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National Hardware Show

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Tues. Highlights

Tues. Highlights

I spent my last day at the National Hardware Show meeting with some of the tooling manufacturers, and lurking around the tiny-but-expensive booths at the back of McCormick Place. That's not really as sinister as I make it sound. Often in these booths, I find the guys who've mortgaged the house to rent space at the show, hoping to get noticed by a big manufacturer. Or just noticed at all. This year's show was a little short on entrepreneurs, but there were some eye-catching entries from players large and small.


If you've been around woodworking more than a few years, you've probably seen how to make cove molding by running stock diagonally across your tablesaw blade. While the process works, the blade's teeth can leave deep scratches all along the cove that have to be sanded away. The large, circular cutting head of CMT's Lonnie Bird Crown Molding Set mounts on your table saw's arbor and leaves a cove so smooth, the manufacturer says only minor sanding is required to clean it up. Besides the cove-cutter, the set also includes enough bits to cut a half-dozen different profiles along the edges of the molding. When the set comes out in November, it should sell for about $400; you can also by the cove-cutter alone for under $100.


From our friends down under comes the Multi-Stand, a work-support stand that you might find handy all around the house. For outfeed support on the tablesaw or mitersaw, set the tilting head level and the low-friction plastic caps let the workpiece slide along. Between these two caps is a trough where you can clamp a 2X on edge and use the Multi-Stand as a sawhorse. Or, tilt the trough perpendicular to the floor and use it to hold a door in place for installation. That same tilting head can even compensate for a sloping floor or account for a step. Triton Manufacturing and Design expects the Multi-Stand to sell for around $70 once stateside distribution is in place.


Bessey K-body clamps are considered by many woodworkers to be the Lexus of the long clamp. Now, Bessey has introduced the Vario-Clamp system. Basically, the system consists of two tracks, shown left, that turn a K-body clamp (or your 3/4" bar clamp) into an adjustable bench vise. The tracks carry the clamp above the bench or alongside, and pivot the clamp to the best working position for your project. The Vario-Clamp System sells for about $60.


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