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TOOL NEWS: Rikon adds two new benchtop tools

Rikon, long known for making high-quality bandsaws, has added two more tools to its growing lineup. First up is a 16″ benchtop scrollsaw, model 10-600VS, that sells for $160. This saw features a variable-speed control from 550 to 1,650 strokes per minute, a cast-iron base, an aluminum table that tilts up to 45°, 2″ workpiece-thickness capacity, a flexible-neck task light, and a 1-3/8″ dust port.

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Next is a benchtop belt/disc combination sander, model #50-150, that sells for $120. It features a 1/3-hp motor to power the 1″-wide sanding belt and 5″-diameter disc; both are equipped with 100-grit abrasives. The 3-3/4″ x 7-1/4″ disc sander aluminum table tilts up to 45°. The belt table also tilts to allow for sharpening chisels. Two 1-1/2″ dust ports help you control dust.

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For more information on these tools, go to rikontools.com or call Rikon at 877-884-5167.

Jet and Powermatic seeing upturn in business

Everyone knows we’ve been mired in a recession for two-plus years now, and it certainly has hit the woodworking sector hard. Woodworkers have cut back on buying tools and products related to our hobby and/or business. Some retail stores and Web sites have gone out of business or cut back drastically. And manufacturers have been forced to cut back either on marketing, production, or product development—or all three. But as we start to see glimpses of hope, I decided to check in with a few manufacturers to see how they’re doing.

I spent the first day with the WMH Tool Group, parent company of Powermatic and Jet woodworking tools as well as Wilton metalworking products. Their office, warehouse, and distribution center is located in LaVergne, Tennessee, just southeast of Nashville. Jet recently moved into this facility, closing its longtime base of operations in Elgin, Illinois. Barry Schwaiger, director of the product lines for both Powermatic and Jet, gave me a tour of the facility and keyed me in on what tools are moving and which are not.

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