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Do you really want to trust your fingers to electronics that might fail?

One of the arguments I've seen is about whether people should really trust the electronics. For better or worse, that ship has already sailed. We already know that we put our lives on the line every time we hop in a car. Although our safety is largely dependent on our own actions as drivers and the actions of other people, modern safety systems such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control improve your chances of avoiding or surviving an accident. In the ideal situation, you'll have multiple safety systems in place, and each of those will be redundant. For example, the safety-critical systems on commercial airplanes are triple-redundant. If the plane needs a sensor to do something, it actually has three. The downside is that all the redundancy comes at an enormous cost, so by the time you get down to the level of consumer products, you're lucky to have any safety system. You still need to practice some care in order for the safety system to do any good. In the worst-case scenario, if the safety system fails, you're probably no worse off than you were without it in the first place.

So what about when it does fail? After all, it's not uncommon for electronics to just fizzle out. If the capacitors on my computer's motherboard start leaking after a few years of service, what's to stop the same thing from happening in a table saw's electronic braking system? Fortunately, the SawStop safety system runs diagnostics every time you power on the saw. You would expect with so much on the line, these diagnostics should be very thorough, and that the parts of the system most likely to fail would be easily replaceable. But that still leaves so many open questions. Is there a certain useful life for a SawStop saw and/or brake cartridge? And if so, is it possible that SawStop might program their cartridges so you have to replace them every few years, even if the safety system has not been triggered? One Friday afternoon, I decided to ask SawStop:

Hi, I'm planning to buy a SawStop PCS this spring but have a few questions.

1. I know a lot of electronics deteriorate over time, and other safety devices such as smoke detectors and CO detectors need to be replaced every
5-10 years. If the brake is never triggered, how frequently will I need to replace the brake cartridge (or some other part of the braking system) just because it's old?

2. Is it based on number of hours the safety device is enabled, or a more general guideline such as every 5 years?

3. From the FAQ on your website I understand that the saw will run diagnostics on startup and will indicate whether the system is working correctly or not. If the brake cartridges have a recommended service life, is this artificially enforced? For example, if the service life is 1000 hours, does the brake effectively report to the saw that it no longer works after 1000 hours, or does it continue to work fine until the electronics are actually somehow compromised?

4. I've read that newer revisions of the saws get improved flesh-sensing technology. Do you only get this if you buy a new saw, or are these "upgrades" included in the brake cartridges themselves?

On the following Monday, I received this reply:

Thank you for contacting SawStop. In response to your request, there is no specific life span or recommended shelf life of our cartridges at this time. As you noted, the saw does a self check and should anything be wrong, the saw will exhibit a pattern of lights to make this known. We program the cartridges with the most up to date software as they ship, so it is not dependent on the saw. Thanks!

Don't wait for an accident, buy SawStop today

Amber Hayter
Sales Support Specialist
SawStop, LLC.

Although the response is somewhat generic, it does suggest that most of the electronics for the safety system are housed in the replaceable brake cartridge itself, and that the saw may only have the minimal amount of electronics to display the results of the power-on diagnostics. If you still don't trust the diagnostics and want to be really proactive, or if you just want the most up-to-date programming in your saw, I suppose you could just get into the habit of replacing your brake cartridge every 3-5 years. But the important thing to remember is that you are the primary safety system, and the saw's electronic safety system is just a backup.
I hate to say it Cessna, Maybe not the dumbest but right up there in the top 10….
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Do you really want to trust your fingers to electronics that might fail?

One of the arguments I've seen is about whether people should really trust the electronics. For better or worse, that ship has already sailed. We already know that we put our lives on the line every time we hop in a car. Although our safety is largely dependent on our own actions as drivers and the actions of other people, modern safety systems such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control improve your chances of avoiding or surviving an accident. In the ideal situation, you'll have multiple safety systems in place, and each of those will be redundant. For example, the safety-critical systems on commercial airplanes are triple-redundant. If the plane needs a sensor to do something, it actually has three. The downside is that all the redundancy comes at an enormous cost, so by the time you get down to the level of consumer products, you're lucky to have any safety system. You still need to practice some care in order for the safety system to do any good. In the worst-case scenario, if the safety system fails, you're probably no worse off than you were without it in the first place.

