VOTE: SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw and Accessories

After much deliberation over the last two weeks, both here on the mailing list and in the #woodworking channel on slack, I believe we are ready to vote to significantly improve the safety of our woodshop by replacing our old table saw (with it’s broken & missing safety devices) with a SawStop.

After discussing the various models and options, and a visit to Rockler and Woodcraft to see the saws in person, we have decided that the best value to us for the money would be the Professional Cabinet Saw (PCS) with the 3HP motor and 52" T-Glide Fence upgrade. While the Industrial Cabinet Saw (ICS) was noticeably a nicer, heavier built saw, it was not sufficiently nicer than the PCS to justify the additional $1000 cost. The PCS will be plenty robust for us, and will match or exceed the performance of our current saw just fine.

The list of options/upgrades I believe are necessary to duplicate our current saw’s capabilities, but with the much needed modern safety devices are as follows:


In addition to the above, I believe the following additional items, while not strictly necessary, will set us up for the best chances of success with our new saw:


The moisture meter and metal detector are for ensuring we minimize the chance of accidental trips of the saw’s brake cartridge (which costs $80 each time it goes off, plus the cost of a new blade) due to cutting green wood or cutting through nails, staples, or screws in reclaimed wood (like our stock of shelf wood). These tools are useful for all woodshop tools as well, and should help us extend the life of our jointer and planer blades as well as helping avoid unnecessary SawStop brake trips.

The spare Zero Clearance Insert is so that we can have one for making mitered/angled cuts without damaging the primary insert for making square cuts.

The Floating Dust Collection Arm serves as both an improved dust collection device that collects the dust from above the workpiece, but also acts as an additional safety device, preventing chips from flying at the operator’s face and eyes, and keeping fingers away from the saw blade.

The Spare Blades are important for two reasons, they ensure we have a backup blade in the event the saw brake gets triggered, and they allow us to keep the saw in service when we take our blades to be sharpened.

The only thing I believe we will need/want that is not included in this vote is an improved outfeed table that includes storage for the saw parts, accessories, and sleds. Austin and Amphay have volunteered to design and build one for us, but we decided that it will be easier to have that as it’s own vote once the design is ready (having the saw in the shop will make it easier to take measurements for the design too).

Both Rockler and Woodcraft have said that they can facilitate a tax-free purchase for us, and will give us 10% off the non-SawStop brand items (the blades, moisture meter, and metal detector). Shipping will be free so long as we pick it up from the store (I can borrow the flatbed or lift-gate truck from work if needed).

The total cost of the above items is $4,468.39. I propose a vote for $4,800, to give a $300 buffer in case we find there is something we forgot or didn’t expect we would need/want when we go to set up the saw. I do not expect to need this buffer.

This vote will end one week from today, during the meeting on Tuesday, September 7th, 2021.

Thank you everyone who contributed to the discussions surrounding this. There were MANY options, with MANY subtle pros and cons that everyone really pitched in to help understand and evaluate.

Kevin M.
Hot Crafts Warden (and former Woodworking Warden)

I vote YES

One additional thing I wanted to point out: once we have the new saw in, I feel fairly confident that we can sell the old saw for possibly as much as $1200 based on the current used table saw market. Similar size and capacity table saws are selling on ebay and craigslist for $1300-1800. Even with our saw’s missing safety devices, I am confident we will more than recover the $800 we paid for it when we bought it, and that income will certainly help offset this expense.

Here is a SawStop compatible aluminum ZCI with a replaceable wood-product insert.

Infinity Tools says:

“The durable aluminum insert plate replaces your stock phenolic plate and the replaceable inserts can be quickly swapped for thin kerf, standard kerf, bevel, and even dado cuts.”

It also looks like the replaceable insert could be cut on the CNC from local stock.

That looks useful John, if this vote passes, we can pick one of those up and see how it compares to the SawStop insert.

FWIW, the SawStop has the ability to test any material before it is run through the blade. The saw needs to be put into Bypass Mode, and then the material pressed up against the saw blade. If the light blinks, the material is conductive enough to set off the safety stop. This should be sufficient to make a moisture meter unnecessary for avoiding false triggers, though they’re very handy for making sure wood has sufficiently acclimatized to avoid large amounts of movement after milling.

