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 encouragement).
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!!! Steven and/or David: any chance of
getting a replacement brake cartridge for our whoops? 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.
My initial impressions (inserted below) are still pretty valid.
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 port.
We LOVE the paddle switch, a machine has never been so easy to shut off.
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.
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