Thinking Of Buying a SawStop Cabinet Saw Would Like Opinons Pros & Cons

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Forum topic by mchuray posted 06-25-2012 02:50 AM 3469 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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81 posts in 2996 days

06-25-2012 02:50 AM

As the title says I’ve been thinking of buying a SawStop Cabinet Saw and I would like your opinons pro or con. Had considered a Delta, but the local tool store was really down on them as to parts supply and doesn’t carry the Unisaw. Reviews on the SawStop seem to be good. The ones I looked at reallly had smooth controls. Don’t know if the fence is as good as a Biesemayer fence etc., also I’m wondering if anyone has had trouble inadvertant cartridge activation and what were the circumstances.
Thanks in advance,

21 replies so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3671 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 02:53 AM

You can still get parts for a Unisaw.

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 2399 days

#2 posted 06-25-2012 02:59 AM

Just curious, how much hp do you want?

-- Ryan

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2380 days

#3 posted 06-25-2012 03:11 AM

Take a look at that review just posted by Dave. Don’t know the cost.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2634 days

#4 posted 06-25-2012 03:15 AM

I won’t bore you will the good about the safety features…it has been beat to death. The fence is complaints. I worked at a shop in a university in their art department. They have 3 sawstops, and in over 5 years there have been about 8 fires. The spent cartridges are strung up in the office. About half of them have barely a knick on them, just from misfires. The others are pretty mangled. My guess if if you know what you are doing, you will never set it off. The chances of misfire in a student shop is much higher then with someone who knows what they are doing. My one annoyance with the saw is that the blade must come to a complete stop and then a couple of seconds before you can turn it on. This may sound like it would never be an issue, but it seems that it happens on a somewhat regular basis. I usually start the saw, then turn it off to check a measurement, then you have to wait about 15 seconds before you can turn it on. Besides this weird complaint (that this be the only one that it bothers) everything else is great.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2186 days

#5 posted 06-25-2012 03:16 AM

I have not heard of any problems with inadvertent cartridge activation on SawStop. That said, I wouldn’t insist on my table saw having this technology because I think given all the other machines in my shop that are at least as dangerous as a table saw, since these other machines don’t have this sort of technology, the benefit of having it on my table saw seems less.

I think I am saying you need to work in a diciplined, aware fashion on any machine so that you never end up relying on SawStop to save your bacon. Obviously there is always a chance that a guy will suffer brain fade and SawStop will come to the rescue but what about the bandsaw, jointer . . .

Another point is all the buzz around SawStop : you hear some claim that table saws are super dangerous because most amateur shop accidents involve the table saw. I think the real reason they involve the table saw is that everyone and his dog owns one. If you follow the rules, managing the risks presented by the table saw are well within most people’s abilities.

Punchline: Buy SawStop if you like the saw overall. The blade stop technolgy is a bonus but it will cost you a couple of hunrdred dollars each time if you use it instead of good work practices.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3158 days

#6 posted 06-25-2012 03:41 AM

This subject seems to bring out the extremes. I absolutely despise the company(ie. owner/lawyer)’s business practices. Simply put, he wants a monopoly. That being said, I still recommend the saw to folks.

I work in a shop/classroom that has the 5hp big one. I don’t recall it ever being tripped, neither a misfire nor an accident. I’m probably one of two of the most frequent users of that saw in the shop. Sans the safety factor, it is one of the best saws I’ve ever used. Add to that the safety feature and you’ve got a great saw.

I also helped a friend install the mid-range version in his personal shop. He has set his off twice. First time was by hitting his Incra miter gauge. Second time was with his finger trying to flip an offcut out of the way. This was a while ago, no incidents for a while now. On the finger-save, SS sent him a box to return the cartridge and they replaced it free after confirming a flesh strike. Kind of a trade of tracked data(the ‘black box’) for a new cartridge. This mid range saw works and operates as good and as accurate as the top of the line model I use in the classroom.

Understand that you have to use the safety feature with some common sense. You can’t run wet lumber through it with it turned on. Nor metal. You CAN turn it off in those rare times and be just fine. Just understand that you are back to a Unisaw without the safety feature. The SS is a great saw.

I disagree with the 15 second restart mentioned above. The saw stops quicker than that, and it has not been an issue with me.

I hate the company’s tactics, but I love the saw.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3008 days

#7 posted 06-25-2012 06:17 AM

Fence is good. Some folks have had trouble with fence face flatness, but it’s not a huge deal. I replaced mine with an Incra fence. The fence gliding and lockdown are really good.

I, like others, have had inadvertent brake firing when I accidentally contacted my miter gauge. Stupid.

I also had an issue with a faulty part that customer service took care of VERY SWIFTLY. Like overnight swiftly. IMHO, the customer service is one of the main reasons to get a SS. I’m not one to get into the politics about the owner and his tactics, but the people running that company day-to-day are knowledgeable, helpful, and great to talk to.

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

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#8 posted 06-25-2012 09:10 AM

I can’t help but think that your local store was down on Delta parts supply BECAUSE they don’t carry them. Funny how commissioned sales people have negative things to say about a competitor they don’t make any money on….

One plus for the Delta is that it’s made in the US.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2863 days

#9 posted 06-25-2012 01:45 PM

I got an SS cabinet saw a few months ago and have not had any complaints about it yet. That said, a lot of my recent projects hadn’t needed much table saw work.

