Table Saws That Stop When It Touches Skin: Ensuring Safety in Woodworking Projects

Woodworking is a creative and fulfilling hobby, but it’s important to prioritize safety when working with power tools like table saws. Accidents can happen, and the consequences can be severe. That’s why it’s crucial to invest in table saws that prioritize safety, such as those equipped with the innovative SawStop technology.

SawStop’s Patented Active Injury Mitigation (AIM) Safety Technology sets its table saws apart from the rest. This technology ensures that the saw stops almost instantly if it comes into contact with human skin, minimizing the risk of serious injuries. The system utilizes a small electrical signal in the saw blade that continuously monitors for changes in conductivity. When skin touches the blade, the signal changes, triggering the safety system and activating an aluminum brake that stops the blade within milliseconds. This quick response prevents further contact, protecting the woodworker from potential harm.

Key Takeaways:

  • Investing in a table saw with SawStop technology can significantly improve safety in woodworking projects.
  • SawStop’s AIM Safety Technology detects skin contact and triggers the immediate activation of an aluminum brake, stopping the blade within milliseconds.
  • The blade’s momentum drives it beneath the table, minimizing the risk of subsequent contact.
  • Resetting the saw after activation is a simple process, taking only 90 seconds to complete.
  • Woodworkers should prioritize safety when using power tools and consider table saws equipped with SawStop technology.

How Does SawStop Work?

SawStop table saws utilize a unique detection and braking system to ensure utmost safety in woodworking projects. Understanding how this technology works is crucial for woodworkers who prioritize table saw safety.

At the core of SawStop’s safety system is a blade that carries a small electrical signal. When skin comes into contact with the spinning blade, the electrical signal changes, triggering the activation of the safety mechanism. This instant, automated response is what sets SawStop apart and makes it a reliable choice for woodworkers seeking enhanced table saw safety.

Once the system is triggered, an aluminum brake rapidly moves into the path of the blade, causing it to come to a complete stop within 5 milliseconds. Simultaneously, the power to the motor is severed, rendering the saw motionless. This immediate halt minimizes the risk of severe injuries by preventing further contact with the blade.

To ensure maximum protection, the blade’s angular momentum then propels it beneath the table, physically removing it from the worker’s reach. This additional safety measure further reduces the chance of accidental injuries.

Resetting the SawStop table saw is an effortless process aimed at getting the tool back to operational status within minutes. Woodworkers simply need to inspect and replace the brake cartridge, taking only 90 seconds to complete this essential task. By following this simple reset procedure, woodworkers can confidently resume their woodworking projects with peace of mind.

The SawStop Safety System at a Glance:

Step Action
1 Electrical signal in blade changes when skin contacts it
2 Aluminum brake thrusts into the blade’s path
3 Blade comes to a complete stop within 5 milliseconds
4 Power to the motor is cut off
5 Blade’s angular momentum drives it beneath the table
6 Reset the saw by inspecting and replacing the brake cartridge


By applying these innovative safety measures, SawStop’s table saws empower woodworkers to pursue their craft without compromising on their well-being. The combination of advanced detection technology and immediate blade stopping capabilities ensures that accidents and injuries are significantly reduced.

In the next section, we will explore real stories from woodworkers who have experienced firsthand the life-saving benefits of the SawStop safety system.

SawStop Accident Victims

SawStop has received numerous stories from woodworkers who have experienced accidents and injuries before using the SawStop technology. These stories serve as powerful testimonials for the effectiveness of the safety system.

Woodworker Stories:

  • Joe M. – a retired general contractor who had two accidents resulting in finger injuries.
  • Brandan S. – had a finger flung by the saw blade and couldn’t turn off the saw due to shock.
  • Nick C. – had multiple fingers amputated after years of woodworking without injury.
  • Tristan – emphasizes the split-second difference between having and not having a finger.
  • Tom L. – experienced an accident despite taking all the necessary precautions.

These stories highlight the importance of using safety measures like those provided by SawStop. Woodworkers who have encountered SawStop accidents and woodworking injuries can attest to the life-changing impact of the SawStop technology in preventing severe harm. The testimonials shed light on the need for reliable safety systems in woodworking and the role they play in protecting woodworkers from serious accidents.


SawStop Table Saw Models

When it comes to table saws, SawStop offers a diverse range of models to cater to different needs and environments. Whether you’re a professional woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, SawStop has a table saw that suits your requirements.

Compact Table Saw

The compact table saw from SawStop is the smallest and most portable option available. Designed for jobsites that demand quality and precision, this model offers the convenience of easy transportation without compromising on performance. Its compact size makes it ideal for woodworking on the go.

Jobsite Saw Pro

For durability, innovation, and precision, the jobsite saw pro is the go-to choice for woodworkers working on various projects. This model is specifically designed to withstand the demands of worksites while maintaining the high level of performance and safety that SawStop is known for. With the jobsite saw pro, you can tackle any woodworking task with confidence.

