Why do you hate Sawstop

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Forum topic by agallant posted 12-28-2010 06:25 AM 25927 views 3 times favorited 445 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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551 posts in 4224 days

12-28-2010 06:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sawstop

So I have posted a few times here asking about sawstop. I have noticed that there is a group of people out there who seam to have a very strong opinion against it. Before I plop down 2K of my hard earned money on one I want to here from the ‘haters’ why they don’t like sawstop. Please keep it clean and factual.

With that said I also would like to tell you why I want on. I spend about 5-20 hours a week in my shop, I don’t do wood working for a living I am in IT and can not do my job if my hands are injured. Between missing work, recovery time and the medical bills I view sawstop as an insurance policy. I do not view it as justification to be less careful in the shop.



445 replies so far

View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 4120 days

#1 posted 12-28-2010 07:25 AM

I worked in my college woodshop where we had two of them. In this setting they were nightmares. Changing blades almost always meant resetting the distance between the blade and brake. I was constantly looking up what the flashing light sequences meant and fixing them. I got really sick of flipping the switch to turn the saw on, only to get an error code instead of a spinning blade.

We had previously had a powermatic and a general which were both 5hp machines. I really missed the ability to rip though 8/4 maple like it was nothing when we went down to the 3hp machines.

That being said they are great saws that are really well thought out. In a one man shop where you are the only one changing blades and other settings I have to believe that you will have few in any problems with it. The riving knife was an option that only sawstop had at the time and it is fantastic. When I have the money to buy a new saw I probably won’t buy a sawstop, but I will get a saw with a riving knife. In all reality the sawstop does a great job preventing ever needing its most notable safety feature. A lot of other saw’s have followed in its footsteps only leaving out the brake.

A lot of guys will complain that its made in taiwan, but so is the Unisaw at this point.

It is really expensive, but if you can afford it without going hungry you won’t regret it.

Plus you’re in IT so having a computer in your saw won’t piss you off as much as it does the rest of us.

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 5262 days

#2 posted 12-28-2010 07:57 AM

I’m definately not a fan of SS. Nifty idea, good use of technology etc BUT…

I disagree with the way it is being promoted – through the courts and lawyers (including the inventor).
I think it sends the wrong message about safety and at a pretty high cost to the user. That message is ‘you dont have to be so careful we’ll protect you’.
Regular old unsafe table saws have been used safely for eons by people who respect a moving blade and don’t want to get their blood all over it.
My unsafe table saw drew a tad of my blood one time but that only served to heightened my respect for what could happen if I let my guard down around that blade. I’d rather have personal vigilence than someone’s promise that their high tech instant stop blade can make up for not thinking safety. And what about your other dangerous power tools. Maybe we’ll be required to get a SS brand bandsaw or planer, or jig saw, or router, or hammer, or …...

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 4823 days

#3 posted 12-28-2010 08:00 AM

In my humble opinion, the Sawstop line of table saws (contractor through cabinet) is the best made and sold to the woodworking community in America today. This includes the quality and workmanship of the metal and cast iron parts in general, its weight, and its fit and finish. If you have the budget this is the brand to buy.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1130 posts in 4311 days

#4 posted 12-28-2010 08:08 AM

I got an email ad from saw stop that posted to their web site. There are a number of videos of guys who had accidents and wished they had a saw stop.
The video that freaked me was the dentist who said “my hands are my life, I was being careful” Stuff happens beyond our control and accidents do happen. I want a saw stop as the next saw for me, my fingers and my kids who are getting more into woodworking as they get older.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 4165 days

#5 posted 12-28-2010 08:17 AM

I am kinda in the same boat as Bill here. It seems like the inventor is doing more of a “You wouldn’t buy my invention, so now, I am going to make this a ‘you legally have to’ matter..”

Technology can always fail; I don’t, personally, want that complacancy, of thinking it can’t harm me. If that break fails to trigger, and I didn’t exercise the caution, I would with a regular table saw, then I am still going to be injured.

For generations, our fore-fathers used table saws. And they were relatively unharmed.. and, probably a little more recklace. The problem is, people of my generation(the teenagers, to mid-30s) seem to be more involved with getting that new harddrive to spin, than getting that sawblade to spin.
—But its when this newer generation decides “Oh, just because I have never used a table saw, doesn’t mean I can’t use one to build this [insert project].” Thats when people get hurt..
———Not to mention complacancy. I witnessed my shopteacher—a contractor, use his hand as a push block over a dado head. If it kicked, it would have given a new meaning to “Red Raum”.. This is another time when people get hurt..

I don’t want to sound like the grinch…. or offend anyone.. but Common-sense is the best preventative measure of all.. Most injuries are caused by lack there of, or by complacancy.