So what about when it does fail? After all, it's not uncommon for electronics to just fizzle out. If the capacitors on my computer's motherboard start leaking after a few years of service, what's to stop the same thing from happening in a table saw's electronic braking system? Fortunately, the SawStop safety system runs diagnostics every time you power on the saw. You would expect with so much on the line, these diagnostics should be very thorough, and that the parts of the system most likely to fail would be easily replaceable. But that still leaves so many open questions. Is there a certain useful life for a SawStop saw and/or brake cartridge? And if so, is it possible that SawStop might program their cartridges so you have to replace them every few years, even if the safety system has not been triggered? One Friday afternoon, I decided to ask SawStop:

Hi, I'm planning to buy a SawStop PCS this spring but have a few questions.

1. I know a lot of electronics deteriorate over time, and other safety devices such as smoke detectors and CO detectors need to be replaced every
5-10 years. If the brake is never triggered, how frequently will I need to replace the brake cartridge (or some other part of the braking system) just because it's old?

2. Is it based on number of hours the safety device is enabled, or a more general guideline such as every 5 years?

3. From the FAQ on your website I understand that the saw will run diagnostics on startup and will indicate whether the system is working correctly or not. If the brake cartridges have a recommended service life, is this artificially enforced? For example, if the service life is 1000 hours, does the brake effectively report to the saw that it no longer works after 1000 hours, or does it continue to work fine until the electronics are actually somehow compromised?

4. I've read that newer revisions of the saws get improved flesh-sensing technology. Do you only get this if you buy a new saw, or are these "upgrades" included in the brake cartridges themselves?

On the following Monday, I received this reply:

Thank you for contacting SawStop. In response to your request, there is no specific life span or recommended shelf life of our cartridges at this time. As you noted, the saw does a self check and should anything be wrong, the saw will exhibit a pattern of lights to make this known. We program the cartridges with the most up to date software as they ship, so it is not dependent on the saw. Thanks!

Don't wait for an accident, buy SawStop today

Amber Hayter
Sales Support Specialist
SawStop, LLC.

Although the response is somewhat generic, it does suggest that most of the electronics for the safety system are housed in the replaceable brake cartridge itself, and that the saw may only have the minimal amount of electronics to display the results of the power-on diagnostics. If you still don't trust the diagnostics and want to be really proactive, or if you just want the most up-to-date programming in your saw, I suppose you could just get into the habit of replacing your brake cartridge every 3-5 years. But the important thing to remember is that you are the primary safety system, and the saw's electronic safety system is just a backup.
Cessna, I guess you missed the memo. Maybe stick to woodworking talk and keep the disparaging remarks to yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
The cheapest health insurance you can buy?

In a recent thread about tool recommendations for a new shop, I made a comment that a SawStop saw is the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Most people don't plan on cutting off their fingers on their table saws, and many woodworkers are quick to point out that the likelihood of any individual woodworker being seriously injured by a table saw on any given day is pretty slim. Frankly, I agree with both those comments and don't intend to argue against them, but I do want to clarify my comment likening SawStop to insurance.

The cheapest health insurance I've ever had was something like $120/mo., back when I was in college and for more than a year after college. That's $1440/yr. With rising healthcare costs and the healthcare reform's new prohibition against age discrimination, I'm sure the same level of coverage would be at least double or triple that today. Not once during that time did I need to use the health insurance. That's a lot of money down the drain, right? Well, for a while I didn't have health insurance, and even though I was young and healthy and almost broke, I thought a hundred bucks a month was worth the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be completely screwed if something did happen.

You typically don't buy any major insurance expecting to use it for a worst-case scenario. You don't have homeowner's insurance because you expect your house to burn down, or car insurance because you expect to injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your car. Although you might expect to use your health insurance for routine check-ups and medication, most people don't expect to have to use it for surgery or an emergency room visit. Most types of insurance exist "just in case" something unexpected happens.

And that brings me to the idea of SawStop as cheap insurance. How long do you plan to live? Even if you think you might meet your maker in only 5 years and if the SawStop saw costs $2000 more than a used but similar-quality competing saw, that's less than $34/month for finger insurance. Ugh…now I'm starting to sound like one of those annoying real-life salesmen: "Show your fingers you care, for only about a dollar a day!"

The nice thing is, once it's paid for, you never have to pay another premium. Just like insurance, you generally only have to pay your "deductible" if an accident actually happens. But even if you have an occasional non-flesh activation, it's still not that expensive in the long run.

