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The Editors Mailbox

Neckties and Tablesaws Just Don't Mix

comments (84) July 6th, 2012 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 24 users recommend

Ouch! A California assemblyman sponsors a tablesaw safety bill but forgets to lose the necktie! - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Ouch! A California assemblyman sponsors a tablesaw safety bill but forgets to lose the necktie!


In a recent piece on the Woodworking Network, reporter Rich Christianson hones in on opposition to California's proposed tablesaw legislation. The bill would require injury mitigation technology on all tablesaws sold in the state after 2015.


**Note: A comment posted by "saschafer" raises a good point - it is important to note that Williams isn't actually using the tablesaw in the video, but posing at a saw.


Christianson lists Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barabara) as the sponsor for the controversial new bill (AB 2218). While the California effort isn't news, a few of us here at Fine Woodworking found an accompanying video released by Williams to be absolutely drenched in irony. The video, which was released in support of the new legislation, shows Williams at the helm of a tablesaw're never going to guess this one...a necktie. Granted, he's not making a cut, but you can't help but get a wee little giggle out of it.

While the publishers of Fine Woodworking magazine have no official position on the proposed legislation, I personally can't help but chuckle over the faux-pas!


posted in: blogs, Tablesaw, safety, sawstop, lawsuit

Comments (84)

user-1029045 user-1029045 writes: I for one would like to have Saw Stop in my shop and I wouldn't object to the legislation. But the one point we all seem to agree on is that stupidity cannot be cured.

Let me illustrate with an example of epic stupidity.

My brother, who is also a woodworker, was visiting a friend of his some time last year (not important). The friend was in his garage working at his portable tablesaw. He was changing the blade. My bro, upon noticing that the saw was plugged in, explained to the friend that he should unplug first. Then, to his extreme surprise and horror, bro noticed that friend had rewired the saw to operate on a foot switch.

Yes! Changing the blade with the saw plugged in and triggered by a foot switch.

True story.
Posted: 9:39 pm on January 26th

sandylns sandylns writes: The stupid trying to legislate against stupidity. Saw Stop is an expensive addition to anyones workshop. I am 75 years old. been woodworking since I was thirteen, do the math, and I STILL have all my digits. If proper attention is paid to safety, if you follow the rules of physics , work in an environment without distractions you should be able to work without worry.
This is the same stupid thought process that cost Ryobi a million dollars. You can legislate to your hearts content but there will always be fools who think the rules don't apply to them.
As for the video, it doesn't deserve comment except to say, a fool and his fingers are soon parted.
Posted: 11:19 am on August 25th

Morongo Morongo writes: Aside from the CA issue, I understand the CPSC ended comments in March and was supposed to give it's federal ruling in June, anybody know when they're going to get around to it?

Posted: 8:39 pm on July 25th

Mortimor Mortimor writes: Can they also pass a law eliminating stupidity while they are at it or are they afraid that would eliminate too many, if not all, of the legislators and judges?
Can the half wit legislator also pass a law that prevents idiots from removing and disabling the technology he is proposing? Of course that's the crux of all this BS - the lawsuit involving the worker who was: not given any training in use of a tablesaw; had no personal knowledge of using one; removed all the safety devices on the tablesaw before hacking his hand up. Of course he can't be held responsible because there wasn't a billboard mounted on the saw telling him not to use the table saw in the bath tub or shower nor to disconnect the safety equipment that prevents hacking your hand. Of course the bilingual instruction manual warns of this - but hey who reads instruction manuals anyway? And the employer who hired the "victim" can't be expected to instruct his own employees in use of power tools and tool safety because he doesn't have enough money to quench the greed of the lawyers. So it must be the tool manufacturer for failing to prevent people from disabling the tool safety equipment and hacking themselves up. The UK has pretty much banned the use of ladders due to the cost of injuries to their health system. And some countries are considering banning knives without rounded tips because people are being stabbed. Of course they are ignorant of what one can do with a grinder to a round tip. Soon they'll have to ban sticks and stones (cuz they can break bones!) Life is sooo scary!
Posted: 11:25 am on July 24th

Ddimas Ddimas writes: To tell the truth, I would like to see a non destructive blade stopping technology like the Wirlwind system coupled with the sensing technology of the Saw Stop. I believe that the market would jump on that.
Posted: 6:11 am on July 23rd

VESPID VESPID writes: Mister Gorbachev, take down this article.
Posted: 8:12 pm on July 20th

Schniggeldorf Schniggeldorf writes: At the risk of interrupting some really good rants on both sides of the issue, how about a proposal for gathering a few facts?

Costs of status quo: How many tablesaw injuries happen in a year in California and/or nationwide? How many of those could reasonably have been prevented if everybody had SawStop's blade brake? What was the total cost to the public for those injuries (medical care not paid directly by the injured, etc.)?

Costs of proposed change: How much would it add to current saw purchase and use costs if everybody were required to have SawStop?

Do the math and figure out if the money saved by the legislation is likely to be more or less than the aggregate cost of requiring SawStop.

The other issue is that the legislation will save some money for the public through lower health care costs, but it will place the financial burden of doing so on a combination of the saw manufacturers and their customers. Since we're the ones who get the benefits of selling and using the saws, respectively, that seems fair, even though it will hit me in the wallet the next time I buy a saw.
Posted: 9:41 pm on July 15th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: CaseyO: HAH! Good question:) I think I'll take your advice. I have a workbench to finish building:)


Posted: 8:16 am on July 10th

beem beem writes: According to the Senate Office of Public Records, 2011 was the first year that SawStop spent any money on lobbying. They hired the firm Cuneo, Waldman & Gilbert for a total of $100,000. In 2011, the Power Tool Institute spent $200,000 on lobbying, hiring two firms - Bracewell & Giuliani and Webster, Chamberlain & Bean. In the previous 4 years (2007-2010) PTI spent $745,000 on lobbying, bringing the Power Tool Institute's total lobbying expenditures over those 5 years to $945,000. So far in 2012, the Power Tool Institute has spent $60,000 on lobbying and SawStop has spent $30,000.

