How do I prevent SawStop misfires?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 01-04-2013 01:49 AM 6879 views 1 time favorited 110 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 3012 days

01-04-2013 01:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw sawstop saw stop brake safety

I’m probably going to get the SawStop contractor saw tomorrow. While I am pleased to have the safety system I know that it’s also prone to tripping the safety brake without skin contact. Considering that each time the brake fires it’s going to require a new cartridge and a new blade, I’d like to avoid misfires.

The FAQs on SawStop’s website say that misfires are uncommon. But from searching forum threads here it sounds like it’s pretty common.

I was hoping to draw on the collected wisdom of SawStop owners and see what precautions I can take to minimize misfires.

I know you can put the saw in bypass mode but that kind of defeats the purpose of the thing.


110 replies so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3930 days

#1 posted 01-04-2013 01:55 AM

Most misfires involve metal contact of some sort.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile


7902 posts in 3833 days

#2 posted 01-04-2013 02:00 AM

I know this sounds bad, but don’t buy a SawStop. The issue you itemize is nothing more than a profit center for this company, and it is driven by propagating fear amongst the public. I am not going to argue statistics or any other manipulated numbers. The truth be told, you (generically) are only as stupid/inattentive as you allow yourself to be. Wake up to that fact and buy a good TS, or get out of the WW-ing hobby/business. SawStop, while they have a good product, capitalizes on the fear factor in order to generate sales. Not exactly a company that gains MY trust. Just sayin’...

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View bondogaposis's profile


5898 posts in 3271 days

#3 posted 01-04-2013 02:18 AM

Don’t cut hot dogs.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View markswoodcraft's profile


175 posts in 3040 days

#4 posted 01-04-2013 02:21 AM

my shop teacher has a huge cabinet stop saw, and it misfired on him one time because the wood was to moist.
he has it mostly because of the dumb, inexperienced grade 9’s like myself

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3802 days

#5 posted 01-04-2013 02:23 AM

I have had a Sawstop for a year and a half. I’ve never had the mechanism trigger. From other Sawstop owners on this site, it does in fact seem very rare to have a misfire. Outside of skin contact, the saw will fire if the blade contacts metal, or if it is used on wet wood/pressure treated wood. On the rare occaision that you cut wet or pressure treated wood the saw has a switch by which you can turn off the sensor mechanism.

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

View lowellmk's profile


61 posts in 2892 days

#6 posted 01-04-2013 02:26 AM


I’ve owned my SawStop for about 2 years now. I have the cabinet style and it is an excellent saw. Not only are you protecting your hands, you are also getting a highly accurate table saw with excellent fit and finish.

In the 2 or so years that I have owned the saw, I accidentally tripped the break by running a piece of t-track into the blade. That was my mistake. But let me tell you….the damn saw worked and that blade dropped below the table surface faster than the eye could see. That gave me great confidence in my purchase—- that T Track could have just as easily have been my finger or hand.

The saw has an override function that will allow you to cut metal or really wet wood. One quick and easy test is to turn the power switch on (don’t lift the paddle to start the blade!). After the power on self test is complete, the saw will have a green light indicating “all systems go”. Simply touch the blade with the material. If the saw’s red light is lit, you’ll need to override the break. By the way, I always do this test before I start cutting—- touch the stationary blade and look for a red light. Just a back-up test.

I’d like to also respectfully disagree with Mike. Dismissing at the cost of a blade and a break as a profit center is beside the point. Mistakes happen. My fingers are worth a hell of a lot more than a $70 break and a saw blade. But that’s my calculus.

If you have any questions, please ping me.

Good luck!

-- Wag more, bark less.

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3496 days

#7 posted 01-04-2013 02:33 AM

Just make sure your lumber isn’t too wet or has any metal in it. If you’re unsure, use the bypass.

The sawstop is a world class saw and worth every penny. Hopefully, I’m getting one in a month or so. The first time you activate the blade brake with skin contact, the saw will have paid for itself many times over. Also, you send sawstop the brake and fill out a survey and they send you a new brake if the cause of activation was skin contact.

