Building a safer saw - So what's new?

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A left-tilt design is generally considered to be a safer arrangement than a right-tilt. Most new saws offer left-tilt, while some manufacturers have introduced left-tilt versions of venerable right-tilt machines.

Dust, while it doesn't pose the same type of danger as blades and kickback, is also getting more attention. Shroud-type dust collection is improving dust control on contractor and hybrid saws, and collection shrouds on blade guards is becoming more prevalent.

And even when blades aren't turning, the sharp teeth can injure. For that reason blade arbor locks are being incorporated to make blade changing safer and easier.

Your current saw might not have these features, but it's a good bet that your next one will.

So, what's new?
Whether prompted by UL 987, by other forces in the industry, or by their own initiative, a number of new machines are being rolled out with a variety of improved safety features. Here's a small sampling:

Bosch's 4100 job-site saw has the distinction of being the first portable with a riving knife system. Its forked guard design offers an unobstructed view of the blade. The left-tilt machine has an arbor lock.

SawStop is finally ready to deliver its long-promised contractor's saw in the first quarter of the year. In addition to the SawStop device the machine will be a left-tilt unit featuring a riving knife and a shroud-based dust collection system.

Grizzly's new left-tilt 12" G06051 has a riving knife and magnetic switch. The company's G0623X sliding table saw features adjustable riving knife, magnetic switch and dust collection on both cabinet and guard.

General International's 50-460R and 50-450R 12" table saws come in left- and right-tilt versions, respectively. Both have arbor lock, riving knife, magnetic switch and dust collection ports on the cabinet and blade guard.

Delta offers a left-tilt version of its popular 10" Unisaw and has recently introduced a left-tilt contractor's saw, available with a 30" Biesemeyer fence.

Steel City Tool Works has introduced an industry first granite-top machine in their model 35915G. The left-tilter has magnet switch and riving knife.

Powermatic's left-tilt 14" PM3000 has many of the same features as the earlier 10" PM2000 machine, including push-button arbor lock, magnetic switch and riving knife.

Jet just recently introduced a left-tilting version of the company's long-available Xacta JTAS-12XL50 with magnetic switch.

The new Shop Fox W1761 from Woodstock International is a left-tilt 12" machine with riving knife and magnetic switch.