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View Full Version : Advocates Urge Lawmakers To Make Table Saws Safer



boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 07:37 AM
http://www.npr.org/2011/05/25/136617222/advocates-urge-lawmakers-to-make-table-saws-safer

In short they want to require sawstop on all new table saws. Is this what our government should be doing with its time?

Ian McColgin
05-25-2011, 07:44 AM
Yeah. What exactly is the advantage of a saw that causes 40,000 ER visits per year over a modest addition that simply eliminates all of those visits?

boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 07:49 AM
Yeah. What exactly is the advantage of a saw that causes 40,000 ER visits per year over a modest addition that simply eliminates all of those visits?

It's cheaper. If I want a saw with sawstop I can buy one. If the product does what it's supposed to do and is not unreasonably dangerous in doing its designed job the government shouldn't interfere.

Captain Intrepid
05-25-2011, 07:52 AM
I'd say 4000 amputations a year isn't exactly safe. That said, $100 does seem a little steep.

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 08:05 AM
Something else to break when you need it to work...Stops sound like a logical move on table saws but I sense that some here in the real world will end up expecting the break to work and when it fails!!!!...Users become a bit blase when operating one. In fact, they may take chances with tools that they may not have normally taken. It's easy to run a saw when you don't have to "think" about what you are doing.

David W Pratt
05-25-2011, 08:12 AM
What fraction of person-saw uses is 40,000/year?
How many times have forum members used saws without cutting themselves?
I'm guessing millions.

Brian Palmer
05-25-2011, 08:14 AM
I have a friend that lost two fingers in his table saw. His hospital and rehab expenses were about $15,000, of which he paid about $3,200 out of pocket, not to mention the lost work time, and the docs were not able to save his two fingers.

Paul Pless
05-25-2011, 08:16 AM
Table saws are the country's most dangerous commonly used power tool.Is that really true, I would've thought that 'skilsaws' would cause many more injuries than a tablesaw.

As far as the sawstop technology is concerned, Delta and Powermatic are sure to incorporate it on their top line saws as soon as the patent expires next year. . .

boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 08:23 AM
Despite my opposition to government mandated saw stop, I think school woodshops should definitely use them.

Canoez
05-25-2011, 08:39 AM
As someone who uses a SawStop saw at the school where I teach, I'll say that when using the thing, you still have respect for that spinning blade. Period.

ishmael
05-25-2011, 08:59 AM
I've never worked with a tool that had it, so I should probably keep my yap shut. How does it differentiate between a finger and wet piece of stock?

I got bit by a table saw once. It was a 12 inch Unisaw, a very nice tool, well set up with a large plywood surface around it. It bit me when it kicked unexpectedly. It chewed up my right hand a bit, but no stitches.

People who cut off fingers on a tablesaw are either fools, or are simply not paying attention. Like any other big whirring blade, you pay your obeisance to the gods before you start.

Hot Air
05-25-2011, 09:00 AM
Nearly took the end of a finger off a few weeks ago. Went through the bone at the tip, but managed not to come out the other side - cat-like refexes and all. Apparently when the little blade thingy is spinning one should not place their finger on it. My hand modelling career is over.

botebum
05-25-2011, 09:05 AM
How does it differentiate between a finger and wet piece of stock?Someone here could take the time to tell you or ... you could google it for yourself. You're a big boy Jack. Why don't you try it by yourself for once.

Doug

Bruce Hooke
05-25-2011, 09:15 AM
People who cut off fingers on a tablesaw are either fools, or are simply not paying attention.

The idea that nobody will get hurt as long as they are paying attention was used to justify all sorts of stuff that we no longer consider safe. It is human nature to allow our attention to slip occasionally so a good safety system should allow for that.

wizbang 13
05-25-2011, 09:16 AM
sobering thread

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 09:18 AM
But Bruce, we should not expect it to work. We hope it will as any should hope it does, but sh**t happens...

boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 09:41 AM
The key words here are "no equivalent safety invention." The fact that other tools are also dangerous is irrelevant. If a dangerous product can be made safer for a reasonable cost, the safety equipment should be required.

In the U.S., the annual cost of table-saw related injuries is 2.13 BILLION dollars. The injured people don't pay that -- most of the expense is paid by other people, in the form of taxes or higher insurance premiums.

For the sake of argument, assume that the lifetime of the average saw is ten years. Over a 10-year period, the cost of injuries would be $21.3 billion. I don't know how many saws are in use, but it's obvious the cost of saw-related injuries FAR EXCEEDS $100 per saw. ($21 billion divided by $100/saw = 200 million saws ... But there can't be anyone NEAR that many saws in use.)

A government mandated "saw stop" would SHIFT the costs away other people and put them on the people who are actually USING the equipment. That's fair and reasonable.

And we could all reduce injuries due to falling if we dressed like this.
http://dewittpublicschoolsfoundation.org/Portals/12/In-line-skating-018.jpg

htom
05-25-2011, 09:46 AM
Oh good grief. Save us from ourselves, Oh Father Government!

The math being used doesn't add the cost of the repair of the saw after the brake triggers. Minor compared to the cost of reattaching a finger, I know.

Had a fight with a bench saw. I knew what I was doing. I'd cut nineteen of the twenty identical pieces, and was doing the twentieth when Holly walked by ... WHAM! Who's throwing the red paint around? Where's my chair leg? Why am I dizzy?

Great doctor saved my index finger, I'd cut it lengthwise, top and bottom, down to the bone. Ninety-four stitches over three hours. Doc was a cosmetic surgeon, doing ER work to pay off his student loans. Glad it was a slow night and he had the time to do such a good job. I've got 95% motion. Thank you, Dr. Mark.

PhaseLockedLoop
05-25-2011, 09:54 AM
Back in the late '50 and early '60s, we thought it was amusing that every one of our shop teachers had missing fingers. There were six or seven different ones. I don't think any of them planed their fingers off.

So how do people here feel about the law that requires a riving blade on all new table saws?

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 09:57 AM
When is the coddling going to end? Sure, table saws are dangerous, they are used to cut wood..Of course, they can cut off a finger. If someone's shoe laces are untied, they can cause hip injuries of one sort or another.I guess that calls for a warning. If one climbs a ladder to the top wrung, yup, the ladder can collapse..No Sh**T Sherlock....Think..don't let someone do your thinking for you...If one buys a "hot" cup of coffee at Macdonalds..Expect it to be hot..not warm, or tepid, but hot. If you dump it in your lap..Guess what, that is your issue....You would probably complain it wasn't hot....and sue...

Canoez
05-25-2011, 09:59 AM
While I'm not in favor of mandating the Saw Stop feature (there are some things that it will not let you do on a table saw...) I should mention that the repair of the saw is relatively inexpensive. IIRC, the cartridges that include the brake and electronics are around $70 and whatever you paid for the saw blade.

