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Tool News and New Tools

THIS IS ROCKET SCIENCE

The last week of the current Woodworking Show season took me to the capitol of all that is space exploration, Huntsville, Alabama. The drive in from the airport would pass within sight of Space Camp and be too much of an enticement to pass up. Read more

TOOL NEWS: Freud launches new woodworking blades

Freud has launched several new saw blades for woodworking, further increasing its arsenal of fine woodworking cutting tools. First is a new thin-kerf version of Freud’s acclaimed Premier Fusion 40-tooth general-purpose blade—one of the Top Tool blades in WOOD magazine’s review of 40-tooth blades in 2008. This new model, #P140T, features the same tooth design of the full-kerf blade—30° alternate-top teeth bevels, 18° hook angle, and double-side grind—but with a kerf thickness of only .091”, as well as the red Perma-Shield coating on the body.

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Getting—and giving—the inside scoop for Craftsman tools

I just got back from Sears headquarters in Chicago, where I served as an “outside voice” for an in-depth symposium on Craftsman tools and products. As the Tools Editor of the world’s largest woodworking magazine, I shared my experiences from tool tests and general everyday use of Craftsman tools, as well as discussed trends in tools and woodworking and where the future might take us. It was an interesting twist, because I’m typically the journalist interviewing tool-makers and reporting on their newest product launches. But this time I was on a five-person panel of experts sitting in front of a roomful of Craftsman representatives who asked the questions. It was a spirited discussion, very enlightening for the content as well as the experience of being on the “other side.” My hope is that this experience will eventually result in Craftsman producing products and tools that will help woodworkers, homeowners, DIYers, and anyone who takes a notion to be better at what they do.

Earlier in the day I got to see some of the newest tools that will soon launch, but by agreeing to keep it all confidential I’m not allowed to show photos or give specifics. The Craftsman leaders also revealed some new concepts they’re playing with for tools and products. Some of them are pretty cool, others not so much. But I give them a ton of credit for constantly striving to create innovative, unique products that can be brought to market at affordable prices. I also got a tour of Craftsman’s testing lab, where they put tools through rigorous tests to substantiate claims (or sometimes debunk them) and determine their lifespan. Always on the lookout for testing methods I can incorporate into our own tool reviews at WOOD magazine, I managed to pick up some ideas based on what I saw. As new Craftsman products come to market, I’ll keep you all posted through my blog, our newsletter, and our magazine.

Trend Airshield Air Circulating Face Sheilds

Sometimes the best method to test a new product is to have the one it is replacing. Fortunately, I had the original Trend Airshield air-circulating face shield, below left, and have purchased the updated version, the Airshield Pro, below right, about six months ago.

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TOOL NEWS: Acme Tools now selling online

For those of you who remember buying tools from Tool Crib of the North back in the 1980s and ’90s, you’ll be happy to know it’s back in business as an online retailer as well as catalog merchant. Only now the company is known as Acme Tools. (And, no, this is not where Wile E. Coyote bought all of his products in his countless efforts to catch the Roadrunner!)

In late 1999 Tool Crib of the North sold its online and catalog business to Amazon.com. Since then the Kuhlman family that owned the business worked to expand its retail store presence in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. Now Acme Tools sells more than 10,000 products and hundreds of brands through its Web site. “Acme is committed to setting the standards for customer service and shopping experience in the online marketplace for tools and equipment,” says Steve Kuhlman, vice president of corporate operations.

Kreg hits the deck

Kreg has introduced a new method of securing deck boards to the framing without unsightly screw heads poking up from every board. The method works similar to Kreg’s pocket hole jig. The deck jig has three holes to guide the drill bit and driver: the two outside holes sit  45 degrees to the center hole.

Kreg Deck Jig

Kreg Deck Jig

To use the jig, first place a couple of spacers (the red items in the photo below) between the deck boards to get the proper spacing. Read more

TOOL NEWS: Grizzly Industrial now shipping to Canada

Grizzly Industrial, manufacturer of woodworking and metalworking machinery, is now shipping products via UPS to Canada. Freight costs vary depending on the weight and size of the machines being shipped, and brokerage fees start at $10. Any border-imposed duties must be paid for by the customer.

“We’ve had incredible demand from Canadians over the years,” says Shiraz Balolia, president
of Grizzly. “The way we have it set up, the customer just needs to place their order. UPS will then contact the customer to
arrange for the duties, if they even apply, when the machine arrives. It’s very easy.”

For more information, contact Grizzly at 800-523-4777 or online at grizzly.com.

It’s Time To Stick (It) Together

This week’s Woodworking Show was held in Columbus, Ohio and there was hope that this would be as successful as that in Baltimore last weekend. We would not be disappointed. I arrived early so that I could tour a plant that I had been eager to see. Just south of downtown Columbus in a mixed neighborhood of residences and industry is Franklin International, makers of Titebond glue.Columbus TWS 0110 008

I have to admit being a fan of minutia and was opportunity to see how glue is made just fit the bill. Franklin is a family owned company Read more

New tool compresses biscuits to equal thickness

Have you been in the middle of a glue-up, inserting biscuits into slots as the glue begins to set up, only to find that some of your biscuits have swelled and won’t fit? Well, Tom Foster has found a solution to alleviate that problem. Tom came by the WOOD magazine shop today to show us his Biscuit Press.

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Seeing the new Leigh Super FMT in action

Matt Grisley, president of Leigh Industries, came by the WOOD magazine shop today to demo his company’s newest toy, the Super FMT (frame mortise and tenon jig). This product is a scaled-down, less-expensive version ($450) of the original FMT, launched about six years ago and soon to be called the FMT Pro, which sells for around $900.

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