The SawStop cabinet saw is the best cabinet saw on the market.
Below are impressions I've previously posted regarding the 2 SawStop
cabinet saws that we've had running since January.
original posts are here
here is some other info
The only thing I would add is that customer service from the folks at
SawStop has been great. We've had a couple more triggers, each time
we've contacted SawStop to let them know what had happened. On the
occasions of a false positive, or other technical problem, SawStop has
sent replacement brakes and addressed any problem. Each of the
"triggers" was technically our fault, we should have known that the
SawStop would have been activated (blade/brake clearance, green treated
ply, foil faced foam) and should have by-passed the mechanism. SawStop
has taken back the spent brakes to analyze the data and has sent us
more new brakes than we've deserved. As they should be, the saws are
still like new.
These machines seem are built much better than the unisaw that we
bought 4 years ago(not saying much really). An extension table flatness
problem has been mentioned, but our tables and rt wings are flat within
.010". We never put on the left wings since we installed sliding
tables, so I cannot speak to that issue. The trunnions, arbor shaft,
bearings, and even the main table are beefier than comparable parts on
a unisaw and a pm 66.
The polished handwheels are big and heavy with very nicely spinning
cranks. Height & angle adjustment are smooth and easy (of course the
machines are brand new, so they better be) .
I'd like a polished tabletop, and these are just ground, but that will
make the first scratches less painful.
The machines are smoother and quieter than the last unisaw was when
A nickel sits on edge on the tabletop from start up through cutting 8/4
maple through shut down.
Initial indications are that these machines are well made. - time will
There is alot going on inside of these saws.
I like the linear (rather than arc) raising action, it seems much more
intuitive even if more complicated.
A gas spring supports the arbor and assists blade raising.
The splitter/blade guard/riving knife is EXCELLENT - easy to change,
easy to adjust, and wedded to blade height like it should be.
The blade guard itself is only about 1-1/4" wide and contoured to "hug"
the blade- much less obtrusive than traditional guards.
We will likely ALWAYS use the riving knife and the overhead blade
guard. I expect significantly fewer kickbacks as a result of the
"invisible" riving knife.
The brake cartridge is not the easiest thing to change- but it will
probably become easier as we do it.
The extension table is gloss black laminate. Black? Gloss? Can you say
glare? We will probably start with sanding out the gloss, then get rid
of the black if it is still too annoying. Sawstop took the color theme
WAY too far here.
I look forward to seeing how the DC shroud works, but this is an arbor
nutsucker waiting to happen.
What happens to the dust that gets past the DC shroud, how much dust
will build up inside the cabinet, how hard will it be to get out?
If the DC shroud is effective, it should keep all of the other parts
cleaner for smooth operation and less wear.
The large access door should allow enough access to service the saw,
but it's under the extension table, so it still won't be easy.
The belt access door seems appropriate, not sure about the single
splined belt - seems a bit light.
The bump switch is well located and a good size, after not much use, we
should be able to easily shut off the saw, but it will be a while
before we stop doing so inadvertently. The arbor/arbor nut wrenches are
WAY TOO BIG, this will encourage overtightening and our ARBORS will be
STRIPPED in no time. Are you reading this Steve?
The fence is a biesmeyer clone - faces are replaceable with "keyhole
slots" - this is ok, but I don't really feel that they are flat/secure
with no way to tighten them.
Rare earth magnets on the fence lever and dust shroud door are nice
details, as is the "soft" fence handle.
The "power disconnect switch" is on the rear of the left side of the
cabinet (beneath our sliding table) this is too hard to get to for
routine blade changes etc...
In order to get inside the cabinet to change the brake/make
adjustments, the throat opening is larger than a unisaw's. This is ok
access-wise, but having less of a smooth, flat tabletop can be
The process to "by-pass" the sawstop mechanism must be done each time
the saw started in by-pass.- a pain if we're cutting a bun of aluminum
We occasionally used 8 1/4" thin kerf (3/64") blades for slotting and
making scale lumber - sawstop requires 10" blades or 8" dadoes.
Hmmm, if we use the dado brake and an 8-1/4" blade...
We need to explain to 500 college students why and how the saws are
Gloss black extension table?
Separate arbor nut/washer invites droppage into dust collection and
"washerless" re-installation. (We had welded a washer to a nut to
eliminate this on unisaws)
I have to get rid of 2 old unisaws, 1 jet sliding table and 1 excalibur
The height of the back fence rail makes it impossible to mount a flush
outfeed table (same as biesmeyer). I re-drilled and lowered, now 1 of
the doors doesn't open past he rail, arggggh.
(after a month or two of use)
These are very nice saws.
They are smooth, quiet, and basically a pleasure to use, definitely
comparable+ to a PM66.
To date our students have had few problems making the switch from the
The riving knife is great!: easy to change, never in the way and
effectively keeps stock going in a straight line.
I sanded the gloss off of the extension tables and they are ok now.
After 15-20 brake cartridge changes it is pretty second nature (this is
just an issue of learning where the "locating pins" are).
Arbor nuts/washers drop directly into the hose attached to the "dust
shroud" we have enough suction to move the nuts to the most
inaccessible part of the DC pipe. I suppose it's time for an access
We LOVE the paddle switch, a machine has never been so easy to shut
The "power disconnect switch" however is on the bottom back corner of
the left side of the cabinet and is a pain to get to with the sliding
table attached to the saw, oh well.
Now that SawStops are in service, I suspect it won't be long before
Delta/Jet/Grizzly get sued (and lose) because they failed to provide
such a system. Perhaps they will be beating a path to SawStop for
licensing sooner rather than later. Let the market decide I suppose,
should be interesting to watch.
SawStop provided us with a demo cartridge and we tested the SawStop on
Thursday, January 13th.
I cut a variety of materials such as: wood, plywood, melamine, acrylic,
mdf. etc. I enabled the bypass and cut aluminum, green treated and
stapled pine. When in bypass mode you will get a code in flashing
lights indicating whether the SawStop would have triggered. The lights
indicated that the SawStop WOULD NOT have been triggered by cutting the
green treated or the stapled pine, so I proceeded to cut them with the
I then got out the drumsticks and cut one in bypass mode. It's amazing
how easy it is to cut through a drumstick, pretty gory and except for
the lack of blood, not unlike a shop accident. I've always thought of
doing this during shop orientations, but decided that it could
encourage sophomoric actions (the last thing they need is
I'd been asked by some rec.woodworkers to push the stock rapidly into
the blade in order to get an idea how much damage would be done in the
case of a slip or similar accident.
So to test the SawStop I jammed the drumstick into the blade nearly as
fast is I could, the blade promptly disappeared and with virtually no
resistance I proceeded to IMPALE the chicken leg onto the riving knife
(oh the shame).
SawStop works: the blade definitely stopped and definitely dropped
(observers indicated that this happened too fast to discern). Since
the drumstick was impaled on the riving knife, I have NO IDEA, how much
damage the drumstick sustained from the blade before it's encounter
with the riving knife. As you can imagine this was a little
embarrassing. Here we've spent $6000 on saws that "save fingers", and
I've got a chicken leg skewered by a chunk of steel, not so impressive.
Coincidentally, the SawStop went off again the first time we tilted the
blade as we had neglected to provide adequate clearance for the
aluminum fence on the sliding table. DOH!!! Again observers were
dumbfounded. Results: a tiny nick on the crosscutting fence.
I was expecting a significant jolt/vibration/lurch of the saw when the
SawStop was triggered, but aside from a solid THUD and the
"disappearance" of blade, there are little dramatics.