When we purchased the saw last fall, we bought two spare cartridges and I assumed that in the course of a year of students (7 or 8 classes with an average of 8 students per class for two semesters...) that we would have someone trip the feature with wet wood or an "incidental" contact. I don't know if we've been lucky or what, but any table saw still commands respect amongst the students.

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:02 AM
Repair comes after the injury....Defeats the purpose...

PhaseLockedLoop
05-25-2011, 10:02 AM
Stops sound like a logical move on table saws but I sense that some here in the real world will end up expecting the break to work and when it fails!!!!...Users become a bit blase when operating one. In fact, they may take chances with tools that they may not have normally taken. It's easy to run a saw when you don't have to "think" about what you are doing.

Yes, a familiar argument. Seat belts will encourage people to drive recklessly and so forth. It's true sometimes: football players do use their heads as battering rams more frequently when they have hi-tech helmets. But to favor dangerous tools in order to make people more careful?

If you want an example of witless government intrusion, take the recall of a few million venetian blinds because a few kids had managed to hang themselves in the loop of twine that raises and lowers the blinds. They should have required all kids under six to wear neck shields.

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:04 AM
Repair comes after the injury....Defeats the purpose...

Sorry, Jamie - I guess I don't understand what you're trying to say here. Defeats the purpose of what?

Sure - you replace the cartridge and blade after the injury, but you put on a band-aid instead of a $$$ hospital visit and potential loss of work, etc...

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:06 AM
Having been an EMT and having been to a lot of accidents, I did not need to have a gov. agency say I should or have to implement what they have mandated...That is common sense. Something that seems to be losing nationwide..Someone else has to dictate to me what I have to do..I'm tired of it...I knew long before the gov. got into this issue that using cellphones while driving was distracting...No kidding! DUH......

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:09 AM
Sorry, Jamie - I guess I don't understand what you're trying to say here. Defeats the purpose of what?

Sure - you replace the cartridge and blade after the injury, but you put on a band-aid instead of a $$$ hospital visit and potential loss of work, etc... Point..you dicover the "stop" doesn't work...You are unaware of that fact as you are counting it to work . You only find out that it didn't when you are searching around in the sawdust looking for your finger...

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:12 AM
Ok - let's put it another way.

How many people above in this thread, that you would consider intelligent, reasonable and capable people - perfectly able to use a table saw in a "safe manner" - have had an accident using a saw that lead to a catastrophic result?

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:19 AM
Point..you dicover the "stop" doesn't work...You are unaware of that fact as you are counting it to work . You only find out that it didn't when you are searching around in the sawdust looking for your finger...

Well, at that point you probably have a legitimate gripe against the manufacturer for selling a defective product. To be quite honest, I don't know what the SawStop's "failure rate" is - we looked for, but didn't find any information about that prior to purchasing the saw. I'd be interested in hearing if there have been any cases where the product didn't work as advertised. It is possible to test that the electronics will fire the cartridge, BTW. On the switch panel are a series of lights which tell you the saw's status. There are also two switches, one a "power switch" to start up the saw's safety features. The other is a magnetic paddle stop switch that you pull to actually start and stop the blade turning. (and a key switch to disable the safety feature if required...) With the power switch "on" if you touch the stationary blade with your finger, a piece of metal or wet/conductive wood, fault lights will show that the safety would trigger.

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:20 AM
When a machine, which is dangerous, is used with certain technologies to limit harm (safety provisions installed), It is not a matter of brains or diligence, or any other factor you want to put into the equation, it is taking chances because one thinks that those safety measures are working and relying that those safety measures will continue to work as they are supposed to..If you have to repair those safety features because you find out they don't work, you may have already discovered that ummm defect the hard way....

boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 10:23 AM
Ok - let's put it another way.

How many people above in this thread, that you would consider intelligent, reasonable and capable people - perfectly able to use a table saw in a "safe manner" - have had an accident using a saw that lead to a catastrophic result?


Likewise many good drivers have been in horrible accidents, but all cars shouldn't have racecar like roll cages.

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:26 AM
Likewise many good drivers have been in horrible accidents, but all cars shouldn't have racecar like roll cages.

True, but it has lead to the development of and government requiring things like safety glass, airbags, seat-belts, anti-lock brakes, etc...

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:30 AM
True, but it has lead to the development of and government requiring things like safety glass, airbags, seat-belts, anti-lock brakes, etc... All of those are true..No reason to question them but all of those are examples in cars..not home appliances and manual use of said tools, such as say a table saw..That's comparing apples to oranges.

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:33 AM
Bottom line, I don't care if these shop tools have safety features no matter what they are. I will still use them as if they don't exist...

Paul Pless
05-25-2011, 10:35 AM
another thing to note is that it does nothing to prevent injuries from kickback

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:35 AM
Not so sure that's it's not a good comparison, Jamie - first, you pay for all of those things in the car - putting the safety costs on the driver, not the insurance company/society. Do you think these features make people drive recklessly? I'd say no - people will still drive like idiots if they wish to. I would say that from what I've observed of people using the Saw Stop saw, they don't treat it with any less respect than the Delta Unisaw that's right next to it - no reckless use because it has the safety features.

Still, some people will use tablesaws like an idiot.

IIRC, one of the biggest issues that has gone on of late is a guy suing Ryobi in the State of Massachusetts because the Ryobi didn't have "Saw Stop" technology. Never mind that he removed all of the guards from the machine and failed to follow the manufacturer's instructions... Now THAT is ludicrous.

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:37 AM
another thing to note is that it does nothing to prevent injuries from kickback

Nope. The riving knife helps, as does the overhead guard with anti-kickback pawls, but you have to USE them for them to work - even 75% of the time.

Canoez
05-25-2011, 10:37 AM
Bottom line, I don't care if these shop tools have safety features no matter what they are. I will still use them as if they don't exist...

YES! Absolutely!

Osborne Russell
05-25-2011, 10:40 AM
The idea that nobody will get hurt as long as they are paying attention was used to justify all sorts of stuff that we no longer consider safe.

True but that doesn't mean this is that kind of thing.



It is human nature to allow our attention to slip occasionally so a good safety system should allow for that.

Key word is "good". I don't know how much crap came with my saw because as I soon as I figured out how lame and cheesy and therefore dangerous it all was (about 10 minutes), I threw it away. Now I have a bunch of jigs and custom push sticks. I have different setups and procedures for different jobs which has the advantage of reminding me of the particulars of the various situations. It's a hassle but better than cutting into your hand.

I don't see how there can be a mechanical solution to a lack of attention. If we're going to spend tax money, why not have an institute that publishes a free magazine on safety, procedures, jigs, etc?

Dan McCosh
05-25-2011, 10:41 AM
I have two badly mangled left-hand fingers due to a table saw "accident". The last thing I remember thinking just before it happened was "You know, this is a pretty stupid thing to be doing..."

