I’ve done plenty of dumb things on the jobsite and gotten away with most of them. But one day, back when I worked full-time as a carpenter, the odds caught up with me, and a short length of 2-by blocking that I had just ripped on a portable table saw kicked back and hit me in the mouth. That blow broke a few teeth and my jaw and taught me a few lessons about the limitations of workers’ comp and health insurance.
A blade guard would have prevented that accident, but it won’t prevent a finger from making accidental contact with a spinning blade. Neither will the flesh-sensing technology in SawStop’s new portable jobsite saw, which I’ve been trying out. But what it will do is stop the blade almost instantly if a finger does touch it—in less than 5 milliseconds, before any major damage can occur, according to the manufacturer.
By now, most PDB readers are probably familiar with SawStop. The company introduced its well-regarded cabinet saw almost a decade ago and recently introduced a contractor’s saw, but neither of those saws is portable nor practical on most jobsites. The JSS-MCA is, however, thanks to a compact design and an integral wheeled stand to tote around its 80-pound weight.
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