Orange Park, FL, US

Recent comments

Re: UPDATE: Fine Woodworking's Tables and Chairs

I hope I win, because I need all the help I can get!

Re: UPDATE: 3 Book Giveaway! Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to...

I really need the help these books offer.

Re: How Does a Fine Woodworker Change a Lightbulb?

How about a "tool test./comparison" on tennis balls in the next issue of FW? Or a "how they did it" on the medallion this guy needs to turn to go under that ceramic fixture on the ceiling?

Re: Tablesaw Safety Goes Under the Microscope--Again

Yesterday, hydroelectricguy repeated the Shakespeare quote about "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." People who utter that phrase typically are reacting to a news item without having command of all the facts and without having a full understanding of all the policy issues at work in these types of cases. And their cavalier approach to understanding the facts is typified by their use of that quote. The context of the quote is that the speaker's friend is wanting to incite something close to anarchy and the speaker replies that killing all the lawyers would help to advance that cause.

Yes, I am a lawyer. I am a very politically conservative person and I am very proud of being a lawyer.

Re: Tablesaw Safety Goes Under the Microscope--Again

Yes, people should be free to do whatever they want and they should be held accountable for their own actions, but . . . in this country, that is not how we operate. If some idiot does something stupid and cuts off his finger, and if he doesn't have insurance, taxpayers - not the idiot - pay for the ambulance the emergency room visit, the orthopedic surgeon, the hospital, the physical therapy, the medications, the disability benefits, etc.

Requiring consumers to pay for the safety features is a way of saying "consumer, you must pay for your own safety instead of shifting the burden to us." You can call these incidents "accidents" as if that proves something, but we all know these incidents will happen. Safety is too important to say "it's the consumer's responsibility" or "it's the manufacturer's responsibility;" why wouldn't you say both? When you say it is the manufacturer's responsibility, any additional cost is passed on to the consumer and, ultimately, the consumer is held accountable for their own safety. What's wrong with that?

Re: The Story Behind the Government's Pending Tablesaw Ruling

NikonD80: "To use an analogy; You don't blame the car manufacturer when someone is killed in a road traffic accident despite the fact that cars today are made to achieve speeds well in excess of the most liberal of speed limits." Actually, Ford was held responsible when Pintos were being sold with gas tanks that exploded on impact. SUV manufacturers have been held responsible in rollover accidents. Firestone was held responsible for defective tires. Etc.

DrBob4390: "It has all escallated as a result of McDonalds being held responsible for serving HOT Coffee! As it has always been 'Stupid is as Stupid does'!!!" Stella Liebeck received 3rd degree burns on 6% of her body as a result of the incident to which you refer. She was not driving; her grandson was driving and had pulled over in the McDonalds' parking lot while Ms. Liebeck tried to add cream and sugar to the coffee. Ms. Liebeck was hospitalized for 8 days as a result of this incident.

McDonalds acknowledged that it required all franchises to serve coffee at approximately 180-190 degrees. It is too hot to consume at that temperature. Many restaurants serve coffee at a substantially lower temperature. Most people who mention this case as the poster child for frivolous lawsuits do not actually know anythinig about the facts of the case.

Re: Appeals court upholds Osorio tablesaw verdict: Feds consider landmark safety standard

TheOne: In the law, fault is not an indivisible quantity that must rest solely on one entity. It wasn't totally Osorio's fault; it was partially his fault. The jury determined that Osorio was 35% at fault.

A manufacturer should foresee that people who are not adequately trained will be using their equipment. Some of them may have no appreciation for the danger which inheres in a tablesaw. It doesn't matter whether these people should be using the tablesaw; the fact is that it will happen.

You seem to have no deep appreciation for the need for safety devices, so let me use an analogy. Your municipality should not have a fire department because, if your house catches on fire, it's your own fault.

You say that the government should have no concern for what happens in our shops. I have no love for big government, but . . . when some of these people get hurt, they have no insurance. Who pays their medical bills? Who pays for their Social Security disability?

By the way, without anyone running corporations, you would not have your computer to post on this blog. You would not have an automobile. You probably would not have a job. You would not have a grocery store or pharmacy available to supply your needs. Instead of reacting emotionally . . . think about it!

Re: Appeals court upholds Osorio tablesaw verdict: Feds consider landmark safety standard

"He jests at scars that never felt a wound." It is overly simplistic to say that anyone who gets hurt in a shop is stupid or deserves what happens to them; it simply does not account for human nature. Even those of us who try to be always vigilant have had near misses or minor injuries in the shop and it is simply good luck, fate, and the hand of God that saved us from a more serious injury. There are neophytes in the shop trying to learn, there are experienced craftsmen who have sudden and unexpected distractions or interruptions, etc. Accidents will happen to intelligent, thinking people. If it was your son or father who got injured, your attitude might change.

