcycle helmets, car seatbelts or safety technology on powertools, we as individuals do not have the right to expect our fellow citizens to pay for our healthcare costs because we think we have the right to 'careless behavior'. And yes I realize this is a fine line to draw, who determines what is 'careless behavior? Not an easy question to answer, but for me, selling tablesaws without this safety feature is careless behavior.
BTW, from my own practical experience cutting dripping wet red cedar right out of the rainforests of Alaska, I have never had my Saw Stop engage the brake due to wet wood. And after tens of thousands of board feet of lumber run through my Saw Stop, I have never had to replace a blade/brake assembly.
Posted: 3:08 pm on February 18th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: The facts are as follows:

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: 2:51 pm on February 18th

way77 way77 writes: This hot dog butchery has got to STOP !
Posted: 1:59 pm on February 18th

joe4liberty joe4liberty writes: What is at the foundation of this debate is not the validity of this technology, nor whether we should be using it in our saws. It is about wether a company should be able to use force to require that competitors purchase their technology. I wish to be clear; SawStop makes an incredible product. I was in the process of purchasing one when the lawsuit decision came out, and SawStop's position that the government should force people to buy their products (or more accurately, their products built into competitor's products) prevented me from choosing their product. As such I have instead purchased a European combination machine with a sliding saw. I have made this decision because it is the safest machine that I could buy without supporting a company which espouses using the government (funded by my tax dollars) that would - at the point of a gun - force all companies to give money to that company, leaving us with no freedom of choice. The truly sad part is that this technology is a good one, and in the free marketplace, it would come to dominate and SawStop would be household name as its competitors voluntarily line up to buy rights to incorporate it in their products in an effort to prevent the loss of market share to SawStop. SawStop’s products and it’s underlying technology can win in the free market place, but instead, the SawStop company have chosen to take a short-cut and use the guns of government to force their way to the top of woodworking market place. “They that would surrender Liberty for safety deserve neither” – Franklin
NEVER - but NEVER surrender your liberty for safety.

Posted: 1:57 pm on February 18th

powermil powermil writes: You know, the salesmen pushing this refuse to stick their own fingers in the saw to show that it actually works.

The government should make a law about this...

It is causing the price of hotdogs to rise, not to mention the terror in the hearts of animal rights activists everywhere
Posted: 1:23 pm on February 18th

powermil powermil writes: People like “sparewood” and others that think that they can shove regulations down our throat in the name of saving a few bucks on healthcare are as ignorant as the people that think Sawstop just cares about our health.

Sawstop purposely pushed this crap to MAKE MORE MONEY !
NOTHING ELSE who believe different are delusional.

I will never buy a sawstop.
Posted: 1:21 pm on February 18th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Would you buy a car today without airbags? Not if you have a functioning brain.

SawStop is the airbag of table saws. I'll wait to buy a tablesaw until I can afford one with SawStop and/or others provide it or an equal.

How could I ever let my kid use a saw without it?

Meantime, its my bandsaw and TS-55 tracksaw.
Posted: 1:04 pm on February 18th

DCJay DCJay writes: Ah, the 94 or so who have already posted have failed to grasp the awesome opportunities that SawStop and this regulation provides. The regulation is prospective -- in has no impact on existing, less safe, table saws. The opportunity is to purchase existing and used table saws and resell them at a premium to those who embrace the personal freedom of slicing off their own fingers; or allowing their employees (or students, or children) to do so. There's nothing illegal about it. It wouldn't be a black market. It'll be just like a lawn sale of an old crib or an unregulated sale at a gun show.
Posted: 12:56 pm on February 18th

HIGHTOR HIGHTOR writes: Common Sense. It, among many other useful subjects and skills, is just not taught in our schools.
One reading of the lawsuit that started this march to legislation reveals a serious problem with our legal system. THAT is something that should be fixed. The cause of that accident is shared by the employer and the worker, not the saw,

SawStop is an amazing invention, but not one that should be legislated into use. It would raise the cost of the hardware beyond many more people's reach. Teaching people to use the tool is a much better use of money. Will accidents still happen? Of course, but we can't create a Risk-Free world. And even if we could, we couldn't afford it.

Imagine the lives that could be saved if it were mandated that ALL cars incorporate all the safety features built in to a Mercedes. Forcing all saws to incorporate SawStop technology makes as much sense.
Posted: 12:48 pm on February 18th

AbbeyNormal AbbeyNormal writes: Reagan said it best. "The government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem".

The free market is the best answer. The free market gave us the Saw Stop in the first place. Now it seems like the makers of Saw Stop want to collude with the government creating more corporatism. Corporatism is the death of the free market.

I want to keep all my fingers also and I feel bad for those who have lost their finger(s) but why should we allow the government, yet again, tell a private business how to manufacture something.

If there is enough consumer demand for a safer table saw then manufacturers will comply to the will of the consumer. If Saw Stop cannot sell enough safe table saws to be profitable then apparently consumers aren't demanding safer table saws.

Capitalism favors the consumer while government only favors itself first and then the corporatists but never the consumer and that is the exact reason why our economy is in such bad shape right now.
Posted: 12:16 pm on February 18th

BGodfrey BGodfrey writes: I think Saw Stop's mistake is in not starting with OSHA. They are in the business of industrial safety, not consumer safety. I bet the majority of those missing fingers are from professional hands, not amateur. Those guys are in a hurry and that's a recipe for accidents. All manner of guards and protective gear are required on the job site and this would just be another. Once manufacturers are geared up and competing, it will not add nearly as much cost to the machine as it currently does to the low volume product made by Saw Stop. I find it bizarre that people who complain about all the annoyances of safety gear and guards would complain about something that gives you so much safety without getting in the way at all. Look at a Saw Stop saw. You don't see the technology at all and you won't interact with it, either, unless it is to save your finger. What could be wrong with that? Somehow this has become one of those moronic Right -vs- Left contentions. I sure wish people would just stop and think about things before committing themselves to a political position on something that isn't political.
Posted: 12:10 pm on February 18th

Berting Berting writes: No matter what your experience is or level of craftsmanship accidents do happen that is why they are called accidents. The additional cost seems to be a very cheap and obvious insurance policy. Once it becomes a standard then the cost of manufacturing will go down and ultimately the cost of the product.

The argument of big government getting involved just doesn't make sense. Not everything needs to be framed as big government vs. freedom. That oversimplifies the world we live in. If there is a way to insure that people are safer then why should it not become a standard? This is why there are seat belts, Children's car seats, and food safety standards just to name a few. No ones freedom is being taken away by by improving technology and safety standards to insure people remain safe.