Total spent on lobbying from 2007 through June 19, 2012:

Power Tool Institute: $1,005,000
SawStop: $130,000

Posted: 3:36 am on July 10th

toolatesmart toolatesmart writes: Saw Stop holds the patent on the technology and is spending a lot on lobbyists to get legislation outlawing any other table saw. What a windfall! It is not fool proof if it has a blade with an electrical insulating coating, the safety feature is nulified making it more dangerous than other saws.
Posted: 11:01 pm on July 9th

CaseyO CaseyO writes: Why aren't we in our respective shops and spaces working wood?
Posted: 7:03 pm on July 9th

sloanworks sloanworks writes: My only injury from a tablesaw was kickback. Stop that SawStop!

BOYCOTT SAWSTOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 5:29 am on July 9th

jsheaney jsheaney writes: Achron, you are incorrect. It is not the assemblyman who makes the cut with the hotdog. The assemblyman, as has been pointed out, has a ring on his left hand. He is not wearing a watch. The hotdog killer is wearing a watch and has no ring on his finger.

Posted: 6:00 pm on July 8th

Archon Archon writes: Saschafer,

Doesn't matter. Ties around table saws are poor thinking. That photo still presents profound ignorance of good practice. Probably he has handlers who have insured that the saw is unplugged, but still, a moment of thought would let anyone who actually knows much about physics and electricity, that a SawStop will not protect you from being strangled by your saw, because you dipped your tie in it. In fact, given the first comment, about the SS reacting when the blade touched his head, it would not have strangled him. It would have snapped his neck like a hangman's noose. SO, while it is certainly safer than a regular saw, it could be that a truly catastrophic accident with an SS would be fatal, not just an injury. It would not be nearly as common as amputations, and would be less costly than physical therapy, so insurance companies might like it better. Rehabilitation can be considerably more costly than simple death benefits.

Significantly, that saw in the video is plugged in to the California State Capitol power supply. And, the assemblyman DOES make a cut with a piece of plywood and a hot dog. The observations in the blog aren't just ironic and do not call for a chuckle. There is no indication the fool took his tie off.
Posted: 2:40 pm on July 8th

Chris459 Chris459 writes: Some odd 3500 people were killed on CA's highways last year...that's ok in this legislators mind to sit back and do nothing...but one guy , in a freak move looses his thumb???
Posted: 2:39 pm on July 8th

gottagolf gottagolf writes: FICTIONAL HEADLINE: Lawmaker's wife sues SawStop over death of husband

A California lawmaker was suffocated to death by his "safe" SawStop table saw. Here is what happened. The lawmaker's necktie got caught in the saw blade while he was operating the saw. The tangled necktie then pulled his head into the blade. When his head contacted the blade the SawStop mechanism activated and pulled the blade down below the table. The retraction of the blade pinned him against the top of the table saw and the necktie strangled him to death.

Always use good safety practices.

Posted: 10:34 am on July 8th

retired08 retired08 writes: Just proves that the biggest problem with any tool use and safety centers around what is politely called "operator error". Let's just call it stupidity and not try to legislate every aspect of our life. What ever happened to common sense and reading the directions?
Posted: 8:38 am on July 8th

Fabuladico Fabuladico writes: This is a typical politician getting into something that he obviously knows nothing about. To any woodworker's eyes it's very plain to see that this guy isn't a woodworker. No woodworker with half a brain would wear a necktie in the shop. I'm willing to bet that even that idiot who sued Ryobi wasn't dumb enough to wear a necktie at a table saw.

This guy is so unfamiliar with woodworking it really negates his concept. Not only is he wearing a necktie, but he has the blade cranked all the way up, he has no blade guard, and he's standing directly behind his "work piece" inviting a nasty back kick to the groin.

What he is actually showing is that no matter how idiot proof you make the saw, there will always be a better idiot.
Posted: 12:10 am on July 8th

demetri0us demetri0us writes: The first thing I thought when I read the last paragraph stating that there was "no official position" was... Who are they kidding?

In my opinion, all the coverage that's been put out by FW on this subject has been thinly veiled opposition at best. I really love the mag and the website (I subscribe to both) but the coverage of this issue by FW has sent me looking to other periodicals. It's really turned me off. I don't mind finding out what's going on in the world of woodworking, but Id rather not read anything written by someone who very clearly has their own agenda. Heck, it felt more like I was reading a hotheaded homebrew blog rather than an established woodworking institution.

Please keep it news if that's what your aiming for, not propaganda and cheap shots.

Oh, similarly, I don't have any official position either.
Posted: 11:31 pm on July 7th

Crossjj Crossjj writes: I had a choice on what saw I purchased, and feel everyone should. With that said how well will a sawstop work when someones hand is misplaced and it gets kicked back into the saw blade at the speeds a tablesaw is capable of doing. My guess is you would still be missing a finger or two. Anyone care to test this theory. I don't feel like dropping $80.00 for a new brake.
Posted: 10:12 pm on July 7th

eZachLeeWright eZachLeeWright writes: My Libertarian streak runs deep and wide but I see two sides to the Saw Stop technology becoming required. In the 70's the government required the headlight to be "always on" on new motorcycles. We hated it. People spent untold hours finding wiring tricks to defeat the feature. And then we gave up and accepted this intrusion into our biking lives. And we lived. Some of us lived who otherwise would not have. It has saved lives, cost us nothing in the long run, and now it is a total non issue in even the most hardcore biker groups.

My father ran a small town hardware store. We sold lawnmowers. The government came out with a requirement for a blade stop. We hated it. People spent untold hours finding ways to add kill switches to mowers while using wire ties or tape to hold the offending added handle in place. Then we gave up and accepted this intrusion into our mowing lives. And we lived. Some of us have toes and fingers we otherwise would have lost. Now it is a non issue and almost everyone realizes a dangerous piece of equipment is safer if the blade stops before some idiot can get his finger to it. The table saw if far, far, more dangerous than a lawnmower taking less of an idiot to get injured. That said, I still feel a compulsion to grab the politician's tie and beat the crap out of him.

Posted: 9:06 pm on July 7th

BackYardHunt BackYardHunt writes: If you have any questions just follow the MONEY! The brilliant California Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), the sponsor for the controversial new bill (AB 2218) And yes he is also the safety genius in the photo and video with the neck tie, partially rolled up sleeves and ring on in the 'Assembly Report' Video. To those who defend him by saying it was just a photo op, look again as he even went to the trouble of running a power cord to the saw.

