Check out this recent Stephen Colbert segment that pokes fun at the SawStop and its inventor Stephen Gass. By itself the SawStop is a neat invention that at best helps avoid severe injury, and at least offers peace of mind.
But Gass isn’t happy with some users buying his SawStop saws – he wants to force all other table saw manufacturers to license his technology. Since manufacturers chose not to pay Gass for his SawStop tech, he began lobbying government officials to force manufacturers into licensing agreements.
This whole situation is a mess. If manufacturers are forced to license and implement SawStop technology into all saws, forget about the entire <$250 table saw category. $300+ saws will increase in price, weight, and complexity. In addition to the licensing fees and actual SawStop components, manufacturers would be forced to spend a ton of money on R&D, which would raise product costs even further.
In all the example videos we have seen, blade guards are removed and saw blades extend well beyond their recommended safe operating heights. To us that seems like a dirty trick.
Worth mentioning, here’s an update that PTI, the Power Tool Institute, sent us regarding their work to oppose Gass’s campaign to force manufacturers to license his technology:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a 30 day extension of the comment period for the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on table saw safety.
The new deadline for comments is March 16, 2012.
To date, hundreds of comments have been submitted to CPSC via the Power Tool Institute’s comments website, www.powertoolinstitute.info. PTI continues to encourage woodworkers, consumers and interested parties to submit comments to the ANPR using the website.
Additional information on PTI’s position on the ANPR can be found at: http://www.powertoolinstitute.
com/pti_pages/pdf/. The Federal Register Notice announcing the extension can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/BUSINFO/ FactsAtAGlance.pdf frnotices/fr12/tablesaw.pdf.
If Gass was lobbying that brands be forced to implement automatic saw-stopping safety measures of their own, okay, that would seem reasonable. But no, he wants them to license his technology. Maybe that’s why Colbert jokes that Gass is destroying America.