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SawStop? Please, just stop.

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I’ve seen few debates with as much vitriol than that over SawStop. The question is, why?

Now, before you even start, please don’t comment on the pros and cons of the SawStop system. It is what it is, and the benefits and detractions of the system have all been covered to death here and elsewhere, and there’s absolutely nothing new to be said. Again, I don’t want to start further debate over SawStop’s merits or lack thereof, so just don’t go there. Please. Hopefully, the Webmaster who manages these blogs won’t post comments with no other purpose than to bring up the same tired old arguments.

Rather, my question to you is why is the SawStop debate so utterly divisive and, for lack of a better description, downright mean-spirited? Why does it seem to bring out the very worst in people? You’ve certainly seen discussion of it on these blogs and any of the woodworking forums you frequent. Nothing new is ever said, and any discussion of it generates far more heat than light. But why is that?

Debate the merits of one type of glue over another? Fine, you get a discussion. Is water-based finish the wonder of the ages or colorless glop? Seems divisive on the surface, but discussion of it is always infused with excellent finishing advice and techniques. It’s my experience that woodworkers can discuss the good and the bad of just about anything, and the end result is that everyone benefits from the discussion.

But debate SawStop and you get name-calling, Big-Brother rants, accusations, half-truths and a lot of rhetoric of the pried-from-my-cold-dead-fingers variety. Just what the heck is it about SawStop that brings out such unbridled hatred in woodworkers who are otherwise levelheaded and friendly in any other debate?

There will likely come a day within the next couple decades when SawStop-like devices are as commonplace in saws as airbags are in cars. If they’re thought about at all it will be to mainly take them for granted. But until then the very idea of it seems to take the most gregarious of people ever bound by a common interest, and turn them into vicious enemies.

And I’m completely mystified by that.

Till next time,


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