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 10:45 AM
Hopefully they will not use household tools recklessly but with added features implemented in their construction may make them more reckless..As far as cars are concerned. Safety glass probably does not compute in the minds of the average driver..As far as safety and power tools, hopefully you don't use them recklessly but the "idea" that there are features in the creation of those tools to protect the user, I suspect there are a lot of people out there who rely on those safety options when they do use them...
ps..anyone who is not using seat belts is tech. driving recklessly in my opinion.
Anyone who uses a cell phone while driving is driving recklessly....Do they do it? Yup!
pps I did not bring up car safety measures first..someone else did in a previous post

Sam F
05-25-2011, 11:01 AM
I wish somebody made a retro-fit for my old Sears tablesaw. I'd buy it.

Sam F
05-25-2011, 11:03 AM
...
Frankly, I think one thing that would make a table saw MUCH safer is a precision fence system...

That's right. My saw's fence cost way more than the saw and it has almost entirely eliminated other problems.

boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 11:10 AM
True, but it has lead to the development of and government requiring things like safety glass, airbags, seat-belts, anti-lock brakes, etc...

Most of those things the government shouldn't require.

Captain Intrepid
05-25-2011, 11:51 AM
All of those are true..No reason to question them but all of those are examples in cars..not home appliances and manual use of said tools, such as say a table saw..That's comparing apples to oranges.

Why require costly safety measures in one type of dangerous tool, but not others? Cars are just tools.

S.V. Airlie
05-25-2011, 11:55 AM
Why require costly safety measures in one type of dangerous tool, but not others? Cars are just tools. Most of the safety measures in cars are different to home tools..Most people do not even think about how cars are put together..I see a big difference between the two...Apples and oranges again...

Bobcat
05-25-2011, 12:06 PM
The bigger issue is whether the coming flood of lawsuits against saw manufacturers that don't put the stop saw device on their products will force the manufacturers to do so. I think over time we will see just that happen.

I once served as an arbitrator on the case of a kid suing the school district and his shop teacher for a table saw injury. I ruled against him. It wasn't the school or the saw, it was operator error

SMARTINSEN
05-25-2011, 12:09 PM
I am conflicted about this, and like many here, use the table saw almost every day. I cannot ever see myself buying a new table saw, but definitely may consider classic old iron. One of the questions that comes up is what will happen to all of those older saws that do not have the latest technology. Like SamF mentioned, a retrofit would be a great idea.

Maybe Mike Hanyi could chime in with his thoughts or Gary Porter, or........


Most accidents seem to occur while engaged in ripping.

Captain Intrepid
05-25-2011, 12:11 PM
Of course they'd be different, they operate in different ways and have different means of crippling you. Show me someone who'd use a stopsaw table saw without respect and I'll show you someone who'd use a normal tablesaw without respect.

boatbuddha
05-25-2011, 12:27 PM
The bigger issue is whether the coming flood of lawsuits against saw manufacturers that don't put the stop saw device on their products will force the manufacturers to do so. I think over time we will see just that happen.

I once served as an arbitrator on the case of a kid suing the school district and his shop teacher for a table saw injury. I ruled against him. It wasn't the school or the saw, it was operator error

Sawstop has been around for years and there hasn't been a flood yet.

Bobcat
05-25-2011, 12:37 PM
Sawstop has been around for years and there hasn't been a flood yet.

I may have overstated a flood, but there will be lawsuits and that pressure will be felt on the other manufacturers

Ed Harrow
05-25-2011, 12:43 PM
A well respected shop of my aquaintance has a Sawstop. Saved them a bundle on insurance. It's a nice saw to boot. One day I saw one of the hired hands (summer intern) running boards thru the saw, his fingers between the blade and the fence. The fence was, at most, 2" from the blade...

The only issue I've had with a tablesaw is kickback, one quite spectacular, leaving the table at about a 40-degree trajectory, hitting the floor (saw is in the basement) at about the band joist, right under SWMTMH's feet. Woke her right up, it did. It's a good thing to engage one's 'fear gear' first.

With respect to bandsaws - well I confess, with about a 6 person audience present, to running the tip of my left index finger right into one of Highland Hardware's finest Woodslicer blades. Several bandaids later it was still bleeding, but not as much ;). Bandsaws seem way less scary than tablesaws...

Canoez
05-25-2011, 12:47 PM
Did you ever notice that a butcher's shop uses bandsaws? ;)

Waddie
05-25-2011, 12:50 PM
When I was teaching we had a Saw Stop model saw and it worked as advertised. OF COURSE you teach safety, but this saw is a litigation preventer!! Sounded like a .22 round when it went off. Stopped the blade almost immediately, as one poster cited---only a bandaid injury. You ruin the blade and must install another cartridge, but it's only $70. Installing a new cartridge is a 5 minute job. Besides being safer, the saw is very well made.

You cannot cut wood with a high moisture content like treated lumber with the safety feature engaged, but you have a key that allows you to disable the safety feature which makes the saw a typical table saw which can cut wet wood.

BTW., no-one was allowed into the shop without wearing safety glasses and hardhat--at all times, even if you were just eating lunch. Had a box by the door with glasses and hardhats for visitors and several big signs posted. Some of the Board members felt that rule didn't apply to them--but they found out it did. Just forming good habits.

This saw was one of the best tools I ever bought, and hasn't yet wobbled out of spec despite being run by students. Wish I could say the same for the slide action miter saw !!!

regards,
Waddie

BarnacleGrim
05-25-2011, 12:58 PM
Why hardhats? For kickback, you'd need riot helmets. But let's not give them any ideas.

As for the sawstop, it sounds reasonable to me. Over here dado blades aren't allowed, but I don't know exactly what's dangerous about them.

htom
05-25-2011, 01:02 PM
... Frankly, I think one thing that would make a table saw MUCH safer is a precision fence system. ...

Amen. Great lighting helps, too.

SawStop is the last "safety device" in the chain, and works by destroying the saw's usability. Work so it will never go off because it should.

George Jung
05-25-2011, 01:03 PM
I don't know anyone who would be less careful with a safety equiped table saw, than with one without. It'd be like being told 'that plane prop has a safety feature - go walk right

into it' - I don't think so! Besides, even done lackadaisically, you'd be shelling out $70 plus a new blade everytime you tripped it. That said, I don't have that feature - but I've set

my saw up with feather boards , including one over the front of the blade, which decreases risk - but doesn't eliminate it. BTW, that top featherboard markedly decreases kickback.

I had one 'memorable' kickback, early on - shot a cedarstrip across the room, and right through my radio. It was like an arrow.

I follow safety protocol to the letter - no hurry, no shortcuts. Never stand behind the piece you're running through the saw. I wear a respirator, safetyglasses, hearing protection. Before I start, I look at my setup, and try to see - am I missing anything?

The comment about cost of injuries vs cost of safety left out the most important factor - disability. That one is for life.

bobbys
05-25-2011, 01:05 PM
OSHA already requires a guard on table saws..

Cannot figure out how to use a table saw with a guard on it but apparently its a very safe idea as one will never use it.

When i had my crew we kept one out in front with a guard on and we used one in the back naked to the world.

