A Boston jury has awarded $1.5 million to a man whose fingers were injured by a tablesaw on the theory that it was defective for the saw to lack “flesh-detection” technology. According to the lawsuit, the inventor of the technology offered to sell it to tool companies a decade ago, but negotiations broke down and none made a deal; the inventor proceeded to launch his own line of saws, SawStop, incorporating the technology. “[Carlos] Osorio’s case is one of more than 50 lawsuits pending throughout the United States against the major table saw manufacturers for failure to adopt the technology.” [Boston Globe, Fine Woodworking] SawStop bills itself on one customer testimonial at its website as the “Rolls-Royce of table saws”, and appears to sell its saw at a premium of hundreds of dollars over ordinary table saws widely available at prices below $500. A commenter in the very active thread at Wood Magazine estimates the premium at $800-$1,000, and also lists some other reasons why many buyers might not welcome the jury’s edict.
More: commenter Dennis N. says the safety technology “stops the blade by driving an aluminum stop block up into the teeth, jamming it. The blade and the cartridge are ruined in the process, requiring about $175 to replace the pair, depending on the price of your blade. Not bad to save a finger, but the thing does have a significant false alarm rate. Wet wood or a wet pocket in dry wood can set off the brake, costing you some big bucks. … It’s not at the top of my list for tools. I’d rather get a higher quality saw.” Yet more: Rusty Shackleford, LegalMatch. More/update: Jul. 8.