If this inventor sees his way, in court, then we may well be facing a monopoly. Since I am pretty certain its copywritten out the gazoo.. And soon, it will be law, to buy only SS Jointers, Planers(if you are dumb enough[not trying to offend anyone here] to stick your hand in a planer, you deserve to lose it… its fully enclosed for a reason…lol), Skil Saws, Bandsaws, Scroll Saws(someone once said “You can cut your finger off with a scroll saw; But you would need to change the blade a couple times”), Drill Presses, Routers, Drills, Nailers, etc… 99% of which are safe enough, if you pay attention… Granted the jointer and skil saw are the only ones that really frighten me… One because the skil saw tried to chew my leg off one day, when it kicked.. And two, because in a jointer..what goes in.. doesnt come out..well.. it does.. as Handburger[lol]...

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Loren's profile


11371 posts in 4985 days

#6 posted 12-28-2010 08:26 AM

I don’t hate SawStop, but for the money I would never buy
a cabinet style saw in the American style where the rip fence
is the major reference for squaring panels. Format style saws
are a better design, imo, and invite less risky behavior.

Furthermore, the more common danger on a tablesaw is kickback,
not flesh amputation by the blade – which is (dare I say?) always
a result of stupid or complacent work habits.

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 4348 days

#7 posted 12-28-2010 10:06 AM

AG -

I too found the polarization of the SS camps very interesting when I was doing my research. I have read a lot (LOT) of these discussions, and it seems like it comes down to a few key reasons why some don’t like SS:

1) Machisimo
2) Not made in USA like its main price-quality-competitive saw (Unisaw)
3) How Steve Gass went about trying to get companies to adopt his technology before he decided to make the saws himself and specifically the implications for how much control the government should have over our lives (this gets political)

While the discussion is interesting, everyone has to do what’s right for them, and you don’t have to justify your reasons to anyone. Ultimately, once you have the saw in your shop, it makes sawdust like any other tablesaw, and hopefully you’ll never even need to know what makes yours unique.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4180 days

#8 posted 12-28-2010 12:01 PM

I am personally one of the “haters” of sawstop. Truth be told though, if you’ve read some of my responses to other posts concerning the sawstop technology, I don’t hate it at all. As a matter of fact, I think it is just about the best invention since sliced bread.
So when am I going to buy one? Two days after never.
It’s way out of my price range.
I like the fact that I’m extra cautious around my Ridgid 3650. That cautiousness also makes me think carefully before I do anything on it. I do see the great potential for carelssness with the sawstop at the same inopportune moment that the technology also decides to take a crap. I prefer shop safety on my own accord as opposed to shop safety by any other remote activated technology. I wish not to get into the argument about sawstop technology doesn’t give you the reason to act carelessly. I am perfectly aware of this. I’m not an idiot. Speaking from experience though, I also know that I want at least one of my seven sons to learn woodworking from me. That would be hard of all of them took the same stand as my son that took woodshop at school with a sawstop. After using it at school I can’t get through his thick head that this technology doesn’t take away a users responsibility to act cautiously. Today’s generation thinks technology is the answer to lack of common sense. That is dangerous.
I don’t like at all the way the inventor of the sawstop technology has carried out getting said technology on the market. As soon as he realized that manufactorers weren’t going to buy his invention, he never considered finding ways to make it more affordable. He just made his own saws, which was fine. Then when a lawsuit came about that made the headlines, and served his purpose well, then he jumped on that bandwagon and helped for the current push to have the sawstop technology mandated in all saws. While the technology is great, I won’t buy it anyway if the government is attempting to shove it down our throats. Beyond that, I think anyone who reads up about that case that got this giant ball of wax rolling would agree that any of us could have found better examples of shoddy safety features on saws than to use that joke of a case as a stepping stone. I feel like the use of that case shed a light on all woodworkers as being complete idiots.
So, after stating all this, I will say, if there was any way possible for me to afford a Sawstop, then one would already be sitting in my shop. That brings up the other argument I’ve had thrown in my face over and over. “Well just think how much your fingers are worth to you versus the cost of the sawstop!” Look, I’m not even going to make the argument of whether the technology is priced fairly or not. I have no idea what goes into making and marketing it. Hell, the man may be going broke selling it for all I know. What I do know is that as much as I love my fingers, I can’t put my family in hock up to our eyeballs for several years to buy a saw, and YES, my financial situation is that bad. Therefore, the value versus price argument doesn’t hold water with me either. They are simply way out of my price range as they are for most woodworkers I know.