Here is a comparison of the deductibles:

Health insurance: minimum $100-$300 out-of-pocket ER charge (with insurance), plus follow-up visits
SawStop: typically $100-$200 (cartridge+blade+Band-Aid), depending on the quality of the blade and whether you repair or replace it

Unfortunately, it's possible you'll still have to visit the ER even with a SawStop if your hand was moving faster than a hot dog when you made contact with the blade. But the hope is that the damage won't be as severe.

In the end, whether or not to drink the SawStop Kool-Aid is a personal decision that only you can make. My purpose here was to maybe give you a different perspective from which you can mull over your decision.
 

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The cheapest health insurance you can buy?

In a recent thread about tool recommendations for a new shop, I made a comment that a SawStop saw is the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Most people don't plan on cutting off their fingers on their table saws, and many woodworkers are quick to point out that the likelihood of any individual woodworker being seriously injured by a table saw on any given day is pretty slim. Frankly, I agree with both those comments and don't intend to argue against them, but I do want to clarify my comment likening SawStop to insurance.

The cheapest health insurance I've ever had was something like $120/mo., back when I was in college and for more than a year after college. That's $1440/yr. With rising healthcare costs and the healthcare reform's new prohibition against age discrimination, I'm sure the same level of coverage would be at least double or triple that today. Not once during that time did I need to use the health insurance. That's a lot of money down the drain, right? Well, for a while I didn't have health insurance, and even though I was young and healthy and almost broke, I thought a hundred bucks a month was worth the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be completely screwed if something did happen.

You typically don't buy any major insurance expecting to use it for a worst-case scenario. You don't have homeowner's insurance because you expect your house to burn down, or car insurance because you expect to injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your car. Although you might expect to use your health insurance for routine check-ups and medication, most people don't expect to have to use it for surgery or an emergency room visit. Most types of insurance exist "just in case" something unexpected happens.

And that brings me to the idea of SawStop as cheap insurance. How long do you plan to live? Even if you think you might meet your maker in only 5 years and if the SawStop saw costs $2000 more than a used but similar-quality competing saw, that's less than $34/month for finger insurance. Ugh…now I'm starting to sound like one of those annoying real-life salesmen: "Show your fingers you care, for only about a dollar a day!"

The nice thing is, once it's paid for, you never have to pay another premium. Just like insurance, you generally only have to pay your "deductible" if an accident actually happens. But even if you have an occasional non-flesh activation, it's still not that expensive in the long run.

Here is a comparison of the deductibles:

Health insurance: minimum $100-$300 out-of-pocket ER charge (with insurance), plus follow-up visits
SawStop: typically $100-$200 (cartridge+blade+Band-Aid), depending on the quality of the blade and whether you repair or replace it

Unfortunately, it's possible you'll still have to visit the ER even with a SawStop if your hand was moving faster than a hot dog when you made contact with the blade. But the hope is that the damage won't be as severe.

In the end, whether or not to drink the SawStop Kool-Aid is a personal decision that only you can make. My purpose here was to maybe give you a different perspective from which you can mull over your decision.
I think you make a good point. IMO, it could also be applied to other woodworking tools with safety features, and even other table saw like the sliding table variety. Also for really good dust collection as that problem may not be obvious until further down the road when it's too late.
 

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The cheapest health insurance you can buy?

In a recent thread about tool recommendations for a new shop, I made a comment that a SawStop saw is the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Most people don't plan on cutting off their fingers on their table saws, and many woodworkers are quick to point out that the likelihood of any individual woodworker being seriously injured by a table saw on any given day is pretty slim. Frankly, I agree with both those comments and don't intend to argue against them, but I do want to clarify my comment likening SawStop to insurance.

The cheapest health insurance I've ever had was something like $120/mo., back when I was in college and for more than a year after college. That's $1440/yr. With rising healthcare costs and the healthcare reform's new prohibition against age discrimination, I'm sure the same level of coverage would be at least double or triple that today. Not once during that time did I need to use the health insurance. That's a lot of money down the drain, right? Well, for a while I didn't have health insurance, and even though I was young and healthy and almost broke, I thought a hundred bucks a month was worth the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be completely screwed if something did happen.

You typically don't buy any major insurance expecting to use it for a worst-case scenario. You don't have homeowner's insurance because you expect your house to burn down, or car insurance because you expect to injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your car. Although you might expect to use your health insurance for routine check-ups and medication, most people don't expect to have to use it for surgery or an emergency room visit. Most types of insurance exist "just in case" something unexpected happens.