Actually i meant me as i would never allow my guys to go near a table saw.

If there was a saw stop for fingers i imajine people would lose even more respect for a table saw.

I cringe watching people using a table saw the wrong way.

Bobcat
05-25-2011, 01:05 PM
Amen. Great lighting helps, too.

SawStop is the last "safety device" in the chain, and works by destroying the saw's usability. Work so it will never go off because it should.

Have you used a sawstop? My brother has one and has never complained that the devise detracts from the usefulness of the saw. I don't understand the nature of your comment

Dan McCosh
05-25-2011, 01:13 PM
I seem to recall that the device destroys the saw when it saves your hand.

Nicholas Carey
05-25-2011, 01:16 PM
The math being used doesn't add the cost of the repair of the saw after the brake triggers. Minor compared to the cost of reattaching a finger, I know.Lessee, when the SawStop cartridge trips, you're out ~ $69 for a new cartidge and, since the blade usually winds up welded to the cartridge (all that energy, in the form of heat, has to go somewhere), you'll most likely be buying a new blade ($125 or so, if you spring for a swanky high-end Forrest blade, less otherwise). Less than $200 per incident, compared to just the almost certain cost of an trauma center visit (figure that as starting at probably $1000-$1500 or so, if the injury is relatively minor). Then figure in the cost of reduced insurance premiums for the business (lower Workman's Comp and liability premiums to start, dunno about health insurance for the workers).

PhaseLockedLoop
05-25-2011, 01:18 PM
I seem to recall that the device destroys the saw when it saves your hand.


Well, it doesn't.

Nicholas Carey
05-25-2011, 01:23 PM
The bigger issue is whether the coming flood of lawsuits against saw manufacturers that don't put the stop saw device on their products will force the manufacturers to do so. I think over time we will see just that happen.That's actually one of the reasons Delta, Powermatic, et al., weren't interested in the technology: they were worried that if they adopted the newer, safer technology, they would open themselves up to liability suits from injuries caused by their older producten. Classic CYA.

Bobcat
05-25-2011, 01:25 PM
That's actually one of the reasons Delta, Powermatic, et al., weren't interested in the technology: they were worried that if they adopted the newer, safer technology, they would open themselves up to liability suits from injuries caused by their older producten. Classic CYA.

You gotta love the legal system (eyes rolling here)

Canoez
05-25-2011, 01:31 PM
I seem to recall that the device destroys the saw when it saves your hand.
No - just replaceable components.

Dan McCosh
05-25-2011, 01:33 PM
I don't think I've seen mandate quite like this, where one company has a proprietary design, and the law would effectively eliminate all competitive designs and put that company in a position to sell licenses to all its competition. The effectiveness of the design seems demonstrated, but the regulation would raise some thorny legal issues. FWIW, the Sawstop saws start at about $1,500 and go up from there. Interestingly, there is a similar trend in auto safety, where what had been performance standards have become mandates for specific technology. A noticeable trend has developed where companies approach regulators to mandate their product.

PhaseLockedLoop
05-25-2011, 01:44 PM
If one buys a "hot" cup of coffee at Macdonalds..Expect it to be hot..not warm, or tepid, but hot. If you dump it in your lap.

That gets bought up a lot. The coffee in that incident was not just hot, it was just short of boiling. The idea of giving a person driving a car a cup of something that will seriously damage them--or others--if spilled is either careless or stupid. Most such coffee is in the 170-degree area, and after that lawsuit all such coffee is, and no one is suing anyone for serving 170-degree "cold coffee". God knows there are plenty of stupid lawsuits, but that isn't one of 'em.

PhaseLockedLoop
05-25-2011, 01:56 PM
Ok - let's put it another way.

How many people above in this thread, that you would consider intelligent, reasonable and capable people - perfectly able to use a table saw in a "safe manner" - have had an accident using a saw that lead to a catastrophic result?

Here's another way to put the question: how many woodworkers and wooden boatbuilders have you seen with mangled hands?

You don't have to be a careless person overall to do something careless. I've just been reading C.J.Peters, the virus hunter, who wrote that only people with extensive training and experience in low-risk situations should be using a scalpel or needle in level-4 biocontainment circumstances, and even then some of them cut themselves or stabbed themselves with needles, often (but not always) when working with animals. It usually happened when the person was distracted for an instant, or when something was unexpectedly hard, or easy, to cut.

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 02:13 PM
Good point. I've never gotten even remotely close enough to the spinning blade to risk injury... but I've had LOTS of kickback.

Frankly, I think one thing that would make a table saw MUCH safer is a precision fence system. The biggest drawback of the cheapie 'big box store' table saw I own is the fact that I have to manually align the fence to the blade each and every time. Even the expensive table saws I see in the stores, the ones with geared fences, still have a lot of 'play' in the system, and if you lock it down without carefully aligning the fence to be parallel to the blade, the chances of kickback are high.

In fact, just last night, it happened to me. No personal damage, but the kickback resulted in a deep gouge in a piece of 3/4" teak lamination that I made myself, out of alternating layers of 1/4" teak strip. Thankfully, I'll be able to use the piece in a way which won't show the gouge.

Hey Norman!

I've got every alarm bell in the place gong great guns after reading your post!

If you're setting the fence parallel with the miter slots in the table, as you say you are, then it is almost certain that the blade itself is not parallel with the miter slots.

It's easy to check, and it could save you much grief.

I hope you will take my advice. You would be able to post only half as much with fewer fingers! :)

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 02:27 PM
I seem to recall that the device destroys the saw when it saves your hand.


Well, it doesn't.

Taking Dan to be using the correct term for what we've become accustomed to calling a 'saw blade', it does indeed destroy the saw.

A good saw(blade) will set you back another $75 and with procurement costs, you're easily $150~200 and a couple of bandaids behind, by the time it all blows over. Not bad as a comparison with $15K and lots of recovery time, but I won't be buying one.

Waddie
05-25-2011, 03:23 PM
Let me address some issues. I taught building and property maintenance and construction technology, and college related engineering classes. I am also an OSHA field trainer. And lead abatement trainer, among other certifications and licenses.

Not all construction related "businesses" are regulated by OSHA. Schools are exempt. Public utilities are exempt. Some states have their own OSHA type programs and are pretty much exempt. Residential construction is NOT exempt, but OSHA hasn't focused on it -- yet -- there is a program in the works to enforce residential coming up. While schools are exempt, most of the students being trained in those exempt schools will eventually go to work for OSHA regulated companies and/or unions. Therefore the hardhats; and following all OSHA rules while being trained, even if the school doesn't have to. That's why every student also needs lead abatement training--it's mandated now. FWIW, I hope none of you are out there doing remodel work without the lead abatement training--you're in violation. You can still work on your own property.

The Saw Stop welds the blade to the aluminum stop unit when triggered. With a LOT of effort you can separate the blade from the unit but you will lose a bunch of the carbide teeth, and the blade most likely will be warped. You can have new teeth welded back on and the blade trued but often the cost isn't worth it. In a school setting, you're foolish to use an expensive blade anyways.