No one intends to cut off their fingers with a table saw, they are accidents. People will always do dumb things and you can't legislate to the lowest common denominator, but if you can help prevent something that is always an accident, then why not? I like my fingers right where they are.
Posted: 11:54 am on February 18th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: 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. Seriously, how can anyone argue logic with illogical people with seven year old mind sets?
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! What does it take to get it done!

Posted: 11:53 am on February 18th

WoodyWoodWorker WoodyWoodWorker writes: If you watch the SawStop video you will notice that the blade drops out of site. Why not drop the blade only without stopping it and thus save the blade as well as negate the need for a new cartridge. I mean who cares if the blade continues to spin below the surface of the table saw. From what I gather from reading the comments is that a major concern is the cost of replacing the cartrides and ruined blades.
Posted: 11:49 am on February 18th

blackdaan blackdaan writes: I am both a woodworker and a physician. I didn't wear seat belts until I started working in the ER. I now wouldn't consider driving without them and I also own a Saw Stop. The laws regarding seat belts and air bags have saved thousands of lives but the laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets have cost a lot of perfectly good organ donors. I guess there's two sides but only if we needed extra fingers. I support the guys who want the right to cut off their own fingers. It's money in the bank for me.
Posted: 11:48 am on February 18th

veemee1978 veemee1978 writes: It is not a novel concept to require manufacturers of a product to ensure that it has reasonable amount of safety. And yes, there is a way to logically calculate what is reasonable: It is the "Calculus of Negligence," derived from a decision by Judge Learned Hand in 1947. Basically, if any product has a measurable chance to kill or maim someone (a gas tank in a car that burns on impact, e.g.), one calculates the cost cost of lost lives and costs of medical care and lost wages of the injured (actuaries do this stuff for a living) and then look at the dollar cost it takes to make a product safer x number of products sold. If the cost to make a product safer x the number of products sold per year exceeds the dollar costs of all the death and destruction wrought by this product, then manufacturer should not make the upgrade. Of course, this law was applied to tort cases, where someone sues another person for damages (like plaintiffs sued Ford over the Pinto fires). This legal concept was not applied to governmental affairs in 1947. The logical way the "Calculus of Negligence" may be to analyze such issues has been (and I think should continue to be, IMO) used by regulatory agencies for public safety analyses. After all, nothing is truly 100% "safe". Remember Lawrence Olivier in the movie the "Marathon Man?"!!! The video did have an explicit warning before it played, by the way.
Posted: 11:46 am on February 18th

DavesWorkshop DavesWorkshop writes: Thank you, Stephen Cobert! I too have nicked my finger on my table saw, a hand saw, a drill bit, a jig saw, a box-cutter, a socket-wrench that slipped, a kitchen knife, the list goes on. Life is hard. Then you make cabinets! Now on to my real complaint: ALL woodworkers DO suffer permanent hearing damage when they use power tools without hearing protection. Where's the mandate to cut the decibel levels or at least carry a warning label? For that matter, even household vacuum cleaners are a danger to our hearing. What's that you say? Can you hear me now over the ringing in your ears?
Posted: 11:24 am on February 18th

modernrocker modernrocker writes: Having said that, the market will decide. Enough lawsuits and damage penalties will likely force the cost of selling unsafe products to the point where it will be cheaper to incorperate some similar safty device into tablesaws anyway. Despite the fact that Brent had 30 years of experience before his accident, the first place these safty devices are needed is in school programs, commercial shops, and on jobsites, where often inexperienced and/or personnel in a hurry are likely to be using the tablesaw. Home hobbyists may lack the experience and access to training, but also lack the same financial exposure. I voted with my dollars to keep my fingers. Your personal choice should factor in the long term costs of loss of work, career change,physical therapy,etc. Like I said, for me it was cheap insurance.
Posted: 11:23 am on February 18th

michaelmouse michaelmouse writes: It's called freedom. Just because millions of dollars would be saved by reducing the injuries doesn't mean that we should continue to enslave people [The insurance premium payers or however the money comes in] who have nothing to do with a mistake I make into paying for my mistakes. If we continue to do that then it's not freedom it's slavery. This concept applies to a lot of things in the U.S.
Posted: 11:13 am on February 18th

isirjohn isirjohn writes: This video was crude and not becoming of Fine Woodworking subscibers. I was watching this with my thirteen year old daughter when I quickly turned it off due to the crude comidy of Colbert. Please consider the content of these type of videos before you post them. This video degradates the image and reputation of this fine magazine
Posted: 11:11 am on February 18th

modernrocker modernrocker writes: 4 years ago I was discussing the saw stop with my business partner (then 54 years old with 30 years experience). He vehemently opposed spending $4,000 for a fully loaded ICS model. He told me it was totally unnecessary and would encourage reckless behavior on the saw. He felt if you were careful and paying attention you should never have an accident.Three days later I walked into the shop to find a hole in the wall and blood on the saw and floor. He had a kickback on a powermatic 66 while cutting a hinge gain that dragged his hand through the blade and cut three fingers. the blade split his pinky in half,amputated his middle finger at the second knuckle, and split the end of his index finger. A quick thinking employee taped his hand to a board and each finger in position and drove him to the hospital. The staff surgeon recommended removal of two fingers and reconstructing the rest.He insisted that he wanted to keep his hand."How good is your insurance?" Such is america today. $80,000.00 later, his hand is rebuilt and mostly functional. A week after the accident we had a sawstop delivered. Employees are required to used it. We feel it is the cheapest insurance policy we ever bought. You may feel you have the "right" to cut your hand off, before you do it. The experience of actually doing it WILL change your mind.
Posted: 11:02 am on February 18th

JohnOrr JohnOrr writes: I find it fascinating that in the land of free enterprise the government is contemplating legislating the use of a product that is available from only one source! Could someone in your government be in line to make a few bucks on the side?
Incidentally, at age 72 I still have all my fingers!
Posted: 10:57 am on February 18th

ticul ticul writes: a commercial issue???????
Posted: 10:56 am on February 18th

michaelmouse michaelmouse writes: Matthew Kinney said: "It's News". It isn't news it's comedy.
Are you going to post any comedy, sawstop,safety or otherwise?
Posted: 10:54 am on February 18th

davehu davehu writes: what can I say that hasn't already been said? Bottom line: At the right price the addition of this feature is a no brainer. Problem is that it's very expensive. Colbert doesn't discuss cost because his gag wouldn't be funny, but would show how ridiculous this is. If you've every priced the Sawstop product you know how expensive it is. If we all drove tanks, we wouldn't have accidents on the highway and we could let our 2 year old drive us to work.
Posted: 10:52 am on February 18th

Julimor Julimor writes: I have an idea. Why not get the Government to require a safety IQ test before buying any dangerous tool? If you fail the test, you have to buy the tool with all the safety technology available.

