Submit Your Comment on Proposed Table Saw Rule

The US Consumer Products Safety Commission is considering new safety regulations for table saws, based on a petition asking for a requirement that table saws should be equipped with a device to reduce or prevent injuries if the operator  makes hand contact with the blade. The commission can write a performance standard for new saws, require manufacturers to adopt a voluntary standard, or require labeling about the dangers of using a table saw. Part of the process is for the commission to request comments from the public on the proposed rule. The document regarding this is available online from the federal register. The public comment period for this proposed rule expires on December 12, 2011, and we encourage all of our readers to submit a comment directly to the CPSC. Instructions for submitting comments by mail are within the document, or comments may be submitted online at

We have written extensively on this blog about the issue, and the outcome of this rule-making process will have a profound effect on all woodworkers. We hope you will take the time to examine both sides of this issue, consider the scope and costs of the problem versus the consequences of proposed solutions, and participate in the comment process.

The Power Tool Institute has posted their position online at

The founder of SawStop has posted this response online at

Popular Woodworking Magazine has free articles available online about safe use of the table saw.

–Robert W. Lang

71 thoughts on “Submit Your Comment on Proposed Table Saw Rule

  1. Railrunner73

    I believe all woodworkers are very aware of the danger in the workshop. I also think the SawStop feature is a great thing. That being said. I also think it should be my choice as to whether I want to add it to my saw. It is also cost prohibitive. I have a choice to wear a motorcycle helmet or not. Same idea.

  2. HelmetHead

    I thought I was a safe wood worker. But mistakes happen. End of the day mistakes. In June of this year I made a really bad mistake that almost cost me 2 of my best fingers on my primary hand! I’ve gone through lots of pain and suffering. And paid enough money to my Doctor, A Doctor that saved the use on my fingers. Thanks Doc!

    Someone said “You cannot legislate for stupid people”. No, but if there is a solution that is better it needs to be fixed. It can happen to anyone. Every guy I ask who has a table saw. Do you use your guard? Everyone of them sad no, because it always jams up and gets in the way. I use mine now, and I’m super aware on every cut.

  3. gypsyladies

    Safety is always a concern, but the government needs to back off! You cannot legislate for stupid people. I know that stupid people are not the only ones to have accidents – we’re all guilty of being lax. That doesn’t mean the government needs to step in. We need to know how to work our tools, take care of them and the safety rules to use them. That’s enough!

  4. Justrose

    I am retired from the Ministry of Labour, Occupational Health and Safety Branch. Over the years I know there have been horrific injuries from saws and other tools. Always make sure training, lockout procedures, maintenance on equipment is 100% in place, and keep your documentation of these things. Never hesitate to look into more information with the IAPA and other safety agencies.

  5. VicRensberry

    Safety is always important. But let us NOT go down the regulation route. The market place will best decide where to go and as competitive systems are developed we will benefit in both product and price.

  6. Rick Parks

    There is no greater need in the woodshop than safety, however I think it is my responsibility to know where my body parts are located in relation to cutting edges. I have few guards in my shop but am critically aware. I’m not saying this is the way to operate for newbies but I wish to make this decision on my own.

  7. greggc

    Any machine with a sharp blade spinning at a high rate of speed is dangerous and accidents happen even when the operator is careful. That said, however, I am oppposed to more government regulation. We cannot possibly be protected from every risk and I am not willing to give up any more rights to some government official who thinks he knows what’s best for everyone.

  8. slider909

    I think it is a great idea. I have have been using power saws for 40+ years, but I hold my breath every time I watch my kids use them. So if safety devices can help prevent my kids from injury, all the better.

  9. Pkorman1

    I applaud the technology and application of Saw Stop and if it were available at the time I bought my cabinet saw many years ago I would be hard pressed to justify purchasing anything else. My problem with mandating this technology on all table saws is that it awards a monopoly to the designer who appears to have heavily patented it. I do not believe the government has the right to mandate a safety product or technology without a fair competition playing field for all manufacturers. Right now, we as consumers, have the choice of competing saws. I think it is fair to both the saw manufacturers and to Saw Stop. Saw Stop and their technology are protected by patent and are allowed to profit from it. If we as consumers wish to pay the differential in price between their saw and a comparable non flesh sensing technology saw (which seems to be more like $1000 rather than the much touted $100), so be it. Mandating a proprietary safety device seems like it should be illegal. This is a knee jerk reaction of the government. It allowed the saw manufacturers the freedom to be lax in the quest for safer saws for many years. Neither mandating Saw Stop technology nor the debacle of past “regulation” serve the public well. It does however serve the inventor of Saw Stop well. If we allow the free market to proceed without government interference, we the people will drive the market. There will be competition and economics will encourage R&D and decide the fair market price for safety technology

