A question for Sawstop owners

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 08-08-2012 05:17 PM 4449 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3239 days

08-08-2012 05:17 PM

I would like to hear from anyone who has had their Sawstop blade brake fire, either to prevent injury or accidentally. After the brake fired, was the blade damaged beyond repair, not damaged at all or just missing a tooth or two. I’m asking this because if I put an expensive blade (Forrest, Everlast, Tenyu) and it is damaged to require replacement, I might just use cheap blades (<$40).

24 replies so far

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2260 days

#1 posted 08-08-2012 05:24 PM

I am not a Sawstop owner, but per their literature you need to replace the blade. Who knows what damage that brake can cause that you can’t readily see? If there is a hairline fracture in the blade and it heats up or binds or is side-loaded while cutting lumber, you could have a catastrophe in the making. I’m not saying you can’t use the blade; I’m thinking it’s more of a you shouldn’t use the blade.

You’ll need to replace the brake insert too ($69 regular or $89 dado I believe).

The Sawstop is there to keep you from losing digits or injuring yourself. Who cares if a $100 blade is tossed if it saves you a $500-$30,000 surgery (reattaching digits can get expensive)?

Will you be happy that you can use your $100 blade when you return with 1 less finger?

Again, I’m not an owner and you can ignore my post if you don’t think it applies or you’re just looking for owners’ experiences.

[None of this was written to be offensive or mean. Just pointing out the reality]

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3156 days

#2 posted 08-08-2012 05:27 PM

Do you have a dial indicator you can use to check the runout on a blade?

Check a brand new blade to see how flat it is.
Check the most used blade you have on hand to see how flat it is.
Check the blade that hit the SS brake to see how flat it is.

Compare the numbers and you should find an answer that suits your risk factor. Oh, and don’t forget that damaged tooth welds can be more difficult to spot than missing teeth.

Depending on the results of the above, in a home shop I might be tempted to put it back on.

Alternatively: Figure that you just saved > $200 on a hospital bill and treat yourself to a brand new $100 blade. And btw, contact SS about the fire. You might just get a free cartridge.

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

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 3984 days

#3 posted 08-08-2012 05:50 PM

We bought a SawStop where I used to work, and our Plant Manager wanted me to do three demonstrations (hot dog version) so everyone on our three shifts could see it perform. We used standard Delta 40 tooth combo blades for all three tests. After the demo’s, I pried the blades out of the brakes, and checked them … 3 to 5 teeth were either chipped or pulled from their brazing after the brakes fired on each blade. I remounted each blade on the saw and checked them with an indicator … one had more runout than before the demo’s … two remained unchanged. All three were disposed of, as the P.M. deemed them unsafe ( I agree ) and not worth the cost of repair. He had a great attitude about money spent on safety was money saved on hospital bills. I retired shortly after that, and in the past 6 years they have had two incidents where the brake fired … BOTH … of them were valid, and probably saved amputations and trips to the hospital, according to the guys who were using the SawStop at the time.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2861 days

#4 posted 08-08-2012 06:37 PM

I’ve seen the hot dog demo a few times. The guy doing the demo said he uses the same blade. It hasn’t lost teeth. He will cut a board with it and show you the cut. It is still quite smooth.

I have a SS and haven’t had the brake fire, by accident, or for good cause.

I haven’t heard of many misfires.

Personally, I prefer to run a quality blade on the saw. My expectation is that the brake will never fire. If it does, I’ll decide then if the blade needs to be replaced, and if so, to get another good blade.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3557 days

#5 posted 08-08-2012 10:11 PM

How often do you expect to fire the SS?

In 40 years of woodworking I have yet to touch a blade while it was running. If I had a SS, I’d expect the same number of blade contacts.

If you have a cheap blade, then the quality of every cut you make is less than it could be.

-- Joe

View CplSteel's profile


142 posts in 2160 days

#6 posted 08-09-2012 12:41 AM

I agree with most of the comments above which basically boil down to: you shouldn’t care because if it does fire off the cost of the broken blade is nothing compared to not cutting off your finger.

That said, I don’t have a saw stop (or any table saw yet) but I have done some research and I have two points that may interest you:
1) I would be worried about the cost of a blade if the saw were to accidentally fire because of salt water soaked wood or something, but my understanding is that you can turn the key on the saw stop to disengage the safety system, and when disengaged there is a test method you can do to see if the system would in fact fire on the piece you are cutting.
2) Blades that do get stopped are supposedly repairable.