"Okay sir. Here's your test. There are 500 multiple choice questions and 25 essay questions. The test should take about 2 hours."

"Two hours! I just want to buy a power drill!"

"Your government is just trying to protect you from yourself, sir."


"Sorry you feel that way. Anyway, after you finish that you will have to stand before our safety panel and answer questions. That will only take about 30 minutes."


"And then, if you pass those tests, we will take you into our safety shop in back and put you through a few hands on tests.

Or you could just purchase this beautiful 1/4", 1/10 HP drill with all the most up to date safety features available. It's only $995.99 and weighs only 30 pounds. And it comes with a complete seven day no questions asked warranty.

Posted: 10:46 am on February 18th

PhilNeal PhilNeal writes: I have had a very old Robland X-31 in my shop for about 15 years now, the first big power tool I ever owned. I wasn't trained in it's use, but I never experienced any problems. It scared the hell out of me ( still does ) but it is the heart of my shop in terms of the work it gets done. After giving it a great deal of use for about 5 years I removed the riving knife while making some adjustments. Shortly after this I was amazed to see a 20cm square of MDF fly across the shop in a frisbee like arc. After a quick perusal of an article by in FWW by Lon Schleining the riving knife was immediately replaced. It has never recurred in the ten years since.
Here in Europe riving knives are compulsory. Not to have a riving knife standard factory fitted on all table saws is incredibly negligent and nonchalant on the part of manufacturers. They deserve litigation. But if a piece of damp wood will destroy an expensive saw blade, then the Saw Stop is not a properly designed piece of technology, and having the government treat woodworkers like children and forcing it upon them is not the answer.
The chief causes of (minor) injury in my shop are sharp chisel blades and 60 grit sandpaper. Preventable? Sure. Just be careful. There is no legislation that can protect against blatant stupidity.

Posted: 10:32 am on February 18th

shoptroll shoptroll writes: Consumer safety laws are a complicated process. I'm not sure how exactly the guidelines read, but there is something about reasonable expectations of a product and costs of compliance to any safety requirements that must be considered. Most home owners with a table saw do not understand kickback, and requiring riving knives helps prevent the unexpected at very low cost. In the case of automatic blade brakes, most everyone understands that a spinning blade that is capable of cutting wood is also capable of cutting fingers equally well. Yet we all make mistakes, and must determine our own probability of benefiting from various saftey measures.

The Saw Stop is a relatively new technology, and is effectively the only one available. It is very expensive at purchase, and whenever it is triggered unnecessarily. Contractor saws are already barely managable to move around, and any added weight would be a serious setback. Someone who uses a saw very infrequently, and needs only a small cheap saw would no longer be able to find one available.

So, for now, I am opposed to the mandatory inclusion on all saws. However, if I was in the market for a new cabinet saw, I would seriously think about the safety of of a blade brake.

Posted: 10:28 am on February 18th

distinction distinction writes: Both sides of this argument are clearly visible pragmatically speaking, and I can see this as a valuable option. Particularly on cabinet or permanent installations. But I do have a few thoughts/points for consideration though. Personally I doubt Mr. Gass’ eloquent thoughts and actions were really motivated by the common good. We need to know more about the kind of contract Saw Stop was attempting to push on the entire industry, particularly how it would have affected portable table saws. The full impacts are not just surface deep. I read somewhere that Bosch didn’t bring a different design/product to market because of fear of possible patient liabilities. If I remember correctly, this option didn’t turn your saw into scrap when it initiated, but I may be wrong. Maybe we should ask ourselves if this option should be allowed to grow. And last but not least, there are the precedents (legal and otherwise) that will set if either option is pursued. I do like the riving knife myself, simple and easy to use.

I am in possession all my digits and maybe this is impacting my thinking process. But people with no vested interested are commenting also.

At any rate, that’s my two cents.


Posted: 10:27 am on February 18th

Jimi_C Jimi_C writes: "I do not need YOU to tell ME or MY company what I must do. The market will do that naturally. Businesses who sell unsafe products will go out of business. But I am responsible for MYSELF."

That's the problem - it won't. 100 years ago, these kinds of laws were optional and we ended up with the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Selling unsafe products is one thing, but the market will not put a company out of business just because their factories are unsafe (case in point, what's going on with Apple in China today). In fact, the market will encourage companies to cut corners to save costs in production thereby lowering the costs of their products.

Seriously, go read Upton Sinclair to find out how "great" our society was before all these pesky regulations were put into place.
Posted: 10:22 am on February 18th

jrich6024 jrich6024 writes: I am only 52 yo, but I still have all of my fingers. Paying attention and thinking about what you are doing goes a long way.
Posted: 10:19 am on February 18th

fauge2010 fauge2010 writes: I can not argue that Saw Stop technology is not beneficial and could prevent many injuries. That being said I do have a problem with the government forcing its use and yes all tho I chose to use them I also have a problem with the forced use of seat belts. I could also chose to purchase a Saw Stop saw.
Quite a few of the below posts are from business owners the talk about the cost of the saw vs. the cost of an injury to an employee as a good reason for this purposed mandate but it is not, there is nothing stopping any business from buying one and putting it in use just because it would make good business sense not because they are forces to.
I am just a homeowner/ hobbyist and purchased a $600 saw as that is what I could afford adding the Saw Stop system to the same level saw would price it out of my ability to buy it. At what point do you want the government to stop protecting you from yourself in your own home, there are thousands of safety devices out there that help prevent injuries from Anti Scalding Valves for showers to Potato Peelers with safety guards but would you want their use to be mandated in every aspect of your life.
We need more common sense and not more government intrusion.
Posted: 10:07 am on February 18th

GCAlexander GCAlexander writes: I have found the debate concerning SawStop most interesting and, at times, entertaining. Not being an American, I have a somewhat different perspective than many of the people responding.

From my perspective, I see that companies rarely take their customers' safety seriously. It takes lawsuits and deaths to make a difference. In addition, I see people and companies blaming the victim. After all, they are stupid, right? Most importantly, table saw, and, in fact, all power tool manufacturers could and should do more to protect the users. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. What percentage of the R&D dollars of these companies is spent on safety? Virtually 0%.

The only reason we have a riving knife today is because the Europeans introduced it years back and there was an American woodworker interested enough to do some work. After years of resistance the industry finally were forced to accept it.

So, the answer to the question seems to be, that the manufacturers should not be trusted with your life and limb.

Alternatively, governments can step in, protect the consumer, and legislate safety measures.