  10. KenBry

    At what point are people held accountable for their own stupidity or lack of safety? When does this type of legislation stop? Are we going to have safety stickers on the outside of our cars warning pedestrians that crossing in front of cars can injure or kill them? Do all my shop tools now need to have a safety device that stops them in case I stupidly place my hand into the cutting path? What about hand tools? I know more people hurt from Chisels than any saw.
    While it’s wonderful that a safety device is available for table saws, it’s also one of those that I believe isn’t needed. If a person thinks they need this safety device then they are doing things on their saw that aren’t particularly safe or they are scared of the equipment. I am intelligent, I am self-taught and I know danger when I see it. I respect that danger and act accordingly. If a person wants an extreme safety item then they can pay for it as an option.
    We can’t save everyone from being stupid, and I am tired of being forced to pay for the safety devices to protect the idiots from themselves.

    1. jroth33139

      The problem is that you (and me) are paying for their injuries already — in the form of higher insurance costs, costs associated with people being off their job, and higher costs of the machinery because of products liability insurance that the manufacturers have to have. Those who are injured don’t absorb those costs themselves — they pass their costs onto society.

      According to the CPSC study of injuries due to consumer use of table saws, about 38,000 people per year are injured severely enough to require medical treatment. 10% of those injuries are amputations. That’s 3,800 amputations per year within our community.

      read the study here:

      I am not so sure that every one of those people are “idiots” or were “being stupid.” Accidents can happen, even to careful people.


      Who says all saws would have Saw Stop technology. A manufacturer could choose to develop their own, perhaps better solutions. I’ll bet their R&D guys are hard at it as we speak because, government or no government, the writing is on the wall. Unless they do something quickly, they are going the way of the buggy whip and they know it. In the meantime,I would predict that there are a few manufacturers who will soon be offering their own brand “equiped with the latest Saw Stop safety features”.

  11. Steve-o

    Seems as though we’re as divided as any political discussion. Rights versus imperial rule is not the issue here.
    If Delta had developed the technology we wouldn’t be talking about it at all. The model would be either discontinued already or would have been licensed to other manufacturing firms. Delta would not be pursuing mandates on the market (customers).
    Just like driving, the operator is responsible for the machine under his control… while on automobiles … those safety devices are present to protect the driver and passengers from someone operating a vehicle (machine) irresponsibly whether the irresponsible party is in your vehicle or another. That is how or why those safety requirements can be legally required.
    Personally I’ll never own a Saw Stop brand anything simply because of the tactics used to push the product. Criticizing manufacturers as greedy is as absurd as declaring table saws drive up the cost of insurance or healthcare. Delta manufacturers their Unisaw domestically. There just isn’t the margin to be greedy.
    Let us look further into the matter. Any mandates would not hold limits at a single tool. The only people I know who have lost digits or an entire arm did so while using other tools; circular saw, radial arm saw, compound mitre saw. Wouldn’t routers and band saws also require such safety devices be installed?
    When the Saw Stop was introduced it was of interest to me but not now. They burned it with me as being greedy, self righteousand pushy.
    Hopefully I’ll continue to be safe and/or lucky.

  12. see wood 2020

    Why does my government (by the people) have to regulate everything under the sun. Put it up for vote and lets see what the results are. Stupidity at its best! One step worst than the idiot who started all this. Guess I can’t really call him an idiot – after all he’s a millionaire and I’m not. Almost all new new table saws coming out have riving knives and that should eliminate 90% of wacked off fingers. Just use our guards and we will be much safer.

  13. rscottsmithesq

    I bought my first tablesaw a few years ago. I wanted a Sawstop. My wife said: Lawyers don’t need fingers to practice. But then, she will only let me order my heart medication one month at a time because I might die and leave a lot of expensive medication unused.

    Seriously, having seen the result of a good friend (an experienced woodworker) putting his fingers through a tablesaw last month, I can only applaud requring an effective safety feature. That the first one to come up with the only viable safety feature happens to be the only one to patent a viable safety feature, begs the question. The industry has ignored the need for building a better mouse trap. And this is from a lawyer who defends manufacturers in products liability litigation. I applaud Sawstop and it’s founder.

    1. Steve-o

      Ambulance chaser!

      Just kidding… I hope your friend is recovering and will be woodworking again soon.