And that brings me to the idea of SawStop as cheap insurance. How long do you plan to live? Even if you think you might meet your maker in only 5 years and if the SawStop saw costs $2000 more than a used but similar-quality competing saw, that's less than $34/month for finger insurance. Ugh…now I'm starting to sound like one of those annoying real-life salesmen: "Show your fingers you care, for only about a dollar a day!"

The nice thing is, once it's paid for, you never have to pay another premium. Just like insurance, you generally only have to pay your "deductible" if an accident actually happens. But even if you have an occasional non-flesh activation, it's still not that expensive in the long run.

Here is a comparison of the deductibles:

Health insurance: minimum $100-$300 out-of-pocket ER charge (with insurance), plus follow-up visits
SawStop: typically $100-$200 (cartridge+blade+Band-Aid), depending on the quality of the blade and whether you repair or replace it

Unfortunately, it's possible you'll still have to visit the ER even with a SawStop if your hand was moving faster than a hot dog when you made contact with the blade. But the hope is that the damage won't be as severe.

In the end, whether or not to drink the SawStop Kool-Aid is a personal decision that only you can make. My purpose here was to maybe give you a different perspective from which you can mull over your decision.
I think saw stop did more to hurt their sales by try to force it on everybody then anything else. It's sad but whether to buy a saw stop or not has become a political issue for a lot of people.

I won't buy one because of their attitude not their technology.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
The cheapest health insurance you can buy?

In a recent thread about tool recommendations for a new shop, I made a comment that a SawStop saw is the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Most people don't plan on cutting off their fingers on their table saws, and many woodworkers are quick to point out that the likelihood of any individual woodworker being seriously injured by a table saw on any given day is pretty slim. Frankly, I agree with both those comments and don't intend to argue against them, but I do want to clarify my comment likening SawStop to insurance.

The cheapest health insurance I've ever had was something like $120/mo., back when I was in college and for more than a year after college. That's $1440/yr. With rising healthcare costs and the healthcare reform's new prohibition against age discrimination, I'm sure the same level of coverage would be at least double or triple that today. Not once during that time did I need to use the health insurance. That's a lot of money down the drain, right? Well, for a while I didn't have health insurance, and even though I was young and healthy and almost broke, I thought a hundred bucks a month was worth the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be completely screwed if something did happen.

You typically don't buy any major insurance expecting to use it for a worst-case scenario. You don't have homeowner's insurance because you expect your house to burn down, or car insurance because you expect to injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your car. Although you might expect to use your health insurance for routine check-ups and medication, most people don't expect to have to use it for surgery or an emergency room visit. Most types of insurance exist "just in case" something unexpected happens.

And that brings me to the idea of SawStop as cheap insurance. How long do you plan to live? Even if you think you might meet your maker in only 5 years and if the SawStop saw costs $2000 more than a used but similar-quality competing saw, that's less than $34/month for finger insurance. Ugh…now I'm starting to sound like one of those annoying real-life salesmen: "Show your fingers you care, for only about a dollar a day!"

The nice thing is, once it's paid for, you never have to pay another premium. Just like insurance, you generally only have to pay your "deductible" if an accident actually happens. But even if you have an occasional non-flesh activation, it's still not that expensive in the long run.

Here is a comparison of the deductibles:

Health insurance: minimum $100-$300 out-of-pocket ER charge (with insurance), plus follow-up visits
SawStop: typically $100-$200 (cartridge+blade+Band-Aid), depending on the quality of the blade and whether you repair or replace it

Unfortunately, it's possible you'll still have to visit the ER even with a SawStop if your hand was moving faster than a hot dog when you made contact with the blade. But the hope is that the damage won't be as severe.

In the end, whether or not to drink the SawStop Kool-Aid is a personal decision that only you can make. My purpose here was to maybe give you a different perspective from which you can mull over your decision.
amt, you also make a good point that this analogy is really applicable to any safety feature. I'm beginning to see a $1/day dust collection system in my future.
 

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The cheapest health insurance you can buy?

In a recent thread about tool recommendations for a new shop, I made a comment that a SawStop saw is the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Most people don't plan on cutting off their fingers on their table saws, and many woodworkers are quick to point out that the likelihood of any individual woodworker being seriously injured by a table saw on any given day is pretty slim. Frankly, I agree with both those comments and don't intend to argue against them, but I do want to clarify my comment likening SawStop to insurance.

