I was one of those committee members that voted in this saw blade charge.
I believe that the possibility of experiencing “unjust” breakage charges is being over blown in this case:
First the saw blade is of very hard and brittle material; think of it as almost a glass blade. To break it specific mis-use is needed. One would have to be extremely talented, and admittedly there are some really talented folks at DMS, to misuse the blade in a way that it wouldn’t break right away, but would on a subsequent user putting it to prudent use.
Second, in a concession to the very unlikely case of “unjust” breakage, the hapless victim is only expected to pay half the replacement cost. The chances of a given individual experiencing this twice at this tool in a life time of membership is incalculably small, so no person will ever pay for an entire blade replacement due to unlucky spontaneous breakages.
Still, there is some benefit to the policy:
First, it may encourage some persons to consider the well being of the equipment they are about to use. That may lead to longer blade life. If longer life starts leading to lowered replacement costs on a few trouble prone items then the machine shop will be able to maintain more liberal policies toward furnishing drills, cutters, inserts and taps, perhaps, even buy additional appurtenances that may improve member experience.
Second, a number of members have quickly paid for the replacement of what broke on them; fault or not. So while the charge may be higher on the person who would not have offered to pay for the replacement; it could now be lower for the member who readily admits to breakage and was expecting to pay the whole replacement cost. One time a member broke the evolution saw blade by mistakenly using it on steel; he quickly admitted to it and ponied up the whole replacement cost. Well, now there is a rule that says he may rightfully pay only about half the replace cost (currently in the case of the cold saw though). Although, this member would still insist in paying the whole cost, the point is that a neophyte could make a mistake and learn from it at half price following committee rules. The previous lack of a guide line left some members, perhaps, thinking that they owed MS the whole price.