Monday, December 8, 2008

Waiting for the SawStop to Arrive

I've done a lot of work to get my woodshop ready for action, but there's one major thing missing: a table saw. Frankly, I was afraid of table saws, knowing how prone they can be to kickback and having seen the statistics on lost fingers and damaged hands. I had installed a radial arm saw, hoping it would suffice and that I wouldn't need a table saw at all. But, the more I read about woodworking and building the kinds of projects I want to build, the clearer it became that I would need a table saw. From that point on, I had two jobs to do--figure out which saw to buy and clear a space to put it. Of these, the second job turned out to be the hardest.

About the time I decided I had to have a table saw, SawStop--manufacturers of the revolutionary new safety device intended to prevent serious injuries on the table saw--came out with a contractor's saw version of the cabinet saw they had brought to the marker earlier. I headed over to Woodcraft in nearby Leesburg to check it out. I wanted to find out if the safety features of this saw were slapped on a mediocre saw and whether I would be ahead by buying another saw instead. What I found was a pretty darn good piece of equipment that had the advantage of also being much safer to use. Never seen the hot dog demonstration, the one where they stick a hot dog into the blade and have it stop? Watch it here!

Anyway, after convincing myself that this was a very good saw that also has fantastic safety features, I ordered one, adding the cast iron wings for stability, the mobile base and an upgraded fence. To save money I allowed my order to be bundled with others to save on shipping costs. I think that may have been a mistake because now more than a month later, the saw still has not arrived, though I believe it may have been shipped. I guess it is out in the great American hearthland somewhere.

My second task was to clear out a space to put it when it does arrive. That wasn't so easy, as the basement location for the woodshop had been used as a dumping ground for all manner of things over the years. There were, in no particular order, an old incomplete arm chair, boxes of assorted stuff, various pieces of furniture and a Honda motorcycle. Over a period of weeks, I picked at the assemblage and finally cleared out a spot that I hope will be a sufficient workspace for my table saw. Here's what it looks like now. The grease spot on the floor is what's left of the Honda at this point. I've done a lot more in the shop and have assembled and positioned all the tools I intend to get. I'll discuss those in future posts. But it's the table saw I need to get started on my projects.

I just got off the phone with Woodcraft. They say the saw should be in at the end of this week or the beginning of next week! I can't wait. Then I'll turn my attention to getting it delivered to my basement, assembling it and setting it up. It's a lot to look forward to!


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