The cheapest health insurance I've ever had was something like $120/mo., back when I was in college and for more than a year after college. That's $1440/yr. With rising healthcare costs and the healthcare reform's new prohibition against age discrimination, I'm sure the same level of coverage would be at least double or triple that today. Not once during that time did I need to use the health insurance. That's a lot of money down the drain, right? Well, for a while I didn't have health insurance, and even though I was young and healthy and almost broke, I thought a hundred bucks a month was worth the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be completely screwed if something did happen.

You typically don't buy any major insurance expecting to use it for a worst-case scenario. You don't have homeowner's insurance because you expect your house to burn down, or car insurance because you expect to injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your car. Although you might expect to use your health insurance for routine check-ups and medication, most people don't expect to have to use it for surgery or an emergency room visit. Most types of insurance exist "just in case" something unexpected happens.

And that brings me to the idea of SawStop as cheap insurance. How long do you plan to live? Even if you think you might meet your maker in only 5 years and if the SawStop saw costs $2000 more than a used but similar-quality competing saw, that's less than $34/month for finger insurance. Ugh…now I'm starting to sound like one of those annoying real-life salesmen: "Show your fingers you care, for only about a dollar a day!"

The nice thing is, once it's paid for, you never have to pay another premium. Just like insurance, you generally only have to pay your "deductible" if an accident actually happens. But even if you have an occasional non-flesh activation, it's still not that expensive in the long run.

Here is a comparison of the deductibles:

Health insurance: minimum $100-$300 out-of-pocket ER charge (with insurance), plus follow-up visits
SawStop: typically $100-$200 (cartridge+blade+Band-Aid), depending on the quality of the blade and whether you repair or replace it

Unfortunately, it's possible you'll still have to visit the ER even with a SawStop if your hand was moving faster than a hot dog when you made contact with the blade. But the hope is that the damage won't be as severe.

In the end, whether or not to drink the SawStop Kool-Aid is a personal decision that only you can make. My purpose here was to maybe give you a different perspective from which you can mull over your decision.
I have friends that have lost fingers to table saw, that's friends plural!! You can be the safest woodworker in the world for 40 years then one day your are distracted and boom no finger. I'm reaching that point where the odds are against me.

So I don't care about politics, I don't wish to lose a finger, I bought a Saw Stop and retired my 1970's Craftsman 113 saw. If the technology was available for all my tools I would buy it. I love woodworking and don't want to give it up due to my own carelessness.

I agree it is cheap insurance, the total cost of the saw is less that one trip to the emergency room, even if the trip is just for a few stitches and you don't lose your finger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
The cheapest health insurance you can buy?

In a recent thread about tool recommendations for a new shop, I made a comment that a SawStop saw is the cheapest health insurance you can buy. Most people don't plan on cutting off their fingers on their table saws, and many woodworkers are quick to point out that the likelihood of any individual woodworker being seriously injured by a table saw on any given day is pretty slim. Frankly, I agree with both those comments and don't intend to argue against them, but I do want to clarify my comment likening SawStop to insurance.

The cheapest health insurance I've ever had was something like $120/mo., back when I was in college and for more than a year after college. That's $1440/yr. With rising healthcare costs and the healthcare reform's new prohibition against age discrimination, I'm sure the same level of coverage would be at least double or triple that today. Not once during that time did I need to use the health insurance. That's a lot of money down the drain, right? Well, for a while I didn't have health insurance, and even though I was young and healthy and almost broke, I thought a hundred bucks a month was worth the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't be completely screwed if something did happen.

You typically don't buy any major insurance expecting to use it for a worst-case scenario. You don't have homeowner's insurance because you expect your house to burn down, or car insurance because you expect to injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your car. Although you might expect to use your health insurance for routine check-ups and medication, most people don't expect to have to use it for surgery or an emergency room visit. Most types of insurance exist "just in case" something unexpected happens.

And that brings me to the idea of SawStop as cheap insurance. How long do you plan to live? Even if you think you might meet your maker in only 5 years and if the SawStop saw costs $2000 more than a used but similar-quality competing saw, that's less than $34/month for finger insurance. Ugh…now I'm starting to sound like one of those annoying real-life salesmen: "Show your fingers you care, for only about a dollar a day!"

