SawStop Questions

Johnson

AD
Senior User
It has been decided that I am going to introduce a SawStop into my woodworking. There are a ton of options out there for add on components etc. I am not going to do 220 for a variety of reasons at this time. I am leaning towards the contractor series saws and am leaning towards the 36" model so that I can get a T-Glide fence. I am not opposed to hearing about the cabinet series if there is a strong argument to be made.

What do ya'll have? What do you recommend? Which options are worth the money and which are just unnecessary? Does anyone have the router table attachment? What are your thoughts? Are the cast iron wings a solid upgrade? Trying to get some assistance in thinking through this purchase. I have a small shop and mobility would be a preference if possible

I appreciate your wisdom and guidance in advance.
 
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frankc4113

Frank C
Corporate Member
You're spending quite a bit of money to start with, A lot of it hinges on what you do in your shop in terms of using hardwoods, size of boards you cut and your expectations of what you need in a saw. The contractor series is good but has limitations in terms of its 1 1/2HP motor.
I don't have the router table attachment but that is just preference.
I have the Professional 10", 3HP saw with 52" fence and it is almost limitless in it's ability to cut anything. With shop size being a factor, you can get the 36" fence. The whole thing amounts to whatever the difference in price is and whether you can justify it by spending more for the professional saw. I don't think the professional saw will take up much more space than the contractor saw. The one addition on mine is the roll around base that I think is worth it especially in a smaller shop.
Personally, I think it is a saw you are going to have forever and I don't think I would place the limitations of the 1 1/2hp on it.
 

cyclopentadiene

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Always go larger than what you think right now. Woodworking skills progress over time and so do project aspirations. Limitations due to a few hundred dollars can hamper your development in the future or end up costing to replace tools. I have the 3HP sawstop and there are no limits to the machine. This is my 3rd table saw 1) small delta compact benchtop 2) used Ridgid semi cabinet saw and 3sawstop professional. In each case my skill level grew faster than expected and the overall cost for machinery was more
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I have the PCS with the 1 3/4 hp motor and 36 inch fence. My shop is small and I find it much easier to make cuts on bigger pieces, sheet goods or solid lumber, with a track saw. I was a little disappointed with the smaller motor's ability to make 2+ inch rips with full kerf blades. So I switched to thin kerf and all is good. I can rip or crosscut to the full 3 inch capacity of the saw at about normal feed rate. At least that is my experience so far. I do not make cuts this deep very often but I have done it successfully. I have and like the Colliflower throat plate insert. The mdf sacrificial pieces are a bit flimsy but the main body is sturdy aluminum. I make my own inserts of plywood and solid wood. The opening in the aluminum is big enough you could use it with a dado blade set. I put my PCS on a home made mobile base to raise it up to my preferred 38 inch height. I also built in a storage cabinet under the extension wing.

I used to have a router table setup in the extension wing of a different table saw but I did not like that setup. It seemed like I was always needing to use the saw making the router setup in the way - or vice versa. I have and prefer a separate router table. I did occasionally find the table saw setup useful when I wanted two router table setups ready to go. In my current shop, the area the router table would be in is pretty congested so I haven't set up anything. If you think you want to do this, all you have to do is screw a spare fixed router base under the extension table and poke a hole for the bit to come through. I am not a fan of purchasing router tables. I have not even purchased a router plate. I have always just built my router tables. My current router table has screw adjustment of height (home made), a big PC 7518 motor, and a tilt up top for changing bits. I used it earlier today to cut some dados for some drawer fronts and cabinet doors I'm making. Works consistently great.

I am in my mid 60s and have been making sawdust for about 50 years. I have never owned a 220V table saw and I am sure I never will. I am not saying that they are a bad thing. I am saying that I can make anything I or my kids need with a 110V saw. I like Woodsmiths cherry bedroom set, for instance, that uses legs for the headboard and footboard that are about 2 3/4 thick glueups. Mine and my daughters is cherry, my son's is oak. I ripped those legs out easily with a 110V saw. You need a clean and sharp ripping blade but a 110V saw will do this kind of work. If I had a 3hp saw I might not need to change to a ripping blade. That would be nice but not worth the rewiring and added cost of the saw to me.
 
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Johnson

AD
Senior User
I put my PCS on a home made mobile base to raise it up to my preferred 38 inch height. I also built in a storage cabinet under the extension wing.
I like the sound of this... would you be willing to post or send me a picture of your setup?

Thanks for all the information thus far..... has anyone purchased the upgrade cast iron wings to replace the steel wings? Thoughts?
 

23tony

Tony
User
If you don't mind me adding another question: I just read elsewhere that SawStop can be a bit of a pain when it comes to dados - something about changing the cartridge? Could someone who knows elaborate a little more on that?
 

redknife

Chris
Corporate Member
If you don't mind me adding another question: I just read elsewhere that SawStop can be a bit of a pain when it comes to dados - something about changing the cartridge? Could someone who knows elaborate a little more on that?
There is a different brake for dado blades. It is easy to swap but you do have to factor that cost(one-time unless you trigger a stop). Also purchase a dado zero clearance insert.
There are some limits to the dado blade options for use with Sawstop. From their website:
"SawStop recommends only using 8” stacked dado sets, with a maximum thickness of 13/16”. “Wobble” dado sets are not recommended, as they may not engage correctly with the dado brake cartridge. Do not use dado sets with solid-plate interior chippers or blades with molding heads, as neither brake cartridge is designed to stop those blade types."


