Monday, July 09, 2007

SawStop 10" Cabinet Table Saw

I’m currently a Cabinetmaking and Furniture Technician student at Algonquin College. Personally, the table saw is the machine I am most apprehensive of. There’s something unsettling about a 10″ blade with sharp jagged teeth spinning angrily towards you while you slide your hand towards it

I heard about SawStop at the beginning of the year, and was impressed by the hotdog demo and testimonials. The safety feature is well-designed, and I have yet to hear of a confirmed failure (you can bet the unlucky customer’s maimed digits would be all over the news).

The riving knife is a great feature, which greatly minimizes kickback. I’ve ripped casehardened mahogany which would have kicked back something fierce — thankfully, it gripped the knife instead of the blade. The stock was warped so badly, I ended up with matching canes…

The false positives have been reduced thanks to the newer feature which allows the operator to test the moisture content of the wood. If the lights indicate that the wood is too green, you can leave the brake off while the cuts are made. Also, Sawstop will replace accidentally tripped brake cartridges for free (the spent cartridge contains data regarding the incident which they can use for further improvements). Of course, you’ll still have to replace your blade.

Every review I’ve read of the SawStop has given it top marks for quality of construction and ease of use. Even without the remarkable braking mechanism, the SawStop is a well-designed tablesaw, worthy of the higher price tag. WITH the brake, the SawStop is a bargain.

My college’s Perth Heritage campus has 3 of these fine table saws, and the main Woodroofe campus just ordered their first one earlier this week. There is some concern that students will be less vigilant about safety when using the SawStop, however I’m sure the same argument was raised when Air Bags were first introduced. I certainly don’t drive more carelessly as a result. Safety features like the SawStop and Air Bags provide peace of mind should an accident occur — the main goal is still the *prevention* of accidents.

In the end, my fingers are worth more to me, my family and my future than the $2200 CAD price difference between a fully loaded SawStop and a Delta Unisaw w/ Biesemeyer fence (which we currently use in the shop). I only wish the SawStop was a decade older so I could find a used one on kijiji.

- 10″ 3 HP cabinet SawStop, sliding fence, extension table, regular and dado brakes, delivery (Laval to Ottawa) & 14% tax = $5141 CAD

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