The nice thing is, once it's paid for, you never have to pay another premium. Just like insurance, you generally only have to pay your "deductible" if an accident actually happens. But even if you have an occasional non-flesh activation, it's still not that expensive in the long run.

Here is a comparison of the deductibles:

Health insurance: minimum $100-$300 out-of-pocket ER charge (with insurance), plus follow-up visits
SawStop: typically $100-$200 (cartridge+blade+Band-Aid), depending on the quality of the blade and whether you repair or replace it

Unfortunately, it's possible you'll still have to visit the ER even with a SawStop if your hand was moving faster than a hot dog when you made contact with the blade. But the hope is that the damage won't be as severe.

In the end, whether or not to drink the SawStop Kool-Aid is a personal decision that only you can make. My purpose here was to maybe give you a different perspective from which you can mull over your decision.
Don, I was really wrapped up in the lobbying issue, too, which is part of the reason I waited so long to buy one. I waited more than 5 years and nobody else came to market with a competing technology and the lobbying effort failed, so we're still all free to use saws without high-tech safety systems. To be honest, I didn't really want to get into the political discussion with this blog post which is why I made a point not to even mention it here.

However, because it's pretty much impossible to avoid the side of the discussion that you mentioned when talking about SawStop, I've decided to create another blog post which focuses directly on the political debate and issues surrounding it. I would encourage anyone to post comments about the political side of the SawStop discussion to that post instead, or to one of the many other threads on the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
If you go to any Woodcraft store, They can show you blades and brakes that their customers have brought in when they came to replace them. Some may be misfires from sawing the wrong thing, but mostly what I hear that they say man that thing saved my "__"

Politics aside the goal is safe woodworking. I feel much safer with my Saw Stop.
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
I agree if I could afford it i'd have something like sawstop right now. unfortunately I cant afford sawstop and wish there was competition since it would bring the price of such a device down.
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
Price is a factor for me also, great technology though
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
Rob, I read through your 4 articles on the sawstop "debate", and I'm trying to figure out exactly what your intentions are still…

When you keep things simple, it really isn't much of a debate at all.

Thoughts:
- It's not just the blade brake technology that makes the sawstop such a popular saw; in fact in most reviews and videos I've seen, the blade brake mechanism is usually only mentioned briefly (let's be real, how many times can one be entertained watching a sawstop cut a hot dog…). What is mentioned in depth, however, is the fit, finish and overall quality of the saw.
- It's expensive. Of course it is! Look how well designed of a tablesaw it is, even without the blade brake. I think a while back it was estimated that the blade brake adds $300-$500 (IIRC; it's been a while) to the cost of the saw. That would put the 1.75HP PCS with 36" fence right along the lines of the PM1000 (powermatic's new 1.75 HP cabinet saw) price-wise. And rightfully so. You pay for quality.
- I've NEVER heard of the blade brake failing to fire when it came into contact with flesh. Believe me, that would make the rounds EVERYWHERE. I have, however, heard and seen many instances where the blade brake DID fire as intended, preventing serious injury. Worrying about whether the brake will fire if needed or not is not something I even think about. In all honesty, I hope I NEVER even have the chance to see if the brake fires properly.
- You mention a deductible comparison in your last blog entry; you failed to mention the pain and suffering one would have to go through in a typical table saw accident. That would further prove the case of the sawstop as a better, long-term preventative measure. I'm not saying don't have health insurance, but I'd rather never have to use that insurance for a serious injury (as in, prevent them from happening).
- The whole "forceful adaptation" attempt by gass has come and gone. Yes, it was grimy, but he's a lawyer, so it's half expected. It didn't pass. When I'm buying a tool, I don't care about politics. Leave the grimy politics to the grimy politicians. To be honest, I think the addition of riving knives to table saws will prevent a lot more serious table saw injuries than the blade brake anyway.

