California Closer to State Table Saw Regulations

California Closer to State Table Saw Regulations

 In Power Tools, Shop Blog, Table Saw Safety, Woodworking Blogs

While proposed standards for table saw safety move slowly through the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s rule making process, the State of California moved one step closer to enacting legislation that would require “flesh detecting technology” on all new table saws sold in that state beginning in 2015, according to a July 4 story in the LA Times. Last week, AB 2218 was approved by a state senate committee and will likely be voted on in early August. Only one manufacturer, SawStop, makes a saw that would comply with the rule at this time. As with the proposed federal rule, the proposed California law was introduced as a result of lobbying efforts by the owner of SawStop. SawStop holds numerous patents on the technology in their own machines, as well as broader patents that would make it difficult for other manufacturers to comply with any rule, state or federal, without entering into a lengthy and expensive legal battle. SawStop has been unable to reach any agreements with other manufacturers to license the technology.

While this law would only apply to California, other manufacturers would be faced with giving up sales to a large segment of their market, or to develop technology to meet the requirement, then face legal challenges about the relevant patents. An earlier LA Times Story details the lobby efforts of both Gass and SawStop and the Power Tool Institute and large retailers.

Table saw safety is a serious issue, and we’ve been following the issue closely for the last few years on this blog. There are other issues that come into play as a good idea and a technological breakthrough gets closer to being government mandates. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments below.

You can find earlier posts on table saw safety here.

– Robert W. Lang

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Showing 52 comments
  • Paul

    i have put all but one of my T/s’s in secure storage, as future investment! As for Sawstop, They couldn’t give me one!

    “Nothing is Impossible, just Takes a Little Longer”

  • AerographerE8

    The following was taken from the US patent office web site “For applications filed on or after June 8, 1995, utility and plant patents are granted for a term which begins with the date of the grant and usually ends 20 years from the date you first applied for the patent subject to the payment of appropriate maintenance fees. Design patents last 14 years from the date you are granted the patent. Note: Patents in force on June 8 and patents issued thereafter on applications filed prior to June 8, 1995 automatically have a term that is the greater of the twenty year term discussed above or seventeen years from the patent grant.” The first SawStop patent was filed in 2001 and issued in 2005.

    As for the government legislating safety protection there is one difference in this case as opposed to say seat belts or motorcycle helmets and that is in those cases there were more than one manufacturer so costs were held in check.

    I have never used a SawStop saw but have seen the videos of how it works online and would like to have that technology available on every saw, however having it legislated is wrong. I can eventually see someone challenging the law or somehow getting the US Govt. to look at the monopoly involved.

    A well written blog piece on the Osario vs Ryobi case that brought this all about.

  • riooso

    Can we say “state sponsored monopoly”? Sawstop Saws are over priced units that will never come down in price. There is no competition and assured to stay that way because the owner is a slimebag lawyer.

    • Emile

      SawStops are not overpriced, they are just expensive.

  • planbbob

    Get the government out of our lives; they are seriously overstepping their boundaries.

    Regardless of how many laws they pass, you can’t regulate STUPIDITY!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Bob Franklin

      Rant all you want. The table saw companies look to people like me, those who have MONEY and are spending it. Customers want new and improved safe saws. Sawstop is selling and selling well because of people like me not to mention shops/factories that want to demonstrate a commitment to safety to their insurance companies. Sawstop is kicking butt and everyone in the business knows it. Others will follow or fade away.

      So, old timers and whacko government conspiracy theory types may raise a stink online, but they don’t represent where the money is. Face it, all the SawStop = Communist types are dinosaurs and while you may speak your opinion, it doesn’t count much at all. The only voice that counts is with your wallet. Sales and marketing baby. Deal with it.

      • Bill Lattanzio

        I have to agree with you. There has been very little mention of what these injuries end up costing every year. According to the statistics from the website link it’s near 2.3 billion dollars annually. I can guarantee that at least part of that money ends up coming out of taxpayer pockets. The real dinosaurs are the tool manufacturers who have done little to improve the safety of the table saw in more than 50 years.
        Somewhere around 33,000 table saw injuries per year, every year, consistently since the records have been kept. 450,000 in the past 15 years roughly. If it’s stupidity then there must be a lot of stupid woodworkers. It’s even more foolish to think that insurance underwriters, and our government for that matter weren’t going to notice those numbers. For those crying conspiracy and collusion, sure, you can say that what Sawstop is doing is unethical, I might even agree. But I’m even more surprised that with injury numbers as consistent as these happening for as long as it has that something hasn’t been done sooner. Conspiracy? I would like to know what the lobbyists for the other manufacturers have been doing for all this time. From what I understand they have been adament about not doing anything for years. Makes me wonder a little.