Williams just so happened to pocket a $2,500.00 donation from Stephen Gass, the patent holder of SawStop. You don't need a calculator to do the math...

Anyone can freely decide to purchase a SawStop if they so desire. Last time I checked, I still live in the Land Of The Free... or not if the likes of Das Williams or Stephen Gass get their way.

BTW if Gass is really so concerned with our safety, he could offer the use of his patent for free to all the saw manufacturers in order to bring down the cost.
Posted: 8:14 pm on July 7th

hm2367 hm2367 writes: With a bckground in safety and some familiarity with the regulatory procss, I would like to make an observation. The "model" at the tablesaw is obviously not a woodworker, or he would have known to set up the shot differently. I suspect the "model" is a regulator and thus the problem. Too often, regulators who know little or nothing about the product/process they are regulating and they forge ahead telling people how to behave. Thus we get EPA regulators in Washington, DC telling farmers they have to control dust. Table saw safety is important, but the market can sort it out. If the Saw Stop had been available when I was in the market, I would have bought one. If I ever replace my Unisaw, I may well go with Saw Stop. However, I don't want some legislator/regulator limiting my choices.
Posted: 7:50 pm on July 7th

drllucas drllucas writes: The good news? If the saw grabs his tie it will be one less politician interfering in out private lives. Wait! I forgot. SawStop will merely nick his chin as his giant, inflated politician head is jerked toward the blade.
Posted: 7:16 pm on July 7th

JSJazz JSJazz writes: I thought this was a new "Against The Grain"
Posted: 7:12 pm on July 7th

Schleiff Schleiff writes: When CA passed Carb 1 for off road and industrial vehicles, there was an $800 add on for peice of equipment meeting CA emission code. Eventually the it bacame a Fed requirement and the cost was passed on to every state. The emissions improvement was minimal. We have the tail wagging the dog and a "broke" tail at that.
Posted: 6:31 pm on July 7th

EE_woodworker EE_woodworker writes: For those of you that are pointing out the safety violations of the Assemblyman, you are completely missing the point. Look at the link and view the video. Taking a still image of a video completely out of context is not what I would have expected from Fine Woodworking magazine. What a waste to miss an opportunity to make a thoughtful comment on an important issue.

Fortunately, the original article referenced was a more thoughtful piece about something that could affect most woodworkers. I recommend reading it. One statement in the article was that if California passes this law, table saw manufacturers will likely have to include this safety technology on all their saws because they cannot ignore California and they do not want to create special models just for that market. The net result could be that all table saws would be appreciably more expensive, though probably safer. It is a complex issue.

I appreciate those people who posted comments about their thoughts on the legislation at hand, even though I may not agree.

Posted: 5:23 pm on July 7th

craig39 craig39 writes: Safety on my saw.

no tie,no long hair, no long sleeves,no rings (no piercings), short finger nails, ear plugs, breathing mask, Eye mask. (maybe a neck and chest protector) , bolt off the on switch when not in use(immediately). I use my saw in two positions, the second 90 degrees from the first, then put red strips on the floor in both positions, never stand over or on these lines (or your guests). If you haven't used the saw for a while, then take a piece of scrap and get comfortable cutting it. Seems trivial, but I consider it essential for safety. Go overboard for any rules of safety, post them above the saw, Talk to your self, and repeat all safety checks.
(I use the say without the Guard, I never felt comfortable with it on)

check the saw for alignment, 90 degrees etc.
Posted: 5:15 pm on July 7th

odlebob odlebob writes: I have owned several table saws over the years, including Powermatic and Delta,
and my Industrial SawStop is the best of any of them, not even including the SawStop technology. Plus it was no more expensive than other top-end saws.

Posted: 4:58 pm on July 7th

seb seb writes:
Posted: 4:38 pm on July 7th

seb seb writes: helloI am from the government,and Iam here to helpyou,,,,
Please bend over,,,,,,
Posted: 4:37 pm on July 7th

seb seb writes:
Posted: 4:35 pm on July 7th

michael2160 michael2160 writes: Sorry, but when the magazines and tv shows stop taking off the blade guards FOR EASE OF VIEWING reasons, then you get to take jabs at guys wearing ties operating tablesaws and trying to make a political statement you don't like.

The issue you have with Assemblyman Williams is not his tie maybe getting stuck in the blade and creating havoc upon his body, it is simply some individuals in woodworking have libertarian views that requires them to stomp their feet whenever someone /suggests or makes a regulation that attempts to create a safer environment for them, despite themselves.

Sawstop's, and similar, technologies are overdue and I hope California includes bandsaws in the regulation.

(4th generation California and proud liberal, Democrat, pinko commie whatever!)
Posted: 4:26 pm on July 7th

Teton_Bound Teton_Bound writes: Being the resident cynic of the group I put forth the position that Dass Williams does’t give a rat’s pitute about woodworking or woodworking safety. He’s a politician, he only cares about himself and his political career. As a card carrying member of the nanny state he feels obligated, no compelled to legislate the behavior of others. He has hung his hat on this particular issue because he feels it is a slam dunk (who would vote against someone keeping their hand intact or outlawing bowling with babies??), and he’s getting paid for it by SawStop, a two-fer! He’ll be seen as a caring person, have successful legislation on his resume and money in the coffers, what a deal.

I don’t care if it is SawStop, ObamaCare(Tax), seat belts, coal, natural gas nuclear (sorry “Nukuler" for the politicians) or public education(sic). Please stop trying to protect me and run my life by spending my money on things I don’t want. This socialistic redistribution of wealth, nanny state “socialized justice” will be the death of this country if it continues. Those who pay taxes are now outnumbered by those who spend taxes, do the math (sorry, it’s just simple arithmetic). This Table Saw safety legislation is just another incremental tax. Maybe it should read “if you participate in woodworking you must buy a table saw that is so equipped. If you do not you will be fined $xx.xx (sorry, taxed $xx.xx)

The only reason this legislation is on the table is because Saw Stop bitched and nanny state politicians see it as an easy win.