It is a straw man argument to sarcastically observe that perhaps cars should have radar, airplanes should have parachutes for the plane, etc. The law of negligence requires that a manufacturer adopt an effective safety device when the cost of the precaution is less than the product of the probability of harm and the magnitude of harm. For example, if I have a table saw and I am offered SawStop technology for $150 per unit, I should adopt it if the likelihood of the harm it can prevent, multiplied by the cost of that harm, is less than $150 per unit. The law does not require unreasonably burdensome safety precautions and it does not require safety devices which will destroy the utility of the manufactured item. The law does not require that a manufactured item be perfectly safe; it requires that it be reasonably safe.

The problem with this case is that most of the readers have an inflexible, unexamined attitude which they think is superior to any reasoned analysis. By the way, how many of you actually read the decision of the appellate court?

Re: Blade brake inventor aims to compete with SawStop


I am politically conservative with libertarian leanings. I need no soapbox lectures on liberty and responsibility. I understand what you are saying but you miss the point.

You sound very idealistic and there is nothing wrong with that, but your understanding of the way things "ought to" work, based on your political philosophy, comports with how things happened before - maybe - 1800. That is not the way things work today. If the cost of these accidents was borne entirely by the injured person (as would have happened before 1800,) then letting each individual make that choice would be acceptable. But that is not the case in the society which we have today. You can click your heels three times but you're still not gonna be back in Kansas.

You responded to the example of the guy working in the shop by pointing out that he can quit and get a job elsewhere. Really? Are you familiar with the current unemployment statistics?

You also said that he can make a claim against the shop owner if he is injured. Worker's rights are severely restricted by workers' compensation laws and the benefits available to most injured workers do not even replace their lost wages and benefits. However, the cost of workers' comp. premiums increases with every claim that is paid and that cost is ALWAYS passed on to consumers. Hire someone to put a new roof on your house; as of 2005, the rates for roofing contractors were between $38 and $50 per hundred dollars of payroll for comp. coverage and that cost will be passed on to you. Your otherwise $10,000 roof job will actually cost $13,800 - $15,000 if installed by an insured contractor. However, the majority of roofing contractors in Florida do not carry worker's comp. An injured roofer (or his widow) can sue the uninsured employer but the odds are that the worker (or widow) will never collect any money from the employer. Social Security Disability will pay benefits and you and I will cover that cost.

If an injured table saw consumer requires surgery to repair his mangled finger, either his health insurance pays the cost or the government pays the costs. If health insurance pays, that affects premiums for everyone else who has the same insurance; this is what insurance underwriters call their "claims experience." If the government pays the cost of the medical care, then you must understand that "government" means you and me and everybody else. . . . Who is missing the point about individual responsibility?

If you are going to use "facts" to bolster your argument, you should be more careful in checking out the facts. The average automobile in 1930 cost $600-700 and the average annual salary was about $1,350; you couldn't buy a car for one month's salary in 1930. And, you suggested that cars are not safer today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the rate of fatal automobile collisions per vehicle-mile decreased by a factor of about 17 between 1920 and 2000!

If you are all about individual responsibility, then you should actually like the concept of mandated safety devices. If the cost of a blade stop is included in the price of a new table saw, I must bear the cost of my own safety; if I cannot afford the cost of a safer table saw, then I don't get to use an unsafe table saw and take a chance on passing along to the rest of us the cost of my negligence when I injure myself.

It is easier for average citizens to criticize legal theory that they do not understand. It is always easier to be critical when arguing from a position of ignorance. I have worked as an attorney for more than 25 years and I can say with confidence that most - certainly not all, but most - decisions made in the law are based on good reasoning and common sense; you would understand that if you took the time to understand. I would suggest that you read some of the writings of Judge Richard Posner on economic theory, corporate behavior, and product safety, as well as the earlier writings of Judge Learned Hand concering the propriety of mandated safety.

Re: Blade brake inventor aims to compete with SawStop

There is a problem with saying that these types of safety decisions should be a matter of individual choice. If a 24 year-old guy with a wife and two kids is employed in a woodworking shop and he loses a hand, he may end up on Social Security Disability and his kids may end up on several government benefits programs. Those benefits won't be funded entirely by the Social security contributions he made in the past 3 or 4 years; that money's already been spent. So, who do you think is going to pay for all of that? Maybe if it's you and you lose a finger but nothing more, you won't end up receiving government benefits, but . . . there are lots of folks out there who get hurt in work place accidents that could have been prevented with appropriate safety measures in place. That is why the law requires these types of safety devices: the cost is ultimately borne by our society and not just by the individual involved in the accident.

