Automation in a compact package

Everybody in woodworking knows the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” It’s a testament both to the importance of accuracy in our business and to the frequency of bad measurements. Modern automation has the power to add precision and replace much of the mistaken measurements on the cutting side of the equation. But for small shops and job site work, automation has seemed out of reach or unwieldy. The SawGear system from TigerStop means to change that.

What does it do?

SawGear is an automated stop system designed to mate with your miter saw to provide precise and automated length measuring. It consists of an aluminum fence on which rides a stop with an adjustable bar. A digital control box moves the stop precisely based on the information keyed into the unit.

The stop beam can be mounted on either side of a saw and can be used in a stationary shop installation or even mounted to a portable saw stand for job site work.

The control head works on standard 110 voltage and will deliver measurements in feet, inches or metric, as you wish. It also can store pre-programmed cutting lists to be called up on demand by the saw operator.

How does it works

Precision and speed are the first things you notice using SawGear. My standard stop system used sliding stops secured with a threaded knob. Making sure the stop is precisely on the right measurement can sometimes be fussy. Not so with SawGear. I just key in the measurement, and the stop system moves right to it. After a one-time simple calibration, at no time in my testing did the unit not return to the correct measurement.

One job where this really comes in handy is in sequential grain matching of parts. With the SawGear you can precisely make sequential cuts quickly, changing the stop setting in seconds each time. It works equally well for miters as it does for straight cuts, and the instruction manual has detailed information for precise setup for miter cuts.

At a little less than $2,700 for a basic 8-foot unit, the SawGear likely costs several times what you paid for your miter saw. But the time saved in precision and no mis-cut parts could easily make the unit cost effective in short order. For more information, visit

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.