Thursday, 10 August 2017

Despite Proven Technology, Attempts To Make Table Saws Safer Drag On

quote [ It's unclear whether the Consumer Product Safety Commission will finally pass a rule requiring all new saws to have an active injury prevention monitoring system built into them. ]

Guy invents way to stop getting your fingers cut off from a table saw. Nobody adopts the method, so he starts selling it on his own and lobbies for more regulation. Conflict of interest? Sure. But also a pretty smart idea.
[SFW] [health] [+4 Interesting]
[by mechavolt@4:25pmGMT]


Space_1889 said[1] @ 6:02pm GMT on 10th Aug [Score:2 Informative]
The monopoly argument is a bit of a red herring - Bosch already has a competing saw safety system on the market.

I look forward to when the safety systems come down in price, however. The cheapest currently available Sawstop saw sells for $1,400, and the cheapest Bosch for $1,600. For comparison, an equivalent Bosch saw without the safety system goes for $600 (Sawstop makes only saws with the safety system, so there is no comparable unequiped model).

All power tools with blades make me nervous when I use them, so I try and take care. Proper safety precautions can limit the chance of injury, though never totally eliminate them. The problem is the pressure of the workplace - doing things in a less safe fashion speeds things up, and when you are tired you tend to forget the safe way.

Fortunately, as an amateur woodworker I can choose where and when I use my Dad's table saw. For example, last month I had to rip to size more than fifty boards to repair my parent's back fence. I did it over two days, and I took plenty of breaks, so I was always rested and on my guard, and so did not come close to having an accident. Somebody doing that job for pay would probably not have that luxury.

However, spending all that time with the table saw did make me think about safety, and I was actually researching Sawstop saws last week. The cost is a barrier, but I think I am going to buy one if I need to do another job that requires a table saw to complete.
moriati said @ 6:16pm GMT on 10th Aug
A-ha - i did not know about the Bosch saw when i wrote my post below. Totally agree on the cost issue.
Space_1889 said[1] @ 7:18pm GMT on 10th Aug
I actually read a review online that had pictures where a guy was brave enough to touch the saw with his hand. He did it for both systems, twice each, and escaped with very minor scratches in all four cases. The Sawstop system worked slightly better than the Bosch (his scratches were less severe), but both functioned as designed.
moriati said @ 9:55pm GMT on 10th Aug
So, some further research - Bosch brought a safety stop saw to market and SawStop sued them for patent infringement.
Space_1889 said @ 2:53am GMT on 11th Aug [Score:1 Interesting]
Interesting. I am having a hard time finding up-to-date info on this case - it seems like Bosch has been losing in the courts recently, and were ordered to stop importing and selling the machines in April 2017 (they could still sell parts for machines already sold). However, if you go on Amazon, there are Bosch safety saws for sale right now.
satanspenis666 said @ 4:44pm GMT on 10th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
When circular saws started adding blade guards, there were similar lawsuits against the manufactures that did not add them. Manufacturers not providing the guards argued that they should not be forced to pay for the patent, in order to sell their product. Courts ruled on the side of safety, as the additional costs did not outweigh the benefits.
perezoso said @ 7:18pm GMT on 10th Aug [Score:1 Insightful]
How does a hot dog protect your fingers?
mechanical contrivance said @ 7:25pm GMT on 10th Aug
You're too busy eating to use your saw.
norok said @ 4:58pm GMT on 10th Aug
It sounds like his safety enabled saw is already on the market for people to buy it. I sure as hell would buy one with this feature. I gotta go Libertarian here and say he's acting out of BOTH concern and self interest.
mechavolt said @ 5:29pm GMT on 10th Aug
That is the literal definition of "conflict of interest", which is why I used that phrase. Thanks.
King Of The Hill said @ 7:15pm GMT on 10th Aug
Several years ago I wouldn't have considered one as Sawstop didn't really have anything compelling about their saws that would make me want one other than the safety system.

Now they have saws that a far better designed with the woodworker in mind so there's that. I still would lean heavy to buy a Delta. I currently have a Delta hybrid cabinet saw which is probably all the saw I'll ever need anyway...

midden said[1] @ 5:34pm GMT on 10th Aug
I've wanted one of these ever since the guy was shopping the invention around. Unfortunately, even his small job site saws cost about $1000 more than the similar Dewalt or Bosch model. On the higher end pro gear, though, the prices are more competitive, adding only a few hundred dollars to the bill.

My saw is a nice chunk of cast iron from the 50s. I'd love to buy a Sawstop retrofit unit for it.
mechavolt said @ 5:40pm GMT on 10th Aug
Lucky you, then!

"Gass says SawStop is about to come out with a $400 saw with his injury prevention system."
midden said[1] @ 5:41pm GMT on 10th Aug
Yeah, I'm curious to see the build quality. I wasn't thrilled with the contractor saw I got to see first hand a few years ago. That's why I'd love a retrofit kit.

