Tulsa, OK, US
I appreciate the fact that this was an April Fool's joke but the implications of the court case that awarded damages to the fool who was using a table saw without a fence is no joke. I hope Fine Woodworking will take a responsible and firm position on the limits of tool "safety" legislation and litigation. By the way, I find the Saw Stop ad of a guy with a bandaged hand juvenile and offensive. Power tools are just that power tools and have to be used intelligently. If that scares you, there’s always stamp collecting.
Lawyers are a symptom, not a cause. People without a sense of personal worth, hire lawyers (or dumb people with a missing digit are enticed to hire ambulance chasing lawyers) to litigate their dead end lives for a percentage of the settlement.
This reminds me of when automotive airbags became mandated. The marginal improvement in front seat mortality OF BELTED PASSENGERS was around 5%. (And airbags did zero for roll overs, ejections, etc.) Of course, for those stupid enough to be unbelted, the improvement was better, so the government mandated airbags. The good news is that once the technology became widespread, the cost of airbags went down, not to zero but not the huge gap it was. To me, this is a lesson in democracy wherein the capable pay for the safety of the dumb. I guess this is noble but since I will die with my Sears (Delta) tablesaw which has been shorn of even the limited "safety" equipment of the 1980's when I bought, all I can say is good luck. I shouldn't but I await the day when a really stupid person hurts themselves with a $2000.00 Sawstop and sues. BTW I guarantee that part of the $2000.00 is to cover the litigation. Welcome to America.
I built the new fangled workbench shortly after it appeared in FW back in 1999. It has been the center of my workshop ever since, probably the most successful fixture project I’ve ever done. John White is a genius. There is very little that I cannot clamp or hold with the bench. The planing beam is especially good for holding large panels.
I did add a shelf to the stretchers which is very convenient for electric tools stored in their cases. I also added an outlet in the middle of the shelf and on either end, a double outlet. The double outlets are very handy, allowing me to plug in three sanders with successive grits.
I'm glad Fine Woodworking is covering CNC even though I will never use it. I enjoy seeing what is the latest thing even if it's not for me. (I'm a hobbyist and do woodworking to experience working directly in wood, not to mention I spend all day at a computer.) I'm writing this to say to the self-identified "purists" to just settle down. CNC is simply another step in the relentless march of technology. Where do we draw the line? Many would say power tools but that is another false distinction. Why not build the way cave men did, using only stones, found wood, etc? Would that be more "pure?" There need be no other reason for how we like to work wood than that's the way we enjoy doing it. Elitism is elitism no matter how it's justified.
I had a Ryobi radial arm saw for years. As soon as I got it dialed in to cut square, it would go out. Also scared me a couple of times jamming in the cut. The design has potential but I never achieved it. I gave it away.
The SawStop guys had better get lawyered up. The first time smebody hurts himself with one of thier products, they will be sued. Maybe the guy who called 911 from his "out of control" Prius will take up woodworking.
I don't like this because I don't want to pay for something I don't feel I need. I'm glad that my 12" table saw will outlive me. I have shop made inserts with anti-kickback pins but no riving knife, etc. I was hurt by a kickback years ago and my respect/fear for the saw was established then and is just as strong now.
All the shops I've been in have had the safety equipment taken off, too.
But this will be like air bags. Air bags are not needed if the driver/passengers have their seatbelts on. But we all have to buy them because they were mandated. My daughter had a fender bender that deployed the air bags. She had on her seatbelt and was unhurt but her older car was totaled because of the cost of replacing the bags.
Hopefully, table saws will be offered with Saw Stop as an option and if you don't buy the option, you can't sue.
OK, I built one of the tablesaw jigs and can cut a pretty good tenon. But what good is tenon without a mortise? When is the mortise "shoot out?"
To me dovetails fall into a category of things that could be done a number of ways, but, among those things, a certain one carries the panache of being of "fine." A short list would be silk instead of a synthetic, cork wine corks instead of plastic, crystal instead of glass, etc. The point isn’t functionality but rather the subtle communication of a trait which is perceived as a cut above the ordinary. BTW I cut dovetails with a router jig which is yet another distinction between the ordinary and the extraordinary. In fact, among wood workers, the power versus hand tool divide is perhaps the ultimate example of functionality versus aesthetics.
All of this brings us back to the question of which is best and the only reply is the maddening: “it depends on whom you ask.”
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