It is unlikely that any manufacturer would lose a lawsuit filed by someone injured by a saw that was in production BEFORE the Saw Stop technology became available. It's a different matter if the technology is off copyright. BTW, don't bother sueing if you remove the guard from your particular saw, however, your injured employee and/or the insurance company probably will sue you.

MacDonalds had many complaints about how hot the coffee was BEFORE the incident that led to the lawsuit. They knew it was scalding hot, but it stayed fresh longer at the higher temp. The complaintant was SERIOUSLY scalded by the coffee, and even after the incident MacDonalds didn't lower the temp until the story hit the media.

regards,
Waddie

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 03:32 PM
Nope... read again: I said parallel with the blade.... I said nothing about being parallel with any mitre slots.


Ok, now the alarms are all melting down, so at least I can hear myself think!

First, it is not at all that I mistrust your ability. I understand you to be generally competent.

Believe me!

If I thought you were a nidgit, I wouldn't give you this advice:

Unplug the saw.

Raise the blade as high as it will go.

Ensure that the blade is square to the table.

Lower the blade to normal height and plug in the saw.

Use your miter gauge and cut off a nice square-section or wider piece of hardwood about 8~10" long.

Unplug the saw.

Remove the drive-belt, if it's easy.

Arrange the cut-off you made earlier so that one hand clamps it to the miter gauge, while the cut end addresses the side of the saw teeth nearest you. Begin gently introducing the wood into the blade as you turn the blade with your finger tips until you feel it or hear it touch the teeth.

Even excellent blades on high-dollar saws are not necessarily flat when they're not spinning, so just assume you'll find that the blade is not dead-nuts 90 degrees to the mandrel.

You will be able quickly to find the tooth closest to the miter gauge slot and generously mark the tooth with a Sharpie.

Arrange the stick so that it barely scrapes/nudges/kisses/ the marked tooth as you had it before.

Then, with the stick firmly held to the miter gauge, move them down the slot together so that the cut end lines up with the teeth as they leave the table, and bring your marked tooth around to meet it.

Now you can examine the parallelism of the saw and the miter gauge slot, and adjust that condition as needed.

So, you ask yourself, 'WTF do I wanna do all that for?'

And I answer, 'Because you can then use the miter slot to set the fence parallel with the blade! Because that straight slot is roughly 5 times longer than the blade's exposure through the table, setting the fence parallel to the saw by using the slot as zero and measuring to the same degree of accuracy you are using now to set the fence parallel with the blade, the smoothness and efficiency and safety of your table saw will be vastly improved.'

That's what I would say.

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 03:37 PM
...
MacDonalds had many complaints about how hot the coffee was BEFORE the incident that led to the lawsuit. They knew it was scalding hot, but it stayed fresh longer at the higher temp. The complaintant was SERIOUSLY scalded by the coffee, and even after the incident MacDonalds didn't lower the temp until the story hit the media.

regards,
Waddie

Not only that, but the lid was not secured to the cup, so when the woman grasped the cup, it collapsed, drenching her lady-parts id a pint of scalding hot coffee.

All she wanted from them, at first, was for them to take care of her medical bills, but they wouldn't listen.

Canoeyawl
05-25-2011, 03:39 PM
There are tablesaws and there are table saws. They will all cut flesh and bone without a blink, but a real saw, say a 12" with a five+ hp motor will launch a 2x4 right across the shop. and impale you or a co-worker. They will never be safe. Everytime you use one you are taking your life (or parts of it) in your hands.

I think it will be quite a coup requiring everyone to purchase this company's product if this gets through .

Paul Pless
05-25-2011, 03:41 PM
There are tablesaws and there are table saws. They will all cut flesh and bone without a blink, but a real saw, say a 12" with a five+ hp motor will launch a 2x4 right across the shop. and impale you or a co-worker. They will never be safe. Everytime you use one you are taking your life (or parts of it) in your hands.

I think it will be quite a coup requiring everyone to purchase this company's product if this gets through .What kind do you have?;):D

Mine is merely a 3HP Unisaw and it scares the hell out of me from time to time.

McMike
05-25-2011, 03:42 PM
The shop I work for has gone completely over to Saw Stops because it's that much cheaper in insurance premiums. I think the industry is moving fast towards the tech because they know how hard it is to loose a good employee for months while they nurse a partial or full amputation, every shop has at least one story and at least one short fingered guy who is a lot more careful than everyone else on the saw.

Paul Pless
05-25-2011, 03:47 PM
FWIW, The most dangerous thing I see done with tablesaws is with job-site saws and with crews placing them on the ground instead of a proper stand and then leaning over the saw, often using the saw or the workpiece to support their weight. Very dangerous.

wardd
05-25-2011, 03:48 PM
When a machine, which is dangerous, is used with certain technologies to limit harm (safety provisions installed), It is not a matter of brains or diligence, or any other factor you want to put into the equation, it is taking chances because one thinks that those safety measures are working and relying that those safety measures will continue to work as they are supposed to..If you have to repair those safety features because you find out they don't work, you may have already discovered that ummm defect the hard way....

but what if you do feed your fingers to the saw and you find that it does work?

Waddie
05-25-2011, 03:50 PM
There are tablesaws and there are table saws. They will all cut flesh and bone without a blink, but a real saw, say a 12" with a five+ hp motor will launch a 2x4 right across the shop. and impale you or a co-worker. They will never be safe. Everytime you use one you are taking your life (or parts of it) in your hands.

I think it will be quite a coup requiring everyone to purchase this company's product if this gets through .

The saw stop feature is just one more safety feature, and a good one. But there is no way to make any tool 100% safe nor idiot proof. I don't think the government will have to be the one mandating saw stop for all table saws, fear of litigation will make it nearly universal over time.

When I bought my Snapper push mower there was a small written warning in the manual; "do not pick up mower while running" (or something like that). I called Snapper and asked why this warning was in there. Two guys had picked up (or tried to) a Snapper mower while running to cut a hedge. Then sued when they were injured. Snapper settled.

regards,
Waddie

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 03:54 PM
Ahhh, OK.. that is an entirely different kettle of fish!!!!

I haven't done that kind of alignment; I've found that by elevating the blade as much as possible, and measuring with a decent scale from the inside edge of an inward tooth, to the fence, on both ends of the blade, I can come more than close enough for a good, accurate cut. I've used this to cut slots for splines when joining long boards (I don't have a dado blade set, so it takes a couple of passes), and the splines fit snugly. I agree that if you can reference the fence to the mitre slot, you get some additional measurment 'leverage'.... but this is a small cheapie table saw, and the table isn't all that deep. Regardless, it's still a secondary measurement, so aligning the blade to the fence is arguably capable of being more accurate than aligning the blade to the3 mitre slot, then the mitre slot to the fence.... less chance of error.

I knew you'd get it!

