Despite covering what seemed like dozens of acres of exhibits of tools and such on the first day of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, the second day brought just as many booths and setups packed with new woodworking products. Here’s some of the highlights:
• The word “innovation” gets tossed around with nearly every new tool launch in this industry, but in many cases the innovations are a judgment call. However, Bosch’s new 12-inch sliding mitersaw truly is innovative because instead of the traditional tubular rails it uses a hinged, articulated arm system with ball bearings for sliding back and forth very smoothly. Because of that, this saw can sit up against a wall and the articulated arm simply folds up; a typical sliding mitersaw needs 6 to 10 inches of rear space for the rails. This saw has many of the features Bosch is known for (front-mounted bevel controls, miter detent override, tall fences, and large miter and bevel ranges). I first saw this mitersaw over a year ago when I was at Bosch’s headquarters for a behind-the-scenes look, and I knew right away it was revolutionary. It will be on the market this fall, selling for $799.
• Oneida Air Systems has earned its reputation for top-quality dust collectors, and its new model builds on that reputation. The Smart Dust Collector is a two-stage cyclone collector with the ability to adjust its fan speed to compensate when suction drops off. For example, if you leave 3 or 4 blast gates open, it increases the suction automatically. Or if you choke the ductwork down to smaller diameters—which normally kills suction—it adjusts automatically and maintains a high level of suction. This unit sells for $2,788 and comes with a 3-hp motor with 6-inch inlet, HEPA filter with flame-guard covering, and an infrared sensor for the collection bin to alert you when it’s full. You can also buy this sensor as an accessory for existing collectors for $120.
• Rockler launched several new products. I really like its new shelf-pin drilling jig, which sells for $80. This jig has two templates that slide on rails and snug up against your board; you then tighten and drill with the included self-centering bit (1/4 inch or 5 mm).
• Rockler also has new clamping cauls for gluing up box joints. Available for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch joints, these color-coded cauls snug up against proud fingers and allow you to clamp corners squarely with a standard band clamp. They sell in 4-packs for $10.
• Amana’s new miniature-bearing router bits have 3/16-inch diameter bearings to go along with tiny profile cutters, available in rabbet, flush trim, chamfer, Roman ogee, and round-over. Use these bits for any delicate or intricate routing tasks such as making scale models, toys, or for sign-making.
• Amana also launched a new line of contractor-grade saw blades, available in diameters from 7-1/4 inches to 12 inches and selling for $15 to $80.
• In addition to some new tools (mini-lathe, bandsaw, jointer/planer, dust collector), Rikon Power Tools debuted a new line of workbenches. These benches, made of German beech, will be available in nine sizes ranging from $399 to $1,699. In addition to several sizes of traditional European-style benches (shown) and a school-type bench set up with four vises, there’s a fold-up bench with storage that would be perfect for small shops or garages.