Mike, I see what you’re saying, but I don’t agree. I would agree if the saw that housed the technology was built to average standards, but the sawstop is built extremely well, so I don’t see it the way you do. I see it as a world class saw with a blade brake that saves fingers, not the other way around.

Back to the OP, After owning a contractor saw for the past 6 years, never again. If I get the sawstop, it will be the 1.75HP PCS. No table mounted trunnions to muck with, basically a true cabinet saw with a 1.75 hp motor.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 3281 days

#8 posted 01-04-2013 02:33 AM

Take responsibility for your own safety; buy a different brand.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Underdog's profile


1557 posts in 2955 days

#9 posted 01-04-2013 02:38 AM

Yep. Have to disagree with Mike too. We have one of these at work and it’s a dream to operate. It’s an extremely well engineered piece of machinery- in addition to being a very safe saw. Just for example the splitter mount on this thing is wonderful! Easy to install and remove and to set up.

As every one has said before me, if you don’t want a misfire, then don’t cut wet wood, hot dogs, metal, or your fingers.

If you want to cut your fingers, buy another saw. The great majority of accidents on saws happen in a moments inattention by very experienced workers – 20-30 years worth of experience. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Just hope the mistake you make isn’t the one that costs you… In my drivers education class, our teacher stressed the fact that we all make mistakes, and cautioned us to minimize them and their effects by developing good habits – but that doesn’t keep us from making them.

You may disagree with SawStop’s tactics, but you cannot argue that the quality of the saw isn’t worth it. Nor can you argue that the price of the blade and cartridge is worth a finger, hand, or your life.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3484 days

#10 posted 01-04-2013 02:48 AM

I have a related question for SS owners. My understanding of the system is that when you trip the system some components break and it costs $100 to replace them. Do you make sure to have one (or more) sets of parts to do the replacement in case you trip it in the middle of the project or are you just planning on crossing that bridge when you get to it?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View lowellmk's profile


61 posts in 2892 days

#11 posted 01-04-2013 02:52 AM

If you want to know you are making the right choice…check out the link below….it contains pictures of real people (just like us) who ran their hands into the saw and what their hands looked like after the fact. You can conclude by the smiles on their faces that they were not concerned about “profit centers”.

Oh, by the way, if you do have a finger save, SawStop will replace the brake free of charge.

I strongly urge anyone considering an new table saw to look into this unit….I personally think it’s a crime to sell a product without this technology….they are selling (my opinion) unsafe products.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3424 days

#12 posted 01-04-2013 02:56 AM

Underdog, don’t feel bad about disagreeing with HMike. Not many agree with him. He has a short, brusque way about him. Just sayin’...

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View lowellmk's profile


61 posts in 2892 days

#13 posted 01-04-2013 02:58 AM

Hi Ben -

I do not have a spare break….I live about 20 miles from a Woodcraft and they always have breaks readily available. When the break triggers, the break needs to be replaced at a cost of about $70. The other cost is the blade. Even if the blade looks intact, it should be considered unsafe and should be replaced. As you know, blade costs run the spectrum…I destroyed a brand new $100 blade. My mistake…oh well.

FYI…you will need a different type a break to run a dado stack. Not sure if the contractor saw supports dados. My saw supports an 8” stack. When you change blades or change from single blade to a dado, you’ll need to check the adjustment of the break. Easy to do with a supplied Allen wrench.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View Underdog's profile


1557 posts in 2955 days

#14 posted 01-04-2013 03:04 AM

We keep both cartridges in stock, one for the dado stack and one for the standard blade. We also keep the blade inserts in stock for both. And they’re just shy of $70.
And sure it ruins the saw blade. If you see a slow motion video of the thing when it stops, you’ll see why. The thing flops around so much you’d swear it was made of paper. So the price of the blade must be figured in too.

In my opinion, any woodworking business owner who doesn’t seriously consider having one of these is being foolish. The cost of one accident far far outweighs the price of the saw itself, not to mention the piddly cost of a cartridge or blade.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View lowellmk's profile


61 posts in 2892 days

#15 posted 01-04-2013 03:06 AM

I agree with underdog.

-- Wag more, bark less.

showing 1 through 15 of 110 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics