SawStop Setup

Tips on adjusting the SawStop cabinet saw's safety brake. May 15, 2011

Recently one of my guys was cutting a board on a Powermatic tablesaw. The cutoff piece was chattering against the stop so he lifts up the guard and puts his finger between the blade and the anti-kickback stop. 4 stitches, $320 clinic bills and a written warning later I'm ready to get a couple of sawstops. My only reservation (and I don't think it will affect my decision) is the sawstops I've seen at AWF don't really look all that sturdy. For those of you that have one how well do they hold up?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor R:
Mine seems to be as heavy duty as my Powermatic.

From contributor K:
The industrial model is a sturdy solid machine. They make a professional model that is more like a hybrid, don't get that one if you run them hard every day. The blade gap needs to be adjusted at every blade change, mainly if you have your blades sharpened. The gap between the cartridge and blade has to be right. Overall itís a very good saw and excellent back up service from the company.

From contributor R:
I have an industrial SawStop and it compares well to any of the other table saws that I have had in the past - Delta, General, Powermatic. Well worth the extra peace of mind. I'm not a fan of the anti-kickback pawls. The riving knife alone works very well and stays out of the way. When I invited OSHA in for an inspection, the inspector was more impressed with having an overarm blade guard (we use a Beisemeyer). Goes to show though, that even a blade guard can be defeated in seconds by someone with their brain in standby.

From contributor H:
SawStop has a new guard they are supplying with their saws now. I felt the old guard was pretty good and the new one is better. The anti-kickback pawls can be parked up out of the way. The saw is the best built saw I've owned.

From contributor L:
Several years ago we replaced our Unisaw with a SawStop. The SawStop is a better saw. If needed, the cartridge can be quickly changed out.

From contributor S:
I've had a SawStop for about three or four years. It works a lot better than the thumb I cut off with my Unisaw. They really are built well. The only problem had been dust collection, which they have improved since I bought mine. Check one out in person. I have set it off twice by using an Incra Miter gauge (it's aluminum and if it touches the blade, the saw thinks it's you). I have new blades and new cartridges and it works like new.

From contributor A:
I have been considering a saw stop as I am sort of in the market to replace a 35 year old Sears saw. I recently read that the cartridge requires adjustment with each and every blade change, plus a different cartridge for dado sets. Can anyone who has one shed some light on this?

From contributor H:
The SawStop cartridge changes out in about 60 seconds. All you have to do is turn off the saw power right at the paddle switch, remove the blade insert from the table top and then push open the magnetic dust shroud swinging door under the table. All this takes about five seconds. Then you reach in next to the blade and turn the red locking pin and then pull it out. If it hasn't been removed in a number of months this might take 15 seconds or so. Then you pull off the brake cartridge. Again if it hasn't been removed in a while it might take 15 seconds or so to wiggle it free.

The new brake gets installed in reverse order. Alignment of the brake takes a bit of getting used to as it slides over a couple of fixed pins and you have to learn where to position the brake cartridge so it slides over both pins. None of this is a complicated or difficult.

Yes you need a separate brake cartridge for an 8" dado set. The brake head needs to sit about 1/16" from the blade. Obviously there is a 1" difference in spacing from the edge of an 8" dado and a 10" blade. So you can see why a separate dado cartridge is needed.

As to resetting the brake position with blade changes, that depends upon how many times your 10" blade has been sharpened. We have some really old blades that are now closer to 9 3/4" diameter. Those require a brake position adjustment. That is accomplished by inserting an Allen wrench into a button head screw that sits right next to the blade, pointing straight up for easy access. A small amount of rotation one way or the other and the adjustment has been made. You just turn it until there is about a 1/16" gap between the blade and splitter. The biggest part of this process is learning to check the gap with blade changes.

The SawStop has to be one of the most thought out saws ever made. The ownerís manual is loaded with step by step instructions, along with color photos, of every imaginable adjustment. After nearly six years I can think of no serious complaint other than the fact that the black color really shows the dust!

From contributor M:
I've owned a Sawstop ICS for a couple of years now and I think, even without the brake, it's the best 10"cabinet saw being made. I use several different blades and never have to adjust the brake, even after several sharpenings (the saw would let me know if I needed to). You do need a separate dado brake (five seconds to change). There are no cheesy plastic motor covers either.