SawStop injury

JimD

Jim
Senior User
A week ago today I got stupider than normal and got hurt despite my choice of table saw. I was using a dado stack for the first time on it which means changing the cartridge which I had not done before. It isn't hard but I think it may have distracted me somewhat. My dumb decision was to hold a scrap of 2x3 over the throat plate with my left hand while raising the blade with my right. Then I lifted the 2x3 and the dado grabbed it pulling the tip of my left middle finger into the blade. I should have clamped the backer on or not used it. If I had turned the saw off before lifting the 2x3 it might have worked out OK.

My finger looks a lot different from the hot dog in the videos. It is broken, the nail is gone and I got 6 stitches. The surgeon is optomistic that I am getting blood flow to the partially severed pieces. If so, I should just have some scaring. I get to change the dressing daily and it looks OK with the possible exception of one side right near the tip. But I think it's OK.

I was back in the shop the next morning. I cut the dado on my router table, however.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Sorry to hear.

I was taught decades ago by a very strict dad, that as long as there is power on the saw, your hands may never be closer than 6” to the blade.

So for me having obeyed that rule for more than 40 years a SawStop will make no difference in terms of safety.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
Were you using a SawStop dado brake or just removing the regular blade brake? Just curious.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
Mike you are 100% right. I was initially unsure what happen. But I had a damaged hand so I dealt with that first. Had to get the dog in it's crate, wrapped paper towels around the injury so I would stop making a mess and drove to urgent care. Later I looked thing over and thought through what must have happened. In less than a second I got injured.

Mark, yes the brake engaged and must have limited the injury. I presume I would have lost the tip of that finger if it had not stopped the blades. I removed the cartridge and blades the next morning and put the old cartridge and a regular blade in. It seems to be working normally. I tried a couple cuts but had the pieces cut for my latest project so I haven't used it much.

Willem, I hope you are right. I had used a table saw without injury for over 40 years when this happened. But good safe practices prevent injury. SawStops just reduce the severity of the injury.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
Jim, I had the dado cartridge in. I don't think the saw will start without it. But I did not try it.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
Jim, I had the dado cartridge in. I don't think the saw will start without it. But I did not try it.
Wow, and it fired and you still had a rather serious injury? I'm really glad you weren't injured more than you were.

Just proves that the SawStop isn't the be-all people believe and hope it is. Nothing substitutes for safe practices. There's always a way to get hurt.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I agree. I think the hot dog triggering is deceptive. If my hand was moving slowly when it hit the blade, and it had been a normal blade, not a 3/4 dado, then maybe I would have only needed a band aid. But in a kickback situation my hand was moving much quicker. But if I had not forgotten what I knew to do, I would have been fine.

Safe practices are more important but hard to 100% ensure.
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
Sorry to hear.

I was taught decades ago by a very strict dad, that as long as there is power on the saw, your hands may never be closer than 6” to the blade.

So for me having obeyed that rule for more than 40 years a SawStop will make no difference in terms of safety.

I was taught this same rule 65 years ago, but by my uncle, a carpenter. He was my mentor for woodworking.

JimD, so sorry to hear about your injury and glad it wasn't worse.

Charley
 

Mountain City Bill

Mountain City Bill
Corporate Member
I had a table saw incident with a stacked dado blade. Just a momentary loss of concentration was all it took. Taught me a valuable lesson that I think about everytime I use any tool. Met a really nice surgeon when I was in the ER.
Hope you have a speedy recovery.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
Very sorry to hear that. Just a small lapse can cause such a thing. Godspeed on your recovery
 

UncleJoe

Joe
Senior User
I too, was taught table saw safety by my father, I can still remember, as a very young boy who always wanted to be in the shop with my dad, him telling me "son there are tools in here that can cut your arm off". He was concerned I would come into the shop when he was not around and turn on a machine. He was correct to be concerned. :) As a kid I embraced a special kind of stupid, it is amazing I survived. My father used a table saw on nights and weekends most of his life and was always preaching safety. One day when he was in his 70's and still sharp as a tack he made a mistake with a small piece of wood. He did not lose any fingers but they were mangled for a while. If it can happen to dad it can happen t anyone.

Sorry to hear of your accident, glad it was not worse, Sawstop probably prevented it from being worse. I now own 2 Sawstops but I use them as though they have no more safety features than any other saw. I understand some folks don't want one, hey, that's great I am glad we all have a choice.
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
I think I remember someone saying that SawStop would like information on each injury. I don't know if that's still true since the company was sold, but sometimes they would reward people with free brakes in exchange for information. Or I could be totally mistaken. I'm glad you're going to be okay.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
Thanks for your kind thoughts.

My main reason to post was to help others know SawStop does NOT ensure minor injury. But it helped me to have a full length finger. I did not assume different than this but I wonder if the demonstrations might mislead some.

SawStop wants a report on all brake actuations that involve skin contact. If you fill out their report and send in the old brake, they promise a new brake. I've done my report and sent in the brake. They should have received it today. I think I will get the new cartridge but I am not in a hurry to cut dados on this saw. Routers are noisy but work fine. Having to swap cartridges makes an already complicated setup that much worse.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
I'm wondering why you were raising a turning dado set into a board? Or were you trying to make a zero clearance insert plate for the saw at the time, which is not the same thing as making a dado cut, and just trying to hold the insert in place?
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
Jim, I use a cauliflower insert in my Sawstop. It slides over a couple screws in the back but has only friction in the front. The inserts are 1/4 MDF, most of it is aluminum. It probably didn't need held down but I didn't want it to rise and have the aluminum touch the dado blades. I'd never used a dado stack on this saw so the insert had no hole for the blades. So I held it down with a block of wood. If I had clamped the block instead of holding it the plan would have been fine. If I had turned the saw off before checking progress I probably would have been fine. A SawStop insert clamps at the front and uses the same screws in the back so it would likely have worked well without the wood backer. I did not think my plan through well enough. I've used a dado stack many times but not on a saw where I have to change a cartridge or with a mainly metal throat plate. But those things did not cause my injury, my bad plan did.
 

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top