SawStop Nusance Trips

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Forum topic by Rob Drown posted 06-12-2009 06:03 AM 6250 views 0 times favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rob Drown

799 posts in 4030 days

06-12-2009 06:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question milling

If your SawStop break has tripped and it didn’t touch your finger, Please share what did trip it.

I trripped mine with a carpenters pencil lead. I had turned the saw off, it was coasting and I was using a pencil to move small pieces of maple away from the blade. POW. Fastest $200 i ever spent.

Hopefully we can help each other avoid the expense. If your finger has been saved please share that also.



-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

58 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3845 days

#1 posted 06-12-2009 06:34 AM

good post – very informative. I think it’s a good idea to keep track of this cause.

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

View lew's profile


12421 posts in 3952 days

#2 posted 06-12-2009 06:38 AM

I agree with Sharon. You might want to forward that info to SawStop. I would think they could add a section to their manual (or web site) to alert folks of what can cause an accidental trip.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#3 posted 06-12-2009 06:38 AM

If it was your finger $200 would seem like a bargain

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18387 posts in 3873 days

#4 posted 06-12-2009 07:26 AM

I don’t know anything about Saw Stop, but it probably works on the electrical capacitance of the blade. They are probably using very sensitive electronic to sense any change.
Anything you touch it with is probably risking a trip. The carbon in the pencil lead would probably do it. Really green wood would probably do it. Just my wild guess. Been electrician for 40+ :=))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Rob Drown

799 posts in 4030 days

#5 posted 06-12-2009 07:32 AM

I’ve heard a small brad or even wet glue in a fresh joint will stop it cold. The local plastic shop has one and they found out that foil backed plastic sheet sets it off. It has bypass mode for cutting wet wood or anything else known to be conductive but that bypasses the safety also.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View 's profile

593 posts in 4169 days

#6 posted 06-12-2009 07:35 AM

That’s indeed how it works, TopamaxSurvivor and yes, they have instructions on how to disable the system in order to cut green wood or other conductive materials.

View jeffss's profile


3 posts in 3483 days

#7 posted 06-12-2009 02:33 PM

I work at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and we have 8 SawStops in the building. In the 2 1/2 years we’ve had them the brake pad has been tripped by brads, wet glue. Also riving knife we forgot to take out when we cutting a new throat plate; in raising the blade through the plate the knife got pushed down and just touched the blade. A couple brake pads went off on their own. Supposedly there is “black box” in the brake pad that SawStop can examine. I believe that in that manual is mentions that the brake will activate as long as the blade is spinning (even after you push the stop switch.)

We’ve not had any finger incidents since we use the “3inch / 12 inch rule” for our machinery.
Keep your fingers 3 inches or more from guards, shields, pullies, and pinch points. Use pushsticks or jigs to maintain that distance when needed.
Marc created a series of articles on safety that were published by Popular Woodworking and were in issues starting about a year and a half ago.

The 12 inch rule means that if your stock in less than 12” long, you need to consider whether a piece of machinery is appropriate for the operation you want. Stock under that length needs attached to a bigger piece of wood or the use of a jig, etc that makes the small piece behave like a bigger piece of wood.
It sounds like you were either crosscutting with the mitre gauge or ripping a short length. Most of the time we dont crosscut on the table saw unless we use a crosscut sled. If you are using a mitre gauge, you need to screw a long and tall scrap board to the gauge to create a long fence that extends past blade ( this supports your stock on both sides of the cut. ALSO, screw a fat wooden block to the back of extended fence where the cut will be. This will create a blade shield on the back of the fence. What this set up will let you do is make your cut, pushing your stock past the riving knife, and with the blade safely covered by the shield you can remove your cutoffs ( or ignore then since they are safely past the blade and riving knife).
For ripping some (NOT ALL) short pieces you can use a wide push block. Some of our’s are 2 1/4” wide. By raising the blade about half a tooth above the stock and using just the riving knife ( the one without the blade shield.). What you will be doing with your push block is placing it so as to support both sides of your cut and pushing it right over the blade( your riving knife should be set just under the height of the blade; check your manual). This will cut into the push block as you push both sides of you stock past the blade AND the riving knife.
Again there are many ways to safely do things. Safety is a skill that needs regular practice, so take the time to think things through. You’ll be rewarded with better cuts to.

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3635 days

#8 posted 06-13-2009 01:11 AM

I was pushing my cutoffs out of the way with a hot dog until I tripped the darn thing. Won’t do that again.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3951 days

#9 posted 06-13-2009 01:33 AM


-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View archie18's profile


204 posts in 3687 days

#10 posted 06-15-2009 03:58 AM

A screw tripped mine.

-- Robert in middle TN

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18387 posts in 3873 days

#11 posted 06-15-2009 08:51 AM

I wonder if this is going to be like Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) when they first came out and were required on all construction sites? So many nuisance trips nobody could get any work done.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View breaknrn's profile


39 posts in 4193 days

#12 posted 10-11-2011 07:48 AM

I tripped the brake on my saw over the weekend. It ruined my brand new freud rip blade. I only had it for two weeks. I was lucky that I decided to take out the Forrest WoodWorker II to clean it. It destroyed a $60 dollar blade versus $115.

Here’s how it happened. I made the mistake of gluing a metal tape measure to my cross cut sled. I don’t know what I was thinking. It just brushed up against the blade and bang, there went $140 dollars (new blade and cartridge).

I think it was a lesson well learned though.

- First lesson. The brake works and is very sensitive

- Second lesson. The brake won’t work if the blade is dirty. Pitch will break the electrical current between the blade and your finger. How do I know? I had my WW2 on the saw for months and didn’t have a problem. The minute I switched out to a clean blade and it touched the metal tape measure attached to my cross cut sled, it fired off. Suffice it to say, I will keep my blade clean from now on.

Hope other people learn from my mistake….

-- breaknrn

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18387 posts in 3873 days

#13 posted 10-11-2011 07:55 AM

If dirty blades negate the safety trip, it isn’t all its cracked up to be. Sounds like a light beam around the blade would be safer.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sarit's profile


550 posts in 3336 days

#14 posted 10-11-2011 08:10 AM

Is it possible that you were touching the other end of the pencil lead when the blade hit?
The saw might have been sensing the your hand through the pencil.

On TV they like to use the eraser tips on those cheap yellow school pencils to move small parts away.
I personally use the the tip on my push stick, since we always keep those close by….right?

View ChuckV's profile


3177 posts in 3724 days

#15 posted 10-11-2011 01:21 PM

Is it possible that the clean blade was a bit thicker than the dirty WW II?

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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