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Over the summer we saw more movement in the constant SawStop battle, and we thought we’d share it with you. Honestly, we’re getting a little bit weary of the whole mess, but it’s still something we know many Toolmongers care about. I’ll just start by sharing the email that landed in our inbox over the summer, above. Take a look. We’ll wait.

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For those who aren’t familiar with the whole SawStop mess, a quick rundown: SawStop is a sensing technology that, when incorporated into the design of table saws, stops the saw very quickly when it encounters “meat” (read: your hands, fingers, or body). It works, and it can definitely save folks from injury in many cases. But there’s more to this than merely safety. The creators of this system own a patent on it, and they want (from what we can tell) significant sums of money for licensing the patent. Also, the system is designed such that each time the saw stops (whether to save your fingers or, in the case of a false positive, stop), it uses up a “brake cartridge” which you must then replace. These cartridges cost upwards of $50 (the 10″ version is $70 right now, for example) — a significant percentage of the cost of the saw. Now the kicker: the owners of the SawStop patents are pushing lawsuits to mandate the use of the SawStop technology, essentially claiming that any saws that don’t include the SawStop feature are inherently unsafe by design.

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What you see pictured above are Ringers Gloves’ model R-21 “heavy-duty Kevlocs,” and they look like some of the most badass gloves for heavy automotive work I’ve seen. Seriously, with crazy-tough puncture resistance, high-tech padding in all the right places, and specially-designed grip surfaces, these put the scores of low-buck work gloves I keep around the shop to shame. Then again, they MSRP for $45 freakin’ dollars.

What do you get for $35 more than your average pair of work gloves? To start with, you get a specially-sewn palm that meets the European “CE 4342 EN388 Level 2 standard for cut and puncture resistance.” WTF-BBQ? Yeah, I had no idea what that was, either, so I did a little digging, and here’s how it works:

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Sure, you won’t keel over dead instantly if you breathe in some sanding dust or the excess spray paint that doesn’t make its way onto your lawn furniture (or nearby parked car). But wearing a proper respirator can add years to your life. To get the full benefit, you’ll need to do a little research to see what’s in the crap to which you’re exposing yourself, and that’s the point where most people just say “screw it” and plow on, sans protection. There’s another option, though: Pick up a cheap-but-decent model like the one above, offered for $17 from TP Tools.

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You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, starting with your high-school shop teacher. Sure, he might have had less than a full complement of fingers, smelled a little funny, and listened to whatever passed for uncool music when you were 17. But he’s right about this: Use a damn pushstick with your table saw.

“But it’s just one cut!” you might think. Or, alternatively, “I’m not stupid enough to push my finger into the saw!” Sadly, while some people do indeed push their finger(s) into the saw, that’s far from the only way to get mangled by one.

I stumbled across an interesting website today: tablesawaccidents.com. I’m not entirely sure who put the site together or what their ultimate motive is, but the numbers on it appear to have come from the CPSC, and they’re pretty interesting. For example, the site shows that 52% of all table saw accidents occur during rip cuts — and a whopping 65% of accidents happen when the user is pushing or feeding material.

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When you really need to hit the off switch, will you be able to find it? With a paddle-style safety switch like the one above, you won’t need to waste precious seconds searching — you just bump it with the nearest knee, elbow, or other close body part to turn off the machine.

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Working on the roof can be dangerous, especially the steeply pitched ones. I’m not going to tell you that it’s something best left to the professionals, because it really burns me up when people shill like that, but I am going to say that you might want to think about using a safety line if you do go up.

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Your eyebrows are supposed to keep sweat out of your eyes, but sometimes we perspire so much they can’t divert all the sweat streaming down your forehead. You could wear a sweatband, but not everyone wants to rock the 1980s Richard Simmons look.

The Sweat GUTR from Glove Guard is the hip new way to keep sweat out of your eyes. How do we know it’s hip? Because they leave out the E between the T and the R (not to mention the second T) just like pop photo-sharing site flickr.

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Getting from the top of the ladder to the roof or an upper landing surface isn’t always the most graceful operation, especially if the ladder is a bit short so that it doesn’t extend three feet above the surface, like OSHA requires. Attach the Safe-T Ladder over the top of your ladder, and you’ll have some nice solid offset hand holds to help you step up.

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You know you should be wearing hearing protection in the shop, but you don’t want to stop what you’re doing just to grab it. Do this enough times, and you might find yourself asking why everybody has started mumbling.

To avoid becoming one of 15% of the adult population with noise-induced hearing loss, you might benefit from 3M’s NI-100 Noise Indicator. Accurate to 3dB, the noise indicator flashes red every second when noise levels rise above 85 dBA (the dB limit where hearing protection is recommended) — and flashes green every second when the noise level is below 85dBA. If it isn’t flashing, either you forgot to turn it on or the battery is dead.

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Whether you created the emergency with the P.O.G.O. Pry Bar in the first place or the cause was totally unrelated, the P.O.G.O Pry Bar can help you shut off the gas before the situation gets any worse.

BRW intended the pry bar to be used in search-and-rescue applications — P.O.G.O. actually stands for Pry Off, Gas Off. The fact that it looks like a pry bar anybody might have in the toolbox just means that it’s a pretty useful design in a number of situations.

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