Last weekend, October 25-27, The Woodworking Shows returned to the great state of Texas. The late sale of the show in 2012 kept our new owner from securing venues for the Fall portion of the show circuit last year and we were left, sadly, with nothing to do until January. Hope springs eternal and now we’re back with a mix of the things that you’ve grown accustom to. Read more
As the editors at WOOD were reviewing woodworking tools in preparation for our Innov8 Awards in the Dec/Jan issue, we learned of the passing of Burt Weinstein, inventor and founder of Simp’l Products. You may not recognize the name, but Burt came up with several tools for woodworkers, such as the Jointer Clamp Dow’l It, and a simple pocket-hole jig. Several years ago, Burt sold his company to General Tools, but he remained active with GT, inventing and promoting his products.
Burt was 72 when I first met him 15 years ago when I started at WOOD magazine, and he was as sharp at that age as most of us are at age 30. Every time I’d talk to him at a woodworking show about his newest offering, I could see the wheels turning in his head as picked my brain for ways to make his inventions even better. We need more guys like Burt in this business.
Here’s more about him from the from the official announcement of his passing:
On August 9, 2013, inventor, engineer and longtime General Tools & Instruments (General®) consultant Burton (Burt) Weinstein lost his battle with cancer at the age of 87. Known as a man of extraordinary kindness, patience, humility and optimism, Burt will be deeply missed by his colleagues at General, those in the woodworking industry and beyond.
In 2006, Burt first met General President and CEO Joe Ennis at the National Hardware Show. At the time, he was aiming to retire and sell his company. Burt and his partner, Richard (Dick) Deaton, founded Simp’l Products in 1989 with the goal of inventing products that would streamline woodworking joinery for both professionals and novices at an affordable price. Impressed by the jointer clamp, doweling jig and pocket hole jig Burt had already created for Simp’l Products, General purchased the company and hired Burt as a consultant.
Burt never quite got the hang of retirement and continued working with General until his passing. Together with the company’s in-house engineers, he redesigned aspects of his jointer clamp, doweling jig and pocket hole jig, which became the cornerstones of General’s E-Z Pro Line of Precision Woodworking Jigs. In conjunction with General, Burt invented two more landmark wood joining tools: the E-Z Pro Mortise & Tenon Jig and E-Z Pro Dovetailer Jig. He often traveled with General to national trade shows where he demonstrated his latest and greatest wood joining innovations to the delight of show attendees.
Over the years, Burt was awarded more than a dozen patents for his inventions. He achieved his first in 1956 for a combination woodworking machine with a tilting arbor that could be converted into a table saw, drill press or lathe. But Burt’s creations went far beyond woodworking. He also developed products for the skiing, boating and medical industries. These included BURT Retractable Bindings that decreased injuries from falls and eased recovery by keeping skis and boots attached via spring-loaded cables; a dolly that enabled the transport of a boat in a laterally vertical orientation; and an endotracheal tube holder that prevented patients from biting the tubing.
A World War II veteran and a man of many talents and interests, Burt was an avid sailor who also enjoyed skiing, flying and fishing, and was a proud member of the City Island and New York Yacht Clubs. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Carolyn; stepdaughters, Jacquelyn and Gwendolyn Wong; sons-in-law Serge Michaut and Neil Wertheimer; grandchildren Davis and Lucas Wertheimer; brother and sister-in-law Gerald and Alice Weinstein; and many loving nieces and nephews.
The 2013 AWFS Fair (Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers) in Las Vegas was hot (at least outside) and smaller than past shows, but those manufacturers who did exhibit brought lots of new tools and products to debut. Here are some that most appealed to me:
The most intriguing innovation at the show had to be… Read more
The inaugural Weekend With WOOD event wrapped up on May 19th 2013 in the WOOD magazine shops and world headquarters. And all indications are that it was a huge hit. Of course, don’t take my word for it, instead look at all the grins on these woodworkers’ faces: Read more
Seems like forever since the last woodworking show in Houston last March. Being addicted to all the activity and camaraderie of the show circuit, it would be a long summer and fall before I would get my fix. This last weekend would finally bring relief in Baltimore as the 2013 season kicked off. Adding to the rush is the new schedule, new ownership and, for me, a new presentation. As Ole’ Willie Nelson would say, I’m “On the Road Again”. Read more
In a show as large as the International Woodworking Fair, where city-block-size industrial setups can dominate nearly all your senses, it can be challenging to not focus on the big, eye-catching stuff and instead find the nuggets sometimes tucked away in small booths. I always commit myself to looking over every booth at these tradeshows in search of new tools and accessories, and this show did not disappoint.
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware took up only a small corner booth, but WOW was it packed with lots of good stuff! Here’s a quick rundown:
• Mixing Mate lids with built-in stir paddles for paint and finish cans. Snap them on, stir, then pour—and never fill up the rim around the lid! Quart size is available now and costs $15; gallon size will be out in January and sell for $20.
Innovation has not been easy to find in the woodworking machinery sector here at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Chalk it up to the recession mostly as manufacturers have scaled back on new product launches and research and development, as well as the fact that fewer people are buying stationary machines. Then consider that several large manufacturers did not exhibit at the show, and it left a slimmer pool to begin with. Nonetheless, I was able to find several new machines.
One of the great things about attending woodworking tradeshows as a member of the working press is being surprised by new-product launches that you didn’t expect. That doesn’t happen as much as it used to (due mostly to the last 4 years of recession cutbacks and such), but I was surprised by a few things at the opening day of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.
About 2 years after a Massachusetts jury awarded Carlos Osorio $1.5 million when he mangled his hand in an accident with a Ryobi tablesaw (a verdict that is still under appeal), an Illinois jury has found in favor of Ryobi and its parent company, One World Technologies, in a similar product-liability lawsuit.
In early May 2007, the suit’s plaintiff, Brandon Stollings, was using a Ryobi model BTS20R-1 table saw to cut a piece of laminate material when the piece “kicked back” at him, causing his left hand to make contact with the saw blade. Two fingers were severed and three were injured. Stollings filed suit, alleging three “design defects:” that the anti-kickback pawls were permanently attached to the blade splitter, so removing the splitter meant removing the pawls; that the blade guard provided with the saw clouds with sawdust, necessitating its removal to see the cut; and the saw lacks flesh-detecting technology that causes the blade to stop and/or drop away when skin touches the moving blade. Stollings admitted at his deposition that he had not read the warnings in the saw’s manual and that he understood the risks of removing the blade guard and cutting freehand.
We’re told the jury announced its verdict on Monday, August 6, but at this time, no case summary is available to give any insight into the jury’s verdict. We’ll pass that along as soon as it’s available.
It seems like every time I speak with someone at Bosch, they’ve got new tools to tell me about. Last fall I was fortunate to tour Bosch’s worldwide headquarters in Germany, as well as four production facilities, and the thing that most impressed me about this German-based company is that it’s made a commitment to reinvest 8% of its sales into research and development for new products. Well, I just returned from Bosch’s North American headquarters in Chicago, and I saw that commitment carried out in the launch of nearly four dozen new power tools, measuring tools, and accessories for woodworking, construction, metalworking, and concrete. You’d never know there was a recession in the U.S. based on Bosch’s output. I’ll focus on the tools most applicable to woodworking.
The biggest splash, in my opinion, is the launch of a plunge base for the Bosch Colt palm router. Read more