I vote yes.

Nerd-out un-asked for medical advice for those unconvinced, but I feel like I had to share having just worked with trauma surgery at UC a few weeks ago:

One data source found that there were about 30,000 table saw injuries per year in the US, 10-15% of which resulted in digit amputation. In another study (albeit with a small smaple size). 100% of the table saw injuries caused permanent tendon or nerve injury (inability to flex or extend that finger with full range of motion).

And as much as i hate to turn medical problems into a financial argument, average cost of a saw stop was $700 more than an unequipped saw but hospital bills and missed wages from even a simple table saw injury were averaged at $4000 so it could save our community money in the long term with just a single saw stop activation. source:

Bottom line, when considering the many number of years that a new table saw would be operational and with varying experience levels, in my opoinion it’s only a matter of time that a blade contact will occur at the Hive, and by the numbers there probably will be permanent consequences upto and including amputation for that person. Here’s to hoping a saw stop is there to stand in the way of that!

-Drew Weller

P.S. I support the inclusion of a moisture meter for its additional use to those who may try to dry/work with their own wood including on the lathe with bowls

I vote yes

TLDR; my inclination is to vote No. Feel free to try to change my mind.

I am very, very supportive of making Hive13 a safer place to play and I feel like a better table saw is part of the solution. However, there are other glaring safety concerns that don’t require the purchase of a new toy that would go MUCH further.

The woodshop is arguably the most popular area of Hive13. It’s also the most dangerous. We have agreed that the woodshop tools should require certification in order to use. I would expect as a result that about 80% of our 120ish members would be demanding certification classes for the use of the woodshop tools. But this is simply not the case. Are existing members grandfathered into certification because they haven’t cut off an arm yet? Is there a nod and a wink that certification applies to “someone other than me”. Kate and I both have experience using a lathe but we requested to be certified so we could have a refresher of safety considerations. But I just don’t see that happening on a larger scale.

Earlier in the year, we passed a vote to purchase bleeding control kits and they hang on the wall without anyone being schooled in how to use them. I will accept some responsibility for this because I was president at the time and I tried unsuccessfully to get a class going.

The table saw that we already have has a fence that has written on it in giant bold letters “this is the safest way to use the table saw” but it is uncommon to see anyone use it and it is usually stuffed under the saw somewhere.

We have the means to create RFID readers that control whether a member can use a device based on certification status but we have not undertaken the effort.

I have no doubt that the proposed table saw is much better than the one we have. I and I recognize that it has “safety features” ™ that our current saw (which I commonly refer to as the murder device) doesn’t. I acknowledge that a SawStop has saved many lives.

However, I can’t help feeling that this proposal is for a new $4000 toy gilt with promises of safety.

Change my mind.

I fully support the idea of RFID readers that control whether a member can use a device based on certification status. A system like that would be ideal and should be a goal. However, even once fully implemented this wouldn’t make the current saw any safer for the certified user. These both seem like separate but equally necessary steps towards a better Hive.

While my take on things is decidedly different from yours, Dave Schwinn, I feel very strongly that the sawstop is more of a “toy,” not a necessity.

I also don’t feel like that should stop the organization buying it. There is a strong case that it is an improvement to safety at the space. It is a tool that will see lots of use by many members. If the hive, as an organization, can shoulder the cost of a $5000 toy and still have room in the budget for other “toys” - GO FOR IT. The hive’s purpose isn’t to acquire funds to keep in a bank and earn interest on. Even if you look at the sawstop as a toy not a necessity, it’s a potentially valuable one and potentially well within our means. :slight_smile:

Dave, the questions about certification that you bring up are important and valid. I, for one, would be somewhere between annoyed and fucking pissed if RFID lockouts were put on equipment at the hive until members were formally certified on equipment and added to some RFID whitelist. Maybe I’m just hive 1.0 culture and I should STFU but I pretty strongly feel that it is NOT THE HIVE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO BE YOUR PARENT. IMHO, certification exists more to protect the hive’s assets from people abusing them than to prevent a user from injuring themself. The goal of certification is to prevent people from breaking tools and hopefully themselves… No one forces or compels you to touch ANYTHING in the hive. If you’re going to use dangerous tools, you can face serious risks. This isn’t fucking complicated.