      • katz_jd

        SawStop has only a tiny market share, which is logical, since the price difference between it and the competition is around $1500 for a 5hp model.

        So if we use your criterion (show me the money), SawStop doesn’t make the grade. After all, why spend $4300 for a SawStop when you can get a better saw (Powermatic) for $2900? And this doesn’t count the $100 a pop you’ll put out if the SawStop should hit a small amount of moisture in the lumber you run through it.

        Your confidence that SawStop is the “future” is based on nothing but sentiment. If it it represents the future it would be out-selling Powermatic. It isn’t, and I doubt it ever will.

  • JimAspin2

    So does the CA law also restrict the resale of used table saws and the use of table saws that are already owned that do not have this required technology? If so why? If not why not?

  • Bill Lattanzio

    I think the best way to counter-act this law, if you are so resolved, is to not buy a new table saw at all. I generally like safety regulations because I’ve seen first hand several times what happens when they aren’t in place. But if it comes to the point that I need to purchase a new saw and must GET a Sawstop style, if I cannot afford one I won’t buy it. Simple as that. I might not be happy about it but nobody is forcing me to woodwork. I don’t golf for a hobby because it’s simply too expensive. If woodworking, or any other hobby comes to that point, it wouldn’t be the first time.

  • High Bridge Woodworks

    I seriously do not appreciate the government passing laws or mandates that effectively give a company a monopoly.

    The only way that I would support this law would be if California forces SawStop to give the free use of the 90 or so patents that the owner (who just happens to be a patent lawyer) has for this saw technology; but that won’t happen because of the vast amount of money he has been donating to CA legislators.

    I just wish that our local, state, and federal governments would stop trying to make everything fool-proof. It is impossible to make something fool-proof since the fools are so ingenious and it just makes things harder for the rest of us

  • rustyaurand

    Just another reason to NOT live in california.


    Wow. You people are vicious. Governments institute safety laws and regulations because manufacturers and employers really don’t care if you get injured (unless it costs them money), though governments are also motivated by money (no such thing as benevolence or doing something because it’s the right thing anymore).

    I suppose we should have all the seatbelt laws repealed too. That’s government interference. And the USDA too. Who needs to clean, safe food? Oh, and the EPA. No need for clean air or water either.

    If you think any of your power tools would have any kind of safety devices at all if they weren’t mandated you’re kidding yourself. Those safety devices cost money and any business out there would drop them in a heartbeat of they could same a buck.

    • rorynidaho

      It was said of Rome, during the last years as it was crumbling, that it was no longer a nation of people, but a nation of laws. We are in the same boat. For every perceived or real problem we knee-jerk out a new law, and people are seen as the problem to be conquered. We no longer have any real degree of liberty or compassion. A mother turns her back on a little one for a moment and she has, in addition to the heart-breaking loss of her child, a criminal charge leveled against her, whilst the media condemns her. Now we can experience the same if/when we have an accident in our shop. How sad. The technology and the greedy man behind it is not the problem, it is the hearts within us all.

  • captokey

    Before the government starts protecting people from themselves while enjoying a hobby, how about requireing alcoholsensors on cars to prevent drunk driving ? Death of innocent people seems a bit more important doesn’t it ?


      Like the alcohol sensors, must we only buy Mercedes because we need a car that automatically puts on the brakes if we get too close to something, especially at highway speeds?

      This is something else that injures a lot more people than table saws, but people would freak out if the NTSB tried to force that one into effect.

  • joergmueller

    It seems to me that the free market system dictates to the manufacturer what to offer to the market place. It is us the consumer that tells the manufactirer what to build every time we spend our money. If the American consumer asks for cheap low quality products that is what we will get.If we start buying products like the Saw Stop we will see many more offerings of the same level of quality and safety features. It should never be the goverments role to dictate the market. We, the consumer, can dictate what we want with our purchasing power.