Those of you who accept and vote for this level of socialism, income redistribution, government intervention in every aspect of our lives
Posted: 4:06 pm on July 7th

Sherpadog Sherpadog writes: Mr. Gass himself tested it with his own finger. Check YouTube.
Posted: 2:07 pm on July 7th

usafchief usafchief writes: Have to disagree with tafink concerning blade heighth- The higher the blade, the less distance each tooth will travel(be captive)in the wood, the less wood each tooth will have to cut....Also the motor doesn't have to work as hard.If you are using the blade guard, what difference does blade exposure really make????? All my sawdust making life, I always wanted a Power Matic saw, all my life I have had a Craftsman 10" bench saw, and for the last 20 years this has had a Biesmeyer fence. Would I invest in a SawStop, no,hell no...... No one has tested it with their finger, just a hot dog. Like in Delsey, There Is A Definite Difference. A more than 50 years a woodworker, with all my fingers yet- reason I quit doing things stupidily afterv seeing some one else loose a finger
Posted: 1:05 pm on July 7th

ameridaddy ameridaddy writes: 1. I would have bought a Sawstop - very fine saw, beyond the main safety feature, but I could not stand having a light-sucking Darth Vader black lump sitting as the main feature in the middle of my shop. Sawstop - please offer another, preferably light color!

2. Somewhere I read that 97% of all people who die, die in bed, so ever since I read that, I've been sleeping on the floor. Seriously, as many others said, do this with insurance contracts in the private sector, not by government.
I don't want a government mandated padded hammer in case I hit my thumb, nor do I want to be forced to eat a pound of broccoli every day for the good of my health.
Posted: 1:02 pm on July 7th

BrockF BrockF writes: An airplane can drop out of the sky at any time. Even a small accident can cause an astonishing loss of life and destruction. Consider what happens if a bird or a bolt gets sucked into the engine, even while it is still on the ground. That meets the qualification of unsafe I think. Is a perfectly good airplane, while unsafe, defective? I think not. My father worked in the 8 inch wire mill of Republic Steel many years ago, before OSHA. Everything about that place was inherently unsafe, but was the machinery defective? Did OSHA rules make it safer? No. They just make us feel better and insure some system of checks is in place. Insurance policies could do the same thing. And of course we can see very plainly that the costs went up and many companies went over seas. We have to excercize personal responsibility in our lives, in our jobs and in our hobbies. Otherwise we are just fooling ourselves.
Posted: 12:40 pm on July 7th

scobourn scobourn writes: I don't like the long shirt sleeves and ring either...
Posted: 12:37 pm on July 7th

A320 A320 writes: bassman00; I agree with you 100%. I have been told that "dumb can be cured, stupid is forever". So far I have not seen anything to contrdict this. A tool that you can hurt yourself with is not necessarily defective. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, is the hammer defective or the operator?
Posted: 12:35 pm on July 7th

usafchief usafchief writes: Not only the necktie,but where is the guard??? Also, it might be sporty for those rolled up shirt sleeves, but I was taught in school more than 60 years ago, button the cuff or rollm up the sleeves beyond the elbow....

Another fine example of legislation originating from the land of fruits and nuts. Can't anybody in this country EVER take responsibility for their own stupidity?
Posted: 12:30 pm on July 7th

Sherpadog Sherpadog writes: My old man (bless his soul), always told me how to pick a tool. He was trained as a cabinet maker and spent most of his life building custom homes. Dad said to first rate tools by 3 quality categories. Then, if you don't have the money for the best quality, save your pennies until you do. Aside from safety alone, the SawStop is the highest quality saw. Just listen to the sound when you fire it up and you will be convinced right there.

By the way, I'm not a shill for SawStop - just a very happy owner.
Posted: 12:28 pm on July 7th

Sherpadog Sherpadog writes: An unsafe device is, by definition, defective.
Posted: 12:14 pm on July 7th

BrockF BrockF writes: I think the saftey benifit of a Saw-Stop equipped saw is a wonderful invention. However, I disagree that it should be mandatory. If I had the money I would buy one becuase I think the saftey factor and good workmanship/design are huge selling points. But I don't want someone dictating to me what options I have to have, as long as the product is not defective or so badly made as to be inherently dangerous. As was noted with guns, saws are just tools, not good or bad. The vast majority of accidents are operator errors that could be avoided with basic saftey considerations. Instead of making more laws that tell us what we can and can not do, it would be altogether more prudent to leave it to indivisual insurance companies. They could very simply write policies with a simple clause that says not using saw stop saws voids the policy. This puts the responsibility on the consumer. They can follow the policy, ignore it at thier peril, or go buy a differnet policy that does not require the technology but costs more. In any case no law is being imposed by anyone on anyone and the solution is market driven. This altogether avoids having dummies making laws for people about which they know nothing about, not to mention conflict of interest if a lawmaker owns stock in the proposed technology. The other problem with making it a law is the very real slippery slope. What is next? Saw Stop on routers? How about circular saws, jigsaws, drill presses and jointers? How about hand tools and lathes? Why not just say you have to have five years of formal training to pick up a hand saw? Sounds absurd but it has been done many times. There are those who believe anyone who cuts down a tree is evil and that woodworkers are insidious destroyers. They are incrementalists who know that they may not be able to eliminate something all at once, but they can do it one step at a time. Quickest way is to drive up the price. Frightening but true.
Posted: 12:11 pm on July 7th

BGodfrey BGodfrey writes: It's an ugly tie. Chop it.
Posted: 11:58 am on July 7th

noman01 noman01 writes: One of the greatest tools salesmen use in closing a sale is creating a sense of loss on the part of the prospective customer if he (they) don't buy. Here we have another mis-placed use of authority relying on the general ignorance of those who have little or no specific knowledge in an attempt to regulate or control some who appear to have the "need" to be protected from themselves. Therefore, unless if "we" don't protect them from themselves "we" the people will lose something. Whatever that something is "we" don't know, but we will lose something...
This whole argument is specious at best. It all relies on the general ignorance of a specific industry/trade/hobby that is like ALL of life inheriently dangerous. I believe Eddie Rickenbacker once replied when it was suggested to him that bicycles would be much safer with seatbelts said, "the only truly safe place was in the grave" (for illustration purposes only I will accept this argument). As in all trails to find the truth about fear generated sense of loss issues that deal with proposed law, whether legislative of administratirative(the most insidious) follow the money!!!
Posted: 11:41 am on July 7th