'Measurement leverage'. That's a keeper.

I would just point out that my way is a lot faster, once it's set, because you don't have to 1) take two inside dimensions, every time you set the fence, 2) You can use a steel tape, and 3) your miter gauge will miraculously become an asset rather than a perennial candidate for the recycling bin!

All the best from Tejas, Norman!

John T

Canoeyawl
05-25-2011, 04:01 PM
What kind do you have?;):D

Mine is merely a 3HP Unisaw and it scares the hell out of me from time to time.

Well, I used to have a Wadkins 12" in the boat shop and that was a fine saw. But these days I have scaled down to an old Atlas Press Company 10" with a 5hp motor. I like it because it has a caster system that will let me jack it up and move it around the shop. It will eat up twelve quarter white oak as fast as you dare to push it through.

edit to add; This little gizmo should be in every shop if you are considering aligning anything.

http://www.lathemaster.com/images/dial_indicator_with_base.jpg

skuthorp
05-25-2011, 04:21 PM
I have an old bench with a new 12" planing blade and a 5hp motor. I have not used it yet as it has no safety mechanisms that I'd call even minimal and the blade is VERY sharp. I have built a gard and the fence is coming but I'd not thought of buying the saw stop set up for it, I'll look into it now. I think for schools saw stop should be a requirement, but the spinning blade gives caution enough no matter how much you are told it is "safe". I think.

wardd
05-25-2011, 04:24 PM
any employer that does not have it is foolish

Paul Pless
05-25-2011, 04:25 PM
edit to add; This little gizmo should be in every shop if you are considering aligning anything.

http://www.lathemaster.com/images/dial_indicator_with_base.jpgno doubt

wardd
05-25-2011, 04:28 PM
Well, I used to have a Wadkins 12" in the boat shop and that was a fine saw. But these days I have scaled down to an old Atlas Press Company 10" with a 5hp motor. I like it because it has a caster system that will let me jack it up and move it around the shop. It will eat up twelve quarter white oak as fast as you dare to push it through.

edit to add; This little gizmo should be in every shop if you are considering aligning anything.

http://www.lathemaster.com/images/dial_indicator_with_base.jpg

a bit of advice on using dial indicators, choke up on all the rods and the indicator will be more solid and give more accurate readings

you want to get as much possible flex out of the set up and if your indicating a work piece if possible move the work piece and leave the indicator in one place

ishmael
05-25-2011, 04:36 PM
A couple of unsolicited bits of advice re table saws.

Keep your fence tuned up, which means a slight angle away from the blade. An awful lot of accidents occur when you pinch, and the saw kicks.

Keep your fingers away from the back of the blade. There are times when you have to be back there for this piece or that, but be respectful. It's amazing how quickly back becomes front.

Keep the saw low. If you can see the teeth, that's high enough. Maybe just a smidge higher.

Offered by your friendly shop guy, Ishmael.

John Meachen
05-25-2011, 05:44 PM
It always amazes me to see the resistance to safety precautions on sawbenches that seem to crop up on this forum.Living in a country where everybody contributes to the cost of universal healthcare,we all have a vested interest in preventing injury and any properly set up saw will minimise the risks.Not eliminate them because there is no known cure for stupidity.The Sawstop seems to be an excellent idea and like most safety devices,should be the last line of defence after careful methods have failed.I was astonished to see an earlier post that said riving knives may soon become mandatory,as they have been universal here for decades,as have crown guards.I have the impression that it is a matter of honour to American woodworkers to remove such devices for some reason.The desire to see what the saw is doing is often mentioned,as if the saw does anything but cut wood.

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 05:50 PM
...
edit to add; This little gizmo should be in every shop if you are considering aligning anything.

http://www.lathemaster.com/images/dial_indicator_with_base.jpg

Yep, those are nice, but the method I outlined for Norman will get you very close.

It's also possible to set up a jointer with a scrap of hardwood as a gauge, but it ain' no picnic!

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 05:54 PM
It always amazes me to see the resistance to safety precautions on sawbenches that seem to crop up on this forum.Living in a country where everybody contributes to the cost of universal healthcare,we all have a vested interest in preventing injury and any properly set up saw will minimise the risks.Not eliminate them because there is no known cure for stupidity.The Sawstop seems to be an excellent idea and like most safety devices,should be the last line of defence after careful methods have failed.I was astonished to see an earlier post that said riving knives may soon become mandatory,as they have been universal here for decades,as have crown guards.I have the impression that it is a matter of honour to American woodworkers to remove such devices for some reason.The desire to see what the saw is doing is often mentioned,as if the saw does anything but cut wood.

I believe your impression is largely incorrect.

Because they want a hedge against lawsuits, our manufacturers put cheap, useless junk on their saws that masquerades as safety equipment, but is in reality dangerous and unwieldy. therefore, we take them off.

Your manufacturers, on the other hand, are mandated to provide safety features that actually work, and so they provide them.

htom
05-25-2011, 05:57 PM
It always amazes me to see the resistance to safety precautions on sawbenches that seem to crop up on this forum.Living in a country where everybody contributes to the cost of universal healthcare,we all have a vested interest in preventing injury and any properly set up saw will minimise the risks.Not eliminate them because there is no known cure for stupidity.The Sawstop seems to be an excellent idea and like most safety devices,should be the last line of defence after careful methods have failed.I was astonished to see an earlier post that said riving knives may soon become mandatory,as they have been universal here for decades,as have crown guards.I have the impression that it is a matter of honour to American woodworkers to remove such devices for some reason.The desire to see what the saw is doing is often mentioned,as if the saw does anything but cut wood.

The primary objections are to (a) the government requiring the purchase of technology from a single vendor and (b) that vendor appearently refusing to license that technology at a low price and (c) the technology not being able to be retrofitted. There have not yet been calls for all of the "old iron" to be rounded up, but if this passes, in decade or two, there will be.

Canoeyawl
05-25-2011, 06:50 PM
Yep, those are nice, but the method I outlined for Norman will get you very close.

It's also possible to set up a jointer with a scrap of hardwood as a gauge, but it ain' no picnic!
Yes, That is a good test for spindle square to miter slots but this next item is the tricky part.

"Now <snip> adjust that condition as needed".

I can't imagine loosening and adjusting a spindle without a dial indicator. Life is just too short.

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 07:54 PM
Yes, That is a good test for spindle square to miter slots but this next item is the tricky part.

"Now <snip> adjust that condition as needed".

I can't imagine loosening and adjusting a spindle without a dial indicator. Life is just too short.

Well, on most table saws, the entire trunnion assembly gets moved into alignment, as I'm sure you are aware, so the trick is to find a way to move that puppy in increments of ~ .003".

Not so bad, really.

It's gonna move again as you try to tighten it, so trail and error is the name of that game.

I've never spent more than an hour getting one 'just so'.