  14. andrewscrolledcrafts

    I think this is something that should be left up to each person. As long as each person is well educated on how a machine works and what safety measures should be taken; that should surfice. Sure there will be accidents; but what about other tools that could cause injury? What about the bandsaw or the scrollsaw or even the drill press? All these machines if not used properly could inflict injury and lots of pain. I bet more people injure themselves with a hammer than a tablesaw; true a hammer injury could be minor as compared to a tablesaw injury, but this proves that accidents will always happen. Personally I would not trust a saftey device that could fail like anyother one. Machines used in schools and large factories, sure put all the safety devices on as they wish, but leave the small business owner and the garage craftsman alone.


    I used an old Craftsman 12″ contractor saw without any safety features for 31 years. I hated every minute of those 31 years. Thankfully, I was never seriously injured by the saw but I was extremely careful every time I turned it on. Now that I have a new Saw Stop I am much less stressed. It’s actually a pleasure to use the saw. When I was shopping the Saw Stop, the new Delta came out. I was really tempted by the Delta which seemed to be a more substantial, better built saw, but in the end, I went with the Saw Stop. The main reason I did so was for my grandchildren who are too young to work in my shop but might some day do so. I could never forgive myself if they were injured by a situation I could have prevented.

    As to those who resent “government interference” in their lives, lighten up. There will always be plenty of old used saws around for you to risk your fingers on as more and more people trade them in to purchase safer alternatives. There will be so many of them available, so cheap, that if you have the room in your shop, you can have one for ripping, one for plywood, one for melamine and several more with various dado blade set-ups! If you don’t believe me, I have quite a few film cameras, a Beta Max VCR, a dial telephone, a Blockbuster membership, and an AB Dick 360 printing press that I will sell you for as much as I paid when I bought them.

    1. Steve-o

      So why did you not opt for the better Delta saw and simply add the Saw Stop? Does Saw Stop no longer produce the models to adapt other saws?

  16. options

    Lets go forward please. At one time cars did not have electric starters. You could get hit be a flying crank handle or killed.

    Once this rule goes in, prices will come down a LOT.

    No one pays more for a car starter today.

  17. I. Wheeler

    I’ve been using table saws of all types from benchtop up to very large industrial grade sliding table designs for close to 40 years. I’ve taught woodworking shop classes at college and professional levels and have worked in small shops and large industrial settings. I currently own a Jet 12″ 5 HP 3-phase saw and have used it for several years. I’ve never been cut on a table saw (although a vicious jointer once reduced the nails on two fingers). I agree with the writer who said that guards obscure the blade so I don’t use them either. I usually either set up a jig of some kind or use another machine or set up if I fear it won’t be safe on a table saw.
    Over the years I have personally witnessed the results of several table saw accidents. In most cases, I would not describe the injured person as “dumb”…more often, someone who became momentarily distracted for some reason.
    I think that if the technology exists to provide safer finger-saving saws and we do not set this as our standard
    then we expose ourselves to needless risks. The issue of expense is a real one, too. I’d hope that some hungry manufacturer would come up with an after-market blade-braking kit which is not based on current Saw-Stop patents.

  18. ejlatstl

    I support the new safty regulations.

    And, I am in full agreement with those that argue that safety training on the table saw must come first.

    My ultimate arguement is that I want a blade stopping device on my table saw and if they are required, I see two positives. First, there is the strong potential for the price per unit to drop… and the cost to me will drop. (Remember, I already said I want one.) And second, a little healthy compitition should improve these devices over the years so that the current drawbacks are eliminated.

    And I must respectfully disagree with those who might suggest that the ‘idiot’ pushing the wood causes TS accedents. Fatigue and a momentary loss of concentration are not limited to only the untrained and inexperienced… you know, the ‘idiots’.

    Work safely out there!

  19. WoodButcher42

    Table saws have been around for more than 100 years,and in that time millions of people have used them without injury.
    The present situation was caused by a careless worker making a cut on an unstable portable saw with the guard removed.
    Notice to the Feds. YOU CANT REGULATE STUPIDITY.

    To Quote Douglas Adams.
    “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

  20. smorreltork

    The federal government has no business in my business. I can understand the need for safety devises but, to mandate a certain type,there goes the price of a decent tablesaw. There will always be the potential for accidents. You can put saw stops on and someone will cut themself changing a blade. What’s next? Rubber blades?
    I think that if you give some people the false sense of safety there is a bigger potential for accidents.
    I wholeheartedly vote no to any more government regulations!

  21. jwm

    I favor seatbelts, air bags, FAA Airwothiness Directives, Vehicle Safety Inspections, Consumer Product Safety Commisions, and other common sense governmental efforts to create safe environments … including mandating flesh detecting/saw stopping components on table saws.

    The sin here is that manufacturers did not do more on their own to adopt a technology that is an obviously successful safety enhancement.

    Now that it exists, I am not interested in saws that do not have this feature.

    In the workplace, if the government does not mandate it … insurance companys will … they don’t care about your fingers; they only care about their money.


  22. ggonos

    I have been using a table saw for about 30 years, this includes cabinet and contractor types.

    What I see here is another ‘forced’ government mandate!

    It is clear to me from my past experience that adding more ‘safety’ equipment to saws, or anything, will not prevent anyone from getting cut, maimed or killed. The prime function that will do this is training by a skilled or certified trainer.

    Adding more gadgets to prevent anything from happening does not work. What works is training. Dummies get hurt, trained people don’t!

  23. dwchat

    I am in favor of a saftey device which stops instantly any lawyer from suing when he/she thinks he can make a buck off of someone for any mistake anyone makes. Frivolous lawsuits raise the cost of doing business for everyone.
    Shouldn’t every device with a rotating tool capable of contacting the operator be made to stop.Do we stop with saws or continue to mixers, drills, fans, blenders, routers, sanders, grinders, etc. Should rotating tools be the only ones? What about reciprocating tools like sawzalls, jigsaws, sewing machines, steam engines. My point is use your head and think a bit before operating machinery. We already have operating manuals with 3-4 pages of warnings before you get to the the tool. At some point we have to concede that there is nothing more we can do to stop people from hurting themselves accidentally.
    I vote NO for the sawstop mandate.

  24. poppajim

    I guess I’m just old school but I have always had a deep respect for sharp objects turning at incredible speeds. I operate an old (I guess you would call antique) Sears table saw with no guards of any kind. Although I would require those on a new saw that I purchase, the fact that they aren’t on the saw I use makes me respectful of the danger and I never get my hands close to the blade. You can’t legislate away responsibility. Know that it is an inherently dangerous tool and respect it.

  25. woodplane

    I am concerned that the focus on a technology which quickly detects and stops the spinning blade will defocus woodworkers on critical safety methods and habits.

    Proper blade alignment, sharpness, speed, material inspection, appropriate blade for the material, eye protection, stance and balance, clear work area, visibility, are but a few of many basic skills and habits which avoid accidents.

    I do support active devices like the saw stop but fear the cost will make saws unaffordable. An additional complication I haven’t seen enough discussion on is the maintenance and reliability of the Saw Stop technology.

    We should use experiences from early air bag and anti lock brakes as guidance to difficulties and cost prohibitiveness during early deployments. Let’s be careful not to jump on an unknown and time tested technology too early.

  26. capnjohn

    I am one of the stupid ones who operate the table saw without a guard on my Delta Unisaw. I need to see where the blade is going to cut, and I can’t do that with a guard. In may case, a one-man shop, I would appreciate the saw-stop. Now having said that, the cost is prohibitive. Once the patent expires and every company makes a saw-stop, I might purchase one.
    Now to the issue of government intervention. We the People are the government. We created it to take care of issues that face out society on a daily basis. Worker safety is one such issue, right up there with safe food, safe airplanes and safe working conditions. I understand that Libertarians want to make decisions for themselves, but not everyone is smart enough to make that decision and when they are injured it affects the rest of us through higher medical costs across the board, lost productivity, and in the case of the worker-possible lost appendages, wages and the like. He (she) hurt their family and society through carelessness.
    It is NOT cool to walk around with missing fingers.

    1. fuzznarf

      Your logic is flawed. If we the people are the ones who create the laws, but we the people are too stupid to know what is good or bad for us, then we the people are incapable of choosing the leaders, thus incapable of choosing what the appropriate laws are for us.

      The inherent foundation of being a libertarian is that people should have FREEDOM so long as it does not harm others. If I choose to use a saw without flesh-detecting technology, I should have the freedom to do so. If I choose to have an employee use one, that is a different matter of workplace safety and finding an insurance company to let you do so. Stop telling people what is good for them. Should we also mandate flesh-detecting technology for bandsaws, planers, jointers, drum sanders, shapers, routers, etc? where do you draw the line on the slippery slope? if you say just x,y, and z tools, why the arbitrary determination. If one requires it all should, otherwise none should.

      It is people who use ‘safety’ as a tool to push their agenda on others ‘for their own good’ This is an elitist attitude saying you are smarter than them, and know better than them for their own person. Why no mandate laws prohibiting the drinking of Clorox, after all that is bad for you. Based on this logic we need to legislate the stupidity out of people. Or mandate that everyone brushes their teeth twice a day.. after all research shows people with poor dental hygene have higher rates of heart attacks. Make a law!! because that always works… NOT.

      Let people choose for themselves. Once mandated, stupid people will just find ways to circumvent the technology because they wont want to pay $100 for a new brake. There will always be accidents and stupid people. Laws will not stop this. Stop thinking you know what is good for someone else and trying to wield power over them. Drugs are illegal, yet there are still millions of people who use them every day. This whole notion that passing a law fixes a problem is bogus. Grow up people.

  27. kirchop

    Table saws are NOT dangerous! It’s the idiot pushing the wood that makes them dangerous. If you don’t know how to use one, get lessons or stick to a hand saw. Read and understand all the instructions that come with any power tool. As Norm would say. Would you try to steal an airplane if you didn’t know how to fly?

  28. larrycowden

    There was a time many years ago when the automobile industry was faced with similar scenario regarding the installation of airbags. Today no one can argue their effectiveness at saving lifes and injuries. Yet again it was the cost issue vs. human life and injury. You could argue if the person wasn’t physically alert and capable then they shouldn’t be driving. But that doesn’t eliminate the “other driver”” or sudden mechanical failures and so on.
    Now we have available technology that while initially expensive, can save the operator from serious injury and possible death. The operator can be fully alert, well rested and follow all the required safety practices. But can you predict a sudden medical emergency such as heart attack or stroke from arising? NO, you cannot. This technology has the potential to save your limbs and life should such an emergency arise while operating the saw. What is your limb or life worth? The legislation isn’t requiring every shop owner to immdeiately replace their saws. It is requiring that saw manufactures now incorporate this into the production at the factory. When your saw wears out, how you choose to replace it is your own business. But like the airbags and seat belts, this technology can save limbs, lives, reduce economic losses from workers injured and not able to work and could help reduce insurance costs. I own a Shopsmith and have safely operated it for 30+ years. Yet, I would and intend to buy a full size dedicated Saw Stop machine because it has a built in safety that could save my hands, limb or life. What is your life worth to your wife and family? I have also had a heart attack with no warning. So I speak from experience. You can plaster your current machine all you want wih caution, danger and warning signs. But they won’t stop a saw from cutting! True it won’t stop kickback. But for some operations where the blade guard is removed, and we have all been there, this safety device is worth every penny of it if you should suffer a medical emergency or slip and fall across the blade. Would you deliberately defeat your seat belts and air bags because “nothing will ever happen to me”? I don’t think so. Support this legislation for the lives and limbs it could save. One day it might be yours!

    1. illron

      Airbags in cars isn’t just to protect you from yourself, but also the other drivers who may not be as safe as you are. If someone else controlled my safety when using a saw, sure I’d want the sawstop, but more to protect me from factors beyond my control then from myself.

  29. merrillm

    I own a Saw Stop. I bought it to protect myself and others who use my table saw. I think that people who remove the guard and splitter or riving knife all the time, are stupid.
    I believe that the comments about the unfairness of the cost of a saw stop technology being forced on buyers is not fully true – we all are being forced to pay for table saw accidents by the increase in health insurance costs. No one seems to complain about that cost being forced on us.
    Even so, I would not force everyone else to buy a saw stop.

    1. mtnjak

      Merrillm, I will agree that is not necessarily the smartest thing to do if you remove the guard and or splitter. I’m sure there are truly stupid people that want to remove the saftey devices just because they could care less, arrogance, whatever. However, in my case as outlined further down this post, I felt less safe keeping my splitter on the saw so much so that I removed it. Perhaps those who can afford higher end equipment with these devices on them don’t have the same problems as I did. That’s why I was wondering if other people have had the same problem as I did with safety devices that don’t work properly in the first place.

  30. illron

    I don’t really care if people think flesh-sensing technology is a good idea or not… what does matter is people’s right to make that decision for themselves. Those who want it can readily purchase a SawStop saw for themselves, those who don’t can choose something else. Besides, how is making this technology mandatory going to be any different than blade covers and riving knives? People disable those because they are inconvenient at times and “take too long” to put on and off, so they simply leave them off (and that’s just over a few lost minutes). People worried about ruining hundreds of dollars of blade and brake parts and losing days in the shop while parts are on order through accidental activation of the brake are simply going to disable the flesh sensing technology anyways. Meanwhile they’re being forced to pay for something they don’t use and never wanted to begin with. Car accidents injure/kill countless more individuals than woodworking accidents, but no one is trying to reduce the speed limit to a nationwide 15 mph… some things in life simply have risk.

