Don’t recall where I saw the ‘review’ or maybe it was a ‘product
announcement’, could even have been an outright, recognizable
advertisement, trumpeting how ‘innovative’ a ‘new’ cabinet saw
is - wheels that come with it! Not only that, but it came with this
new slick safety feature - A RIVING KNIFE! There were even
pictures with separate text for each of these ‘innovative features’
on this ‘new’ model cabinet saw.
The classic definitions of innovation include:
1. the process of making changes to something established by
introducing something new
2. the act of introducing something new: something newly introduced
(The American Heritage Dictionary).
3. the introduction of something new. (Merriam-Webster Online)
4. a new idea, method or device. (Merriam-Webster Online)
5. the successful exploitation of new ideas (Dept of Trade and Industry,
6. change that creates a new dimension of performance Peter Drucker
Veritas is innovative. Festool is innovative. Lie-Nielsen, while not
innovators make the highest quality tools in their class - at a premium
of course. This cabinet saw “manufacturer” does not meet the definition
word they use to describe their “new” product.
Most heavy european woodworking machines have had “mobility kits”
for at least 20 years. I’ve got a ‘99 model Robland X31, 1100 pound
five function combination machine that has a wheel in each back
corner and a third, removable wheel on the end of a long lever. My
385 pound euro bandsaw is set up the same way. So how is putting
wheels on a cabinet saw “innovative”?
Most euro table saws come with removable riving knives and have
for at least 15 or twenty years. So how is FINALLY putting a riving
knife on a US market cabinet saw “innovative”?
US woodworking machine “manufacturers” seem to have the same
attitude as Ford and GM had back in the early 70s - come out with
a new paint scheme, make the fins longer/taller, alternate between
white side walls and “black walls” and come up with slick new model
names - Galaxy, Explorer, Suburban (and GM couldn’t figure out why
their Chevy Nova didn’t sell in latin america where In spanish, “No va”
means “Doesn’t Go”.) And like the US auto makers, they’re starting
to get their butts kicked by competitors who are importing what is
standard technology in europe, or by truly new innovative tools (I’m
thinking specifically about Festools plunge saw and fence system).
Are US woodworkers going to have to wait another 30 years before
Delta, PowerMatic, Porter Cable, et. al. wake up and smell the roses?