Believe me, I have dial indicators, etc., and they're indispensable, but for Norman's purposes I think my technique could yield a surprising amount of satisfaction for little effort.

johnw
05-25-2011, 08:33 PM
How much does SawStop want to license their invention? It seems that every time it's used, it costs $70, and the cost increase is $100, so how much of that is going to SawStop?

It strikes me that the companies that make table saws have a defense for not having this technology on saws built before it was invented, but what's their defense for not having it once it became available? How much did they not want to pay SawStop per saw?

When I first heard of this technology, it was only going on specialty saws that cost thousands of dollars. Sounds like the price has come down considerably. I'll bet it would come down far more if it was on all the saws.

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 08:53 PM
How much does SawStop want to license their invention? It seems that every time it's used, it costs $70, and the cost increase is $100, so how much of that is going to SawStop?

It strikes me that the companies that make table saws have a defense for not having this technology on saws built before it was invented, but what's their defense for not having it once it became available? How much did they not want to pay SawStop per saw?

When I first heard of this technology, it was only going on specialty saws that cost thousands of dollars. Sounds like the price has come down considerably. I'll bet it would come down far more if it was on all the saws.

Once again, it's about money that would not have gone to Saw Stop.

As I understand the problem, the mechanism nearly encloses the blade, and, besides a LOT of extra clearance between trunnion and blade, it requires a massive trunnion to absorb the shock of stopping the blade without permanently destroying the arbor or its alignment.

That's one major, positive side-effect of this technology. It requires a massive chunk of cast iron in which to work its magic, and that translates into a smooth, stable saw.

The fact that Delta, etc. was looking at was that it would have required a total redesign of what mounts beneath the table, and a subsequent overhaul and retooling of their factories. In short, adopting SawStop would have cost them millions.

Someone mentioned, upthread, that the patent was going to expire?

I hope they let it expire.

I think that one surprise under the table on the new Unisaw may be they've made provision for a retrofit of some sort based on the technology.

Gerarddm
05-25-2011, 09:10 PM
We have Saw Stops exclusively at school, and I am bloody well glad we do. ( no pun intended )

Only two nit picky issues with them for me: not enough clearance between the vertical adjustment wheel and the start/stop assembly ( could use another, say .5 to 1.0 inch so I don't bang knuckles on my big mitts ), and the arbor needs to be longer to more easily fit a dado set.

Other than that, I love 'em.

TimH
05-25-2011, 09:14 PM
I tried to put sawstop on my chainsaw, but it broke and the shrapnel put out my eyes.

johnw
05-25-2011, 09:26 PM
Once again, it's about money that would not have gone to Saw Stop.

As I understand the problem, the mechanism nearly encloses the blade, and, besides a LOT of extra clearance between trunnion and blade, it requires a massive trunnion to absorb the shock of stopping the blade without permanently destroying the arbor or its alignment.

That's one major, positive side-effect of this technology. It requires a massive chunk of cast iron in which to work its magic, and that translates into a smooth, stable saw.

The fact that Delta, etc. was looking at was that it would have required a total redesign of what mounts beneath the table, and a subsequent overhaul and retooling of their factories. In short, adopting SawStop would have cost them millions.

Someone mentioned, upthread, that the patent was going to expire?

I hope they let it expire.

I think that one surprise under the table on the new Unisaw may be they've made provision for a retrofit of some sort based on the technology.

I was asking because of this:


I don't think I've seen mandate quite like this, where one company has a proprietary design, and the law would effectively eliminate all competitive designs and put that company in a position to sell licenses to all its competition. The effectiveness of the design seems demonstrated, but the regulation would raise some thorny legal issues. FWIW, the Sawstop saws start at about $1,500 and go up from there. Interestingly, there is a similar trend in auto safety, where what had been performance standards have become mandates for specific technology. A noticeable trend has developed where companies approach regulators to mandate their product.

So, my question is, will this really add only $100 to the cost of the table saw, or will it put table saws out of reach by making a $100 tool a $1,500 tool? It seems to me that's an important question, regardless of how much goes to SawStop. And someone mentioned that the other companies have complained about how much SawStop wants for the license, so I'd like to know how much that is.

Reynard38
05-25-2011, 09:57 PM
I've got an old 60's era unisaw with a 50" biesmeyer fence. I rebuilt the saw and fence and aligned it perfectly. I also always use a magnetic feather board. I always use a push stick and don't stand in the line of fire behind the blade.
Never had any kickback issues with this setup.

TimH
05-25-2011, 10:00 PM
Jinx

GaryK
05-25-2011, 10:17 PM
This thread got me thinking and scared myself a little. There's is a lotta missing fingers amongst carpenters out there, some I know personally. Even the last guy I met who built his own boat, held up his hand, 3 fingers and one thumb.
As an industrial issue, any trade that has a high injury rate deserves something to be done about it.

I own a table saw too, and it focusses the mind when ever I use it, because at the back of my mind I am wondering by the time I finish my boat will I still have all my digits in place?

ishmael
05-25-2011, 10:43 PM
The last commercial shop I worked had a big jointer, I don't know maybe 16 inch. Polish, nicely made. We were often working with large flitches, so any given day it was a good chance the fence and guards were off, so we could flatten one side. Another set of whirring blades that call for you to keep your wits about you.

oznabrag
05-25-2011, 11:13 PM
...my question is, will this really add only $100 to the cost of the table saw, or will it put table saws out of reach by making a $100 tool a $1,500 tool? It seems to me that's an important question, regardless of how much goes to SawStop. And someone mentioned that the other companies have complained about how much SawStop wants for the license, so I'd like to know how much that is.

Well...I just don't know the answer to that question.

To my way of thinking, what may end up happening is the disposable table saw.

In other words, building a machine that will stop a ~ 2-pound disk of 3500 RPM steel in nanoseconds is impressive, and building such a machine that will repeatedly survive that performance without needing to be re-trued, or scrapped, is expensive.

What I mean to say is that there is a healthy demand for a light, cheap table saw, and if it needs to have SawStop to be legally marketed, then it's gonna be disposable.

There are a lot of saws out there that sell for not much more than a decent blade plus a cartridge for that thing, soooo....

As I outlined above, the cost to manufacturers goes far beyond the actual, patented technology, by demanding complete reworkings of older designs to accommodate that technology.

Take the Unisaw, for instance. I know there are an awful lot of Unisaw devotees out there, right now, who are a little nervous about the continued support of their favorite table saw. Delta completely re-worked their Unisaw, and the new tool is completely different below the table. I'm not even sure whether the tables are compatible on the underside! The point is that one of the costs to Delta of introducing the New Unisaw (or whatever they're calling it) is maintaining parts inventory for the old Unisaw for as long as their consciences hold sway over their pockets.

It's a big ol' bucket o' worms!

