By Day 3 at the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas new tools and products are getting tougher to find. Still, I’ve got a few more to report on.
General and General International launched several new tools, as well as updates to some existing models. Among the new machines is a 13” drum sander ($1,229), 14” variable-speed benchtop wood lathe ($500), and a 10” hybrid tablesaw with granite top. General has also revamped its Excalibur sliding table, and is now offering it in an attractive package deal with the hybrid tablesaw for $2,100 for 40” crosscut and $2,750 for 60” crosscut.
Steel City continues to bring granite-top tools to market. Newest this year are jointers with granite tables and fence, as well as a 12” mini-lathe with granite headstock and bed ways. Steel City is also making news by offering replacement cutterheads for jointers and benchtop planers. These cutterheads feature segmented high-speed-steel inserts (with two cutting edges) staggered in rows, similar to spiral cutterheads that employ carbide inserts. The cutterheads sell for $200 to $250 and retrofit many makes of jointers and benchtop planers. Steel City also uses this cutterhead on several of its planers and jointers.
Festool is coming out with a Compact Modular System that can be used freestanding or attached to its MFT work tables, all for the purpose of mounting tools underneath. The setup we saw was for a router table, and it accommodates any of Festool’s routers except the trim router. It comes with a fence, dust collection assembly, and a sliding table with miter fence.
DeWalt is entering the shop vacuum market with two tool-triggered models. Selling for about $550, this 12-gallon, 12-amp vacuum features automatic filter cleaning and a twist-lock hose. There’s also a model without the auto-clean feature for $480.
Another offering from DeWalt is a portable radio that runs on 12-, 14.4-, or 18-volt batteries (nickel-cadmium or lithium-ion), or can be plugged into an electric outlet to become a charger for those same batteries. There’s also three outlets on the radio to hook up other tools or accessories, as well as input jack for MP3 players or iPods. It sells for $180.
Rockler introduced four interesting accessories. First is a tapering jig made with an MDF base but with a length of miter bar underneath, so it runs in the miter slot on your tablesaw or bandsaw rather than registering against the rip fence. With wide hold-downs and two ways to line up workpieces (degree markings as well rules in inches), this jig will sell for $70.
Rockler also rolled out a new fluting jig with a clear plastic base that you mount your plunge router to, and then line it up with built-in rules. The jig then slides with your router along the workpiece to rout flutes. It sells for $70.
Finally, Rockler debuted Bench Cookies, which look like hockey pucks—leave it to the guys from Minnesota—with rubbery, grippable material on both faces. So they work like router or sanding pad, but at 1” thick they leave you room for the bearing-tipped ends of router bits without getting them caught in the pad. They sell in a four-pack for $12.