Stopped the Saw

Having the opportunity to demonstrate the SawStop means I have set it off many times, by a variety of techniques.

Today was the first time I tried a new technique.  Setting off the brake for real, by accident, as a false release.

Wrecked a brake, damaged a blade (a good one).  So how do I feel about it all now, now that I have incurred the cost of a blade and brake which wasn’t a real save?  Absolutely no different to how I felt about the whole system yesterday.

Sure, I made a mistake, but you don’t piss and moan about the airbags in your car going off unnecessarily in a less serious accident, and I feel exactly the same about the SawStop.  It is still there ready to save if there is ever a need.  I have had the SawStop for a few years now, and this is the first time, so to my mind that equates to about a $100/year insurance policy. Yes, I am comfortable with that.

So what happened?  I forgot that the SawStop mechanism was there I think.  I was cutting some acrylic, which I have done plenty of times before, but this was acrylic with a difference.  It has a silvered surface, ie, a mirror.  And silvered surfaces tend to be……metallic.  I must have not been making good contact, so it didn’t detect me through the material initially, but as the blade got closer to me, it must have passed a threshold reading and off it went.

There are a lot out there that disagree with SawStop, for whatever reason, and this adds fuel to their fire.  So be it, that is your personal choice.  Me, I know how much the cost, and personal physical damage of just a simple knife slip.  I can’t begine to imagine what the results would be for a tablesaw accident.

2 Responses

  1. This is the kind of scenario that makes you both appreciate and dislike the SawStop approach. I have to admit I’m cheering for Bosch in the current patent lawsuit taken by SawStop, because a system that doesn’t destroy the blade while saving your skin is clearly the winner if it’s got to deal with these kinds of false triggers. At the same time I’m hoping that biomedical research leads to other forms of detection that don’t rely on actual blade contact.

    One that intrigues me is the BladeStop system for bandsaws, which reportedly will stop a bandsaw in 15 milliseconds if you touch the blade. But it is marketed to the meat processing industry, which makes me wonder what technology is being used to detect blade contact. Sounds like something that might be able to eliminate false triggers.

  2. Whilst on my quest for a new table saw a few months ago, I ended up buying the SawStop Jobsite saw. Portability won out over a giant cast iron surface. Having said that, out the box it was a better cut than my previous Carbatec 10HB. Now that I’ve spent some time dialing it in, I’m within 0.13mm over a 2400mm cut. Good enough in my book.

    Yes I could have bought a ‘proper’ table saw for the same or even less money, but like you said, work out the yearly cost of insurance over the life of the tool and I’m liking the SS offering. Especially now that we have a child (amazing how that changes perspective?) if he wants to start woodworking at the age I did, I’d rather have him using a SS over anything else.

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