    • Bill Lattanzio

      You’re right that the government should never dictate the free market, but it does have the responsibility of regulating it. We all saw what the deregulation of Wall Street trade and the banking industry did to the economy. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that this legislation one way or the other has any thing to do with regulation and it certainly isn’t going to sink the economy. The government’s role here from what I am reading is safety regulation. I guess a lot of people are up in arms over it but it’s nothing new and has been going on for 70+ years.
      As far as Sawstop is concerned, there are probably ethics issues galore to be argued when concerning their methods. Still, while I’m not necessarily thrilled with it I much prefer better equipment being manufactured rather than cheaper. As I’ve said before, two American industries that skirted safety and quality issues for years, the Auto and Steel industries, were both nearly destroyed by their shortsightedness, and with them hundreds of thousands of jobs, retirements, and massive economic loss to boot. Their refusal to change for the better and embrace new technologies were devasting. Afterwards many cried that there wasn’t enough government intervention in that fiasco. So I personally can’t fault the government for this legisaltion. The Sawstop corporation is another matter.

      • Bill Lattanzio

        I mean to say that the government’s role in my opinion is of safety regulation not free market regulation. Though some may argue that it’s the same thing. Just so I don’t confuse anybody.

  • CessnapilotBarry

    I blame the tool manufacturers. The same folks who are way behind Euro saw technology, selling a 60+ year old design, had to be forced to incorporate something as simple and effective as a riving knife, blew big bucks fighting new ideas rather than implementing them or developing alternatives.

    Table saw injuries do not affect only the injured operator. They often result in large bills not covered by insurance, so everyone else’s taxes, workman’s comp insurance, and hospital bills are increased to pay for them. There is also a case of the injured person who happens to be the bread winner for the family.

    Hobbyists… Can you do your non-woodworking day job with one hand? If not, can you support yourself, and pay all of the associated costs with no help? Without the job? I honestly can’t, on all of the above.

    As for if the technology works or not… The technology has proven itself for years, over, and over, and over again…

    I have nothing to do with SawStop, other than someone who sold a well-respected, North American-made cabinet saw, to pay full retail price for a SawStop replacement.

    • Bill Lattanzio

      You made every point that I’ve tried to make many times. While the Sawstop Corporation’s method may be somewhat questionable, their product has proven time and again to be top notch. So many people, it seems, are against this because it somehow offends their woodworking sensibility, though I don’t see how. I am much more offended that American businesses are way behind the times yet again and have to be forced by law into innovation. All of these super defenders of the free market will say that the market will correct itself and that if Sawstop is such a good and safe saw that it will prevail and force the other manufacturers into making a better product. History has proven that this is almost never the case, in fact it almost always has the opposite effect. More often than not the inferior product dominates the market, otherwise companies like Stanley, Craftsman, and defunct outfits like Disston would still be making top quality woodworking tools instead of what is offered for the most part. As high quality as some of the smaller manufacturers are, they will never be able to compete with the junk makers until the playing field is leveled in their favor, not the other way around. This is simple economics. I won’t even get into what this thinking did to the steel and auto industries, which still haven’t recovered 50+ years later much to the distress of the entire countries economy.
      I cannot say I have a problem with the government’s involvement, though as I said I don’t like the idea of lobbyists in any sense pushing a product no matter how good it is. This technology has the ability to potentially save billions of dollars yearly in injury costs, not to mention a few fingers, and every statistic has proven this. So for the many that are so anti government, don’t forget that big business for many years has called the shots and in many cases have been the enemy of innovation, quality manufacturing, and the true free market. They are the real villain here.

      • katz_jd

        You make so many unsupported statements in your comment that I cannot take what you write seriously. A few examples:

        “their product has proven time-and-time again to be top notch.”

        What is your source for this?

        “History has proven that this is almost never the case, in fact it almost always has the opposite effect.”


        “This technology has the ability to potentially save billions of dollars yearly in injury costs, not to mention a few fingers, and every statistic has proven this.”

        Every statistic? That’s impossible.

        I suspect most (95%+) woodworking injuries are the result of inattention, carelessness, stupidity, or fatigue, and I resent having to pay big money to one company (SawStop) so that a certain number of fools might be protected from their own folly.

        Be careful what you wish for. Once table saws are deemed worthy of this nanny-state regulation, look out for the same to occur for bandsaws, joiners, planers, shapers and routers. Before too long our legislators will price most woodworkers right out of the market.

