Sawstop Stories

Cabinetmakers discuss the value of a Sawstop table saw, which trips and stops before cutting off your fingers. August 12, 2014

After 30 years of running a table saw I met my match and took off my thumb. This question is for those that own a SawStop. Are they good saws and is there an advantage as far as insurance premium reductions? I don't want any employees to go through what I am currently and for what this injury is going to cost me besides the loss of my thumb I should have asked the question a few years ago.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor F:
Sorry you couldn't have asked this question a few years ago. In my opinion they are the best cabinet saw out there and their support is second to none in my experiences. If you search the internet and read what owners say you'll get the same thing over and over: Top of the line fit and finish, controls are unmatched, guard and riving knife are excellent, and the fence is Biesemeyer-equivalent. This is not even mentioning the safety feature. On another hand, there are also a lot of SawStop bashers out there, but I guarantee you they don't own one. Most of the negatives are due to their ignorance of the saw and its features. I have five SawStops in operation for about ten years. We have never had a misfire of the brake cartridge. They have been set off a few times by wet wood and we have one legitimate save. We've prevented numerous kickbacks by having the riving knife installed. I would never consider buying another saw knowing what I do now if I were in the market.

From Contributor W:
The SawStop performs as well if not better than any Unisaw or Powermatic we have. I will be replacing all with it as time goes on and have yet to even check on an insurance break but feel great knowing we will not file a claim because of it!

From Contributor B:
Our SawStop has performed very well over the past four years. Itís solidly built and the features in my opinion outperform its competitors.

From contributor L:
We've got a six year old SawStop. Itís a far better machine than the UniSaw it replaced. I second all of Contributor Fís comments. We've never had an-unexplained trip. It has saved two hands (so far.) It has a key operated safety lockout for when you have to cut aluminum or something conductive. It automatically goes back to safe mode the next time it is started. They are more expensive than the PM/Uni's out there but what is a thumb worth? Don't know about the insurance savings, but I don't care it doesn't enter into whether I would buy one or not.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the responses. I'll be buying two of them to replace the Unisaws. The insurance question was just out of curiosity and had no bearing on whether to buy or not. The safety feature is of more importance. We occasionally cut old barn wood and use a metal detector to remove old nails. With all the work put into removing the nails an occasional nail gets missed. Will hitting a nail or staple set the safety mechanism off?

From Contributor W:
I keep a couple of mechanisms on hand. I walked out not to long ago and forgot to bypass and once that aluminum laminate hit that blade it cost me a blade and $70.

From Contributor E:
I have to agree with everyone here; the SawStop is the best engineered cabinet saw on the market, even if you don't consider the huge safety advantages. We have had a couple of activations but not as a result of a contact. I don't know why and I even sent one of the brake cartridges back to SawStop for a diagnosis. They couldn't find a cause either and sent me a new cartridge. Unlike Contributor W's experience, I have never had to replace a blade after the safety has been activated. Logic says the blade should be ruined, but that hasn't been my experience. I just send the blade to my sharpening guy to check it and make sure it still runs true.
Like Contributor W, I keep an extra brake cartridge on hand, particularly if you're cutting material that may have metallic content. If the saw activates the safety you're dead in the water without a replacement. They're about $70 or so.

From contributor L:
In my shop a 10" table saw is basically a utility saw, not for production. As such it gets used for all sorts of quick odds and ends things - the sort that probably increases the risk factor. There are better ways to rip than putting a feed on a 10" saw, they are lousy panel cutters but they are handy for the small work that sliders are poor at. In our 19 man shop the 10" saw doesn't get used a very big percetage of the time. I don't know what we would do with two of them.

From contributor U:
We have been using a SawStop for years and it did save me once. There is a switch to turn off the brake if you are going to be running wet lumber or recycled wood with nail potential.

From contributor S:
I deferred buying a SawStop for a long time mainly for not liking the tactics of the developer. I bought one two years ago. Even though retired now, I still am cutting wood almost every day. The difference is now I am working alone and frequently am home by myself which makes an accident even worse. I intended to buy their pro model at around $3000. Closer inspection convinced me to pop for the industrial model at close to $5K. The difference in the construction is well worth the money. I feel I work even more consciously, knowing that a blown cartridge is expensive.

From Contributor K:
I just assembled my new 5hp industrial SawStop yesterday. This is a well-built saw and the dust collection on it seems to be a winner. I asked my insurance guy the question about cheaper coverage but he said it only looks good on your policy but no reduction. You would think it would help but I will take the tradeoff of safety any day.