View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 4410 days

#9 posted 12-28-2010 02:43 PM

Great points from both sides. I teach both Middle and High School shop. My shop does NOT have a Saw Stop (at present). I have two Unisaws (a ‘64 model and a 2002 Model). Both Unisaws have splitters and guards on them. Both saws guards/splitters are removable. Both saws have a wide array of throat inserts, push sticks, miter guages, crosscut sleds, miter sleds, etc.

All that being said, I have to agree that the Saw Stop is a wonderful piece of… technology! The electronic wizardry is amazing.

Now, for my version of the bad news. In my own personal 23 years of teaching, I am the only person in my shop(s) that has had a flesh to blade contact of any sort on the table saw. I was cutting a piece of 1/4” ply to size up a drawer bottom (about 14” x 11”; it was in, what I call, the “no push stick zone!), and, for some reason that I haven’t been able to discern (or reproduce, thankfully), the ply kicked back and to the left, dragging my right ring finger over the saw blad on its way. The blade cut vertically through the finger tip, missing the bone, but cutting through the finger nail and the pad of the finger. 6 stitches and half a day of lost work, and I was back in business… with a new appreciation for safety.

I classify all saw mishaps as accidents. Regardless of the severity of injury, or lack thereof. Any time any problem occurs, I make all the students shut down, gather around, and we talk about “what happened and why it happened. We also discuss how to prevent what happened.

Most problems stem from students doing things that can’t or shouldn’t be done, or by not following proper safety techniques. Things they have been taught, things they know, things they think they can get away with. I remind them that, even though I can’t see everything, I can hear almost everything! And the table saw is one unforgiving SOB! It doesn’t care what you THINK you can get away with; it simply follows the laws of physics. It is the great equalizer.

I can’t disagree with the statement that most saw accidents are from kickbacks. But why these kickbacks occur is the problem that even Saw Stop can’t address.

Proper use of guards, splitters, hold downs and pushsticks, as well as proper techniques, will eliminate virtually ALL kickbacks. But techinques are equally important.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5295 days

#10 posted 12-28-2010 03:04 PM

“Hate the game not the player” The technology involved in making Saw Stop what it is is advanced and groundbreaking. Sure you might disagree with the marketing style, or scare tactics as the haters call them..I like to call them a little slice of reality. To stand there and say with impunity that your xx years in woodworking and your safe practices are all you need to keep you from having an accident is pure stupidity. ACCIDENTS are just that..unforeseen elements, or situations that cause unexpected results. Wood moves and expands when you cut it…people loose concentration or get distracted for a millisecond…and that’s all it takes to loose a finger. I mean really…how many people that have had bad table saw accidents say they weren’t concentrating, or weren’t’ being careful…that’s as brilliant as somebody posting a while back in a similar thread “just don’t put your finger near the sharp spiny thing”...pure genius..
I agree that Saw Stop is an expensive safety feature, but the saws are really well built and are just as nice as the top of the line non saw stops in their category. Should the government get involved and mandate the technology….no. Is that person justified in suing Ryobi for not having Saw Stop technology on their saws….ludicrous bullshit dreamed up by some ambulance chasing lawyers. Thats as brilliant as suing the tobacco companies because you chose to smoke.
My opinion is…if you want one, and can afford it then get one. If you don’t then don’t. I know that insurance companies are giving commercial woodshops huge breaks on their rates if they upgrade to Saw Stop. I think that all high school woodshops should have nothing but Saw Stops in them….here is a perfect place for that have inexperienced woodworkers, with young hands that have to last them the rest of their lives..whether you are on board for Saw Stop or not you should see the value in that. As far as for myself…i love my Unisaw….but if I had the money I would sell it and get a 3HP Saw Stop. The way I look at it..I am a safe woodworker, I always use my push sticks and I trust my gut..I f something doesn’t feel safe I don’t attempt it…..but I feel that the Saw Stop technology is lurking in the background…siting and waiting for that unknown moment..that millisecond of lack of focus..and it will be there to turn a tragic accident into a band aid..or maybe a stich or two…I like those odds.

Also when the inventor of the Saw Stop took his invention to all the major players in the industry, none of them were interested in using it. They all said they didn’t want to put that on their saws because it was like admitting that table saws are dangerous and might cause injury. DUH! It was only then that he decided to build his own line of saws.


View Gator's profile


383 posts in 5014 days

#11 posted 12-28-2010 03:22 PM

I am a fan.. I own one, and would almost be confident to say it will be the last saw I ever buy.. having said that.. some of the opinions about the saw are misguided.

I do not know about the contractor Sawstop as far as pricing, so I can only comment on the cabinet model.

Price - They are expensive, but if you are shopping for a proffessional cabinet saw, you are shopping high price range. If you compare proffessional cabinet saws, the Sawstop and the Delta Unisaw are on “almost” the same playing field. They are both the same price, so there is no argument there. If you would not buy Sawstop due to cost, then you would not buy a Unisaw because of cost. So pricing should NOT be involved in the discussion. Why shop for a Pinto, yet bitch about the price of Cadillac.