Re: Blade brake inventor aims to compete with SawStop

Of course we are all supposed to use our brains and be the ultimate safety device for our bodies, but . . . how many of us have NEVER had any accident while working in the shop? Devices like this are not intended to replace our brains or relieve us of responsibility for our own safety, but they are intended to supplement all the precautions which we take, because you never get any "do overs" in the shop; once that finger is gone, it's gone forever.

Should this device be adopted by all saw manufacturers? I'm not sure that a blade stop in 1/8 of a second is going to significantly reduce injuries as would the SawStop. However, it is nice to see someone else working on competing technology. Isn't capitalism grand?

Should the law require manufacturers to adopt the SawStop or comparable technology? Google "Learned Hand formula for negligence" to see how that question would be decided in the courts.

Re: UPDDATE: Shop Improvements: Outstanding ideas from the world's finest woodworkers from Fine Woodworking magazine

If I win, I promise not to cut my hand off with the tablesaw.

Re: CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations

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

Re: UPDATE: Book Giveaway: How to Make Picture Frames, from American Woodworker

I'm a novice and I need help with everything!

Re: UPDATE: Book Giveaway: Working with Tablesaws, from the editors of Fine Woodworking

I need this book more than the other posters. because I have so much more to learn.

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit

Frog203 says that since Mr. Osorio was using a portable, benchtop saw (to which the SawStop technology has not yet been adapted,) the verdict should not stand. However, nothing in the post or the Boston Globe article says that the saw being used was a portable benchtop model. Perhaps Frog203 is making that assumption because of the picture that FWW attached to the post; apparently, he has assumed this fact. This illustrates the problem with trying to understand this verdict on the basis of the very, very limited statement of facts in the post or in the Boston Globe article.

Frog203 also argues that the verdict should fail because the SawStop technology is not adapted to circular saws. Would any of you suggest that cars should not be equipped with seat belts/shoulder harnesses because such equipment is not provided on motorcycles?

As for personal responsibility, Mr. Osorio should probably bear at least some responsibility for his injury (and he may have been held responsible; the article does not say if the jury found him comparatively negligent.) However, that does not mean that the manufacturer should not also be held accountable if it failed to deliver a reasonably safe product. In the law, reasonably safe has many definitions, but one definition is this: a product is not reasonably safe if the cost of adding a particular safety device to all products being produced is less than the cost of all injuries caused by the unimproved products. And you should remember that some of the injured parties in these cases don't have insurance so you and I are paying their medical bills. How do you reconcile that with individual responsibility?

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit

Mr. Woodie says that "the award is ridiculous," but you can't know whether the award is ridiculous if you have not heard all of the evidence. Have you heard all of the evidence, Mr. Woodie?

"The answer," he claims "is in something call 'Tort Reform.'" If the result in this case is ridiculous, then it is the responsibility of the presiding judge to set aside the verdict or of the appeals court to say that the verdict is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Tort reform changes the rules for everyone who is injured as a result of someone else's negligence; you shouldn't change the entire system because of the few cases like this which receive publicity; these cases are the exception and not the norm. These rules work very well in the vast majority of cases which are filed every year.

"Tort reform" has some instant appeal to emotion but it is not a logical response to aberrant jury verdicts. If a rogue cop pulls out a gun and murders a defendant who is in custody, you don't change the rules and say that no cops should be allowed to carry guns. No, you deal with the rogue cop instead of changing the rules.

Mr. Woodie is absolutely correct in saying that politicians do not embrace tort reform because of the influence of trial lawyers. Nonetheless, tort reform has happened in most states despite that influence. Mr. Woodie, did you know that there aren't any studies which show that insurance costs decrease after a state institutes tort reform.

Responsibility for an accident is not an indivisible onus which must be placed on only one entity. If I loan you my car and a cooler filled with beer, telling you it is okay to drink and drive, and you then cause an accident because you are drunk, we are both at fault. I don't know the facts of the case, but Mr. Osorio probably has some responsibility for his accident. However, that doesn't mean that the saw manufacturer has no responsibility for the accident.

The question of individual responsibility is important, but it is not the only question. Assume that Mr. Osorio didn't have insurance to pay for his medical expenses; In that case, do you think he should be refused treatment when he presents to the emergency room at Malden Public Hospital? No; he will receive good medical care and it will be provided at taxpayer expense. On the other hand, if he is insured, he receives the same treatment and our insurance rates are higher because the insurance companies know they will be paying for such cases every year. (It's just like shoplifting; the cost of shoplifting is factored into the retailer's price for goods.)