I believe that the questions of kitchen funding, reserves and other measures were adequately addressed so I will vote YES to the new fancy non-death spinny metal toy.

-Dave Blundell

Yep, I’m in complete agreement with Tim here. I’ll also add that I have the energy to buy and set up a saw, but not to design an RFID tool lock and certification database… Both should be the final answer, but let’s get this one done since we have the funds and the willpower to get it done.

RFID lockouts would probably mean the end of my participation with the hive. It is not the hive’s job to protect people from themselves. If that’s the kind of culture we want to promote, peace out.

To add to Dave’s point, I agree with the importance of certification as a means of safety (I like the RFID idea but also even a low tech method of clipboard hanging next to equipment with a list of certified members to glint in the eyes of uncertified people’s faces, bright safety notices, etc.).

I think the insight on the saw stop not being the end all be all for safety is true, and people should obvi be practicing good table saw safety as if the saw stop didn’t exist.

I guess my fear is that for those members that are certified and follow our rules (and use the crosscut sled which is super awesome) without a riving knife and a blade/dust guard the current table saw still poses a large safety hazard, below the standard of use for any table saw period, even one in the back of grandpa’s garage. I also know that for hobbyists like us (significant predictor of risk in that study by the way), most aren’t experts on reading wood grain and many of us who think we know what we’re doing might not even be able to recognize when the grain on a rip cut runs the risk of pinching the blade without a riving knife and having a bad kickback. How many of us are checking for cups in boards before we cut? It’s clear at least some sort of upgrade re: riving knife, etc is in order (to my understanding the current saw has some compatibility issue with a riving blade or it’s extremely difficult to get it on and off) and when we have the resources, the clear benefits of a sawstop outweigh the cost of a standard saw purchase by a longshot.

TLDR the saw stop appropriately protects the certified members just as much as it will the uncertified for whom the purchase isn’t directed at.


voting yes on SawStop acquisition

I’m for having a better, safer, tablesaw. But my issue at this point is that we are also talking about replacing the outfeed table. So this isn’t a $4800 vote. This it is 5K for this part, and then an additional 1000 - 1500 for for the outfeed table, plus additional dust collection duct fittings, plus other stuff maybe? The reality is we aren’t replacing a tool, we are replacing the entire saw environment. So I would rather vote on “$X is the total cost of the plan” rather than this cost and then being on the hook for more nickel and diming after that.

It feels like one of those home contractor situations were they can replace a thing for a price in your budget. But that is just the part, the final bill will be significantly higher because of all the other parts and fees and things. So when the invoice shows up, you paid 50% more than your budget, but the initial item is totally in the budget. They even cut you a deal and didn’t charge tax on it, so it was like they paid you for the job.

For that reason I’m voting No.


What makes you think that an outfeed table will cost that much? I estimated it’d be around $400. And on top of that, we can use our existing on indefinitely, we don’t have to upgrade.

I’m pretty sure everything else is included in this vote, I’ve included a budget for spares and dust collection fittings (which probably won’t even get used, I believe we have everything we need on hand).

Please help me understand what you think I’ve missed.



I am in 100% agreement with Dave B. I’m not against this purchase unless it leads us down the path of RFID and increased certification. I am against taking responsibility to prevent members from doing dumb things. That’s an impossible task which will lead to failure. Buying a SawStop will not prevent people from doing dumb things and we shouldn’t assume having a SawStop will make our space that much safer. There are tools everywhere that can cause physical harm and cause great harm. IMO, certifications help give people the basic understanding of how to use our tools without damaging them. They are not a class to teach someone about woodworking, metalworking, CNC, etc. If people want more than basic knowledge, they should seek out additional help from membership or research elsewhere.

I vote YES.

I vote YES.

This is a large amount of money and from what I have seen in the finance committee, finances are a lot tighter than the Open Finance part of our web site would indicate. We may have to cut back on some other things to do this. But I think it’s worth it from a safety standpoint.
It’s at least as important as the SawStop feature is that we would be getting a saw with a complete set of standard safety equipment and from a manufacturer that is still in business, so we can get parts in the future.