I am for the latter. I would not put my life into the hands of a company whose only motivation is profit!
Posted: 9:48 am on February 18th

iflatlander iflatlander writes: as table saw safety goes its a matter of negligence in the worker sometimes(accidents do happen even when doing it right). i've worked on job sites every time i needed to make a cut i needed to make a new push stick because my co workers(and employer) would throw away my push stick every time they came to the saw and it was easier to make a new one then to try and find the old one. when i was installing tile a few years back i saw a guy with 3 missing fingers cross cutting a 2x10 free hand and when i said something about using a miter gauge he got pissy with me. every one is in a hurry and safety takes back burner when in a rush.
Posted: 9:41 am on February 18th

mlehikoi mlehikoi writes: booo ... unavailable from my location. Canada.
Posted: 9:33 am on February 18th

rich huhn rich huhn writes: You all are much too serious. Just enjoy the laugh. Colbert is one of the most refreshing and entertaining "commentators" to come along in decades.
Posted: 9:33 am on February 18th

MarK39 MarK39 writes: This is America, we elect our government officials to do our will as a people united under one nation, these politicians have gotten out of control with their over regulating everything that we do in our daily lives. We must stand up to this bullying and tell them no!

I love my table saw as is, if I want a saw like the SawStop then I will go buy it. This isn't about money, its about being told what we must do/own/use by the smallest group of people in the country and I will not accept their mandates any longer! A lot of people are just careless in what they do and if they get hurt it is their own fault, nature calls it survival of the fittest, our government has tried to stop nature from doing its job and we are all in a world full of idiots that end up dictating to the rest of us!

I am not responsible for someone making mistakes when I am not there to stop it personally, if we keep accepting these "small" rulings by the government then we deserve to lose what freedoms we have left and America will be gone forever!

Posted: 9:31 am on February 18th

Mike1156 Mike1156 writes: And another thing after reading the comments. This is not about being conservative or liberal. It is about doing what is right for your employees.

And if you want to teach your young son or daughter woodworking. Wouldn't you rest easy knowing that if he/she is working on the tablesaw with SawStop technology that they will not be ruined for life doing something carelessly?

An another thing - the cartridge is not difficult to change from a 10" blade to the 8" dado blades.

Again - I think this should be an option for the weekend woodworker. However, businesses should be required to have the SawStop.
Posted: 9:28 am on February 18th

woodscraper woodscraper writes: The real issue here is not saws, safety belts or safer cribs. The real issue is that WE do not feel it is OUR responsibility to take care of ourselves. If I feel my fingers are are worth something I will buy my products from the manufacturer that best protects my fingers. If I believe seat belts will save me I will buy my product from those who have them. If I feel my childs safety is important I will spend the extra cash and buy the crib that is safer.

I do not need YOU to tell ME or MY company what I must do. The market will do that naturally. Businesses who sell unsafe products will go out of business. But I am responsible for MYSELF. I must do the research on those products that have to do with safety. If the product was misrepresented about its safety features and I get hurt that becomes the business fault and I will have justification to sue. But if someone wants to take the risk of not buying a sawstop in order to save money then that is MY choice. Seatbelts? MY CHOICE! Safe baby cribs? MY CHOICE!! I must live with the consequences. If my child gets hurt and I understood the product might hurt them then I go to prison/death penalty for child endagerment and/or lose my child. Then the companie goes out of business for bad products. But that is MY choice.

The real issue here is PERSONNEL RESPONSIBILITY and SUE HAPPY People. I actually had an employee tell me they were going to sue a company for not grading their roads because it hurt their back. WHAT HAVE WE BECOME?
Posted: 9:22 am on February 18th

Mike1156 Mike1156 writes: I purchased a SawStop Contractor's Tablesaw last year and love it. I have used it with dado blades as well. It is a fantastic saw - better than the Jet Contractor saw I replaced.

I bought the SawStop - not because I am careless even though the first thing I did was to remove the blade guard from the Jet and never put it back on - it is because the saw is cheaper than paying your entire insurance out-of-pocket expense once a finger goes flying off - in my case is $3000. Total costs of that is in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Could be higher.

For those fortunate people who own business that use multiple tablesaws - if you do not purchase the SawStop for your employees, you are rolling the dice and you will eventually crap out.

I believe that manufacturers should offer this technology as an option to the woodworking hobbyist. However, it should be required for businesses.
Posted: 9:20 am on February 18th

Fixer4u2 Fixer4u2 writes: Saturday February 18, 2012. Unfortunately when I received this email the video clip was posted as unavailble. What's with that. Free speech no longer available???
Posted: 9:20 am on February 18th

SNDCarpentry SNDCarpentry writes: What's next, the government will want you to have a license to run power tools, and let'd not forget who will make all the money if the regulation goes through, Saw Stop. Here is and idea, take responsibility for being safe whenever you run any machinery.
Posted: 9:17 am on February 18th

Julimor Julimor writes: vicweast, it's not the comedy that's the danger or should be banned but the watcher of the comedy that is the danger. I am going to Washington Monday to lobby for a device that will alert the viewers of all comedy shows when the comedian is kidding. We need to know when these comedians are fooling us!

But seriously, no, I didn't say comedy should be banned nor would I ever even think it. I like a free market, "FREE" emphasized. As with the issue at hand, it's usually the operator (reader, viewer, whatever) that's the problem, not the product.

For anyone interested, there's a great article about this in FWW #224 titled, "Tablesaws Under Siege." And some of the Forum members here piped in on this in this thread:
Posted: 9:13 am on February 18th

resyakk resyakk writes: All the arguments against government a mandate applied equally to cars a few years ago. Manufacturers fought with utmost vigor first seat belts, then air bags, adequate bumpers, etc, etc.. If this device can be added to any saw for $50.00, who would not want it? And, does the inventor deserve 3% of that, $1.50 per saw? I think he does. Furthermore, economy of scale will drive the price down. Any deal with the Federal government will require that the inventor license the patent at a set price per device and sell replacement cartridges for a set price.

I doubt that there is anyone alive who has used a table saw extensively who has not ever cut a finger. To me ANY cut to my fingers is worth more than $50.00.
Posted: 9:08 am on February 18th

KensCustomCreations KensCustomCreations writes: I am not trying to make waves but sawstop is a great saw that anyone using a saw on a regular basis should own. When I was in the police academy years ago the fact that action is faster than reaction was drilled into us. What does that have to do with table saws? Well once your brain realizes that something is going wrong your body cannot react to it in time. No safety device is perfect, but it sure gives me a piece of mind. Part 2, My wife is an operating room nurse, in just one year in our small town she saw three cases of fingers cut off on a table saw! She saw first hand the trama in their faces and its not pretty! My wife asked me how much is sawstop, I told her and we found a way to make it happen. She told me if you cut off a finger not only do you have all the hospital bills, but you have the physical thearpy bills if you are lucky enough to get it reattached. I have had my sawstop for 2 years now, it makes dead on cuts and I couldnt be happier with their service dept. I had to call for help a few times and you always get a real person on the phone without pushing a single key. In my mind thats unheard of this day and age.
Posted: 8:57 am on February 18th

Prairiewood Prairiewood writes: What a great invention-technology that came onto the market.
The people have the choice to use it or not.
Forcing other companies to adopt takes away the choice is foolish. Market conditions will do that alone if the demand
goes that way .