        • Bill Lattanzio

          I will clarify some things because you are right, I wasn’t necessarily clear. First thing about the quality of SawStops saws: I’ve only used a Sawstop a few times but I can say that in my experience they were excellent; every reviewer of the saws, including Popular Woodworking, have given the saw very high marks. And the saw has thousands of confirmed saves and, as far as I know, has never “failed” in the sense that the safety feature didn’t work when it was supposed to.
          As far as big business choosing quality over profit margin: Nearly every Stanley tool made after 1970 was inferior to it’s predecessor. Many of Craftsman’s power tools made after 1980 are considered of poorer quality than those made prior. American cars from the 70s to the 90s were generally considered of poorer quality than all of the smaller Japanese competitors. Just a few examples but you get the point. And I’m not just making this up, these are facts you can find anywhere and at any tool auction.
          As far as the technology saving money: right on this very website in this very article Bob Lang posted a link. That link specifically pointed out that table saw injuries total around 2.3 BILLION dollars a year. That is per year, every year. I didn’t say that the SawStop technology would save billions of dollars in injuries, I said it could potentially save the money as well as the injuries and I think that is a reasonable conclusion to make.
          As I’ve said before, I don’t necessarily care for Sawstop’s tactics. You state that 95% of the tablesaw accidents are a result of carelessness or stupidity etc. That may be true, I’m not sure. But there sure must be a lot of stupid woodworkers out there if that’s the case. But if it comes down to it, and one day I need to buy a new table saw, and that saw has to be a Sawstop or equivilant, I will buy one if I cannot afford it, if I can’t I won’t. I’m not going to cry about it.

          • katz_jd

            Your claim that SawStop SAVES “BILLIONS” of dollars a year is misleading. Who would save this money? Insurance companies, for the most part. I certainly wouldn’t save any money, and neither would you. Why should I be required to buy something to save an insurance company money?

            And yes, there are a lot of very stupid woodworkers out there. Why should I pay for their stupidity?

            • Bill Lattanzio

              I don’t think I claimed that Sawstop saves billions of dollars. If I did I didn’t mean to. I do believe that the technology could save the money if the statistics are accurate. I checked three sources, one from a link on this website, they all had the same info: table saw injuries cost around 2.3 billion yearly. That’s as far as I got so that information could be wrong. Believe me, I don’t like the idea of paying more than I have to for anything. As far as Sawstop saws are concerned, I don’t own one and honestly I probably won’t for a long time. I use a Delta contractor style myself. I have worked on a Sawstop before and I had no complaints about it.
              And as far as any of my statements are concerned, they are just my opinion that you’re more than welcome to disagree with, but I didn’t put up anything that I didn’t research, especially since I’ve been following this for a while now. Like I said, if it comes down to it, and I cannot afford to buy a new saw, I just won’t do it. I’m a grown man, no sense crying about it. The only reason I get into these debates is that there are so many on these sites that are painting this like it’s the end of woodworking. I just don’t think it’s the case.

              • katz_jd

                The issue here is whether the state can compel you to buy a SawStop against your will. If so, it is quite possible far fewer individuals will buy tablesaws, and as a result, far fewer will engage in woodworking.

                And as I wrote before, a topic you avoided, what makes you think the CA legislators will stop with table saws? What happens to woodworking if we’re compelled to replace our band saws, shapers, jointers and planers?

                All woodworkers should oppose this insane law.

                • Bill Lattanzio

                  I don’t disagree with you, I would bet that fewer people would buy them if it came down to it. If I had to buy a Sawstop saw tomorrow I couldn’t and would be the first to admit it. I do think that flesh detecting technology will eventually work it’s way into other tools in the future. I personally am a big fan of safety. I’ve luckily never had a table saw accident but I know a few who have.
                  I’m hoping that the manufacturers do the right thing and price their equipment competitively. If not I will simply not buy the tools. If that means the end of woodworking then so be it. I don’t think it will be by a long stretch. But that’s why we debate. Heck, I might have to invest in a rip saw.

          • Robert W. Lang

            The $2,300,000,000 annual cost of table saw injuries is one of the items that those in favor of CPSC regulations and the proposed California law use regularly. However, this is an estimate only, and an inflated worst-case estimate at that. Before you quote me as saying that I presented that figure as a fact, I suggest you read the following previous posts:




            • Bill Lattanzio

              I didn’t mean to quote you as saying it, just the link that was in your article.

