Amazing Tools #8: SAWSTOP on TimeWarp

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 12-18-2009 04:16 AM 4536 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: The Circular Swing Blade Mill Part 8 of Amazing Tools series Part 9: Lie-Nielsen planes »

There’s a show on Discovery called “TimeWarp” which uses super high speed cameras to slow down all matter of phenomena to show what’s going on in the physical world at micro timescales. They had a call for entries after one episode and it got me to thinking that I’d love to see various woodworking things slowed down. Apparently they had the same idea last year, but I missed it. They put the SAWSTOP under the cameras, and the inventor even tried it on his own finger! I just found the video:

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

14 comments so far

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Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 4692 days

#1 posted 12-18-2009 05:06 AM

Totally awesome post. Thanks for that I watched it about t hree times already. Cant wait to show this to friends

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

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403 posts in 4731 days

#2 posted 12-18-2009 05:28 AM

very cool Gary Thanks it was great

-- Cosmicturner

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7286 posts in 4690 days

#3 posted 12-18-2009 06:04 AM

I have seen the frankfurter but this is awesome with the finger…

-- Be safe.

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507 posts in 4570 days

#4 posted 12-18-2009 06:27 AM

Awesome. I had heard he’d do demonstrations with his finger, but I’d only seen the videos of the hot dog.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

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141 posts in 5324 days

#5 posted 12-18-2009 06:59 AM

It wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be. He didn’t do the same thing with his finger that he did with the hot dog. He just sort of slowly just barely touched the spinning blade. It wasn’t even directly from the front. If it didn’t work, he just would have had a tiny nick on his finger. In the slowmo, you couldn’t even tell he actually touched the blade.

I’m much more impressed by the pictures of real users that were protected by the SawStop during real usage. They typically just have small cuts that required a bandaid.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

#6 posted 12-18-2009 09:58 AM

that takes balls to purposely stick your finger in a saw blade

-- i wonder if obama stood in a wind storm with them big ears of his would he start spinning like a drill bit

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323 posts in 4764 days

#7 posted 12-18-2009 03:30 PM

This is an impressive demonstration BUT

If he had been pushing a board through the saw at a normal feed rate, would is finger have progressed farther into the blade thus resulting in mentionable injury.

I counted seventeen teeth passing his finger before the brake was applied. How far into the blade would his finger have traveled in that time?

Still an impressive demonstration!

-- Making Sawdust Safely

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17040 posts in 4669 days

#8 posted 12-18-2009 05:25 PM

Thanks for showing us this video Gary. I do think it amazing that a blade running at that speed can be stopped so quickly and I’m all for safety. However, I still think the best kind of safety is in using our brains. It’s pretty easy to keep your fingers away from a moving blade by using a push stick consistently and using safe set ups. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t more injuries from kick-back than the cutting off of fingers. I’ve seen a fair number of carpenters here with missing digits, but they are mostly home builders, not cabinet makers. Some people will have accidents no matter what kind of safety devices the equipment they are using has, simply because they are just not safety conscious. I wonder if anyone agrees with me?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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150 posts in 4522 days

#9 posted 12-18-2009 05:47 PM

that was cool. thanks for posting it

-- Dave, I wood if I could but I can't so I woodknot

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2545 posts in 5293 days

#10 posted 12-18-2009 07:04 PM

I posted this a while is a great show and a really cool demonstration of the Saw Stop technology! They are using a very aggressive scare campaign that I’m not sure I agree with. I was at my local favorite tool store (Coastal Tools) and I noticed they are now carrying Saw Stop, so I wandered over to the saws. On the premium cabinet saw they have a rather large display card with two pictures of hands after table saw accidents. The first hand only had two intact fingers..the pinky and the thumb..the first finger was missing from the first knuckle to the tip, and the middle and ring finger had been fused into one usable finger. It was a scary sight to say the least. The second hand had a little cut on the tip of the middle finger that didn’t even need stitches. I know how dangerous my table saw is and I think about that every time i turn it on. I just think thats a little inappropriate as a advertising campaign. Who knows the circumstances that happened to injure that poor guy in the first picture. I appreciate the Saw Stops technology and I think it’s valid and usefull…I just wish I could afford it! But to scare everyone out of using their own table saws?..hmmmm


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968 posts in 4443 days

#11 posted 12-19-2009 11:44 AM

Cool vid. Its a good thing I don’t have one, because frankly I’d waste alot of money on brake cartridges and cheap blades just tossing steaks and hot dogs at it all day LOL.

I’m all for anything that improves safety, but I still say the best defense is paying attention and not taking stupid chances (ah natural selection, the great equalizer!) No matter how safe your tablesaw is, all it takes is being stupid for a moment on the bandsaw… Or router table… Or miter saw…

That being said, I still want one :D

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View hooky's profile


366 posts in 4654 days

#12 posted 12-19-2009 11:56 AM

I think we are definitely more aware of the dangers associated with using wood machines

As a cabinet maker i work in a factory with 40 others all using panel saws regularly and the only person there missing a finger had it chopped of by an axe when he was under 10

30 years ago i worked as an offsider to wood machinists and allmost all of them had at least one missing finger tip

while this is one machine that causes finger loss the buzzer or table planer must come a close second

so the answer in my book is eternal vigilance rather than the cavalier attitude the sawstop will generate by people thinking its alright to do silly things because the saw will save me

ok my rant over

cool video but i definitely wont be sticking my finger in to test it


-- Happiness is a way of travel , not a destination (Roy Goodman)

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125 posts in 4708 days

#13 posted 12-19-2009 10:26 PM

Yikes, hell of a vid.

View jsheaney's profile


141 posts in 5324 days

#14 posted 12-29-2009 07:05 AM

I don’t see why people think that having this extra margin of safety will cause(!) people to be less safe. For one thing, if I ever set off that device because of an accident, I think I’d crap my pants. Plus, it’ll set you back a good $125-200 every time it’s triggered, depending on your blade. It’s a measure of last resort. It’s not like a sacrificial fence or a shop made push stick. Certainly, your brain is your most important safety device, but they call them accidents because they are accidental.

I also think there is a significant problem in this modern age. In the past, guys were taught how to use all this equipment. They used them professionally. Now, people go to a big box store and buy these tools and just start using them because they are affordable. I didn’t receive any training. I taught myself via the Internet and by reading manuals and books. There was a significant learning curve, but I’m pretty dedicated. I’m absolutely certain there are plenty of people who did the same thing but only use their tools a tenth the time that I do. Are these people stupid? I don’t think so, but they are certainly ignorant and inexperienced. And they probably always will be because they just don’t need to use their tools often enough.

I met a guy missing two fingers for this very reason. He got a little benchtop tablesaw and did the most ignorant thing I ever heard. But he just didn’t understand what he was doing. You can argue all you want that he shouldn’t of be using that tool, but he did. And I would rather he crapped his pants than lost two of his fingers.

I’m not suggesting that manufacturers be required to install this technology. On the other hand, the price of the technology will only come down. And I think that’s a good thing. I see no downside whatsoever.

I’m actually more scared of my router than my tablesaw.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

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