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2013 WOOD® magazine Innov8 Awards

Manufacturers of woodworking products live and die by the innovations they bring to market. Here are the eight new products we judge most innovative for the coming year.

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  • 2013 WOOD® magazine Innov8 Awards

    Manufacturers of woodworking products live and die by the innovations they bring to market. Here are the eight new products we judge most innovative for the coming year.

  • Mix and pour paint and finishes without spilling a drop

    IHOP would be proud—and maybe even a little jealous. Rockler's Mixing Mate attaches to a quart- or gallon-sized can of finish or paint, letting you stir up the contents and then pour it—like a restaurant syrup dispenser—into a spray cup or smaller cup for brushing. Tool-free cam clamps hold the Mixing Mate to the can, and a rubber gasket prevents drips. When you're done, remove it from the can and the rim remains clean, ready for you to reseal the lid. However, you'll still have to clean up the paddle and spout. Rockler has quart sizes available now, but the gallon Mixing Mate won't arrive until February.

    Mixing Mate, 44360 (quart), $15; 44170 (gallon) $20

    Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, 800-279-4441, rockler.com

  • DC servo motor serves up greater low-speed torque

    Woodturning requires torque just as much as it does speed, but with most lathes you lose torque at low speeds. Laguna's Revo lathes use brushless DC servo motors, providing greater torque in the lower speed range than typical AC- or DC-motor lathes. The tailstocks on these lathes swing away for turning large chuck-mounted pieces without having to remove the heavy tailstock. You can get a Revo lathe with either a 20" or 24" swing and 36" between centers.

    Revo Wood Lathes, 20-36 (MLA REVO 20-0180), $3,300; 24-36 (MLA REVO 24-0180), $3,900

    Laguna Tools, 800-234-1976, lagunatools.com

  • Triggerless tool drives screws - with only a twist of the wrist

    This palm-sized, cordless screwdriver has no forward/reverse switch. Instead, when you grip the handle, squeezing the activation switch, you simply rotate the tool clockwise to drive a screw. An internal gyroscope senses the motion and will even increase or decrease drive speed based on how far you twist. The 4-volt Gyro works great for light-duty driving, but don't expect it to replace your 12-volt or larger drill/drivers. We're anxious to see where Black & Decker takes this gyro technology next.

    Gyro screwdriver, BDCS40G, $40

    Black & Decker, 800-544-6986, blackanddecker.com/gyro

  • Narrow nose makes pinpoint precision possible for brads

    Wouldn't you like to have a brad nailer with the skinny nose of a micro-pinner? Done. Bostitch's Smart-Point 18-gauge brad nailer eliminates the broad safety tip common to bradders, leaving only a slim nose that serves as its own safety. As long as the nose makes contact with your workpiece, you can fire a nail. And it still has all the features you'd expect from a brad nailer: fastener length up to 2", oil-free use, rear air exhaust, swiveling hose coupler with internal filter, and a belt hook. This tool is expected to hit the market in March.

    Smart-Point brad nailer, BTFP12233, $120

    Bostitch, 800-556-6696, bostitch.com

  • Swap jaws with a snap and zoom to size

    Changing accessory jaws on a 4-jaw chuck can be a tedious job because of all those screws. But the Easy Wood Chuck's rounded jaws simply snap in and lock without screws, so you can change jaws in seconds rather than minutes. And this chuck's "zoom ring" makes coarse jaw adjustments quickly by hand; then use the included T-wrench to tighten. Six jaw sizes will be available in early 2013.

    Easy Wood Chuck, $499

    Easy Wood Tools, 866-963-0294, easywoodtools.com

  • These are the slides that bind no more

    Ball-bearing drawer slides have always been adjustable for perfect top-to-bottom and front-to-back fit, but if you missed the side-to-side spacing in your cabinet by a tiny bit, the slides would bind. Now Blum has added side-to-side adjustability to our favorite bottom-mount slides. Install the slides on the drawer and cabinet, and then tweak the front and back slightly as needed—without tools—to remove any binding. They're available in full-extension versions from 100 lbs to 150 lbs and 9" to 30" drawer lengths.

    Tandem Plus Blumotion drawer slides, $24-$44 per pair

    Blum, 704-827-1345, blum.com

  • Clean, high-tech trimming with a bigger bit

    Bearing-guided spiral carbide router bits cut cleanly when template routing because they shear-cut the workpiece from either the top or bottom. Compression bits, with both upshear and downshear cutters, slice from both the top and bottom faces at the same time for a clean cut on all surfaces. Whiteside's Ultimate Trim Bits take that action a step further. The larger, 7/8" diameter provides more shear angle for even cleaner cuts. And these are the first top-bearing compression bits we've seen with a sturdy 1/2" shank. Whiteside sells these bits in the three configurations described below.

    Ultimate Trim Bits, UDP9112 (top-bearing pattern) $150; UDFT9112 (bottom-bearing flush trim) $140; UDC9112 (double-bearing combination) $150

    Whiteside Machine Co., 800-225-3982, whitesiderouterbits.com

  • New steel alloy blends durability with ease of sharpening

    The folks at Lee Valley/Veritas have brought to market a new variety of steel alloy with distinct advantages for hand-tool users. Known as PM-V11, the new alloy consists of particles smaller than those found in typical carbon steel or even the harder A2 variety. This finer structure helps chisels and plane blades hold a sharp edge longer than other alloys, yet it sharpens quicker than A2. In addition to a set of five PM-V11 bench chisels, Lee Valley offers this alloy as an option for most of its hand plane blades, and eventually for older Stanley planes.

    PM-V11-steel hand tools:

    5-piece bench chisel set, 05S21.50, $359; individual chisels $74–$89 each; plane blades, $10–$15 upcharge over O1 or A2 blades

    Lee Valley/Veritas, 800-871-8158, leevalley.com

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