As someone else mentioned, you can disable the safety feature on the saw when necessary. What is nice about that is you can make test cuts on wood if you suspect it might trigger the brake. The lights on the saw will give you an indication that it would have triggered when you were making the cut. I needed to rip some ipe for my deck railing and I wasn’t sure if that dense/oily wood would trigger the brake. After a couple of test cuts with the safety device off, I am confident that it won’t be a problem. It is nice to be able to test something like that without having to replace the cartridge if it did trigger the brake.

The SS is a great saw. No regrets on buying it.

+1 for the customer service. I bought mine when they had the free base or dust collection offer going. I went for the base, and waited to set up the saw until it arrived. When it arrived it was the dust collection kit! I called customer service. They checked my order and said it was their mistake. The base was shipped the next day. She said to just keep the dust collection kit, so I got both for free. Lucky for me, I wasn’t in an urgent need to get the saw set up, but they were very friendly, helpful and fast.

As for company practices, I don’t like some of the tactics they have used. That said, I’ll be there are a lot of companies we deal with every day whose business practices are at least as bad. In the end, if they provide a product or service we need or want badly enough we give them our business anyway.

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2920 days

#10 posted 06-25-2012 03:40 PM

I’m a big fan of mine (3 HP). Great saw, great service. I wasn’t sure what distance I should set my (aluminum) Osborne miter gauge from the blade to avoid misfire. I called, and got an immediate answer (about 1/4”), and the fellow who answered the phone had had the exact same issue on a SS he put together for his sister.

I dealt with a non chain store local dealer, who was great to work with. They delivered it for $25 to my garage. A neighbor helped me uncrate it and move it to my basement shop, and I put it together myself. Excellent instructions, very nice packaging on the parts. Everything went together well. The alignment was pretty good right out of the box. About the only thing I needed to mess with was the tilt limits. I like the fence, no warping problems with mine. Dust collection is excellent, and as has been pointed out, swapping the overhead guard/splitter for the riving knife is incredibly easy. It took me a while to figure out exactly how to swap the cartridge the first time I used my dado blade, but now that I’ve done it once, it’s also easy and quick.

I got mine when SWMBO accompanied me to another store that had one. While I was drooling, she asked me what was so special about it. When I explained the safety feature, she told me that I MUST get one, and it had to be the next tool purchase I made. Bonus was good this year, and I have it :)

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#11 posted 06-25-2012 03:47 PM

+1 Hammer K3

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2512 days

#12 posted 06-25-2012 04:07 PM

The SawStop may be a great saw, I don’t know. But upon reflection of 42 years in woodworking, and 28 years in factory maintenance, the only times I have seen a person take off a piece of their bodies with tools that probably in most wood shops has been:
1. Guy fell asleep on his feet in a shoe factory cutting leather strips on a bandsaw. The pain of cutting off his thumb woke him up.
2. Friend of mine cut his finger digit off when the Sears radial saw he had bought with the auto braking system failed and he didn’t realize the blade was still turning.
3. Had a maintenance guy cut his finger off with a large pair of dykes, when they slipped down the wire he was holding just as he was really putting on the squeeze.
4. Saw a guy get his hand crushed when it got cut off in stamping press when the safety failed. He did not lose the hand, just three months in a hospital and a lot of therapy.
5. Ground my own thumb down far enough I could not work in my shop for two months on a 12” disc sander.
6. How many of us have gouged ourselves with razor sharp edges from razor blades, planes, etc?

But the only time I ever even heard of anyone taking their finger(s) off with a table saw was in my high school, (yes, the instructor did it), when the woodworking instructor got distracted by a noisy student and let his finger drop into a running blade while helping another student. So I buy the student environment issue, but I don’t think I’ll ever really have a reason to pay for the safety systems of a SawStop in my personal shop, just because I respect that saw so much.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View moke's profile


1175 posts in 2774 days

#13 posted 06-25-2012 05:42 PM

I have had a 3hp 52” Pro for three years now. Several of us bought it after a friend cut a couple fingers off on another brand of TS. Of my friends that own them (6 or 8) two have had misfires. One fellow had two. Two were from the blade/cartridge being mal-adjusted and one was from touching the blade with an aluminum extrusion in a sled.

I have to say, it does give me some peace of mind to have the added safety. Having said that, all the tools in your shop could dismember you. I still treat the saw as if it does not have a safety system. I read about a guy that got his fingers in the blade and still required stitches and Physical Therapy. It is not with out any danger.

I have enjoyed the saw and came from a 1.5 hp saw, so the 3 hp is awesome and I can not imagine what the 5 hp must be like. The 52” feature is awesome for sheet goods. I really do not know about SS politics, nor do I care, I only know I like the quality of the tool and the peace of mind that the added safety gives. My previous saw had a unifence witht he Peach tree extrusion replacement. It was an awesome fence and I thought that this fence was never going to compare, but I actually like it better. All in all I would not hesitate to buy it again.

-- Mike

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8190 posts in 2575 days

#14 posted 06-25-2012 05:46 PM

An excellent review as mentioned above.

View JimmyJam's profile


31 posts in 2477 days

#15 posted 06-25-2012 10:16 PM

I don’t have the cabinet saw, but the contractor version with cast iron wings. I bought it used 2 years ago, and the switch box went bad in May of this year. I called them up, and they sent me a new switch box free of charge even though it is out of warranty.

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