Just my thoughts…
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
Wow…You asked for responses.
Let's think about the non equipped saws. I have one now and have owned three previous.
Accidents. My stitches..6 came from a bandsaw since I had to get the scrap out of the way.
l. First like any untaught…make your list now of those who follow the rule and set the blade 1/4 inch above the board thickness.. we can stop most major major accidents right there. Nope we see no guard and the blade at some full 3 inch because it was easy and " i am too lazy to crank that gear " or No body showed me so i just did it like i saw it on TV or Utube. Blade at full height to cut a 3/4 board is just hungry for anything in its path.
Read the legal case that was $$$$ bucks…lawyers again…he had the blade up, no guard, and no one showed him how to operate the saw….. and I would have said you sit in the truck, but we don't give out a table saw test to see are you qualified to use one….. Why don't you write one…!
2. My first reason to use a guard…oh wait no one showed me I was just doing it like I was seeing. We watch anyone …WE NEED TO FILM WITH THE GUARD ON… A RIP CUT IS A RIP CUT….. back to my story so the small 3 inch block of wood, from a cross cut, jiggled over to the blade and threw back into my chest and luckily hit just there. It was sore for a week. What does a blade guard do….keeps fingers out of the close range… holds small pieces down for a few seconds….. supports those anti kick back pawls…
3. Price…as I have been shopping the contractor price Saw Stop is around $1700 so wow. I am now in the price range of Powermatic, Jet, Delta, .....and with steel top, great fence, appropriate height, real miter gauge,separate motor, and I think a dust chute. Space is my issue but I use all my guards and push sticks.
4. Plastic push sticks…can't you just see one of those shatter when it hits the blade but we give them out like candy…. and thats why there are so many great wood models
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
All lobbyists and legislators should hang. This is a great product. It can sell itself without a despotic government forcing it down our throats.
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
I think that Mark Twain and Will Rogers were right … "The first thing we gotta do is make attorneys illegal" ...

Steve Gass is one and spends a great deal of his time as most attorneys do, figuring out how to get a large chunk of our money.

NiteWalker is on the right track but quite conservative in his estimated cost of the saw brake. In actuality, If we all had to have the "Gass brake", the cost of the saws would go up $1000 to $1200 per saw.

I did a study here on LJ's comparing a Group of the most popular saws in the under $3500 range to assist myself and others in buying or upgrading their saws. I found that the Saw Stop to be a good saw but greatly over priced for what it really is.

I compared the saws as an "out the door" price, not the advertised deflated price.
The SawStop would cost right around $3200 bucks, depending on the accessory package chosen, was at the high end; where Grizzley was at the low end with a delivered cost of right at $900 … with a 2 HP motor, (the SS is 1.75.)

I also looked at a lot of the accidents on table saws and the majority were caused by doing things unsafely in the first place … not keeping the work piece tight against the fence or not watching the kerf as it closed and pinched the blade … Kick back… Riving knife will reduce these. ... I saw a lot of small pieces being cut with out the use of a sled … and the blood the followed. ... ripping a 2 inch piece off a 3 inch board with out a push stick … and so on and on. Old guy shows an example with his 3 inch block in the post above.

So the bottom line here is that Steve Gass' Brake will not stop most of the oopsies that we cause, but it will stop a hot dog from being cut.
I saved the $2000 and bought a bunch of wood and other tools with it.
That's my 2 cents worth and it is my opinion.
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
"NiteWalker is on the right track but quite conservative in his estimated cost of the saw brake. In actuality, If we all had to have the "Gass brake", the cost of the saws would go up $1000 to $1200 per saw."
Like I said, it was a while back; inflation, etc.

I do disagree about the sawstop not being a good value though. If it wasn't built and designed so well, sure. But it's a world class saw, and has the reputation from actual users to prove it.

"I saved the $2000 and bought a bunch of wood and other tools with it."
That's a viable option for most users; $2000 is a lot of change and will buy a lot of wood and other tools.
Some consider a premium tool like the sawstop a luxury, while some buy it for the blade brake. I'm extremely careful at the table saw, so I'm buying it mostly for the build quality, level of service form the manufacturer and because I do make some of my money with my woodworking. But I like having the blade brake should I ever have a momentary lapse in judgement, or if something out of my control that causes me to lose focus on what I'm doing should happen (stung by a wasp while ripping, etc.).
 

