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WOOD Magazine's 2014 Innov8 Awards

We're always on the lookout for woodworking tools and products that make life in the shop easier, safer, and more precise. Here are eight game-changers that fill the bill for the new year.

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  • The most innovative tools of 2014

    We're always on the lookout for woodworking tools and products that make life in the shop easier, safer, and more precise. Here are eight game-changers that fill the bill for the new year.

  • Toss the tape, get tight tenons

    Measuring for perfect-fitting tenons is sooo last year: This jig helps you cut perfectly centered tenons on the tablesaw without using a measuring rule. To set the tenon thickness, simply insert the hollow-mortise chisel, router bit, or drill bit used to cut the mortises; the workpiece itself sets the spacing from the jig fence to the blade. The black front section of the jig slides on linear bearings, while the silver rear half remains fixed to a slot-adjustable miter bar. (For offset tenons, you will need to measure to set up the jig.)

    TTJ Trigonometric Tenoning Jig,

    no. TTJ-100, $250

    Allied industries

    tenonjig@alliedindustries.com

  • Double the power, double your fun

    Manufacturers have been powering tools with pricey 36-volt battery packs for years, but Makita has created a shortcut for folks who use its far-more-common 18-volt system. By linking two packs, you get 36 volts of power without buying into another battery platform. So, you can purchase only the bare 36-volt tool with built-in adapter and use packs you already have. Currently, Makita offers a 12" chainsaw, concrete rotary hammer, and blower, with more tools to come. We're eager to see where this goes from here (a 36-volt router or mitersaw, maybe?).

    36-volt tools, prices vary by tool

    Makita

    800-462-5482, makitatools.com

  • Sliding sleeve spurs safer turning

    The spurs on a lathe's spur center have always been exposed, creating the potential for injury or damaged turning tools. But the spring-loaded sheath on Badger spur centers covers the spurs during use, allowing you to turn spindles closer to them than you'd dare with a regular spur center. The center point also retracts, which, when you back off the tailstock force, releases the spurs' grip but keeps the blank mounted. The Badger Pro adds removable spurs that can be sharpened and replaced.

    Badger spur centers, Badger $40, Badger Pro $80

    Big Tree Tools

    888-887-6464, bigtreetools.com

  • Jigsaw sports top-notch features

    Brushless motor technology is not new, but Festool earns kudos for bringing it to the jigsaw category. Festool says the Carvex's brushless motor weighs less and works more efficiently than a standard motor. We also like its innovative 4-LED light system surrounding the blade, as well as its three-point blade guides for perpendicular cuts. Available in top handle, barrel grip, corded and cordless, this saw also uses a tool-free base-changing system with six different bases (five of which are optional, including the angle base shown right), to suit various applications.

    Carvex jigsaw, no. 420, $350

    Festool

    888-337-8600, festoolusa.com

  • Hex-drive screws use one bit for all sizes

    Do we really need another type of screwdriving system? Hex yeah! Outlaw screws have stepped, hexagonal sockets on their heads that match up perfectly with the included UniGrip driver bit -- and one bit fits all sizes of these screws. The multiple mating hexagons create a positive lock between the bit and screw for a solid, slip-free drive. Outlaw screws will hit the market in early 2014, available initially for decking and drywall installation; more types and sizes of screws will follow.

    Outlaw screws, prices to be determined

    Outlaw Fasteners

    704-904-7427, outlawfasteners.com

  • Digital drill press impresses

    Teknatool launched its innovative direct-drive-motor lathe in 2001, and now applies that same technology to a drill press. This digital-variable-reluctance (DVR) technology allows the 13/4-hp motor to "talk" with the internal microcomputer to optimize performance and conserve energy. Among this machine's features are: load sensing, which optimizes bit speed; chuck proximity sensors to stop the machine if your hand gets too close; a breakthrough sensor to prevent bottom-side tear-out of your workpiece; and sensors that indicate dull or damaged bits. The onboard computer stores programmed tasks, and can receive future software updates.

    DVR drill press, price to be determined

    Teknatool International

    866-748-3025, teknatool.com

  • Compact CNC router saves space

    The Handibot -- a portable CNC machine about the size of a benchtop planer -- can be used on a benchtop or taken to a workpiece or jobsite. The HandiBot uses a computer-controlled compact router or laminate trimmer (not included) to carve, cut, drill, and shape any design you program it to. If the task proves larger than the HandiBot's 6x8" capacity, create your own indexing system to step and repeat until the job is done. The HandiBot runs apps from a personal computer, smartphone, or tablet, and ShopBot plans to have an online network where users can create and share apps and designs.

    HandiBot portable CNC machine, $2,500

    ShopBot

    888-680-4466, handibot.com

  • Add robotlike repeatability to your router table

    Rockler's Ready2Rout fence brings computer-controlled precision to any router table, storing repeatable fence settings for joinery (box joints, dovetails, dadoes) or decorative jobs, such as flutes, with this motorized, leadscrew-driven fence. With preprogrammed operations, such as those mentioned above, and the ability to add your own via a USB port, the electronic keypad automatically (or manually) adjusts the fence forward and back. You still set bit height manually. Fence adjustments can be made within .001", giving you accurate repeatability never before possible.

    Ready2Rout Router Table Fence, no. 44999, $600

    Rockler/New Wave Automation

    800-279-4441, rockler.com

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