What would have been traject if the invention was bought by a large company and kept off the market.

I paid a premium to own a sawstop and believe its the best cabinet saw on the market with safty features.
I sold my other cabinet saw to a person who said that he could manage the risk without the safty features that sawstop had. He had choice , so lets leave it that way.

So keep on inventing America and let the people choose.
Posted: 8:55 am on February 18th

frozenmouse frozenmouse writes: What's next? Mandating SawStop technology for guns? Then how would we be able to shoot ourselves if we wanted?
Posted: 8:49 am on February 18th

vicweast vicweast writes: @ JULIMOR -- you are right. We must BAN COMEDY because of the danger it represents. (Dude: You can't be serious...)
Posted: 8:48 am on February 18th

vicweast vicweast writes: Love my cabinet saw, but it is undeniably viscous. This topic is more complicated than a comedy video can depict, more complicated than the comments on this page reflect.

Face it: The real issue is COST!

Americans are --on average-- more concerned about initial cost than they are about most other factors. WalMart and the rise of Chinese manufacturing are prime examples of where a singular focus on cost takes you.
Posted: 8:46 am on February 18th

Julimor Julimor writes: I watch Colbert. He's an entertainer and he makes me laugh. I know what he does is satire. The problem is, many people don't. And the mainstream media loves a controversy. I can see some overzealous media pundit taking Colbert's comedy for real and running with it and trying to turn it into something really juicy.

Gass has a personal interest in his technology becoming mandatory. Money. In his pocket. As a lawyer, he locked down the patents so tightly none one can compete. That means all technological advancements in this type of technology will have to be done by one company, the one Mr. Gass owns. And without competition, what's the motive for making the product better and/or cheaper? He deserves to be rewarded for his technology, but not by force.

Of course, there's the increased price factor, which could eliminate a lot of future woodworkers from ever becoming interested in the trade or from ever buying a new tablesaw.

Maybe Colbert will do a piece on a world devoid of everything made from wood or a world where there is a black market for the non-SawStop tablesaws. I'd watch it. And I'd probably laugh.
Posted: 8:44 am on February 18th

dekphoto dekphoto writes: Maybe we should take seat belts out of cars too. And what about the nannies who made us put the slats on baby beds close enough together that baby can't hang himself. It's the same issue.
Posted: 8:39 am on February 18th

skewz skewz writes: This must be a uniquely American issue as the video is restricted to within your country. I guess the rest of us can focus on the task at hand, safe machine practices, rather than being distracted by controversy.

For my part, any safe technology that can be provided to enhance an operation is welcomed, but it should be non-intrusive and affordable. A simple riving knife with anti-kickback fingers and a feather-board for instance. Optionally, also an independent blade cover for an added measure.

While SawStop is a noble notion, it's proposed implementation has become a misguided attempt at ramming one solution down everyone's throat. Surely there's a better solution that we can all agree upon which will include developments from the industry in general rather than merely one solution from a well intentioned entrepreneur bent on personal profit at great expense to everyone else.
Posted: 8:32 am on February 18th

pjmw pjmw writes: Notice that the producers of the piece, along the man purporting to make table saws safer, are operating the saw with the guards removed!
Posted: 8:19 am on February 18th

RogerMK RogerMK writes: I think our government should regulate envelopes also. I got a paper cut from them many many times. I didn't sue the envelope company, but, maybe I should. NOT! Accidents happen, yes, but why is it always someone else's fault??? Come on America, there are more important things that need to be done. Let's bring back COMMON SENSE
Posted: 8:17 am on February 18th

capa capa writes: Table saw users can protect themselves from injury buy using the saw's blade guard. I always use the blade guard unless there is an absolute reason not to use it. e.g cut too thin or dado or rabbet operations. Also, it is also important to keep the saw table and fence well waxed to prevent binding. Forcing saw manufacturers to add the saw stop feature will add a very significant cost to a table saw, particularly to lower end contractor type saws. This is a place where regulators need to stay out of the picture, and make saw stop a consumers choice.
Posted: 8:07 am on February 18th

appleguy appleguy writes: We have a sawstop in our model building shop, part of our architectural operation. Lots of short term help and non-model shop staff using tools. Probably the only guy who is a real professional is the guy who runs the model shop. In this environment a sawstop makes absolute sense. Weve thrown a few brake cartridges, more often due to someone running metallic coated plexi through saw (you have to override for metal). It's a pain to change cartridge, and you better have a spare cartridge and blade on hand.
When you compare extra upfront cost and cartridge/blade costs to a medical incident it is a no brainer. I was standing next my wife when our contractor friends wife called hysterical because her husband had just cut off his thumb at the job site. I think if it was your 19 year old kid at the job site, and boy was I a stupid 19 year old, you would want them to have that kind of protection. Bottom line is accidents happen, people get distracted, and whoa, 40,000 fingers a year is a lot. This is very much seat belt argument. This is an opportunity for manufacturers to develop other, possibly better methods to implement a safety feature. How about not ruining the blade, and easier cartridge change, etc. Maybe this leads to a new motor that can be stopped in the time needed that could be implemented in other tools. Part of the reason the US stays on top is our research, development, and creativity.
Posted: 7:45 am on February 18th

RickDubbs RickDubbs writes: I'd like to point out that while the Sawstop saw is expensive, so is the Unisaw and the PM-2000. Sawstop is at least as good of a saw as either of these. I work at a retail woodworking store, but I do not make a commission on any sales. I just see Sawstop as the finest cabinet saw you can buy, and then there are the safety features.
Posted: 7:41 am on February 18th

bobsci bobsci writes: The problem is there are so many ways to injure yourself and others while using the table saw or any other tool, hand or power. Saw stop appears to be great and no doubt would save many injuries, but not all. I'd think that if people thought with saw stop the table saw is now "safe", they will become more complacent and even more prone to other injuries.

What I think is funny and disingenuous is the inventors "mission". The creator of saw stop is on a mission to make a buck plain and simple and there is nothing wrong with making a buck, lots of bucks. I only wish that I invented a device that I could have the government mandate its use, but the truth be told there is nothing charitable or benevolent about it. It's about money.

After the first time the device is trigger it appears the entire device would have to be replaced. Not inexpensive I'm sure, so how long until people modify saws to remove or by pass the device.

I think the device should be left as an option for the consumer to decide.