  31. cbf123

    Those talking about the cost of saws and the government not having the right to interfere are missing the point. Based on the number of injuries we’re currently talking thousands of dollars of lost economic impact per table saw. This is currently “hidden” in things like increased insurance costs which impact everyone, but in a non-obvious way.

    Effectively, society as a whole is subsidizing the true cost of table saws.

    By enforcing safety standards, in economics-speak we’re “internalizing the externalities”. That is, we’re making the true costs explicit in the cost of the item.

    The alternative would be to say that if you buy a saw with no safety mechanism then you have to sign a waiver indicating that all insurance is null and void for injuries sustained due to the saw.

  32. jasstack

    Common sense can’t be legislated. I’ve worked in a lot of commercial woodworking shops in the past 30+ years and I repectfully submit that 99% of all injuries are due to fatigue, distraction, being in a hurry, operating while under the influence (yes, it’s done more than one might think), not knowing how to use the safety equipment or not double checking a setup before proceeding. No amount of safety equipment will help if you’re not fully concentrating on the task at hand.

    1. cbf123

      But the scenarios you describe are exactly where something like flesh-sensing technology (of any kind) would help.

      1. illron

        Only if individuals haven’t disabled the device first. People tend to be proud and I could envision many individuals saying to themselves “I’ll never cut into my hand, you’d have to be an idiot to do that. But I might accidentally trip the brake with moist lumber or something, so I better disable it… I don’t want to lose a good blade.” That’s probably why most blade guards, etc. get removed… people assuming they won’t need them and they simply “get in the way.”

  33. Rick_G

    I wonder what percentage of the table saw accidents happen because the splitter and blade guard that came with the saw were removed. Rather than mandating saw stop technology for every saw I think a good riving knife and blade guards that can actually be used for the vast majority of cuts would be just as effective. While saw stop technology would be a nice feature to have it’s still not the be all to end all. It can still be turned off. The first time a contractor cuts a wet 2x that trips the device and costs him a new blade and module you will find him doing most of his cuts with it turned off after that. Turned off the saw is no safer than what we already have.

    1. jroth33139

      You don’t have to wonder — according to the most recent study, it was removed 65% of the time in which an injury occurred.

      Other interesting facts:

      — Rips were by far the most common cut when the injury occurred (85%).
      –In 40% of the cases, there was a kickback, and in 65% of those cases, the operator’s hand was pulled into the saw.
      — Where the injury happened when the operator was pushing stock into the saw, he used a push stick in only 35% of the cases.
      — 30% of the victims were 65% or older (which seems high).

      This was very illuminating, and should be required reading for every woodworker:

  34. mkvernon

    The whole point is to reduce the number of serious injuries while using power woodworking equipment. I’m for having a saw stop type stop on all new power equipment. One of my beloved instructors lost all the fingers on his left hand while using a jointer. While he admitted that he was angry and in a hurry when the accident happened, a stop would have prevented his loss. We need to acknowledge being human and use available technology to help us stay safe.

  35. Eric

    I remember reading in a table saw review a few years ago, I think it was either PW or Wood, that saw stop did not set out to make table saws. They first tried to interest established manufacturers in their technology. The corporations were more interested in profit. Adding or absorbing $150 to the cost of a $3000 saw was out of the question. So now they get to reap what they sow. Any “unfair advantage” the new rules may give saw stop is a result of their own greed and disregard for the safety of their customers. The safety features on most saws are there because the law mandates them. Only exceptions I can think of are magnetic switches, saw stop and some of the large paddle switches.

  36. jonkhn

    There is no argument that a table saw like many woodworking machines is dangerous. The issue is when legislation: (1) benefits a single manufacture at the expense of others and (2) will this legislation be effective. The technology to sense flesh proximity is novel, but doesn’t address kick-back. It will not stop someone from cross cutting stock without using a miter gauge or cross cut sled. In other words it lacks “mind reading skills”. Being a small professional cabinet and furniture shop I can’t afford to upgrade my saws to potentially appease my insurer should this legislation go into effect. The federal government should support school vocational programs that will reach future generations of woodworkers instead of these lame attempts to safety proof everything at the expense of common sense.

  37. kcritz

    I was extremely lucky a few weeks ago, my finger barely touched the blade and I had a very minor cut on my middle finger. Put a bandaid on my finger and went back to work. Can I go after Delta for this? No, it is my own fault for being stupid.