Safety “People will not work safe because they will rely on sawstop technology to prevent them from injuries” – The only comment I can make about this, is please take all sharp objects away from all these people, and ensure the lid is tight on the turpentine container.. come on.. seriously ?

Litigation – The inventor ( a guy looking to make something to become rich ) went to every major player in the tablesaw business, and offered them the technology he invented, at what was likely a crazy amount of money, ( whole idea of inventing things ) they said “no”.. so he took the initiative to built a saw around it. The market went crazy, and because as well as having a doctorate in physics, he is a lawyer.. Gass and two of his lawyer buddies saw great potential with.. litigation. Now the lawyers are doing what lawyers do.. suing & canvasing politics through the courts to make their fortune. Stephen Gass invented one of the greatest safety features for woodworkers ever…and now everyone hates him.. envy ..would likely be a better word.

This, my friends is the only thing that blemishes the Sawstop name… not design flaws, or the lack of user friendly features, but a group of lawyers trying to get a piece of the action on every table saw sold in the world.. I wish I would have thought of it… and so do most of you… but that is for another day.

Some people spend so much time on their soap boxes, that they don’t realize the best things in life are at eye level.
They spend all day long watching television, microwaving lunch, watching the coffee maker, checking their watch for the time, all on appliances they paid for with their hard earned money, that were built offshore, while typing on their computer built in Tiawan, that you should not buy something because it was not forged in Detroit by the blood sweat and tears of Bill Smith, a true American blue collar worker. Give me frigging strength..

Agallant.. if you ask a group of people what they hate… you will spend a life time wrapped up in so much negativity, you will start to see the light grow dim around you… run my friend… run.. before it is too late.

As far as the sawstop haters.. they don’t hate the player.. they hate the game….
I have not heard one concrete comment about why you should not buy one.. not one comment about flaws, or problems with the actual abilities of a proffessional cabinet saw.. because it is a great saw… all I see is a bunch of people wanting to argue politics.. So don’t let that cloud your opinion. Sift through all the hate, discontent & crap, ask yourself how long you want to be a woodworker ?

The tablesaw is by far the most important tool you can purchase for your shop, so spend your money wisely, buy the best saw you possibly can, no matter what brand it is because you don’t want to have to do it again in 5 years. I would have bought the Sawstop even if it did not have the safety technolgy, it is that good of a saw.

I am the lover of a great cabinet saw, that just happens to be built by some guys in Taiwan who do one great job of following plans that were designed elsewhere.


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View JBfromMN's profile


107 posts in 4114 days

#12 posted 12-28-2010 03:38 PM

Count me as a hater for the marketing and cram it down our throats with the governments help angle. The tech in the saw is amazing.

Keep in mind the guy is a patent lawyer, he is just out to make a buck, not make you safer. Only you can make yourself safer.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4299 days

#13 posted 12-28-2010 03:46 PM

I have to agree with JBfrom MN. Is the SS guy doing all this legal stuff for free? What charities get his profits (like Paul Newman). I have cut myself with a razor but didn’t sue the manufacturer. Any power tool is only as safe as the operator. If one is afraid of an accident with a TS, use a hand saw like the oldtimers did before power tools were invented! The Amish get along quite well with hand tools. BTW, I made my soapbox from scrap lumber. ;)

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4221 days

#14 posted 12-28-2010 04:17 PM

Impressive collection of strong opinions. From what I’ve heard, the Sawstop is a very well made TS, safety features aside. I am skeptical about the ability of the saw to save you from a serious injury, despite the videos of hotdogs being pushed through the blade; in real life kickback and your hand slipping into the blade happens in a fraction of a second and I’m not sure that the brake would really be effective. There doesn’t seem to be many stories online of people having fingers saved by the Sawstop technology either.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4291 days

#15 posted 12-28-2010 04:29 PM

I don’t normally comment on topics like this, but for what it’s worth, if you are more comfortable with a SawStop, and can afford it, then you should buy it, use it, and enjoy it. Seems like a really good saw.

For myself, I’ve used a Unisaw for 25 years, and after throwing away the original fence, have had no problem with kickbacks. The replacement Biesmeyer was good, but I currently use an Incra LS positioner fence. While my shop is conspicuously absent most guards and other safety items, I am of the school that if you’re not really comfortable with a particular operation, then don’t do it! Use push sticks, and feather boards, and zero clearance inserts. I’m in no way advocating unsafe practices, but this is what seems to work for me. Likewise, I see nothing wrong with a SawStop. Trust your instincts and keep your fingers.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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