SawStop on The Colbert Report: Does safety take all the fun out of power tools?

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“If there’s one thing America loves, it’s power tools.” - Stephen Colbert

Over 40,000 people visit the emergency room each year for table saw related injuries, and almost 4,000 of those people end up losing at least one finger. That’s a table saw accident every 9 minutes. 10 table saw amputations every day.

Steve Gass, is looking to change this with his patented SawStop technology. The SawStop table saw automatically detects when a person’s finger has made contact with the blade, and can stop the spinning blade almost instantaneously. Sounds like a great idea, but table saw manufacturers believe the technology will drive up the price of table saws, making them too expensive for hobbyists and small businesses to purchase.

We’ve covered the SawStop controversy in previous articles, but now comedian and TV host Stephen Colbert has taken notice of the SawStop technology, as well as its mission to eliminate “our God-given right to cut off our fingers.”

Check out the SawStop segment here. (If you’re a regular viewer of The Colbert Report, you might not be surprised to learn that a bit of the video is NSFW.)

Despite how much of a “buzz-kill” these regulations to mandate SawStop technology might be (Colbert’s words, not mine), more and more builders today are growing attached to their SawStop table saws. Pete, an avid woodworker, puts it best: “I’ll give up my saw when you take it from my cold, 9 ½ fingers.” (He had 10 before the accident…)

So what do you think? Should the Consumer Product Safety Commission require table saw manufacturers to adopt a technology like SawStop?

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About the Author

Alyssa Sittig
Alyssa played an instrumental role in the development of the Arena Blog and social media channels from 2011 to 2012. Joining the team with a background in public policy, Alyssa ... Read More 

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