For over a decade SawStop has gained dominance in the tablesaw market with its unique flesh-sensing, blade-stopping safety mechanism. And until now, no other manufacturer has had any similar technology on the market to compete with that. Today Bosch announced it will launch this fall Reaxx, a 10″ job-site tablesaw with a flesh-sensing blade-drop safety mechanism. It will sell for $1,499 (MSRP). I got a sneak peek at this saw in action during a media event hosted by Bosch in February, but could not officially comment on it until now. It’s quite impressive. To see the saw in action, watch this video provided by Bosch (note: turn down the volume).
The key to Bosch’s safe saw is a device that uses similar technology that Bosch’s auto-parts division uses to deploy air bags in automobiles. (Nice to have sibling companies sharing technology.) With this saw, when the blade senses a finger (or any flesh), the device fires a cartridge that immediately and oh-so-speedily drops the blade completely below the table surface, leaving the user with only a slight scrape or skin nick. Unlike SawStop—which ruins both blade and brake cartridge—the Bosch flesh-detecting Active Response Technology kills the power and lets the blade coast to a stop safely within the cabinet, preserving it for future use. After activation, the system can be reset in less than 60 seconds. The brake cartridge has two “activation” cells, so all you do is flip it over and use the other after an activation. Replacement cartridges will cost about $100. More good news: This safety device works for dado sets as well as 10″ blades—no need for separate cartridges. All necessary parts, instructions and wrenches are located onboard the saw, including storage for extra activation cartridges.
An electronic control module with four colored lights not only turns the saw on and off, but also gives you helpful input as to the saw’s state of readiness:
• Green means the saw is ready for use.
• Yellow means the system is set in bypass mode by the operator; this mode is used for cutting conductive materials that could potentially activate the Active Response Technology system. In addition, there’s no override key to lose or misplace, yet it still offers various lock-out options to prevent unauthorized bypass mode operation.
• Red means the saw is not ready and will not function until the user corrects an issue.
• Blue means the saw requires service from a Bosch-authorized technician.
A smartphone app allows you to program and lock out some of these features, helpful if you want to limit who can bypass the safety mode or operate the saw when you don’t want.
—Bob Hunter, Tools Editor, WOOD Magazine
Encouraging news for woodworkers from Opening Day at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta: Many manufacturers of tools and woodworking accessories debut new products. In spite of the tough economy that’s dogged the last couple of years, I saw countless new products, an encouraging sign that not everyone hunkered down during the recession and cut spending to the bone. Here’s a few of the best and brightest:
• I told you two months ago about DeWalt’s new line of 12-volt lithium-ion cordless drills and drivers. They’ll be available this fall. But today DeWalt and Porter-Cable launched new “compact router kits” that are essentially trim routers with fixed and plunge bases. I got a behind-the-scenes look at these routers at DeWalt’s headquarters in June, but could not discuss them publicly due to confidentiality agreements. Well, now they’re public. The two kits are similar. Both include a 1-1/4 hp trim router motor, fixed base, and plunge base. But DeWalt’s motor has a variable-speed motor and LED lights around the collet; Porter-Cable’s motor is a single-speed motor and does not have the lights. The DeWalt kit will sell for $199 and the Porter-Cable for $189.
SawStop has added to its ever-growing lineup of tablesaws with a 110-volt version of its Professional Cabinet Saw. This new model, available in August, is essentially the same 10″ saw as the 3-hp version we reviewed in the May 2010 issue of WOOD Magazine (and won a Top Tool award), except this one has a 1-3/4 hp motor and 30″ rip capacity. This new saw features the same heavy-duty cast-iron table, steel cabinet, and cast-iron trunnions (which mount to the cabinet rather than the top, for easy adjustments), as well as top-notch dust collection. And, of course, it includes SawStop’s patented blade-brake safety system. Weighing just 367 lbs in its basic configuration, this left-tilt saw will sell for $2,299. It includes an aluminum T-square-style rip fence, but a traditional Biesemeyer-type fence is available. Also available as options are 36″ and 50″ rip capacity fences and rails, as well as a mobile base integrated inside the cabinet or an industrial mobile base the cabinet sits in. For more information, go to sawstop.com or call 866-SAWSTOP.
The coolest thing I saw on the opening day of the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas was an ingenious product that creates a shortcut previously only available with expensive equipment. Beaded face frames can make ordinary cabinets really sparkle, and the Kreg Tool Company’s new Precision Beaded Face-Frame System can make them on any router table. Read more