noman01 noman01 writes: One of the greatest tools salesmen use in closing a sale is creating a sense of loss on the part of the prospective customer if he (they) don't buy. Here we have another mis-placed use of authority relying on the general ignorance of those who have little or no specific knowledge in an attempt to regulate or control some who appear to have the "need" to be protected from themselves. Therefore, unless if "we" don't protect them from themselves "we" the people will lose something. Whatever that something is "we" don't know, but we will lose something...
This whole argument is specious at best. It all relies on the general ignorance of a specific industry/trade/hobby that is like ALL of life inheriently dangerous. I believe Eddie Rickenbacker once replied when it was suggested to him that bicycles would be much safer with seatbelts said, "the only truly safe place was in the grave" (for illustration purposes only I will accept this argument). As in all trails to find the truth about fear generated sense of loss issues that deal with proposed law, whether legislative of administratirative(the most insidious) follow the money!!!
Posted: 11:41 am on July 7th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: "To complain that this infringes on our personal freedom to buy what we want is to ignore all product safety laws and to burden everyone with the costs of treating avoidable serious injuries. We are no longer a society of pioneers just taking care of ourselves individually, we have a responsibility for the risks we create and the resulting costs shared by

Where should this ideal stop? Driving is one of the most dangerous things we could do based on accident statistics. Better ban cars until we can have a 100% safety rate. Flying? Nope. Trains? Ahh, no. Does anyone who agrees with this legislation drive, flying, walk or bike along roads where there are cars and trucks? What about smoking, drinking alcohol or eating "bad" foods? Gotta design a better bath tub as that's costing us all too much in injuries. Seriously, where does it stop?

We're ok with our gov't wasting billions of OUR (at least the taxpayer's) dollars on wasteful, unnecessary, nepotistic (is that a new word?) programs, and THIS is the area where people are trying to reduce costs? Let's introduce personal responsibility back into the equation. It's time we start personally suffering for our personal mistakes instead of demanding others share in the consequences of our stupidity. YOU remove the safety features of your table saw (including turning off the SawStop sensor) and you injure yourself, YOU pay the bill. YOU suffer through the lost wages (if any) along with any future expenses. THAT is the other side of this fleeting freedom we (used to) cherish so much.

Posted: 11:29 am on July 7th

chatito chatito writes: Everyone will want to put their finger on the saw. And if the machine fails? Mr. Williams please insert your finger into the saw.
Posted: 11:04 am on July 7th

Sherpadog Sherpadog writes: I now have a SawStop cabinet saw. When I bought it, I was amused to note that the comparable Unisaw was more expensive.

All of the high schools around here (Massachusetts) are now requiring SawStops. It's the same old argument that I heard many years ago against seat belts (which have now saved thousands of lives).

Stop listening to fools who won't spend a few bucks for safety. Incidentally. the SawStop is the best cabinet saw I have owned (and I have owned several).
Posted: 10:47 am on July 7th

AJCoholic AJCoholic writes: Um, yeah... lets all put 1/8 HP motors on our saws and call it a SOme of us actually rely on our saws to make money. I can rip through 8/4 rough oak/maple/ash/hickory/etc as fast as I can feed it. And, to top it off even a 1/8HP powered blade will bite you. If you think that's good safety practice... wow. If you are in the woodworking business, time is money and I certainly appreciate all the benefits of my 5HP Industrial Sawstop - not just the quality of the saw, the fit and finish, the excellent fence, a guard that ACTUALLY works and picks up 99% of the sawdust, and of course the fact that if I ever, God forbid, get my fingers into contact with the blade I have a very good chance I will walk away with no need to attend the emergency room, multiple surgeries and be off work for 6 months to a year (or permenently).

I understand the US members who are against being told they must have this or that and the added cost. It is human nature to not like anyone telling you you must do this, or that.

Unfortunately, those who are blinded by the hate of legislation, are also missing out on owning & using a top notch saw that really works well, and can save you from a serious accident - which is the main thing you should be discussing here, no? You can poke fun at Sawstop, at the government, and at anything else - but in the end, countless table saw accidents could be prevented by this technology. That is a fact.

Posted: 10:46 am on July 7th

glassbreaker glassbreaker writes: If the tie doesn't get him, the raised blade will.

I am surprised your magazine does not take a stand against this legislation. Saws do not injure people just like guns do do kill people. Foolish people hurt them selves on machines. Every time we let a law pass that restricts our freedom to choose for ourselves, we let lawyers get rich with court cases. Nothing wrong with saw stop for those who would like one but why let lawyers tell us we must use one. They are not in the least bit concerned about our safety really but about how they can make $$$$. I can almost believe the SawStop inventor is a lawyer and he has a great plan to get rich.
Posted: 10:45 am on July 7th

rharold56 rharold56 writes: Irony? I don't know, because it can show how people can do stupid things around a table saw, and a table saw is a dangerous device. (Granted this photo was not showing somebody actually using the saw.)

As a consumer, I readily understand the reluctance to have to pay for the Saw Stop device. However, we already pay through increased medical costs for the injuries on saws that lack this device by the trips to the ER for the injured.

We also pay through increased disability insurance for the injured.

To complain that the inventor of the Saw Stop is just trying to make a bundle of money is to ignore the manufacturers attempts to maximize their sales and profits. The motivation of each side of the argument has nothing to do with the substance of whether or not the Saw Stop should be installed on all saws.

To complain that this infringes on our personal freedom to buy what we want is to ignore all product safety laws and to burden everyone with the costs of treating avoidable serious injuries. We are no longer a society of pioneers just taking care of ourselves individually, we have a responsibility for the risks we create and the resulting costs shared by
Posted: 10:35 am on July 7th

wookieg wookieg writes: OK, here is the solution: If "we the people" decide that something must be done, then the legislators should make Sawstop allow the technology to be used by all manufacturers at no cost. Then, individuals would be allowed to decide whether the additional cost of the technology is worth it to them each time they buy a saw. This would be serving the needs of the many by penalizing (lost profits) the few (Sawstop.) Sort of like eminent domain. I don't generally like the government butting in, but if Sawstop thinks this is so essential, then let them prove that it isn't motivated by profit. Otherwise, they should just shut up.
Posted: 10:04 am on July 7th

jsheaney jsheaney writes: Everyone is reacting to this picture, but no one is asking who created it. The picture is a video frame from a report that seems to have been produced on behalf of the CA state assembly. If you watch the video you can see that the assemblyman does not demonstrate anything. Someone does the hot dog demo, but I seriously doubt it was the assemblyman.