(edit) Although now that I think more about it, I doubt that will ever happen because of liability issues.
King Of The Hill said @ 7:19pm GMT on 10th Aug
I'd also be curious about the table size at that $$$. After using my father's old and I mean old Craftsman table saw from like the 1940's with it's small table, and shitty fence... I can tell you that moving to my Delta hybrid cabinet saw was a vast improvement in safety - not due to the blade guard and anti kickback mechanism (which I hardly use) but because the surface area of the table is far safer to work on than a small contractor sized one.

Personal opinion, but the included anti kickback and blade guards are mostly pieces of shit and are more hassle then they are worth. There are some aftermarket options you can add that 1. work, and 2. don't hamper your use of the tool.
midden said[1] @ 8:02pm GMT on 10th Aug
My old saw from the fifties is pretty small, but unlike many saws its size from that era, it can take a 10" blade. I wouldn't use it if I was limited to the original table size, which as you mention is pretty dangerous, but it's now built flush into a much larger work surface. It's got a super simple cast iron fence that clamps onto a piece of standard 1" x 1/4" steel bar stock.

I agree about the kickback claws and covers - mostly useless. I do like a splitter behind the blade to help prevent pinching and to reduce the chance of kickback. It doesn't get in the way except on the rare occasion I need to do a plunge cut or a cove cut.
King Of The Hill said @ 1:51am GMT on 11th Aug
Funny thing is that it is rare for me to use my table saw these days mainly because I need more time...

But Between my routers and track saw I don't need it as much as I did before. I have four routers. 1 is mounted in a contractor type portable table and the other is actually mounted as wing on my table saw. I probably use the table saw more as a router table than anything else these days.

When I get my new property (some day) in my out building I want to build a panel saw for cutting sheet goods so that makes the table saw less useful... but when I retire I think I will have the time and have more need for it.
mechanical contrivance said @ 6:00pm GMT on 10th Aug
This would probably work with band saws, too. A kid I went to school with lost a finger to a band saw in shop class freshman year.
moriati said @ 6:15pm GMT on 10th Aug
Quick thoughts:

1. I have seen/heard discussion on woodworking forums and podcasts that SawStop have patents on a process to stop a saw blade on sensing contact with fingers (or frankfurters) and the licence fee or cost of the unit is considered prohibitive by other manufacturers - many of whom would like to offer such safety precautions to their customers. I've even heard people suggest that other tool companies have designs but fear being sued for patent infringement. I do not know if any of this is true.

2. My table saw is a DeWalt, as I am in Europe it came with a riving knife and a blade guard (both of which i have converted to be removable) and it is illegal for me to purchase a dado stack - the spindle itself is not wide enough to accommodate one. All these safety features are great - but nothing is a replacement for safe handling - anything that in any way adds to complacency around a circular saw blade is bad. But this is a weak point - on balance having a sawstop-like mechanism is better than not. I would love a SawStop if i could afford one (perhaps the new low cost unit might lead me to get in) - they are great saws by all accounts.

3. If the SawStop mechanism activates it breaks the blade and the entire stop mechanism has to be replaced - this is far from cheap. It obviously pales into insignificance compared to the loss of a finger, but if you were only going to knick yourself and ended up knackering you're entire saw it would be a shame (again, i concede, not the strongest point).
mechanical contrivance said @ 6:34pm GMT on 10th Aug
So how am I supposed to cut copper pipes now?
Space_1889 said @ 7:10pm GMT on 10th Aug
Sawstop saws have an override switch that allows you to cut conductive materials like wet wood by temporarily bypassing the safety system - I imagine that would work for copper pipes as well.
mechanical contrivance said[1] @ 7:24pm GMT on 10th Aug
Actually, I was kidding, but that's good to know. I don't think table saws are the most appropriate tool to use to cut metal.
Space_1889 said @ 2:43am GMT on 11th Aug
From the Sawstop website:

"You can operate the saw in Bypass Mode which deactivates the safety system’s braking feature, allowing you to cut aluminum, very wet/green wood (see above) and other known conductive materials."

I assume they are referring to contractors who might need to cut aluminium trim to size and find a table saw convenient for that purpose - never done it myself. A quick internet search turned up specialized saw blades for cutting aluminium and plastic, so I guess people do it.
arrowhen said @ 10:46pm GMT on 10th Aug
Wrap them in electrical tape first?
lilmookieesquire said @ 6:49pm GMT on 10th Aug
This thing is great overall. I remember some issues like it getting triggered when it wasn't suppose to (by touch or by voltage or whatever, I don't quite remember) but way better than fingerless people. Kickback is still an issue right?
Space_1889 said[1] @ 7:13pm GMT on 10th Aug [Score:1 Informative]
It is triggered by anything conductive, so wet wood or a stray nail can set it off.

Yes, kickback is still an issue. Just stand to the side and use a push stick, and you'll be mostly safe, just like any other saw.

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