Posted: 7:26 am on February 18th

9michael9 9michael9 writes: One more thought--I have air bags in my car.
Posted: 6:38 am on February 18th

9michael9 9michael9 writes: Last week I locked back the pesky guard on my jointer to make a "tricky joint, and nipped off about a 1/4 chunk of skin on the tip. Didn't make it to the bone, and it will heal ok. Does everyone think that saw stop technology should be applied to jointers? I do.

~~Mike G
Posted: 6:36 am on February 18th

user-5873283 user-5873283 writes: Colbert is a sharp as a carbide tipped blade.

The negative responses seem to focus on two things: (1) One group says (like the guy in the video), "If I want to cut off my finger, no one should stop me." Hmmm. If you WANT to cut off your finger, you're crazy. (2) Other say that Gass shouldn't make any money out of his invention. Why not? Why should anyone be denied the rewards of his or her invention?

I'm not in favor of the CPSC requiring SawStop technology specifically, but it would be fine to require manufacturers to us a technology of their choice to stop the blade when it contacts flesh. That way, SawStop would have to duke it out with other technologies that might come along.
Posted: 6:10 am on February 18th

bundyal bundyal writes: Tablesaws dont kill, people kill
Posted: 6:09 am on February 18th

daltxguy daltxguy writes: I've invented a sawstop for handsaws and I would like to see all handsaw manufacturers be mandated into incorporating this revolutionary product. I'm also working on a French knife stop and the butterknife stop. No one should have the right to cut their fingers off 'if they want to'.
Posted: 5:49 am on February 18th

Rick15 Rick15 writes: Love The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show!! Brilliant.
Posted: 9:32 pm on February 17th

Rick15 Rick15 writes: You can't fix (or legislate) stupidity or carelessness. I have no objection to offering the option to have Saw Stop technology for a modest up-charge. Let the consumer decide to take it or leave it and preserve freedom to choose. To mandate that all manufacturers must incorporate Saw-Stop is absurd (and scary). Look, I lost a thumb tip to chainsaw kickback 30 years ago, totally my own carelessness, but I was young, pretty lucky it wasn't worse and I learned fast. Still, I don't want the government mandating how I use chainsaws but I do like having the OPTION to purchase saws equipped with great safety features and reduced kick chain IF I CHOOSE. Saw-Stop is on a mission to insure it's own profits through legislation first and foremost.
Posted: 9:30 pm on February 17th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: So many unsubstantiated claims. Tsk, tsk.

The amount that the Power Tool trade association thought it would cost to add this feature?

- $50.

Gass's "get rich" scheme. License a technology to the industry. For how much?

- Purportedly it was 3% of the wholesale selling price.

Which, unless he convinces a giant portion of the industry is probably not enough to run any substantial company on. Certainly not enough to continue to innovate and develop new and interesting technologies--thus rendering SawStop a "one hit wonder."

As someone who works developing products for a career, I can tell you that 3% of wholesale is not high. In fact, if I would've been the guy he came to (I'm in another industry) I would have offered him 5% and substantial guarantees in exchange for a 24-month exclusive license to his technology. It's that good. Of course, I would've built a more mainstream-priced product and sold more numbers than he did, though I do love my ICS Sawstop.

Personally, I respect a businessman who believes in his product enough to fight for it. The big guys do. Why should Gass be held to a different standard?

Posted: 8:09 pm on February 17th

CWSmith CWSmith writes: Well, it is humor... but it made all us woodworkers look silly in our zeal to NOT have the SawStop technology.

Unfortunately this kind of thing only sways the public towards further regulation, which I agree wholeheartedly that we don't need.

Where is the humor or any other widely spread story that depicts our side of the issue. The current safety guards are sufficient, but we do need education of the courts to understand that. Without that kind of airing, I only fear that this kind of thing is going to be forced upon us.

From that point of view, I really do not see the humour in this kind of thing. It simply gives a very wrong impression and permits the courts and the public from seeing the other side of the story.

Posted: 7:55 pm on February 17th

johnho johnho writes: Not wishing to be too in awe of new technology, but I wonder if it will work as well,fastened to the front of a rather large vehicle?
Posted: 7:44 pm on February 17th

michael2160 michael2160 writes: Ah, the conservative schizophrenia:

I don't want the government demanding I save myself from myself, and;

Gass shouldn't make any money off his invention because it is simply greedy. He should give the rights to his patent away for $1.

If the CPSC ends up mandating the inclusion of SawStop technology or something that accomplishes the same effect, then I think that is just fine AND proper.

If the next saw has this technology, you could always figure out a way to get around and maintain your ability to cry all the way to the hospital while suitably embarrassed in front of your wife for taking something off the saw that necessitated an otherwise non-event. (I am guessing some of you would even be willing to contact an attorney to see if you could sue because SawStop was able to be made unworkable!)
Posted: 6:53 pm on February 17th

Mr_Canuck Mr_Canuck writes: Folks in Canada will probably be blocked from the above link; try Comedy Network (Feb. 13) here:
Posted: 5:50 pm on February 17th

EdWeber EdWeber writes: Loved the video, but this guy Gass is too much.
Along with all the above comments about him using the gov. to push his product, there is one major point that always seems to be missed. My tablesaw Is not dangerous, neither is anyone elses. IT'S THE OPERATER. You can not make an injury-proof TS. You can not ever, ever save people from themselves. People can injure themselves with anything, whether or not someone thinks it's safe. Like the big saw makers said, prople would get a false sense of security and think I don't have to worry, my saw is safe. That sort of thinking would lead to nothing but trouble.
I have no problem with this technology or the fact that he sells a saw equipped with it, just don't force me to buy it. If it ever comes down to it, I would much rather take a gov. TS safety test than buy one of these saws.
Posted: 5:29 pm on February 17th

CLK3RD CLK3RD writes: I'm the first person to stand up and complain about too much government involvement in everything we do so I do. At the same time the loss of a finger or fingers is a horrible life changing event. If you have a business where other people are using tabe saws I cannot imagine why you would not use Sawstop or an equivalent. JUst think about having a cabinet shop or a trim shop and knowing that such an accident will not happen. The cost issue of $200 or so for a cartridge and blade is nonsense because the next time your employee loses a finger your workman's comp will go up that much. For personal use like everything else it is a choice. But it seems pretty darn crazy not to go the safer route.
Posted: 5:22 pm on February 17th

bko bko writes: The problem isn't SawStop per se, it is the royalties that Mr. Gass wants us all to pay for the SawStop technology. Right now, with his over-broad patents in force, there is no way to build any technology like this into any saw without paying Mr Gass the fortune that he is apparently asking for.

If Gass really wants to help people, he should license his patents for $1.00. As it stands now, I think he is using the government to try to force a deal that he could not negotiate.