To the original poster, if there is any way you can move up to cabinet and/or 3hp I would recommend doing so. I have a PCS 3hp with incra fence.
 

cyclopentadiene

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I have a dado set bur rarely use it. I gave the Freud box joint set and these are much convenient to get the correct width. I end up making multiple passes but this is much easier than playing shim games to set up a dado. These work great with the Sawstop, cost less and can work with the Incra box joint jig
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I took this picture to show the home made overhead dust collection but you can see a little of the mobile base (the back wheels) and the storage cabinet. The mobile base is mainly 2x4s running lengthwise and some 3/4 plywood. I incorporated a commecial base but I used only the wheels and metal brackets for the wheels. You can also see the normal messy state of my shop. I used black ink to stain the base and cabinet.

I was injured earlier this year (six stitches, broken bone) by my stupidity with a dado blade. It was the first time I used it or changed the cartridge (I used a smaller 6 inch dado blade many times in previous saws but it was the first time for the new 8 inch set in the sawstop). I was holding a 2x3 over the throat plate as I raised the dado blade (3/4 stack) through it. I raised it to look and kickback threw my left hand into the blade. It is pretty much all healed now. I mention this because I think the new process of changing the cartridge may have helped me not think of the risk of my poor throat plate idea. I think all SawStop owners should change out the cartridge when they are not under any stress and have time to kill. Then if you do it later when you have other thoughts on your mind it would be less of a big deal. I had my Collinflower throat plate in which works fine for dados but the inserts are not real sturdy so I was worried about cutting the slot for the dado blade. Should have just risked the minimal value of that insert. Cartridge changes are not very difficult but you have to work through the throat plate opening (tight for my big hands) and anything I do the first time is more difficult. One of the good things about SawStops is an excellent manual, however.
 

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cyclopentadiene

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I am fortunate. My hands are small an I can change the brake from above the table.

One sawstop inprovement could be to move the motor to the other side so changing the brake is not under the side table!
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
Never had a problem switching from the 10" brake and 8" Dado brake. I also have a zero clearance insert for 1/2" and 3/4" dadoes which is what I mostly use. Also have a sled that I use with the 1/2" Dado setup - makes cutting very accurate wide dadoes in several passes. The inserts are very easy to swap with the hook lever - out with one, in with the other - easy peasy. I have the 3HP PCS with a Vega Fence. Already had the fence so ordered the SawStop without one.
 

23tony

Tony
User
Sorry, I'm a little confused still. redknife says "one-time unless you trigger a stop", but KenOfCary mentions "switching from the 10" brake and 8" Dado brake", which would seem to indicate you need to switch back when you go back to the 10" brake?
 

redknife

Chris
Corporate Member
Sorry, I'm a little confused still. redknife says "one-time unless you trigger a stop", but KenOfCary mentions "switching from the 10" brake and 8" Dado brake", which would seem to indicate you need to switch back when you go back to the 10" brake?
Yes, for dados you need 2 total brakes. The 10 in single blade brake which comes with the saw, and the 8 in dado brakewhich you buy separately. It takes very little time to swap the two brakes to go between single blade brake and dado brake. We are saying the same thing. Does that help?
 

jlwest

Jeff
Corporate Member
I have been woodworking for 50 years and I wonder if the Sawstop provides a sense of security that might be counter productive to safety? I was trained well and never, yet, had a problem. I am more worried that as I get older I may not pay attention as much as I used to but so far so good. Eyesight is another problem.
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
I don't use a Sawstop either, but a clear head, a strong focus and appropriate safety measures has kept me uninjured for more than 60 years of woodworking. I have a 3 HP 10 Grizzly cabinet saw and have never had an injury from a TS.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I had successfully used a table saw without injury for about 50 years until the incident I mentioned earlier. I don't think it was age or over confidence, I just overlooked the risk of a kickback raising my backing piece while the saw was running. If I had thought of it, I wouldn't have done it.

This is another SawStop tip, if you trigger the brake because the blade contacts your skin, SawStop wants the data and will send you a new cartridge if you send them the triggered one (it has some sort of memory in it they want). So right now I have a dado cartridge but no dado blade. I will probably buy another blade but I'm getting by fine at this point using a router to cut dados. I do long ones using a track saw track and an attachment for my router. Or I make multiple passes with the regular blade in my table saw.
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
Sorry, I'm a little confused still. redknife says "one-time unless you trigger a stop", but KenOfCary mentions "switching from the 10" brake and 8" Dado brake", which would seem to indicate you need to switch back when you go back to the 10" brake?
As Chris mentioned - if you're going to use a dado set you need the extra (about $80 when I bought mine) brake. The blades have to be within about 1/4" of the brake in order for the sensor to work. The sensor electronics are partially in the brake itself. They provide a gauge for determining the proper distance from blade to brake and an adjustment point (I've never had to adjust mine.) They are very easy to change from one to the other, you turn a knob and slide off the old, slide on the new and turn the knob to lock it in place.

If all that is not clear I can try to take a picture of the Dado brake which is currently installed on my Saw. Or better yet, go by a local dealer and have them show you the process. It's simple.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
It isn't 1/4 inch clearance between the blade and the cartridge, I think it's 0.080. It's definitely a lot tighter than 1/4 inch. I have had to adjust it but I agree the process is not hard, especially the second time you do it.
 

FrankK

Frank
User
I have the 3HP SawStop with the cast iron table extensions, along with the cast iron router attachment. Very solid feel and I love it. It is a big improvement over the old Bench Dog router table I used for many years.

If you need the full width of the saw, it takes only seconds to remove the router fence and set it on the floor.

One issue that needs improvement, however: The cast iron slots for the router fence are not long enough. Sometimes you need more "throat" between the bit and the fence. That was one advantage with the Bench Dog, I could move the fence all the way to the back of the table, which provided ample distance for any project.

My workshop is small and crowded and I like the idea of getting multiple uses out of the same space. It's one of the better purchases I have made.
 

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