Who chose this still frame, which clearly misrepresents the video? Obviously, it was chosen by someone that disagrees with the legislation. This is propaganda, pure and simple. If you want to have a meaningful opinion, watch the video. Don't rely on being spoonfed obvious biases. Think for yourselves.
Posted: 10:02 am on July 7th

fineshu fineshu writes: I think that this is so funny.. I support safety and safety legislation.. How many more would have perished in Pinto fires if it were not for ... (oh god I hate to say his name after he got Bush elected... ) Ralph Nader.. ..that was like a 3 inch splinter into my spine...

Anyway the problem with untested safety devices is they can become a safety hazard themselves. In some cases table saw guards get in the way and cause a hazard if not temporarily removed.

Protecting the citizens from hazards is one of the governments main jobs, but I surely wouldn't want to put my safety in the hands of this dude even though his motives are well intention-ed.

So funny!!!
Posted: 10:00 am on July 7th

user-401077 user-401077 writes: Let's see:

1. He's wearing a tie.
2. He's standing in front of the blade (read: muzzle).
3. I can tell by the placement of his left hand, that he – sure as shootin' – will try to "pull" the work through the saw with his hand behind the blade, so that when the kerf closes due to him pulling it shut, and the saw kicks back, his hand will get yanked into the blade.

Hmmm...what's missing?

• Blindfold?
• Kids cartwheeling on trampoline in background?
• Tequila shots!

Yep, this guy is UNIQUELY QUALIFIED to dictate how the rest of us live out lives! He's obviously a WOODWORKER EXTRAORDINAIRE!
Posted: 9:56 am on July 7th

jg0258 jg0258 writes: Oh and before I forget, one of the easiest safety features that can be had is to simply stop using 3 an 5 HP motors on table saws.

I have a cheap crapsman hybrid, let me tell you I love this saw fitted with a thin kerf blade. Case hardened wood, the wood pinches the stops spinning, just the belts spin. Not enough power to bounce the wood against my face, not enough power to shoot a piece of wood at 100 miles/hr, it simply slides if it gets caught between the fence and the blade.

Sure it takes me longer to saw a 6/4 board, but what is the hurry? I check my saw every month for parallelism, saw to miter and saw to fence, even so, wood does weird things, with this under powered saw I feel perfectly safe. Add a push stick and a sharp blade and you are good to go.
Posted: 9:02 am on July 7th

Loxmyth Loxmyth writes: (I should clarify that when I seconded Steve, I meant saschafer.)

It's worth noting that the SawStop folks *wanted* to sell to the whole industry, which would have increased volume and possibly brought costs down. That they only introduced their own saw when nobody else was willing to make that investment.

And we're starting to see competing systems, though I'm not as impressed with them.

I'm considering replacing the table saw I currently have, an ancient Craftsman benchtop 8" which is actually completely without blade guard. (I consider it tolerably safe only when operated with a crosscut sled.) If I upgrade to a hybrid/cabinet saw, then I intend it to be a one-time purchase and I won't mind dumping some extra money into safety. Amortized over the life of the saw it really is moderately cheap insurance.

I've come closer than I really like to crunching my fingers in a hand-fed letterpress, after I'd been doing it long enough that I was starting to take it for granted. And that's a key -- the danger peaks at exactly the time when we think we've learned enough to be safe.

My understanding is that more pros injure themselves than amateurs simply because the amateurs still have sense enough to be cautious. Familiarity breeds contempt, and contempt breeds accidents. So it may be precisely the folks who say "I would never do that" who need to stop and think.
Posted: 8:59 am on July 7th

jg0258 jg0258 writes: Matthias Wendel made an experiment where he tried to get a piece of cloth caught by the saw on a TS. The cloth would not catch, instead the saw pushed the cloth away. He tried man different ways with a heavy cloth a light one, etc. It just would not catch.

While I agree that it is not a clever thing to do, the guy is in less danger than most of us assume or think he is.
Posted: 8:51 am on July 7th

tenleft tenleft writes: Apologists for the sawstop position in this can blow all the smoke they want about all the poor victims of unsafe saws but they cannot hide the fact that sawstop's owners are doing what lawyers do; they are gaming the system for vast profits. The assemblyman's involvement illustrates one of the main systemic weaknesses that makes this possible; the people making the laws are perfectly willing to subscribe to positions about which they have no knowledge or understanding as long as it serves their political interests.
This is truly the worst of all worlds.

If I am going to use a sharp tool it is for ME to decide whether I will do the homework and learn to reduce my risk level to one which is acceptable to me and mine or rather invest extra money to buy that protection.

That I should have that choice is right and good but that I should have no choice but to throw a thousand dollars plus toward an opportunistic lawyer and his assemblyman poodle is exactly how the system is NOT supposed to work.

How many hundreds of thousands of people, from young to retired will never have access to woodworking opportunities from learning to professional to recreational because the price of a table saw is multiplied by a factor of 5 to 10 ?. Has anyone put a price on that ?.

The ONLY way to stop this is by popular objection. Call, write, blog, talk. Get everyone you know to do the same. Magazines like FWW should list contact addresses and emails and tel.numbers for both sides of the position in EVERY ISSUE to encourage responders. I cant think of anything else that will possibly work. Certainly having 'faith in the system' to do the right thing is absolutely the wrong option.
Posted: 8:47 am on July 7th

Loxmyth Loxmyth writes: Gotta agree with Steve on this one, though I'm chalking it up to carelessness. We all make mistakes; the question is how willing you are to correct them.

I'll add two thoughts, one silly and one serious:

1) If you have to wear a tie around power tools, make sure it's a clip-on. (Not entirely silly; there are lanyards explicitly designed so they'll break before pulling the wearer any closer to a machine, and this would be the same principle.)

