Sawstop Brake Technology Question

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Forum topic by SeaWitch posted 11-07-2011 09:11 PM 2659 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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149 posts in 2357 days

11-07-2011 09:11 PM

I was talking to my husband this morning about the Sawstop, and we had a lively discussion as you can imagine while I contemplate my TS upgrade.

My questions are, will the other Table Saw manufacturers offer a similar technology anytime soon?

And will a similar technology become available (anytime soon) for the other tools in the shop? like a router? a bandsaw?


-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

16 replies so far

View jeter's profile


20 posts in 2550 days

#1 posted 11-07-2011 09:23 PM

The answer to your question is we do not know what the future has to offer. However, I would say not anytime soon.

View TravisD's profile


4 posts in 2356 days

#2 posted 11-07-2011 09:25 PM

I believe Sawstop has a miter saw and bandsaw available now. Im sure there will be some competition in the future.

-- Travis - Shenandoah Valley VA

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3329 days

#3 posted 11-07-2011 09:54 PM

There are a few alternates to SawStop that I have seen online. It is my understanding that none of them are in production as of now.

The ones I have seen operate differently than Saw Stop in that they are activated by proximity to the blade instead of touching the blade.

They look cumbersome to me as opposed to the SawStop. I do not know the cost and if they are an aftermarket devise or will be part of the saw.

My guess is that the SawStop patent will prevent duplication of their process for quite a while.

I have read that SawStop is working on a band saw and miter saw application. But I have not seen anything about them being available any time soon. I could be wrong about that.

I have a SawStop table saw and love it. But it is not inexpensive.

Hope this helps.


View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2934 days

#4 posted 11-07-2011 10:14 PM

The creator/inventor of sawstop is a patent lawyer. You can bet the farm he will not have a competitor with similar technology unless they pay him for it.

I am an engineer and I can see no way to make a system that will do what his does without infringing on his patents.

The competing systems out there can’t stop the blade fast enough to avoid injury if you are ever allowed to touch the blade before activation of the brake the way Sawstop does.

The alternate systems all have to detect the presence of your hand near the blade and try to stop the blade before you make actual contact.

That means guards and detectors that will be in the way for making certain types of cuts. They won’t work with jigs and fixtures you might need, like a cross cut sled, for instance.

I personally don’t see a competing company wanting to spend the money to develope an alternate before the Government regulations are defined and announced. What if the future forthcoming regulations are worded in such a way that no alternate system can meet the requirements. Your development and marketing expenses would all be wasted. And this could easily happen because there is NO ONE in government smart enough to know how anything actually works; they just vote the way they are paid to..

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2973 days

#5 posted 11-07-2011 11:40 PM

I know they were prototyping the technology for bandsaws and miter saws – there was a Sawstop bandsaw prototype video they had available a while back – you might be able to find it.

As far as competing technologies, I agree with crank49 – seems very difficult to engineer a braking system that doesn’t infringe on the Sawstop patents. There are a couple of alternative systems in development that go about detecting flesh and stopping the blade in a different manner (actually I can think of only one that’s decently far along – Whirlwind). Right now, I don’t see huge advantages of those technologies over Sawstop aside from providing some competition and possibly saving blades from damage. But right now those technologies still seem like they’re not ready for primetime.

There may come a time when tool manufacturers are forced to adopt a Sawstop-like technology due to legislation – but this is going to take some time and will be a messy battle. Until it’s resolved, I expect SS will continue to be the only viable option on the market. Should new standards arise, you might see either SS licensing the tech to other saw companies or SS being bought out, depending on exactly what the new standards dictate.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Rob Bois's profile

Rob Bois

33 posts in 3358 days

#6 posted 11-08-2011 12:35 AM

This is a very good question and one that I’ve wondered myself. To date, the technology is only commercially available on table saws. So on the surface, it sounds like investing the significant premium is well worth it. But then you start to consider that the technology only prevents one hazard on one machine. Kickback (still a significant danger on a table saw) is not addressed, and you still have all those other spinning blades in your shop. I know of plenty of other serious accidents from jointers, band saws, routers, chop saws, etc. So in the end you have to ask yourself how much of the OVERALL shop danger you are mitigating and at what cost. In all honesty, my TS scares me a lot more when it comes to kickback since that’s something I have less direct control over. I can physically always keep my fingers away from the blade (or avoid loose clothing that could pull me into it), but I’ve had some scary kickback happen even when I was doing everything absolutely by the book. Now that I think about it, a sliding saw is really the solution to the inherent dangers of the TS.