Let's call a spade a spade: this is a commercial issue and not a safety issue.
Posted: 5:19 pm on February 17th

pkempthorne pkempthorne writes: I agree that it is a persons right to chop off their fingers if they wish. Let us suppose that a certain fine woodworker can afford the additional cost of Saw Stop but chooses to opt out of that expense and chop his fingers off. I assume he will want to bear the cost of repair and rehabilitation of his hand rather than ask the Nanny State to help with the expense which may be several times the additional cost of Saw Stop.
Posted: 4:50 pm on February 17th

peterbit peterbit writes: I think we are looking at this in the wrong way. The problem with much of the Gov. Regs are they over step indivual freedom. I do think the Goverment should require this to be made availabl on saws for safty, But this is where they should stop, Made available. It would be fine as a required option, Let the buyer make up his own mind if he wants to pay the price. This attitude should be put on all goverment regs. Don't try to make the consummer pay for what they don't want but to have the option if they do.
Posted: 4:44 pm on February 17th

rroselavy rroselavy writes: The woodworker in the video states: "...I should be able to cut off my own finger with my table saw if I want to."

Didn't he say at the beginning that he cut off his finger because he "made a careless mistake?"

That does not make it sound as if he WANTED to cut his finger off...

Posted: 4:43 pm on February 17th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: Another thought on who is the good guy and who is the bad guy here: On the measure of raising awareness about safety--the score is:

Mr. Gass: 1
Everyone else: 0
Posted: 4:37 pm on February 17th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: @Mettius,

I liked your comments, (and am also a SawStop owner!) but there is little precedent for robbing the CPSC of its powers based on any constitutional limitation. The Constitution is sufficiently vague in this area that none but the most conservative of courts would throw out an existing agency that, by most people's view, does more good than harm.

I am not a fan of government overreach, but this doesn't rise to that level.

Also, if Gass thinks that he has a way to help people avoid mistakes that they will likely regret, wouldn't it be a bit unethical for him to not promote it? And isn't' it a bit '"anti-american" to suggest that it would be wrong for him to profit from that at the same time?

Posted: 4:35 pm on February 17th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: What is funny to me is that executives from tool manufacturers passed on licensing SawStop because they were afraid that they would be opening themselves up to liability on products they made that are already in use and people think GASS is the bad guy? Wow.
Posted: 4:21 pm on February 17th

philtomlinson philtomlinson writes: Please note that the guy from the CPSC talked about making mandatory something LIKE sawstop. This is a good idea. Letting manufacturers find their way toward some technology that makes the saws safer is a very good idea, and will lead to new ideas, competition and better technology. Without them, the industry will never move forward on its own.

As for the CPSC, sometimes they overstep their bounds or come up with poorly structured rules. But all in all, they are one of the few agencies with a mission of protecting consumers. Do you really think it would be OK for people to find out which cribs were better by waiting to see whose baby choked or smothered to death?
Posted: 4:16 pm on February 17th

Mettius_ Mettius_ writes: I loved this Colbert piece. :)
It humorously explored both sides of the controversy.

A few succinct points:
- I do not appreciate Fed Govt interference in areas they are not constitutionally authorized.
- Glass using the Govt to push his patents is crappy.
- Other companies now knowing about it, and refusing to adopt this or to develop their own version is very crappy.
- Other big companies push Govt to regulate to their benefit (many very successfully).
- I bought a Saw Stop just 3 weeks ago (fully aware of all the above points). I will never go back to a saw without this or similar technology.
- I could afford a Saw Stop, many can't.
- The Big Boys could make a saw with above technology for far less than the tiny Saw Stop company.
- Private Companies have a horrible historical record of providing for worker or consumer safety. (Examine the industrial revolution in Europe and the US), vehicle safety throughout the 20th century.
-The Fed makes your car have a seatbelt, but you can opt not to wear it. You can always disable the safety feature and the Saw Stop will happily cut off your finger if you really want that option available to you.

Bottom line: I have mixed feelings. I don't like using Govt. to push one's products. Yet, given that I think private industry would still be happy to dump sewage in our drinking water and let us be injured in our jobs... I don't have a problem with the Govt, enforcing our right to life, liberty and happiness, by not allowing big business to take any of the above three away through willful negligence.
Posted: 2:57 pm on February 17th

StanfordWoodworking StanfordWoodworking writes: One suspects that sales of SawStop tablesaws must have leveled off for Gass to still be on his crusade to mandate the technology.

When the industry failed to license the technology his answer was to manufacture his own line of saws using the SawStop blade brake. Fair enough. So.... what happened?
Posted: 1:52 pm on February 17th

apetersonco apetersonco writes: Love this. As someone who has had a tablesaw accident (21 and stupid), I appreciate Mr Gass' invention. (I do not own one, and probably never will) However, his crusade to get his technology required in ALL brands of saws reeks of using government regulation for his own profit. If his concern was really safety and not his own pocketbook, he would allow his patent to expire so other manufacturers could duplicate (or even improve) the technology. Let the free market do what it's supposed to do. I have NO problem with profiting from a good idea, but call it what it is. Putting on a fake halo and lobbying the CPSC is insulting.
Posted: 1:00 pm on February 17th

rbsrig rbsrig writes: Here Here!
Great humor dealing with a very serious topic.
But I agree, I wouldn't (and didn't) buy a new table saw from Saw-Stop because of his (Gass) campaign to involve government to legislate against stupidity.

Posted: 12:01 pm on February 17th

mickey49 mickey49 writes: I like having all my fingers. If this helps to prevent their loss, then I'm for it. I'm sure there are several other patented processes that will also prevent injury to hands being maimed.

We all acknowledge the need for safety glasses and hearing protection. Why not protection from severing fingers from hands?
Posted: 9:54 am on February 17th

lotsofquestions lotsofquestions writes: Hilarious...classic Colbert!
Posted: 11:43 am on February 16th

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: "I'm on a mission" should be the first clue about why the CPSC effort needs to be derailed. Osteva bin Gass-in and his Stopiban are woodworking terrorists.

The same mentality has created the position of State Lunchbox Inspector to confiscate one child's dangerous turkey and cheese sandwich:

Posted: 11:35 am on February 16th

JimmyD. JimmyD. writes: You think this is bad, check out the new CPSC requirements for Baby cribs.

One thing for sure, like Randy White says, "you can't fix stupid!"

