Combination Flipsaws

How is it that DEWALT (and other legacy power-tool mfrs.) have for years, offered jobsite combination-tablesaw/mitresaws (known as flipsaws) in Europe and the U.K., but consistently refuse to do so in North America ?

I cannot believe that the markets and trade practices are so different. What am I missing ?

Would appreciate any reasonable reply.

I don’t know the answer for certain, but my guess is legal issues. There are various laws here regarding safety features like guards and such on certain kinds of tools and if the tools don’t have the appropriate guards or other features they cannot be sold.
I have encountered this from time to time with various other tools. Years ago I had visited family in the UK and a common rotary tool attachment sold under the Minicraft brand was a tiny (1" diameter) circular saw blade. In the US dremel only had the abrasive blades, a toothed wood-cutting blade was nowhere to be found. I finally got the answer from a high-end model store: those were illegal in the USA because they didn’t have a safety guard, and US law requires a spring retracting safety guard on a “circular saw”. A Milwaukee rep since told me that is the same reason why they do not mention the use of circular saw blades on the M12 Cut off Tool no. 2522–the blades fit and work, in fact the tool even comes with an adapter so you can use the Dremel branded blades on it–but because the tool doesn’t have a spring-retracting guard around the blade they can’t market it for that purpose.
I’ve come across a few Stihl brushcutter attachments that are a thing in Europe but are not available in the USA, and according to every Stihl dealer I’ve asked it’s for legal reasons.
So my guess is that there’s some legal reason why they’re not selling the flip saws here.

Thanks, MechaMan.

I have heard your opinion expressed before. I just don’t buy it.

Table saw and mitre saw modes of European flip saws both have protection guards comparable to single function stationary tools. It is inconceivable to me that European certifying bodies (like CE) regard safety issues less conscientiously than OSHA (UL, CSA, etc…), unless of course Europeans are just smarter and more careful than North Americans, which would obviate such draconian safety measures. Also, 220V European current being far more potentially hazardous than 110V, suggests an inconsistency in the ”Safety” rationale.

My suspicion is that ”Safety” is a convenient strawman argument, the real motive being
”Marketing”. After all, selling 2 separate jobsite tools (portable table saw AND portable mitre saw) is more profitable than 1 (combination) flip saw. Of course, you’ll never get DEWALT to admit as such.

My 2 cents.

So that raises the obvious question: If Dewalt, etc are simply greedy and want to make more money, why are they selling flipsaws to anyone? And why can’t I buy the Stihl attachments I want from a US dealer? It’s not like they are trying to offer me a different, more expensive, solution instead. They just say, sorry, we can’t sell that here.

Safety laws, like any other law, are not always based in logic or common sense. I wouldn’t expect that two different organization’s polices to be 100% consistent–not because of a lack of care, but simply because differences exist everywhere we look. Drinking ages are different, ages of consent are different, which medications are legal OTC and which are prescription-only or outright illegal are different. Lawn darts are famously banned in the USA but they’re perfectly legal in the EU, for example. As for voltage, I know that the UK’s standard household voltage is 220, but their jobsite power tools are 110V for safety reasons.

Notwithstanding Skrewywerks healthy skepticism. I suspect that you are correct that there are safety issues that prevent certain tools that are OK in the EU from being sold here and vice versa. Just try to find a dado-set for sale in the EU - and you may get some idea of the reverse. With Amazon and Alibaba offering the USA consumer all manner of good and bad copies of most tools - if they could - they would have a copy of the flip saw for sale here. since I’ve never seen one - I suspect that the impediment is something other than a greedy desire to sell 2 tools in place of one.

Thanks for your prompt replies, MechMan & Fred

I actually bought a “Mastercraft” flip saw on clearance, 10 years ago at Canadian Tire, a national hardware chain that sells 2nd and 3rd rate hand tools and power tools under their house brand (Mastercraft). It was a piece of junk that barely lasted a few years, but the concept impressed me and I discovered more robust versions under the ELU and DEWALT banners. (See attached and note the CSA logo.)

I can assure you that Canadian Tire would not offer a power tool that was NOT approved by CSA (which MUST conform to OSHA standards).

There’s clearly something else going on here.


That is indeed interesting. As you say - there must be something going on here that impedes their sale in the North American market

Doing a bit of Googling. I found these discussions - not exactly definitive answers - but more speculation-:

In this thread Stuart (as in the ToolGuyd) says that they don’t meet safety standards:

Legal policies can change with time. They may have been legal in Canada in the past but that does not necessarily make them legal now.
I read over the OSHA requirements for woodworking machinery (1910.213 - Woodworking machinery requirements. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the Dewalt flipsaw appears to not comply with two sections. First is:
For all circular saws where conditions are such that there is a possibility of contact with the portion of the saw either beneath or behind the table, that portion of the saw shall be covered with an exhaust hood, or, if no exhaust system is required, with a guard that shall be so arranged as to prevent accidental contact with the saw.
When the flipsaw is in miter configuration and the blade is down making a cut, the blade is exposed beneath the table.

Second is:
Each circular crosscut table saw shall be guarded by a hood which shall meet all the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section for hoods for circular ripsaws.
This refers to:
Each circular hand-fed ripsaw shall be guarded by a hood which shall completely enclose that portion of the saw above the table and that portion of the saw above the material being cut.

The problem here is that the Dewalt table-saw guard does not completely enclose the blade. A portion of the blade at the rear of the guard is exposed. So while I am no lawyer, it seems that the Dewalt model violates at least two OSHA rules.

It’s difficult to believe that if my 2nd rate Mastercraft flip saw complies with all 3 requirements, 1910.213.(a)(12), (d)(1) and (c)(1) [which it does], DeWALT couldn’t/wouldn’t tweak their designs to comply with OSHA’s requirements.

Were I to be told that DEWALT did not perceive a large enough market for North American flip saws, to justify retooling costs, I would disagree but respect their decision. ”Safety Issues” is a dishonest cop out.

correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the EU allow radial arm saws longer than the US did and they had some of the first radial arm saws that would turn 90 degrees to the arm and lock in position - makeing it a above table saw too

If I recall there is a rule that a table saw much have a minimum distance from the table edge to the end of the blade at full rise. and a minimum back of table distance. Something those combo devices might not be able to do.

and to be fair I wouldn’t want combo mitre saw/ table saw. Seems to lose some table saw functionality - on the portable end and usesll on the shop saw end. I can see the appeal to mobile trade people that have limitied van space perhaps. But I’d have to put hands on one to verify if it’s something I would want.