Contractor Saw

The contractor saw from SawStop offers versatility, reliability, and safety for a wide range of users. Whether you’re a professional contractor or a dedicated hobbyist, this model caters to your needs. The contractor saw is designed to deliver consistent and accurate results, making it a trusted choice among woodworking professionals.

Professional Cabinet Saw

When it comes to discerning woodworkers who demand the best, the professional cabinet saw is the top choice. This model features an award-winning design that combines performance, precision, and safety. With its exceptional build quality and advanced features, the professional cabinet saw delivers the utmost satisfaction to woodworking enthusiasts.

Industrial Cabinet Saw

For heavy-duty woodworking environments that require maximum safety and performance, the industrial cabinet saw is the ultimate solution. This model is built to withstand continuous use and tackle the most demanding projects. With its robust construction and advanced safety technology, the industrial cabinet saw ensures optimal productivity without compromising on safety.

Choose the SawStop table saw model that suits your needs and experience woodworking like never before. The combination of innovation, precision, and safety makes SawStop the leading choice for professionals and hobbyists alike.


Comparison Table

Model Key Features
Compact Table Saw – Smallest and most portable option
– Ideal for jobsites
– Quality and precision
Jobsite Saw Pro – Durable and innovative
– Designed for worksites
– Precision performance
Contractor Saw – Versatile and reliable
– Suitable for professionals and hobbyists
– Consistent and accurate results
Professional Cabinet Saw – Award-winning design
– Performance, precision, and safety
– Preferred by discerning woodworkers
Industrial Cabinet Saw – Maximum safety and performance
– Built for heavy-duty environments
– Robust construction


SawStop’s Impact on the Table Saw Market

SawStop’s introduction of its finger-saving technology has revolutionized the table saw market. Its innovative safety features have prompted significant changes in the industry, leading to the proposal of the Electrical Saw Safety Act by the Illinois General Assembly in 2005. This act aimed to prevent finger amputations and other severe injuries caused by table saw accidents.

Furthermore, SawStop’s advanced safety technology has caught the attention of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) which recommended the implementation of new safety standards for table saws. These standards emphasize the significance of protecting users and minimizing the risk of accidents.

Despite opposition from the Power Tool Institute (PTI), SawStop continues to lead the way in table saw safety innovation. Their commitment to improving safety standards in woodworking has had a profound impact on the market, setting a new standard for safety in table saws.

Key Developments in Table Saw Safety

Year Development
2005 Illinois General Assembly proposes the Electrical Saw Safety Act
2005 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends safety standards for table saws
Present SawStop’s continued leadership in table saw safety innovation

With SawStop’s impact on safety standards, woodworkers can have peace of mind while using table saws, knowing that their well-being is prioritized.

How SawStop Compares to Competing Technologies

When it comes to table saw safety technology, two prominent competitors in the market are SawStop and Bosch REAXX. While both systems aim to prevent serious injuries and prioritize the safety of woodworkers, they utilize different approaches to achieve this goal.

SawStop’s Blade Retraction System

SawStop’s table saws employ a blade retraction system that prioritizes immediate safety. When the system detects contact between the blade and human skin, it stops the blade’s motion and retracts it beneath the table. This action eliminates the risk of further contact with the blade, reducing the severity of potential injuries. SawStop’s technology ensures that accidents are swiftly addressed to protect woodworkers from harm.

Bosch REAXX’s Non-Damaging Blade Retraction

On the other hand, the Bosch REAXX Jobsite Table Saw offers a unique blade retraction system that aims to minimize injuries without damaging the blade. When contact between skin and the blade is detected, the REAXX system swiftly retracts the blade below the table but does not stop or damage it. This allows woodworkers to resume their work with minimal disruption after an accident occurs.

Both SawStop and Bosch REAXX provide innovative solutions to enhance table saw safety. However, the choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preferences and specific needs. Some woodworkers may prioritize the immediate stopping and complete retraction of the blade offered by SawStop, while others may prefer the non-damaging retraction provided by the Bosch REAXX system.

Here’s a comparison table summarizing the key features of SawStop and Bosch REAXX:

SawStop Bosch REAXX
Blade Retraction Stops the blade and retracts it beneath the table Retracts the blade below the table without stopping or damaging it
Primary Focus Immediate safety and prevention of further contact Continuation of work without blade damage
Suitability Ideal for woodworkers who prioritize swift stopping and complete blade retraction Suitable for users who want to resume work quickly after an accident without damaging the blade
Advantages – Swift stopping and complete retraction of the blade
– Excellent safety record
– Easy resetting after an accident
– Non-damaging retraction without blade stoppage
– Quick resumption of work
– Reduced need for blade replacement
Drawbacks – Blade damage in the event of an accident
– Limitation on the use of non-conductive blades
– Lack of immediate blade stoppage
– Limited compatibility with certain blade types

Woodworkers should carefully evaluate their specific requirements, preferences, and the advantages and drawbacks of each system before making a decision. Both SawStop and Bosch REAXX offer advanced safety features that significantly reduce the risk of serious injuries in woodworking.