  38. BillT

    By the way, if you want your comments to have any value whatsoever, read the notice of proposed rulemaking and see exactly what the CPSC is asking for comment on. Simply filing a rant about how you don’t think the government should impose safety standards will pretty much have zero effect. They already have decided they are going to promulgate SOME kind of regulation. What they’re asking for now is input as to what that regulation should be. It is highly unlikely – and in fact, I submit it is out of the question – that they simply will decide to not publish any new rule. It’s coming, period. The question is what will the rule require.

  39. BillT

    I disagree that this rulemaking “will have a profound effect on all woodworkers.” I have a shop chock full of old and downright antique woodworking machinery. I have absolutely zero intention of ever buying a new table saw, when (1) I already have three table saws in my shop right now, the newest of which is mid-1970s, and all of which are very sturdy, solid machines that I expect to outlive me and (2) even if I did want to buy another table saw, there are so many good, used machines out there on Craig’s list and local used machinery dealers.

    I submit that for most of us who already have our shops set up, or who at least already have the table saw we want – or who would be scouring the local classifieds for a used saw anyhow – this rule will not affect us one bit, as it applies only to new machines sold in the U.S.

  40. dragoondr

    I agree that our craft is dangerous. I am presently healing from a kickback injury but am fully aware that the whole thing was my fault. My point is that I accept the blame rather than attempting to pass it to someone else. The more you become immersed in woodworking the more guards and safety gadgets get into the way. My own table saw has all of the guards removed; just looking at that toothy monster is usually enough for me to work safe.

  41. doverwood

    If you are not comfortable with a table saw, do not turn it on.

    If a sawstop mechanism will make you comfortable, buy one.

    Do not require anyone to buy one.

    Someday I will upgrade to a better saw than I currently own. Should a sawstop mechanism fit in the budget, I would get it.

    1. MarkSchreiber

      Totally agree with you. I have the greatest respect for power tools and my safety is my responsibility. Sawstop is a great idea for those who are either stupid, clumsy, or paranoid. Requiring everyone to own one is another thing. I still use my old Craftsman 10″ contractor saw on occasion but I plan on breaking out my handsaws and sharpening tools and proceed with what I am comfortable with.

      1. bobv35b

        I am stupid, clumsy and now paranoid. I had an accident severing my thumb because of a saw blade guard. I didn’t completely loose the thumb, but the trip to the ER cost a hell of a lot more that the SawStop I bought afterwards. All it takes is a split second and you may experience what I did. At my age, they won’t pay for putting the finger back and with the upcoming health care crap, I don’t need a regulation to nudge me. Why hit on SawStop, they didn’t ask for legislation, a lawyer for another insurance company did.


    I must admit to being a little surprised by some of the comments here about ‘the government’ trying to protect us from ourselves. Should we abolish seat belts and airbags? How about fireproof children’s sleepwear? Fire extinguishers in buildings?
    If Delta had introduced this technology, I doubt we’d be talking about it.
    Safety first. The cost is secondary.

    1. Markc214

      Walsh– Your examples are out of context.
      Roads are govt property so the feds and state can dictate laws like seatbelts
      Public Buildings are owned by the govt so again they can impose laws like fire extinguishers.

      Saws– table saws largely fall under private property. The feds imposing more regulations is just wrong and simple minded. It is not the govt’s job to protect us from our own ignorance like not knowing how to use a saw properly.

      Merry Christmas Hoosier.

      1. jgwilkie

        No, the analogy is good and seat belt laws apply even on private roads and fire extinguisher laws apply in private buildings of a certain size. The question is cost to society. We can kill ourselves or cut our hands off all day long and if it only costs us not many care. Table saw safety is a miniscule concern compared to fire and traffic safety and while it is a good idea, I am surprised the government is getting involved in it. They would be better off mandating it for shop classes in schools and the like where novices are invited in to use the tools and may not necessarily understand and accept the risks. Once these folks become woodworkers then market forces will take care of it.

  43. sderwin

    OK, OK, Look folks, woodworking can be an inherently dangerous activity. First rule I learned in “Wood Shop” 7th grade—-“Pull your head out first”, pay attention, if you don’t know what you are doing –DON’T,–The machines are STUPID, be smarter than the equipment you are working on,—-if you can’t pay attention, un-divided attention, to what is going on,then GET OUT OF THE SHOP. I am so sick and tired of do-gooders trying to protect us from ourselves, what ever happened to common sense? If someone has not been trained to use a piece of equipment, he/she should not be using it
    ,it really is that simple.If a saw is not safe, UUHHHH- DUUUHHH DON”T USE IT. What we need less of in this world is stupid people, and those making rules or laws about something they have no understanding of. Now if you will excuse me I’m going out and make some sawdust , on my properly set-up Craftsman table saw—-with no phone or radio or anyone distracting me, etc. etc.

