Annoying Scratches On My SawStop PCS Cast Iron Top

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I just finished editing a new video, and uploading it to YouTube. The video has some closeups of my SawStoP PCS’s cast iron table top, which means that all the ugly scratches were brought out front and center. Don’t bother looking for them in the video, though, because I edited them out using various masking techniques. Why did I edit them out? Read on to find out.

This is the first cast iron table top I’ve ever had, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. But the dang thing scratches if you just look at it cross-eyed. I have no idea where all these scratches came from, and believe me, I don’t abuse my table saw.

What Others Have Told Me

I’ve mentioned this issue several times before in the SawStop Users’ Group on Facebook, and they’ve been the few times that I’ve been sorry I asked a question. The majority of people responded with something like “just get over it and use your saw to make something” or “If you wanted a mirror…” (which in retrospect is pretty funny, especially considering my barely-camera-ready face).

When I asked a SawStop employee about the issue, he said something like new cast iron just scratches easily, and after a while it won’t be much of an issue, or words to that effect. Then he showed me some pics of his scratches, and it was obvious that my scratches weren’t an anomaly.

So even though I found it hard to believe this kind of easy scratching is normal for cast iron table saw tops, I decided to try to ignore the scratches, like everyone was telling me.

And for the most part I was doing fine, until I started editing this video.

The Video

With all the closeups I was editing, the scratches were staring at me like ripe pimples on someone’s nose. Sorry for the visual, but that’s what it was like - after a while, they were all I could see. And trust me - many of the scratches were blatantly obvious, even if you weren’t looking for them.

But I still might have been able to ignore them, except for the fact that this is a YouTube video, which means I’m not the only one who’s going to see the scratches. So what, you ask?

Viewers know I just got this table saw, and I’ll get comments. And since I always reply to the comments, it would put me in a very difficult situation. Here’s some examples:

Viewer: I noticed you’ve got a lot of scratches on your new table saw. What happened?

Me: Yeah, there are a lot of scratches, but apparently that’s normal for new cast iron tops.

Viewer: I don’t think that’s normal. It’s never happened to any of the cast iron tops I’ve used in my 40 years of professional experience. I mean, sure, everything gets scratched eventually, but it shouldn’t be that easy to scratch it.

You think I’m exaggerating? I’d lay odds on it.

Or, another way I could respond:

Viewer: I noticed you’ve got a lot of scratches on your new table saw. What happened?

Me: Yeah, there are a lot of scratches, and it really pisses me off. SawStop says that’s normal, but I doubt it. But what can I do? Even if I convinced them to send me a new top, it would still have the same problem, and I really don’t want to change out a top for no real benefit. And I don’t want a different brand of saw, because I want the SawStop safety technology. So I’m screwed.

And then I’d set up a hotkey to paste in that response every time someone asked the question.

In reality, I probably couldn’t actually post that response, because I just don’t want to badmouth SawStop like that. Although that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted…

That’s why I masked out the scratches

So rather than having to answer those kinds of questions, I masked out the scratches.

Here’s an example of one of my masking jobs. This scratch wasn’t nearly as bad-looking on camera as the picture at the top of this post, but once you start cleaning stuff up, it’s hard to know where to stop. Also, I didn’t want people to think my jig made the scratch (it didn’t): Click image to view full sized

This was more work than you might think, because at one point my hand moved over the area I was trying to mask, so I had to animate the mask frame by frame: Click image to view full sized

Hopefully I won’t have to do many closeups of the table top in the future, so I’m hoping this won’t be an ongoing issue.

But I sure wish there was a good solution to this problem.

If you’re thinking of buying a SawStop…

If you’re thinking of buying a SawStop, I think the safety technology outweighs the scratching issue. The scratches are really just cosmetic, so you should still consider buying one. But caveat emptor.

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