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Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
i think that all saw makers should be forced to make a blade brake and riving knife and easy on off guard available for their recent [less than 20 year old] saws. i love my yellow dewalt table saw with the sliding table, which last i saw, ss did not offer. i would buy these SAFTEY add ons for my saw immediately, but i can not afford a new sawstop machine. I LOVE MY FINGERS, and being careful is one thing, but there will always be ACCIDENTS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
NightCrawler has hit the nail on the head on pretty much all points except one. The only way you can "keep things simple" is if you're already looking at saws in the $2000-$3000 range. If you're looking to buy a saw for $1000 or less, simplicity goes out the window because you're not comparing saws with similar build quality or similar prices once you throw SawStop into the mix. The reason why many people say they can't afford a SawStop is because they went through a process something like this:

1. start looking at table saws
2. set a rough budget
3. do a lot of research on saws within that budget and find a couple favorites
4. maybe adjust the budget and do even more research
5. ask for recommendations, either to choose the best out of two choices, or as a final sanity check before making the purchase

Then some jerks have to throw a monkey wrench into the decision-making process by suggesting SawStop, knowing full well that the cheapest SawStop model that isn't a step down from the original favorite(s) is at least $1000 over budget. The price gap is even greater if the person was looking at a used saw. This is exactly what three of us did in a thread a few days ago. In this case, it's not such a simple decision because now the person has to come up with another $1000+ (or in the case of that particular thread, more like an extra $2300). Unless you've got money to burn, going so far over budget is a tough pill to swallow. The only options are to not buy anything, go with the cheaper saw anyway, or convince yourself that you need to raise your budget. At that point, you can look at the problem from many different angles. This is where the paralysis by analysis comes in. All I can suggest at this point is that you choose just the one line of reasoning that best applies to you.

For me, it was this:
1. I have 30+ years until retirement
2. I've caught myself realizing after-the-fact that I just did something dangerous, and it's only by dumb luck that I wasn't seriously injured
3. 30+ years is a long time to live with the regret that a paltry $1000-$2000 possibly could have saved me from a serious injury

Yeah, that's right. I said $1000 was a paltry sum of money. It's not because $1000 isn't a lot of money to me. I can think of so many things I could accomplish with an extra $1000, but in the grand scheme of things, $1000 is a tiny fraction of what I'm going to earn in my lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Ugh--Evil SawStop, and an industry that you think loves you (but they really hate your fingers)

By now everyone knows SawStop has evil lobbyists and lawyers trying to force their technology on us.

Like many people, I was really wrapped up in this lobbying issue. For those who aren't familiar with the effort, SawStop was trying to push through a government regulation that would require an advanced safety system like SawStop's brake (oh, how convenient-SawStop makes those!) to be included on all new table saws.

To-date such a feature has not been forced on anyone by the government lobbyists, but the riving knives you find on all modern table saws in the US are the result of other safety regulations that did become law. Despite the lack of a government-enforced regulation requiring a SawStop-like technology, the reality has hit some corporate-owned shops. For example, a major publishing corporation near my hometown replaced all their table saws with SawStop saws after someone had an accident and the corporation's lawyers found out there was a product on the market that could help prevent or limit the severity of such accidents.

There are always two sides to the coin. SawStop's recent legal suit against several manufacturers alleges that the industry giants colluded to block the technology from widespread adoption by agreeing not to license it. I also read something recently (maybe in one of the same articles) that a joint industry venture actually did produce an alternative safety system, but that system was never brought to market. Either it wasn't cost-effective or it just didn't work…or everyone but SawStop just wants to chop off your fingers. Ironically, if SawStop's lobbying had been successful, their technology would have some competition, and saws without compliant safety systems would fly off the shelves for months or years until the compliance deadline went into effect, and would continue to sell on eBay long afterward.

I think it's fair to say that Steven Gass didn't invent his blade brake with purely altruistic intentions. From an ideological perspective, I personally think if Gass (or at least the SawStop legal counsel) wants to preach about how SawStop only wants to prevent injuries and that the rest of the industry is self-serving and evil, he should give away the technology, as Volvo did with the seatbelt-or make it really cheap. Otherwise he seems disingenuous, at best. But that's just my opinion. If you check out the SawStop wikipedia page, the Power Tool Institute and its members do seem to have some valid objections to the technology, including some questions about liability, should the braking system fail.

Ultimately we have to make our own decisions for our own reasons, but if I found out tomorrow that Volvo tested their original seatbelt designs by crashing cars filled with baby seals, and that they accepted secret kickbacks from the Swedish Mafia for "giving away" their invention, I would be furious! However, I wouldn't compromise my own safety on ideological grounds and make a point to buy my next car without seatbelts.

Ok, I'm done for now. Feel free to post additional comments. Or if you're feeling really constructive, include links to news stories and other SawStop debates on this website and others.
Oops, sorry, that would be NiteWalker, not NightCrawler!
 
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