View patcollins's profile


1683 posts in 2828 days

#7 posted 11-08-2011 12:49 AM

There is a window of 7 years, after that others can sell a saw that operates like it.

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 2357 days

#8 posted 11-08-2011 01:07 AM

Rob Bois, you’ve summarized exactly what we were discussing. What % of my shop experience are we making more safe. I don’t want to start a war about the SawStop—I know it’s safety is unparalleled—but we were debating how much of my time is spent with the TS vs the other tools that remain as dangerous as they were before. That’s why I was curious if there are R&D folks who are trying to add this technology to the other tools. And you’re right about the kickback, but I find that the safety guards for kickback get in the way of almost all the cuts I do… I don’t know what to do about that….Thank you everyone for your input.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3032 days

#9 posted 11-08-2011 01:42 AM

Patcollins -
Where did you get seven years? Patents issued before 1995 are good for 17 years, and patents issued after that are good for 20 years.

Seawitch -
Other technologies are in the works, but not likely to hit the market any time soon. The CPSC is pushing for laws requiring sawstop-style technology, but until they are published nobody is likely to try to bring anything new to the market.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3524 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 01:51 AM

For what it’s worth, IF I were buying a saw, it would be a Sawstop. At my age I don’t anticipate buying another saw, but in the unlikely event my current saw bites the dust (pun intended) or if I encounter unexpected wealth, I will buy a Sawstop.

The pro/cons’ on Sawstop have been hotly debated on LJ’s for years, and there is no give or take on either side, so you will not find a definitive answer here.

-- Joe

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3092 days

#11 posted 11-08-2011 06:48 AM

Your husband doesn’t want you to get a Sawstop? Funny, lots of wives insist their husbands get one. Anyway all other considerations aside. The industrial SS is a beautiful machine. Its tops in quality PLUS it has the safety feature. Lots of folks seem pleased with the “professional” version as well. Since, Powematic raised the price on the PM 2000 to almost $3000.00 and the Delta unisaw is also going for about $3000.00 the cost difference is for and SS is narrower than many think.

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 2357 days

#12 posted 11-08-2011 07:02 AM

mcase, not exactly. we were talking about safety in general. He won’t be making the decision alone anyway. I’m struggling with it myself. But maybe you’re right. Maybe the price difference isn’t as much as I thought.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2638 days

#13 posted 11-09-2011 10:23 PM

The difference is less than a trip to the ER even with less than major damage and pain. I don’t have a SS but they are appealing. Just wish the SS man had presented his case differently. He would be like much better in the woodworking world.

View mikema's profile


180 posts in 2549 days

#14 posted 11-09-2011 10:53 PM

There is no doubt that the saw stop technology is nothing short of amazing. Every time I see a live hotdog demo, I am always amazed by it. Personally, I am not going to run out and replace my still functioning TS, and I plan on using the TS until it quits, which being an older contractor saw, will probably be within the next 5-10 years. That said, I think in 2012 we will see the mandate that by 2015 all TS manufactures will need to implement some sort of “flesh sensing” technology that is able to very quickly stop a spinning blade. So while I am not planning on running out and buying a new TS right now, I am keeping an eye on what the market is doing, as this will likely affect my next TS purchase.

The cost is a concern, as the Sawstop is typically $800-$1000 more then equivalent TSes. One thing to keep in mind, is that is not necessarily the cost of the technology. They cost so much is that they are the only company providing the technology, its pricing is mostly based on supply and demand. Once other companies start making their own saws with this or similar technology, the price, in theory, should start to come down.

-- Mike ---- Visit my woodworking blog:

View mrpedal's profile


30 posts in 2501 days

#15 posted 11-10-2011 10:30 PM

What mcase said. Been dying to get a table saw for years… wanted to buy my ‘last one first’ (ha ha). The delta and sawstop were within a hundred-ish bucks of each other. Both looked absolutely top notch. In the end I got the sawstop, and the intergrated mobile base. Love it, love it love it. The safety stuff is great, and my wife is at ease…. but holy crap it’s accurate. Best packaging and setup on anything I’ve purchased. Well aligned from the factory, easy to tune. Table was flaaaaaaaaat. Pretty darn good dust collection with only a shop vac hooked up, and no fancy dust shroud/overhead stuff.. Prob super with that.

To be devil’s advocate I also agree with crank49 on the patent lawyer thing. Or patent creation and enforcement. Entrepreneurial or Extortionist or both? I dunno.

Killer saw though.

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