Ultimately, the choice between SawStop and Bosch REAXX comes down to personal priorities and the balance between immediate blade stoppage and non-damaging blade retraction.

The History and Development of SawStop

SawStop, a leading name in table saw safety, has a rich history that traces back to its founder Steve Gass. With a background in physics and a career as a patent attorney, Gass combined his knowledge and passion for woodworking to create a groundbreaking invention.

In 1999, Gass conceptualized the idea for a braking system that would revolutionize table saw safety. Recognizing the need for a technology that could prevent serious injuries, he embarked on the development of what would become SawStop’s signature innovation.

After rigorous testing and a successful trial on his own finger, Gass showcased a prototype of the braking system at a trade show in August 2000. The technology garnered immediate attention and accolades for its potential to save lives and prevent accidents in woodworking.

Despite facing challenges in licensing the technology to major manufacturers, SawStop persevered and took matters into its own hands. In 2004, the company began manufacturing its own line of table saws, equipped with the revolutionary braking system.

Over the years, SawStop and its founder Steve Gass have been recognized for their commitment to safety and innovation. Their groundbreaking technology has received numerous safety commendations and has played a significant role in shaping the table saw industry.


  • 1999 – Steve Gass conceives the idea for a braking system
  • 2000 – Successful prototype demonstration at a trade show
  • 2004 – SawStop starts manufacturing its own table saws

Limitations and Challenges of SawStop

While SawStop’s safety technology is highly effective, there are a few limitations and challenges that users should be aware of.

Deactivation for Wet Timber

The braking system of the SawStop table saw must be deactivated when cutting very green or wet timber. This is because the moisture content affects the electrical conductivity, which can cause false activation of the safety system.

Non-Conductive Blades

SawStop table saws cannot be used with non-conductive blades or blades that have non-conductive hubs or teeth. The system relies on changes in electrical conductivity to detect skin contact and activate the braking system. Non-conductive blades may prevent the system from accurately sensing contact, compromising its effectiveness.

Optimized Kerf Size

The braking system of the SawStop table saw is optimized for kerfs between 3/32″ and 3/16″ in width. Thinner or thicker kerfs may limit the saw’s ability to stop the blade after accidental contact, reducing the effectiveness of the safety system.

Difficult Retrofitting

Retrofitting an existing table saw with the SawStop safety system can be impractical. It requires significant modifications to the saw’s structure and may not be compatible with all models. It is recommended to purchase a new SawStop table saw instead of retrofitting an existing one.

Blade Damage

Activating the braking system of the SawStop table saw causes the blade to come to a sudden stop, which can result in damage. The blade may bend, chip, or even shatter upon activation, requiring replacement. Users should be prepared to replace blades regularly due to potential damage.

In summary, while SawStop has revolutionized table saw safety with its innovative technology, users need to be aware of its limitations. The braking system needs to be deactivated for wet timber, non-conductive blades cannot be used, and the system is optimized for specific kerf sizes. Retrofitting existing saws may not be practical, and activating the braking system can result in damaged blades. Despite these limitations, SawStop remains a top choice for woodworkers seeking enhanced safety measures.

Can Table Saws That Stop When It Touches Skin Detect Fingers to Ensure Safety in Woodworking Projects?

Safety in woodworking projects is paramount, and the latest technology in table saws focuses on detecting fingers in table saws. These innovative saws can stop immediately upon contact with skin, minimizing the risk of serious injury. This advanced feature provides peace of mind for woodworkers and helps prevent accidents in the workshop.

The Future of Table Saw Safety

Table saw safety is an area that is constantly evolving to improve woodworking practices and protect users from accidents. One breakthrough innovation in table saw safety is SawStop’s braking system. This revolutionary technology has sparked discussions about the need for mandatory safety standards for all table saws, ensuring that users are protected and accidents are minimized.

Despite facing some opposition from industry representatives, SawStop’s impact on the market cannot be ignored. The recognition it has received from both consumers and safety organizations is a testament to the growing demand for enhanced table saw safety measures. With the introduction of SawStop’s technology, woodworkers have experienced firsthand how innovative safety features can prevent life-altering injuries.

As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more table saw safety innovations emerge. Manufacturers and researchers are continuously exploring ways to enhance safety standards and develop new technologies that prioritize user protection. These advancements will not only benefit professionals in the woodworking industry but also provide hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts with the confidence to pursue their projects safely.

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