              • Bill Lattanzio

                Did a little quick research, the average out of pocket cost for an ER visit is $488 as of 2008. If there are xrays up to $200 more.Obviously any stitches or minor surgery could drive up that price. But this was all as of 2008. That’s as much as I could find without getting neck deep into it.

  • GunnyGene

    When you employ a woodworker, he is expected to work wood. When you employ legislators, they are expected to legislate. When you employ regulators, they are expected to regulate.

    From their perspective it doesn’t matter what is regulated or legislated. Their job is to legislate and regulate, so they are constantly seeking new things to regulate and legislate.

    Get the point?

  • esincox

    The day the legislative branch of my state or the federal government tells me I HAVE to buy a specific brand of table saw will be the day I no longer use a power table saw. I doubt the learning curve for ripping with a Disston will be that big a deal.

    Come to think of it, maybe I’ll be proactive and sell my table saw now and never think on the issue again.

    • lawrence

      They aren’t requiring you to buy any brand of saw– the bill is actually quite short and is a relatively easy read


      • esincox

        “This bill would prohibit a seller, on or after January 1, 2015, from selling a new table saw in this state unless that table saw is equipped with active injury mitigation technology, as defined.”

        Right. They would only require me to buy any brand of saw that uses the fully patented and protected Saw Stop technology.

        Sorry, my mistake. Thanks for the clarification, Lawrence.

        • lawrence

          no problem, glad I could help!


  • oldfox

    I don’t believe it is any governments (of the people, by the people) place to mandate measures or products that are designed to protect those with no common sense or copious amounts of stupidity. Whats next? Special clothing (which I will be the only one holding the patents) to prevent loose clothing (sleeves, neckties) from being snagged by rotating machinery? Oh, and how about those folks that always touch the painted area surrounding the “Wet Paint” sign? Are they going to test the new saws “flesh sensing technology”? I’m not against the technology at all. I think it’s great. (so long as it doesn’t fail) Hmmm, 100% fail proof. I wanna see that!!! See “Wet Paint” above. (remember Murphy?)

    So California wants to make it illegal to purchase a saw without this technology. Look like saw sales in Arizona Nevada and Oregon will be increasing if California signs this into law. Maybe then the state will make it illegal to *own* a saw without this technology.

    The government tried something like that some years ago and it didn’t work. It was called… “Prohibition”

    Thank you Robert for the chance to speak my thoughts.

    p.s. It’s all about the money… Thanks Gass!

  • koheni

    I agree that this is an asinine law. When legally (born or entered) or illegally in this country people do ignorant things they should not. Because they are not qualified or instructed properly before using a piece of equipment. Than everyone else should not be held to there level.

    Though I like the SawStop, I don’t care for the monopoly they are after. If they were truly in it for the “people” (insert money) than it would be inexpensive and made readily available. You don’t hear about these problems in Europe…who has a better table saw set-up anyway. i.e riving knives that move with the blade, sliding table. What we where on 10 years behind them???

    • rickb

      a large number of our population considers things done in Europe to be inferior, and tainted with the “s”word (ending in ism.)

  • rickb

    “California introduced th law as a result of lobbying by the owner of saw stop”. Who has a monopoly and pattens on the product. Our legislative process should not be influenced in this way for the economic gain of a company under the guise of safety necessity. On the surface, it looks like over reaching big government. Scratch the surface, and find well connected corporate greed. Neither one serves the public very well.

  • Two_Wheel_Neil

    How about this thing called personally responsibility. Crazy idea in a country that shouts the loudest of being “free”. If you cut off your fingers while not following any of the guide lines set out in the user manual, you get what you deserve. But once again legislating for stupidity in America.

  • lawrence

    Good for them!

    If Cal passes this law the other manufacturers WILL move to meet the law and safety in the other states will get better as well. It is a shame that the free market alone was not enough to get the manufacturers to improve the safety of their equipment, but if it wasn’t for OSHA and UL ratings we wouldn’t have blade guards or splitters or riving knives either… now we will have one more device that will make me feel better about teaching my children woodworking.