Waddie
05-25-2011, 11:55 PM
You guys did hear about the British guy who lost his junk in a cement mixer accident a couple years back ? He was wearing baggy shorts and the guard was off the gear/belt drive. Grabbed him by the pant crotch and pulled his stuff right in............ouch !!!!!

regards,
Waddie

johnw
05-25-2011, 11:59 PM
Well, I'm beginning to see the point of the opponents, which is not where I started. If you buy a table saw for say $150-$200 and have to scrap it the first time someone demonstrates what happens to a hot dog, that's not so great, but you might still think it's worth it as long as you can be pretty sure it would only be scrapped if you would otherwise have lost a finger.

Blowtorch
05-26-2011, 12:12 AM
I once Ripped a piece of 12 quarter Red oak (actully it was Green Oak LOL) 16 foot long on my Radail Arm saw and it did OK but all the damage was to my Underpants!

andrewe
05-27-2011, 02:21 PM
Read all this with interest. I have a cheapy site saw. It makes a hell of a noise from it's crude gears and I therefore have great respect for it. The fence is rubbish and needs support from the side if long stock is used. But I realise its limitations and respect them. If I was teaching woodwork, no contest. Not just for the regs. but for the fallout of damaged lives.
Bit of a sour taste with SawStop trying to enforce their patents on other manufactures by lobbying the state.
With all the bits of kit I have that need respect, the table saw is not at the top of the list.
Where I used to live, ALL the woodworkers had missing hand parts, it was part of the trade. Here it is less noticable, despite watching a kitchen fitter run a large panel through a nice table saw with his finger between the blade and the fence at 1 inch gap!! Also no top guard. The alarm bells ring very loud when I get a bit close. So I listen...
A

Brian Palmer
05-27-2011, 04:10 PM
Based on my experience with regulatory agencies, I do not think regulators would write a rule that specifically required the Saw Stop, or even the Saw Stop technology (if it were licensed to other manufacturers). Instead, it would most likely be a performance standard that would require the saw to automatically stop the blade when it contacts flesh, by any means available.

This is a problem that has been around for as long as there have been powered saws. The companies that manufacture and sell these saws are generally not small businesses and already invest a great deal in R&D and marketing. With the rise of inexpensive imported saws and large discount stores (often blue and orange), a greater number of non-professionals can buy and use a table saw.

The folks that invented Saw Stop are smart, and probably could have been rocket scientists, but they did decide to try to solve a known problem with current table saws. They came up with a good solution that works well and is reasonably priced for a better quality saw.

The big saw companies have had the same understanding of the problem, and have had as much, if not more resources, at their disposal to develop a solution than the Saw Stop folks. They were beaten to it by Saw Stop. They could still come up with a differnt solution to the same problem. Nothing is really stopping them, and if they are smart, they are already working on it.

Government agencies in charge of consumer and workplace safety can't really be expected to ignore a good solution to a legitimate problem. The Saw Stop folks are perfectly entitled to spread the word to both industry and government about their product. That's the free market and free speech.

Brian

LOKI
05-27-2011, 05:15 PM
About 10 years back I had a momentary lapse of judgement and let my right thumbnail have an encounter with my 10" carbide tablesaw blade.It put a perfect 1/8" notch, 1/8" deep in the end of my nail.Where it came out on the underside looked like a grenade had gone off. To this day I experience a thickening and peeling of skin, a numbness that disapates with each year along with a scarline.That being said, I'm not an advocate of imposed safety requirements.Self awareness and responsibility for ones own actions should count. You can legislate any activity into extinction if you wish to save everyone.Natural selection does reign supreme.

George Jung
05-27-2011, 05:43 PM
Extrapolating a bit, consider this: SawStop becomes standard/mandatory on all table saws. I don't consider it the most dangerous piece of equipment; a circular saw would be, in my estimation (and there may be other contenders for that recognition) - what happens to them? Will we see some of this equipment simply 'outlawed'?

johnw
05-27-2011, 07:00 PM
I doubt very much that a circular saw is as dangerous as a table saw. Don't know where to look for stats, though. It does strike me that Brian's right, no reg would require a particular technology to achieve the goal. Around the 1970s, someone invented sidewalls for bicycles that acted as reflectors, making bikes safer at night, but they couldn't sell enough because it cost too much. They started lobbying to get their tires required. The eventual reg required side reflectors, but not the patented type, and soon all bikes had reflectors attached to the spokes, making them safer at night at a small cost increase.

I wonder if the same sort of thing could happen with this technology.

dsk1000
05-27-2011, 07:16 PM
Prescription for table saw safety:

Paste a picture of someone else's "accident" on the tabletop or near the power switch. Due caution will increase. "Accidents" will diminish.

Canoeyawl
05-27-2011, 07:50 PM
Here ya go...

http://www.doctormahoney.com/images/tablesaw/tablesaw-2.JPG

john welsford
05-27-2011, 07:54 PM
In my old dayjob I had to manage the Occupational Health issues in a sawmill I managed, and got to know the local OSH inspector and his boss quite well. They both asserted that the most dangerous of the fixed machinery in a home woodworking shop was the bandsaw. In part because they seem so innocuous, in part because the blade path is not clearly evident when cutting shapes and in part because its customary to work with fingers close to the blade.

Circular saws are scary enough to have most of us use pushsticks and take care.

John Welsford



I'm going to take the 'right wing' side on this one, and argue that the saw stop shouldn't be required. I can think of any number of other power tools available to the public which are potentially just as dangerous, but have no equivalent safety invention... requiring the saw stop, which will double the price of a low end table saw, is overreach, I think. I own one of those 'big box store' cheapie table saws, myself.... I don't use it often (actually, I used it last night, first time in a long time), but respect it as a dangerous tool... yet if it were twice the price, I might not have bought it. I'd probably have done the same job with a circular saw, which can be just as dangerous... yet has no 'saw stop' equivalent technology.

Sorry if I'm trashing my 'liberal' bona-fides :):)

johnw
05-27-2011, 08:02 PM
Can a SawStop bandsaw be far behind?

Nicholas Carey
05-27-2011, 08:08 PM
Can a SawStop bandsaw be far behind?Sawstop has demonstrated protoype bandsaws with the SawStop mechanism.

Phillip Allen
05-27-2011, 08:09 PM
Sawstop has demonstrated protoype bandsaws with the SawStop mechanism.

I see busted blades

johnw
05-27-2011, 08:35 PM
Found some stats here (http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia03/os/powersaw.pdf):



5. National Annual Injury Estimates5
Based on the investigations of the incidents occurring between October 1, 2001 and
December 31, 2001 which allowed for the identification of “unspecified saws”, the Directorate
for Epidemiology estimated that there were about 52,000 injuries (CV = 0.12, n = 225)6 treated
in U.S. hospital emergency rooms associated with stationary saws for the calendar year 2001. (A
data summary of the annual injury estimates and the victims’ characteristics are presented in
Table 1). About 38,000 injuries (73%) involved table saws, 7,640 injuries (15%) involved miter
saws, 4,060 injuries (8%) involved band saws, and 2,300 injuries (4%) involved radial arm
saws.
I've got to think more people are using band saws than miter saws. And I doubt five times as many people are using table saws as band saws.