SawStop Review

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Blog entry by Stillnew posted 06-18-2012 03:55 AM 3313 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I bought my 3 HP SawStop Professional Cabinet saw at the end of April 2012 intending to take advantage of the free mobile base offer. But I ended up buying the mobile base at the same time as the saw and opted sending for the free Over-Arm Dust Collection system. I had to arrange for my own delivery and one week later began assembling my new saw. It takes time—this saw has many components and must be carefully put together. However, the directions for assembly are fantastic. They are precisely detailed and written by someone who actually knows the English language, not something translated into nearly indecipherable Pigeon English.

That said, instrcutions are still instructions. No one likes them. But I just spent $3000 on this baby and I wanted to do everything correctly. So it took me two 6-hour days to assemble. I had to replace the 220V power cord for a longer one to accommodate the saw’s location in my shop, but that just added a small bit of concern for the first time power up. Surprise! Everything worked fine and this thing is quiet!

My old saw was a D744 DeWalt which has a wonderful rack and pinion fence. It is small and light but never bogged down. While I never cut anything off I didn’t intend (AKA fingers), I did remove the insufferable blade guard and never bothered to reinstall it. This inevitably led to kickback, and I remember a few times when I got hit hard by a piece of wood. To reinstall the guard takes about ten minutes, first removing the insert plate with a screwdriver, then loosening the guard assembly’s two bolts with a 10mm wrench in a very tight space. With the SawStop, NO tools are required! If you can’t reinstall the removed blade guard in 90 seconds or less, go find a new hobby. Even an idiot can do it and I am here to prove it. One lever to remove the plate insert and another to open the guard assembly and you’re home. Presto chango! For the time it takes I would still be searching for my 10mm wrench with my DeWalt.

I intended to keep the DeWalt for dadoes, figuring it would be too much trouble to change the brake cartridge to the dado type on the SawStop. But after using my new saw a few times, I knew I would never go back to any lesser system, so I bought the dado brake and insert. This saw is amazing. After the first few uses I fell in love. Mushy thoughts like, “Where have you been all of my life?” kept running through my head. I know it’s embarrassing to feel this way about a machine, but one should never deny love. This baby is smooth and powerful, whispering quality at every task.

I was back and forth between SawStop and Powermatic for a time. I wanted quality and never intended to stick my fingers into the blade anyway. But those who cut off fingers never intended for that to happen either. Hmm. What about quality? Never fear, they didn’t skimp on anything with this saw. I love the 36” fence, and the blade adjustments are silky smooth and precise. Okay, I know I am gushing again.

I was missing the lock knob for the tilt wheel, but a call to the service number for SawStop connected me to an actual person (really!) who had the knob to me in a few days. He even apologized for the missing part. Wow! Did I mention he was a REAL PERSON?

By the way, I have no axe to grind here. I am merely a hobbyist who has only been working with wood for about six years since retirement. My first saw was a Shop Smith (hey—don’t laugh, I didn’t know anything when I began). I didn’t know how much I would enjoy making things from wood so I started slowly and kept advancing the quality of my tools as my love for woodworking increased. I have a Powermatic band saw and a DeWalt planer and scroll saw, for example. I cut plywood down with a Festool circular saw. I make dado cuts with a Freud Dial-a-Width set of blades. Yes, they are all expensive. But there’s something about owning and using quality tools that can’t be explained—only felt.

The bottom line is this: If you can afford it, but it. If you can’t afford it, buy it anyway. Life is short and you can’t take it with you. After I leave this world (with all of my fingers intact) my saw will be here for those in my family to use. It just feels right leaving them this fine machine with tis wonderful safety features and quality construction.

5 comments so far

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 2430 days

#1 posted 06-18-2012 04:08 AM

Good review, congrats on the beautiful saw!

-- Ryan

View jc88's profile


10 posts in 2203 days

#2 posted 06-19-2012 03:16 AM

Nice review. I picked one up a few months ago after four months (not kidding here) of reading reviews and research. It came down to the sawstop or the delta unisaw, me with my habit of cutting fingers on my kitchen knives and twisting my ankle on a frozen tater tot (again not kidding) I went with the sawstop. I feel as careful as I try to be I have that added comfort in knowing I have that built in feature. Have fun.

View knothead's profile


163 posts in 3977 days

#3 posted 06-19-2012 02:30 PM

You got yourself a dandy saw there! I have had mine for almost two years now and love it! wouldn’t trade it for any saw on the market. Watch your ears though the SS Haters will start posting here soon…....Some of them will make you wonder why you even come to this board but it is worth it. Enjoy and stay safe.

Like the dude in the beer commercial says…....”I don’t always use a tablesaw, but when I do, I prefer Saw Stop”

Have a great day!


-- So Much Wood - So Little Time! --

View Matt1029's profile


2 posts in 2044 days

#4 posted 11-19-2012 12:23 AM

I’m attempting to get my 3HP SawStop PCS to work with a Freud Dial-a-width SD-608 (8”) dado set (brand new, never used), but the saw will not get past the power on test. It’s complaining about the distance of the blade to the dado cartridge, or the blade being non-conductive.

Question: Which Freud Dial-a-width set are you using, and as there any trick you had to use?

View Matt1029's profile


2 posts in 2044 days

#5 posted 01-23-2013 09:21 PM

Update to my post/question. I’m happy to report that I am in fact able now able to use the Freud dial-a-width dado set with the SawSTop PCS. If you are having a problem getting past the startup self-test, and get the LED combination indicating a problem with distance of the blade to the brake, call SawStop tech support for assistance. They are great/helpful/knowledgeable, and are huge fans of this dado set. There are a few things to tweak, and with their guidance you should be able to get up and running.

FWIW, the dial-a-width is an amazing and easy to use dado set!

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