    I think I’ll be sending some small (under whatever $$ amount is legal and appropriate) wooden thank you gifts to the legislature that passes this bill… (afterwards of course)

    Maybe something like this- in redwood so that they can display in their offices


    • captokey

      Yes , if you aren’t killed by a drunk driver who doesn’t have an alcohol sensor in his car to prevent him driving drunk.

    • HDH

      Lawrence, I’m sick and tired of government mandated this, government controlled that. We have way to much government as it is. This country is going down the tubes because of government intervention.

      I’ve been wood working for 40 years, the table saws in the shop class in high school didn’t have saw stop or blade guards. We learned to respect them and how to use them safely. Over the 4 years I was in high school I don’t remember anyone getting hurt on them.

      I bought myself a new table saw 2 years ago, I had the opportunity to buy saw stop technology but for an extra $2000 bucks I bought a $1000 Grizzly instead. When I assembled the saw I opted to leave the blade guard off, to me it’s dangerous and is just in the way. I would love to teach my children woodworking (even on my so called “unsafe” table saw) because I would teach them how to respect the saw and how to be safe operating it. Unfortunately neither of my two girls had any interest in it. So please don’t applaud more government control, if you want the saw stop safety features on your saws then it’s you right to it, but the government should have no right OR authority to tell me that I HAVE to buy it and that is where this is headed! Get it?

  • rlevister

    So this sort of reminds me of when Mr. Tesla invented alternating current. Really angered Mr. Edison, who wanted to only use Direct Current because he had so much invested in it. Of course, Mr. Tesla got his way, but at what price? Mr. Edison’s company, General Electric is one of the biggest in the world. When there was no getting around AC, they went along with it. Mr. Tesla, died in a hotel room in NYC, with nothing. All kind of reasons for both, I know. But instructive none the less, I think. Just my $.02.

  • Bill Lattanzio

    According to the linked article, the cost of a table saw injury averages $68,700+. It would be interesting to see what percentage of that comes out of the pocket of the injured, the insurance companies, and the state/govt. Again, while I may not agree with everything going on I can see why the law makers voted overwhelmingly for the legislation.

  • sqmorgan

    The linked article indicates the technology can “halt a saw blade whirling at 4,000 revolutions per minute within one-hundredth of a second after human flesh touches the teeth.” Doing the math of 4,000/60/100, the blade will get almost one full revolution once skin touches the blade (.67 plus the distance from skin touch to sensor)…enough to still do some serious damage. I appreciate the numbers of treatment and amputation, but still don’t agree the government is the best enforcer of this table saw evolution, and certainly not by directing a specific type of safety feature. There doesn’t seem to be a financial incentive for the government, unless you consider the guaranteed increase in sales tax revenue because of the higher prices. If the inventor were so noble, he would offer the patents for free. His incentive is money (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    • Bill Lattanzio

      I think a machine patent lasts 20 years. Whatever the length is, if this legislation is passed it should not go into effect until the patent goes public. As much as I like the idea of making safer equipment I do not like a monopoly. However, I do think it’s a good thing that a stricter level of manufacturing is being enforced. We are one of the few countries in the industrialized world without standardized quality(I’m not talking about safety, though they may go one in the same) requirements on items such as power tools. In much of Europe these requirements are in place and their quality is generally considered much higher the comparable American equipment.
      While the free market has apparently been good for business that doesn’t necessarily translate into a better product. Higher profit margins have almost always beat out higher quality. So in a broader sense I would not fault the government as much as I would fault Sawstop for pushing it’s product. I think it’s about time for American companies to start choosing quality over huge profit. If the government had enforced quality regulations like this on the auto industry 50 years ago it probably wouldn’t have had to been bailed out several times.

  • Clay Dowling

    I will dispute that the quality of table saws has gotten worse over the years. There are some pretty awful older Craftsman saws out there. Those made before King-Seeley took over manufacture are worse than any of the current crop of dirt-cheap table saws (although the Emerson built saws that followed also stank on ice).

    Everybody forgets the bad tools of the past because they don’t survive to the present. But keep in mind that high quality planes, saws and drills are only a click away.

  • Bill Lattanzio

    U.S. emergency rooms treated 66,900 saw blade-related injuries in 2007 and 2008, with amputations accounting for 12% of those cases, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The economic cost of those accidents topped $2.3 billion each year, the agency said.

    No specific California figures are available, but officials estimate that the state accounts for 1 in 10 table-saw injuries nationwide.