That said, I would use a good blade and assume that it won’t accidentally fire off and if it does, the cost is little compared to the price of a saw or a new fence (if you run your aluminum fence into the blade it will fire off, but a new blade and soft stop bracket are probably cheaper then a new fence)

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2930 days

#7 posted 08-09-2012 05:41 AM

If you look closely you will see 2 of them. the second break is behind the brush. Another one iwas gifted to a friend.

I never touched the blade!

Everytime it’s around $140; 89 for the break + blade + tax.
The first time it ruined the insert too ($29) since I was cutting a 45.

Everytime it happened my heart sunk, my ears hurt and I rush to count and inspect my fingers and hands (seriously). Everytime you get upset for few days asking what happened.
-I did not touch it, in fact my hand were pretty far from the blade.
-The glue was dry overnight
-The lumber was dry (no I did not measure the moisture content)

One time it was my fault. the aluminum mitter barely touched. I had to inspect really close. That’s a close circuit so it triggers. Yes they can differenciate and that’s why they ask you to send it back and they will replace it if it was body contact.

And yes you can forget about your blades.

The wife felt more comforable with the SS.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2474 days

#8 posted 08-09-2012 06:17 AM

I know Rob Cosman has had 2 fires and the blade was fine. He says that is because he went with the 3hp saw and not the 5. I have been waiting for something better and I feel the other saw makers will have something soon . I know the Whirlwind passes the hot dog test and expect its version to be more mainstream in the near future. Loosing a hundred dollars for a mis fire is a bit too much for me. So I am holding out for the new Powermatic saw. Another interesting stat The most common table saw accident is not a finger in the blade it is a kickback injury from the board and while kickbacks are the most common accident the saw stop does very little to prevent that. In fact they do only what is required by law.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2474 days

#9 posted 08-09-2012 06:23 AM

One more thing Ron, Blades have improved a great deal in the last few years. I am currently testing the new pro pack from Trend. I can tell you that the cuts are very good almost as fine as my WWII blade and the 3 blade set is under 150. I also know Rockler has released a new blade they clam it cuts great too and it is not as expensive as a Forrest. However to me I am not ready to choose a new saw yet I am holding out for a choice. I recommended holding out with me.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3394 days

#10 posted 08-09-2012 06:35 AM

I have the SawStop and have done both the normal hotdog test and another where I swung a sausage down onto the blade with far more speed and force and the system worked just as well which really did surprise me. I have dug the blades out of three system fires now and while one “looked” OK, I would never use a blade that went through that. When you have it happen right in front of you it is easier to understand the huge forces happening in such a short time. It is just not worth it to save a blade. If the SawStop fired to save your fingers you are way ahead in money buying a new blade over what the ER would have cost. I would write the new blade off as another cost of me doing something dumb to fire the system in the first place.

-- Tom Hintz,

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3006 days

#11 posted 08-09-2012 08:08 AM

I have had a brake fire once – accidental contact with aluminum miter gauge.

The blade was a Forrest WWII. While the blade seemed ok to my eye after removal from the brake, I sent it in to Forrest for a check. They replaced two teeth and had to reflatten the blade (taking it out after the fire wasn’t easy and I probably bent it). Cost was around $60 plus shipping.

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

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3239 days

#12 posted 08-09-2012 03:03 PM

Thanks all. I’m just doing some pro/con research.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3132 days

#13 posted 08-09-2012 03:27 PM

Plan on pitching the blade. But also plan on using a good blade when you need good cut quality. It (brake firing) should not happen very often over the time you use the saw.

My brake fired. My crosscut sled apparently got hung up on the anti kickback pawls on the blade guard and twisted the guard such that the riving knife contacted the blade. I have changed my procedures a bit to ensure that particular scenario never happens again.

AIR, the recommendation from SawStop and from the blade rep (Ridge Carbide) was to pitch the blade. That hurt – it was a relatively new blade that cut well.

Salesman at Rockler said that they use cheap blades when they do SawStop demos and those blades usually loose a few teeth.

-- Greg D.

View MrUnix's profile


6705 posts in 2195 days

#14 posted 08-09-2012 03:33 PM

Another interesting stat The most common table saw accident is not a finger in the blade it is a kickback injury from the board and while kickbacks are the most common accident…

I would be interested to hear where you got that statistic as the U.S. CPSC, as well as other governmental and industry statistics show the exact opposite, with kickback accounting for less than 15% of all table saw related injuries.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View lj61673's profile


261 posts in 2395 days

#15 posted 08-09-2012 03:41 PM

I know Rob Cosman has had 2 fires and the blade was fine. He says that is because he went with the 3hp saw and not the 5.

I can’t see what the horespower rating possibly has to do with the blade condition after firing. Seeing as how the power is cut instantaneously to the motor and I assume both motors turn at the same rpm.

showing 1 through 15 of 24 replies

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