No I'm not against reasonable guidelines, or in some cases safety standards, and yes there are some fields (the Nuclear Industry comes to mind) where rigid standards are needed. But it is getting to the point where you can't flush a toilet without some federal bureaucrat telling you how much toilet paper you can use, & how long to hold the flush handle. Ahh for the good old days of Out Houses and the Sears & Roebuck Catalogs.
Posted: 1:17 am on February 16th

marcrosen marcrosen writes: Oscar,
If your computer had Message stop this accident would never have happened.
Posted: 10:02 pm on February 15th

OscarMan OscarMan writes: very sorry for the multiple was the result of a browser error message that i clearly misunderstood and to which i improperly reacted :(
Posted: 8:21 pm on February 15th

OscarMan OscarMan writes: why should i have to pay several hundred dollars more for a table saw with a mandatory feature that i neither want nor need? if you want the SawStop feature, great, spend your money on it. just don't force me to do so. unfortunately, i fully expect the Consumer Product Safety Commission will end up forcing this "safety technology" down our throats. sorry, but i think the federal government has far more important things to do than police my woodshop.
Posted: 8:15 pm on February 15th

OscarMan OscarMan writes: why should i have to pay several hundred dollars more for a table saw with a mandatory feature that i neither want nor need? if you want the SawStop feature, great, spend your money on it. just don't force me to do so.

i'll give SawStop credit for this though, they know how to (1) scare the crap out of people by greatly exaggerating a problem; and (2) lobby politicians (directly and indirectly) to get what they want. i expect the Consumer Product Safety Commission will end up forcing this "safety technology" down our throats. sorry, but i think the federal government has far more important things to do than police my woodshop.
Posted: 8:14 pm on February 15th

OscarMan OscarMan writes: why should i have to pay several hundred dollars more for a table saw with a mandatory feature that i neither want nor need? if you want the SawStop feature, great, spend your money on it. just don't force me to do so. i don't trust the SawStop technology and believe that it gives many of its users a false sense of security. in my opinion, the extra money that people spend for a SawStop would be better spent paying a knowledgeable and experienced woodworker to teach you how to use a table saw safely.

i'll give SawStop credit for this though, they know how to (1) scare the crap out of people by greatly exaggerating a problem; and (2) lobby politicians (directly and indirectly) to get what they want. i expect the Consumer Product Safety Commission will end up forcing this "safety technology" down our throats. sorry, but i think the federal government has far more important things to do than police my woodshop.
Posted: 8:13 pm on February 15th

beem beem writes: Satire is one of the most effective means of demonstrating absurdity, and Colbert is our Jonathan Swift. I found this piece to be hilarious and a very effective reductio of PTI's position. Sure, it's an easy target but there's a reason for that.

So here's my challenge to you SawStop detractors. Create an equally effective satirical piece that demonstrates the absurdity of requiring power-tool manufacturers to implement flesh-sensing technology as an industry-wide safety measure for table saws.

Good luck!
Posted: 6:26 pm on February 15th

ctsjr ctsjr writes: A few months ago, I was watching a movie from the 1930's. It was an English movie, and there was a scene where a craftsman was using a table saw. The saw had a riving knife. We are so far behind in this nation because the companies that manufacture saws don't want to lose ANY money and refuse to update their equipment until consumers force them to or the government does. Saw stop technology is just one way to make saws safer. I bought a Ridgid TS3650 in 2005, and have never used the blade guard because it can't be mounted in line with the blade. I mounted an aftermarket splitter in it's place and am very careful when I use the saw.
Posted: 5:27 pm on February 15th

Barry143 Barry143 writes: Well... I thought it was funny!
Posted: 10:53 am on February 15th

spokeshave27 spokeshave27 writes: Just like the air bags in vehicles - they can be turned off, and you don't have to wear seatbelts even though it's the law. People make choices everyday - some stupid (the guy in the video - where's the blade guard???. But to protect the few who through poor judgement, or a slip get injured I am all for the Sawstop technology. I am supprised that there are very few warnings on a table saw compared to the warnings on a ladder.

Posted: 10:48 am on February 15th

Riley_Parker Riley_Parker writes: Davek, you have a good point. Can you imagine they tried to develop and force the technology into all power tools?

That being said, I would consider Saw Stop if it didn't destroy the blade and need the cartridge reset. I read something about a product called Whirlwind? I like the idea that the sensor would surround the blade so it would stop before contact, and save the saw blade and your fingers.
I don't know what the charge is to reset the saw stop cartridge, never mind replacing a $200 blade. All this being said, I'm leaning toward saw stop or hopefully whirlwind when its available, because of running a production shop. I might not cut my fingers off, but I would have to consider it to protect myself against a law suit from my employees, god forbid!
Posted: 9:20 am on February 15th

latheman latheman writes: Technology is great, but it will be at the expense of new people entering the craft. Hobbyist and younger, less well-heeled woodworkers won't be able to afford a sawstop saw. Lastly, a newbie to woodworking scrapes enough together to buy a saw and cuts into a wet piece of wood, ruins a blade and cartridge, they may not be able to afford first in practice vs. Technology is always better.
Posted: 3:51 am on February 15th

ScottSh ScottSh writes: I had the same thought when I saw it last night - he simplifies for the sake of comedy. But the piece suggests that SawStop is a no-brainer and you wouldn't use it only if you believe in your right to cut your fingers off.

The 'safety at any cost' argument could have been explored with similar humor but perhaps is somewhat subtle.
Posted: 9:59 pm on February 14th

davek davek writes: Please note that the first paragraph of my comment above is a quote from a another comment. I surrounded it with html italic tags which are obviously not supported in this window.

The rest is my response.
Posted: 9:28 pm on February 14th

davek davek writes: However, clowns are going to continue to cut thier fingers off if they possibly can,leading to higher medical bills, disability costs and lost productivity for all of society.

My guess is that the aggregate costs to society are far greater with new regulations than the status quo. Thousands of woodworkers spending hundreds of dollars for a feature that benefits them not compared to a comparatively small number of (often) careless or sloppy individuals who hurt themselves unnecessarily.

Another counter-argument is that once the Feds get their noses into your workshop they aren't going to stop at the table saw.

That's a prospect I don't even like to think about.

Posted: 9:25 pm on February 14th

sparewood sparewood writes: I'm truly torn (no pun intended). If a clown wants to ignore basic safety precautions and cut his fingers off, the rest of us should not have to pay for it with higher tool costs for extras that might not benefit the majority. However, clowns are going to continue to cut thier fingers off if they possibly can,leading to higher medical bills, disability costs and lost productivity for all of society. In five years Saw Stop technology may be looked upon as such a no brainer -- like the auto seat belt -- that we'll wonder what the fuss is all about. If legislation pushes the industry to knuckle down (there I go again), inovate and develop safer machines... all the better.
Posted: 8:42 pm on February 14th

Pbmaster11 Pbmaster11 writes: I couldn't agree more... jamming more government in our lives.
Posted: 7:43 pm on February 14th

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