    So here are the questions: Does the money saved in injuries outweigh the cost of the saw? Does a Sawstop style saw bring in more woodworkers than in drives away? Will Sawstop lower it’s prices to draw in more hobbyists? I don’t know the answers. I personally like Sawstop saws. I don’t own one but I’ve used them and they are as good or better than anything else I’ve ever worked on as far as machining, power, and accuracy. I’m not sure how I feel about the legislation. It has it’s good points and it’s bad points. I would say that I like it from the state’s point of view but not from Sawstop’s if that makes any sense. I don’t like lobbyists and think they are part of the reason the country is in the shape it’s in.
    Some would say that the market should just correct itself and let the consumer decide. Maybe so, but you could also look at it from the other end and say that unless regulations like this are in place the cheaper manufacturer(and by default poorer quality)will always beat out the manufacturer looking to make a better product. If you haven’t noticed consumer goods for the most part are cheaper than they’ve ever been, and I’m not just talking about the cost. If that wasn’t the case you would see Lie Nielsen and Veritas bench planes and saws along side some of the garbage you see in stores now.
    Anyway, just an opinion..

    • papagun

      I weighed in on this years ago when Mr. Glas (sp?) first petitioned congress (and failed) to make it a federal law requiring all table saws in the U.S. to have flesh sensing technology that matched his invetion’s specs. To the number. He also failed to sell his invention to saw manufacturers… Apparently due to his demand for 8%-10% of the wholesale price of the saw. While industry truly wanted the patent rights, they also wanted to stay in business.

      I thought the entire debacle was rather a heinous display of greed. But hey, the guy’s a patent attorney and he’s got an undeniably good invention…as well as patents that cover anything EVEN CLOSE to comparing to it. (which would seem to effectively halt other safety products and research), he’s not a saint and seems to have no social conscience. Seems he’s back to trying to get ALL th marbles.

      Beside all that, I have seen numbers of 33,000, 66,000 and others of table saw injuries quoted in various posts here. What needs to be considered is the number of “blade contact” injuries on table saws only. Not “all skaw injuries. Most tablesaw injuries are NOT from blade contact as I understand it. Injuries would still happen on a SawStop. We should keep the numbers we talk about accurate.

      (83.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot…including this one.)

      I have not used a SawStop but would love to own a saw that knew that trick. Knowing what the investor has tried to do to the market would prevent me from buying one of his saws, though. I cannot in good conscience support such greed. I mean, how much money does he need? I would hope somewhat less than “All of it.”

      Here in Hawai’i, we get a lot of “crap” wood. It is often wet. This would trigger a SawStop event. So would any contact with metal. In community theater, we reuse a lot of wood and occasionally hitting a brad or small staple is common. We aLso use Masonite which can have a high metal content. At a cost of around $100 plus the blade plus the down time makes the saw finically impractical here. I still would have loved to have the technology when I taught high school. As it was, because of insurance worries and parental fears, the school didn’t allow one for student use.

      I think the proposed California legislation is wrong in many ways. Methinks they have better things to do than help Mr. Glass with his bank balance. The saw is there for sale. The consumer has the option to buy it. Someone who wants to buy a cheap tablesaw will NOT all of a sudden be able to buy an expensive one. I can foresee a quick market for “used” saws and inexpensive saws disappearing from store shelves for as long as the law is in effect.

      Someone pointed out hat the blade still makes one full revolution during a SawStop shut-down and can ” still mod a lot of damage” (my quotes). True, the blade dose move, but in the millisecond that IT does, the finger or whatever does not… Well, it does an infinitesimal amount. So there is no great damage. From what I have seen usually the skin is not broken.

  • sqmorgan

    I’ll respectfully disagree with bob…This is a ridiculous law and under no circumstance or pre-requisite criteria should it be approved. When some bonehead with zero training removes the protective features on a saw, he/she should not be surprised when they are injured. It’s a great optional feature available for purchase, but don’t force people to buy it. Now, every time I accidently drop a hot dog onto a running table saw, I’ll have to pay for a bunch of replacement parts (Insert sarcasm here).

  • bob_easton

    The California law, or any subsequent law or CPSC mandate needs a simple amendment. Require implementation to begin ONLY after 5 manufacturers can deliver products that comply with the law.

    Without this provision, we have a government created monopoly for the patent holder and sole producer.

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