    1. kwilson

      I ABSOLUTELY agree. Does our government have nothing better to do. Look, I am all for safety. However, if you can’t pay absolute attention to safety, or you have never used power equipment before, DON’T do it. I think we as a country have more pending issues to deal with as the ECONOMY maybe! Let’s get that rolling again so we as woodworkers can sell more of our work. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but woodworkers in Ohio are struggling as much as anyone else!

  44. Nick Gibbs

    We’ve discussed this a fair amount recently in British Woodworking, and recently featured an article about fitting riving knives safely. Personally I’m not at all in favour of automatic stopping devices. Obviously they’d be great in schools and colleges and community workshops, especially if they enable students to learn how to use machinery they are otherwise prohibited from using. However I can’t help thinking that this is a dumbing down of skill and awareness, and the money would be much better spent on educating users in the proper use of such tools, so that they set up machines safely and are conscious of potentially-dangerous situations.

    1. Robert W. Lang Post author

      Thanks for weighing in Nick. One of the things I find fascinating about this whole issue is the different approach to safety in England and Europe, and the apparent lack of interest in SawStop on your side of the pond. It took us far too long to adopt riving knives and sensible guard systems.

    2. markheady

      I have to agree with you Nick. Properly designed guards are, by far, the best way to ensure that fingers don’t get anywhere near blades – not proximity detectors. Proximity detectors (or the like) are just too late to be a safe method of working – thus the lack of interest in saw stop type technologies in UK/Europe/Australia. Guards can also be interlocked to ensure that if the guard isn’t on, the saw can’t run – to ensure that machines cannot be operated without guards. To make dado cuts – you just have to do it another way (ie. Router). I have never seen a UK magazine illustrating the making of dados by table saw – not in the last 5 years anyway. I’m pretty sure that most of the Europeans operate this way with guards for most equipment. And as for anyone operating in the furnituremaking business – well it is against the law to operate machinery of any sort without proper guarding of rotating components. Same in Australia.

  45. mtnjak

    I remember seeing comments regarding this issue a few months back when the subject first came up and my comments are similar to other peoples concerns about the functionality of these safety devices. Personally, I’m all for safety devices on equipment as long as they function properly for the intended user. I have a $400 Crafsman folding contractor’s saw that I purchased about 3 years ago. If the intended user is a home builder/remodeler then I would say that the saw safety devices work fairly well. However, as a hobbyist woodworker after I started using the saw there were obvious problems with blade guard/riving knife/anti-kickback contraption that came with the saw. The knife would never align properly with the blade and would hinder the wood movement through the cut and the anti-kickback device always dug into a finished planed board too much and would damage the finished piece. I actually felt a little intimidated using the saw for the riving knife problem alone so I ended up removing the entire device from the saw. I always use push boards and feather boards with the saw and never stand directly behind the blade (all basic table saw safety tips)but currently do not have any safety devices attached to the saw. I plan to come up with a guard device of my own in the near future.

    If all companies are mandated to have some sort of device like SawStop’s on their saws and the price goes up I guess we’ll all pay for it. But if the safety device(s) are much better in fuction than what I have access to currently, the extra $250 (average estimated price increase, if that’s an authentic number) is probably worth it versus the alternative possibility of losing a digit or two.

    I’ve only used two table saws so far (my first one, a borrowed Black & Decker, had no safeties on it) so I don’t know how other companies safety devices fucntion. Anyone else have issues like mine?

  46. bob_easton

    Yes, 1980 characters is not enough for a full blown rant. 🙂 Yet, if you give it careful preparation (like prioritizing a lumber cut list) you can pack a lot into that little space.

    Write with authority, yet with politeness.

  47. bluejazz

    I went to this site and offered the Feds my perspective. Had a lot to say too, I guess. Just so you don’t waste time like I did, they cut you off at just about 1980 characters.

        1. BillT

          Not so. I practice administrative law (i.e., dealing with regulatory agencies). They do not give comments submitted on paper any more weight than those submitted electronically. In fact, they tend to prefer electronic comments, or at least electronic submittal of a PDF, because they are much easier to compile and manage, rather than receiving a physical piece of paper in the mail.

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