2) I've actually been somewhat uncomfortable about the fact that I wear a Medic Alert tag. (Penicillin allergy.) I don't really want to take it off in the shop, but it *is* a hazard. My current compromise involves shoelace tags (another way to wear the ID), but not all first responders know to look for those... so I may, in fact, need to go to a breakaway lanyard at some point.
Posted: 8:43 am on July 7th

Aeroplanext Aeroplanext writes: Holy hysteria!

I seriously doubt this regulation will end Woodworking As We Know it. It might make it safer, though, even for the experienced. After all, nobody's FORCING anyone to buy anything here. The upgraded saws will still have to survive in the marketplace. And, if they don't, something else will. Maybe the various tool manufacturers will do something innovative, and bring their own safety tech to bear (which they are free to do).

From what I've read, the expected added cost per machine is somewhere in the ballpark of a mid-level replacement blade, which, honestly, practically most of us here in this forum spend more than that on aftermarket upgrades anyway, be it better blades, miter gauges, and fences, etc. Compared to the cost of an accident, that's still a freaking bargain.

Legislation is used to make things safer for the consumer all the time, and for the most part, from cars, to building codes, drinking water, WMIS, and airplanes we're better off. If your pride can't handle that, I'm sure that your ingenuity can find a way around compliance.

And, seriously, with regards to comments mentioning the cost of health care, does anyone believe that Canadians, or Swedes can't afford to buy a table saw? I live in Toronto, and can price shop for the same model in the U.S., but usually find what I need here at the same price, or LESS.

Now, take a deep breath, have some coffee, and let's get back to doing what we do best - help each other finish projects!

Have a great day!
Posted: 8:30 am on July 7th

prov163 prov163 writes: I understand how dangerous table saws, and most woodworking tools in general, can be. My other hobby is riding motorcycles. In the state of Georgia where I live, there is legislation pending that would increase my insurance rates because I ride a motorcycle. In reality, the number of fatal accidents of bicyclists and pedestrians is higher than bikers. Do we now pass legislation regarding walking and riding a bike?

What bugs me most about the Assemblyman in the video, and those legislators passing laws in general, is they have NO clue what they are passing laws about. They don't use table saws, or ride motorcycles, etc.

The most asinine statement he made was that this technology would only add about $75 to the cost of a saw. Really? Did he happen to price saws, including Sawstop? I believe that if they passed legislation that only the pure $75 cost would be added to the purchase of a saw, they'd have a lot of takers. So, if I'm buying a $1000 Powermatic saw, it's $1075 but includes the Sawstop technology, I'm in. I'm sure Mr. Gass would have a fit, though.
Posted: 8:28 am on July 7th

tafink tafink writes: 1. Why don't the editors take a position? As a leading woodworking magazine, shouldn't you be helping set the debate? Let's recognize that the push for all of this "injury mitigation" stuff is SawStop trying to increase sales, after all, who's name is on the fence, prominently placed for all to see?

2. Tie is just the beginning. I generally don't rip a wide panel with the wide end between the blade and the fence. The blade is too high. Generally, the gullets should clear the piece. Where's the blade guard? Hmm?

Tom Fink

Posted: 7:40 am on July 7th

gerdmain gerdmain writes: Perhaps he wants do demonstrate that once you have SawStop you can wear a tie, wear a ring, don't need a blade guard, can leave the maximum blade height, don't need a push stick and you don't need to worry about an odd hand placement and body position. All this could pull you into the blade, but you can't get cut.

Oh, I forgot to mention that if he switches SawStop off because his timber is wet and he does get hurt, he can always sue the manufactorer for not preventing him from turning it off in the first place.

SawStop makes carefree woodworking.
Posted: 7:22 am on July 7th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: cawolf42 - Your two factually incorrect statements along with bringing politics into the discussion, that pretty much renders your argue moot.

First, a table saw, or table saw safety is NOT AT ALL like car safety. I can't crash my table saw into you and cause you harm. I can (mostly) only harm myself. SawStop will greatly reduce that possibility. However, it does not stop the one area where my irresponsible use could actually harm someone else; kick back. 100mph projectiles could harm others that are in the shop. THAT analogy, while still far from vehicle safety, is closer than yours.

Staying on the vehicle safety and your point of higher insurance... Why don't you push for full face helmets, roll cages, 6 point harnesses, and head and heck restraints in ALL vehicles? Imagine all the lives and injuries you could save. Table saw accident costs would be but a rounding error to that savings. We should also prohibit people from building homes and businesses within a mile of our shorelines and rivers since those structures inevitably get destroyed through weather-related events. That hits our insurance too. Shall I go on?

Finally, even though you quoted "by the government, I hope you know the government DOES NOT pay for anything, right? WE, strike that, TAXPAYERS pay. Actually, TAXPAYERS pay a lot more for things the government buys because they have to take their cut. Using your logic, those who do NOT PAY, should NOT have a say in how that money is spent. AFter all, that's only fair, right? Man, I certainly wish I had more say in how that money is spent.

In the same sentence you state you don't want the government to run your life and then follow up by saying it should protect you from yourself and others at times? At what times should it NOT protect you/us?

SawStop technology is great and an excellent choice for many woodworkers. However, it should only be a choice. Legislating a monopoly is not the answer.


Posted: 7:16 am on July 7th

buzzell buzzell writes: We (average Americans) have got to stop tolerating people making laws about things they obviously don't know anything about. If the makers of SawStop can't get people to buy their product, even if it's a great one, they need to do something different than buy a politician to force people to buy it. This law is no different than a mother forcing a child to put on a sweater because she's cold.
Posted: 6:54 am on July 7th

bugeye77 bugeye77 writes: In response to "EE_woodworker writes: Here's a YouTube video that relates somewhat to the tie getting caught in the saw:"

Try this video
Posted: 6:34 am on July 7th

user-401077 user-401077 writes: Don't worry about the necktie ... let's teach him to use a nice big METALWORKING LATHE!
Posted: 6:02 am on July 7th

GlenShaffer GlenShaffer writes: There is no substitute for proper safety techniques. Owners manuels even cover them. Learning to read before buying any power tool,, then actually reading the owners manuel,, is the best way to avoid an injury. I realize common sense isn't all that common in todays society tho.