I understand many of you believe that Mr. Osorio should be held responsible for his injuries.

1. Do you know the facts about how this accident happened? It may be that he did not contribute to his injury. Perhaps somebody bumped into him when he was using his tablesaw. (I don't know; do you?)

2. A jury is almost always asked to determine to what extent a plaintiff contributed to their own injuries. Do you know whether the jury did assess some of the blame to him? (Again, I don't know; do you?)

Newspaper/television accounts of trials should as this rarely include all the facts necessary to answer these questions . . . and if you can't answer these questions, you should not be in a rush to jump to conclusions.

Re: UPDATE: DVD Giveaway: Wood Science & Design by Hendrik Varju

This sounds like the kind of instruction that I need. Count me in!

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit

I am a lawyer and an aspiring woodworker. I now have a general practice but I have represented plaintiffs in personal injury cases and I have represented defendants in personal injury cases.

There are a few errors some of you are making in assessing this case. I will say that, after the final analysis, I disagree with the jury verdict . . . but I was not at the trial and did not hear all of the evidence.

As far as people taking individual responsibility, you should understand that responsibility for an accident does not need to be assigned to only one party. Sometimes, two or more people are negligent and their combined negligence causes an accident. In fact, in almost every personal injury case, a jury is asked how much blame should be placed on the plaintiff, how much on the defendant, and how much on other perties not involved in the lawsuit. Quite often, plaintiffs get assigned a percentage of fault; we call it comparative negligence.

More importantly, it is a mistake to judge our civil justice system on the basis of cases such as this. These cases are abberations and not the norm. When people like this sue and lose, it doesn't get mentioned in the media, so of course you have a distorted perspective of what happens in our courtrooms. And, when cases such as this get reported, you don't get all of the facts. For example, everybody knows about the McDonalds' coffee case, right? Well, I'll bet you don't know all the facts of that case.

79 year old Stella Liebeck suffered third degree burns on her groin and inner thighs while trying to add sugar to her coffee at a McDonalds drive-through. Third degree burns are the most serious kind of burn. McDonalds knew it had a problem. There were at least 700 previous cases of scalding coffee incidents at McDonalds before Liebeck's case. McDonalds had settled many claim before but refused Liebeck's request for $20,000 compensation, forcing the case into court. Lawyers found that McDonalds makes its coffee 30-50 degrees hotter than other restaurants, about 190 degrees. Doctors testified that it only takes 2-7 seconds to cause a third degree burn at 190 degrees. McDonalds knew its coffee was exceptionally hot but testified that they had never consulted with any burn specialist. The Shriners Burn Institute had previously warned McDonalds not to serve coffee above 130 degrees. After hearing this evidence, the jury came back with a decision- $160,000 for compensatory damages. But because McDonalds was guilty of "willful, reckless, malicious or wanton conduct" punitive damages were also awarded. The jury set the award at $2.7 million. (That is a bunch of money, but punitive damages are supposed to punish a defendant for wrongful conduct. How much profit does McDonalds make in one day?) The judge then reduced the fine to less than $500,000. Ms. Liebeck eventually settled with McDonalds for a sum reported to be much less than $500,000. McDonald's coffee is now sold at the same temperature as most other restaurants.

When abberant cases like this tablesaw case come along, the verdict makes big news. You won't hear about what happens after the trial, such as the judge reducing the amount of the verdict or the case getting reversed on appeal. Most people in the legal field are intelligent and have good values and beliefs; we are not stupid and we don't need people who have eaten the pablum served up by the mainstream media to tell us what is right and wrong.

It is easy to criticize our system when you don't have all the facts. Before you react to stories like this, do some research, and wait and see what happens after trial . . . if the media ever bothers to tell you.

Re: Borrowing Tools

Tell the would-be borrower: "In the past, I loaned tools to friends and the tools were either not returned or they were returned in poor condition, so I ended up losing a friend and a good tool. Nowadays, I've learned how to minimize my losses . . .."

. . . but the most effective way to deal with the problem is to prevent it from happening. Post a sign (or several signs):

"I don't loan tools to my own daddy. Don't ask."


"I have a severely pathological attachment to my tools. If you ask to borrow one, you will learn how severe the attachment is."

Re: UPDATED: Giveaway and Poll: The Most Requested Woodworking Gifts of 2009

I have collected enough OLD Stanley planes so that the block plane is not my highest priority (even though I hear everyone saying that the L-N tools are light years ahead of the old Stanley planes.) My next power tool needs to be a jointer; it needs to be at least an 8" model, preferably with a spiral cutter system. However, I'd be might happy to find one of those Leigh dovetail jigs under the tree tomorrow morning.

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