And as far as the government "protecting me from myself",, well that just is NOT a function of government. Nor should it be. And once the government starts "paying" for your health care you will not be able to afford a table saw anyway. Tis a shame such ignorance of Freedom has been lost.
Posted: 5:50 am on July 7th

blackknight blackknight writes: KDC68 has given the most succinct listing of safety issues that I have ever seen. Well done! This list should be a basic checklist for every shop, school, and in particular for every magazine including FWW.
Posted: 5:17 am on July 7th

dmehlman dmehlman writes: Of course this guy is not operating the saw, but if you are a tool guy the picture does give you the chills. I've seen an even more egregious example of this. Many years ago, i taught in a crafts program at a well-known school in NYC. They published a course catalog illustrated with a photo of a student in a woodworking class (presumably working, not posing). She was leaning over a router with her long hair hanging a couple of inches from the tool. That really upset me- I made a poster out of it an hung it in the hall. Safety consciousness in the shop is not intuitive, it's is a learned skill. For someone who has not been educated by mentors and close calls, these pictures look fine. I'm sure I could look at pictures of someone say, rock climbing or hang gliding, and not see a safety hazard that would be obvious to an expert.
Posted: 5:16 am on July 7th

cawolfe42 cawolfe42 writes: OK, the publicist -- or someone involved -- should have caught the tie, etc. before the photo was taken. But none of the comments have addressed the societal need for such legislation. Whether it is "Saw Stop" or other technology, this is no different than seat belts. I don't want the government running my life, but one job of government is to protect me from myself at times and especially from the others out there who don't care about me.

Every time someone has an accident with a table saw blade, the cost is, in some part, passed on to everybody else. Either thru increased insurance premiums for all who have insurance, or perhaps increased taxes to cover the crowd that has no insurance.

Now a proper law would be based on the statements of one or more recent Republican candidates for president. If you can't afford insurance don't have an accident; if you do have an accident, you lose your hand or perhaps die because "we" won't pay for your treatment. Then the cost to society is at most a funeral. Of course the surviving spouse and children may become a burden needing food stamps and such.

Too bad we are not citizens of ancient, classical Greece where democracy first was practiced. All citizens had health insurance paid for "by the government".

Posted: 4:50 am on July 7th

bassman00 bassman00 writes: So what exactly is the assemblyman doing in that photo-op? Looks like this legislation is the best that money can buy. It's clear he has no clue, but money talks... Out of curiosity, if this law passes and SawStop is the only "approved" saw, what happens when someone files an antitrust lawsuit?
Posted: 10:44 pm on July 6th

dstenson dstenson writes: Well said Steve...sensationalist bovine excrement.
" official position on the proposed legislation"...yeah, sure.

Posted: 10:13 pm on July 6th

kdc68 kdc68 writes:
I realize this is only a photo and publicity stunt but come on! At least make the use of a table saw look correct while posing for a photo....geez.
Safety violations:
1.) no safety glasses.
2.) no hearing protection.
3.) wearing a tie,
4.) wearing a ring.
5.) no blade guard.
6.) improper blade height.
7.) no push shoe/stick.
8.) a bit odd hand placement and body position.
This is why people have accidents. Proper training and techiques is the key to safety!

Perhaps if this joker had a clue about safe table saw techiques then he might think this saw stop mandate is wrong. Perhaps this joker might agree that table saw manufactures should offer this techology as an option if the consumer wishes to purchase it as an option....The government should stay out of my workshop and out of my future purchasing decisions....
Posted: 8:46 pm on July 6th

jhelminski jhelminski writes: The blade is also set too high above the work piece.
Posted: 8:36 pm on July 6th

roydh roydh writes: I have had a tablesaw injury. Fortunately not too bad I still have all my fingers. Now....
I do not care if he never turned on the saw for the photo op or not. What I do care about is the pure stupidity and dangerous act he is showing in the photo op by wearing the tie. If he is so into safety WHY is he breaking one of the first cardinal rules.

As for the SawStop. Once it comes into my price range (wood hobbyist). I will be one of the first in line for it.
Take the law and shove it!
Posted: 8:02 pm on July 6th

EE_woodworker EE_woodworker writes: Here's a YouTube video that relates somewhat to the tie getting caught in the saw:
Posted: 5:26 pm on July 6th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: I hear ya, saschafer - but I still thought it was hilarious. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
No harm, no foul though - you raise a perfectly good point.

Posted: 4:22 pm on July 6th

JPiwaron JPiwaron writes: Excellent posting.

It's irrelevant whether or not the assemblyman was using the saw. There will be people that come away from such a picture or video thinking that it's o.k. to wear a neck tie while using a table saw. Such is the nature of illustrations and photographs.

I like the Sawstop blade stopping feature. But what I don't like is being forced to buy it.

A lot of other people say they like it too. Let market forces decide the issue. Manufacturers will make what consumers want to buy. And if the Sawstop's inventor really does want to look out for the good of all, let him put his patent in the public domain.

As it is, I (hobbyist)recently bought a new Unisaw. While I could still make my own choice in the matter.
Posted: 4:01 pm on July 6th

EE_woodworker EE_woodworker writes: I agree with Steve. Reading between the lines, I think I know where the blog author stands after this misleading post.

Unlike that author, I'll put my opinion right out here. I'm one of the people that really wants to see this technology. I'm very careful with my table saw, and I've never had an accident, but I'm also risk adverse.

Here's the unfortunately situation. The best table saws with the best technology don't have this safety feature. Further, the SawStop is just too expensive for most home woodworkers. I believe that if other manufacturers were involved, we could have reasonably priced versions of table saws that have this safety feature, and also enjoy the other features that manufacturers such as Bosch (the brand I own) bring to the market.

I don't know in detail the current patent issues, but it seems like yet again lawyers are winning, and the common woodworker is the loser.
Posted: 2:51 pm on July 6th

saschafer saschafer writes:

With all due respect, this blog post is utter nonsense. The assemblyman is not using the table saw, he's doing a photo-op, with the table saw as a prop. He's demonstrating to the reporter how table saw injuries occur. At no point is the saw even turned on.

Posting this kind of sensationalist bovine excrement, irrespective of any "official position" disclaimers, does nothing to improve whatever reputation for journalistic integrity that you might still have.

Just because it's a blog post doesn't mean you don't have to think before you publish.


Posted: 2:36 pm on July 6th

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