Top New Tools for 2010
WOOD® magazine editors searched far and wide to find the best new woodworking tools for the new year.
Transfer corner angles to this mitersaw's movable fences
Craftsman's 10" MiterMate compound mitersaw eliminates the middleman when it comes to cutting trim. Instead of making several test cuts to get the perfect fit for mating trim pieces, you use the included angle finder to duplicate the corner. Next, you transfer that angle to the saw by pivoting the fences--not the blade--to match. Then you simply cut both pieces on their respective sides for an exact fit. Each fence pivots 45° front and back so you can cut inside and outside corners. They also line up straight as on a standard mitersaw. The saw bevels up to 45° to the left.
Craftsman MiterMate Mitersaw, $250
Enjoy cookies with your woodworking
Leave it to the guys in hockey-mad Minnesota to come up with the puck-like Bench Cookies. With a rubbery, textured pad on each face, these pads grip workpiece and workbench equally well, even when routing. And the 1" thickness elevates the workpiece to allow clearance for router-bit bearing screws, as well as access to edges for finishing tasks.
Rockler Bench Cookies, $12 per 4-pack
Rout endless cabinet door combos with one bit set
Freud's Premier Adjustable Rail and Stile set gives you the ability to create cope-and-stick doors from 5/8" to 1" thick with stub tenons, long tenons, and narrower grooves for undersized flat panels. Add optional cutters and you can rout profiles on both faces, cut glass-panel beads, or increase the door thickness to 1-1/4".
Freud Premier Adjustable Rail and Stile Router Bit Set, $120
Jazz up cabinet face frames with decorative beads (pt 1)
Until now, to make a beaded face frame like this, you had two choices: buy a specialty machine that costs thousands of dollars or mill and mount thin strips with rounded edges to your existing frames. Now Kreg's Precision Beaded Face-Frame System creates integral beads and mitered joints with a simple setup on your router table. See the system on the next slide.
Jazz up cabinet face frames with decorative beads (pt 2)
With Kreg's Precision Beaded Face-Frame System, the levered fence mechanism mounts in a standard miter slot and features a flip stop for repeatable measurements. With the standard kit you get a notching bit and 1/4" bead bit (both with 1/2" shanks) and two setup tools. Kreg offers optional bits and setup tools for other bead profiles. (Use your favorite joinery method, such as pocket screws, biscuits, or loose tenons, to assemble the face frame.)
Kreg Precision Beaded Face-Frame System, $500
Get the Greene & Greene look without the hassle
Ebony plugs with chamfered ends are a hallmark of Greene & Greene furniture. But these decorative details prove time-consuming to make and fit. FastCap's Artisan Accents plugs provide a shortcut: Simply make a partial mortise with a few mallet taps on the included chisel, and then glue in a synthetic-wood plug for an authentic look. FastCap's square plugs measure 5/16"; the company plans to offer other sizes in the future.
FastCap Artisan Accents, $20 kit, $5 for 50 plugs
Bosch packs user-friendly features into router kit
Not content to simply sit on its award-winning 1617EVSPK two-base router kit--our favorite in the July 2008 issue of WOOD® magazine--Bosch rolls out a premium combo kit as an upgrade. Most significant among the changes: finger-grip, lockable triggers on both bases' handles, an industry first for kits with interchangeable motors. The second major feature makes that possible. The motor and base sport electrical contact strips that, when coupled, channel electrical current from the motor to the switch. This kit also features bit-depth microadjustment even with the plunge base locked, LED lights around the spindle that remain on with the motor plugged in, and a ball-joint swiveling power-cord mount on the motor.
Bosch Two-Base Router Combo Kit, #MRC23EVSK, $320
SawStop stays competitive with mid-tier tablesaw
Nearly a decade after the first SawStop tablesaw hit the market, the company has added a third saw to its lineup to give consumers a wider range of choices. The Professional Cabinet Saw is a lighter-duty version of SawStop's Industrial Cabinet Saw, with a different trunnion assembly and dust-collection shroud around the blade. The Professional features a 3-hp motor, 10" blade, riving knife, 36"- and 52"-rip capacities, finger-release throat inserts, blade guard with built-in dust port, and SawStop's patented safety blade brake. This tablesaw sells for about $3,000, midway between its Industrial ($4,000-plus) and Contractor saw ($2,000).
SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw, $3,000
There's nothing like a new, er, old sweetheart
Seeking to recapture its one-time dominance in the hand-plane market, Stanley is launching five new Sweetheart Planes, complete with the heart logo and "SW" insignia found on legendary planes of the early 20th century. Made of heavy ductile cast iron with thicker, more durable steel blades than modern Stanley planes and a one-piece frog and base, these recreations are easier to fine-tune. In this lineup: No. 60 1/2 low-angle block plane ($100), No. 9 1/2 block plane ($100), No. 62 low-angle jack plane ($180), No. 4 smoothing plane ($180), and No. 92 shoulder plane ($180). Additional models will follow.
Stanley Sweetheart Hand Planes, $100-180
3-speed impacter drives with greater precision
Impact drivers deliver greater torque than standard cordless drill/drivers, but not a lot of control over that power. Makita's lightweight, 18-volt, lithium-ion impact driver (model BTD144) features a category-leading 1,420 inch-lbs of torque, and also has a three-speed transmission. Set it in the low range for small screws that might twist off easily; go to the middle range for common woodworking screws; or switch into high range for demanding fasteners, such as lag screws. And with the variable-speed trigger you can still fine-tune the bit speed within each range.
Makita 18-Volt 3-Speed Impact Driver, $350
Make mortises and tenons for half the price
We appreciate Leigh Industries' FMT Frame Mortise & Tenon Jig for its ease of routing perfectly matching mortises and tenons. But its $900 price tag puts it out of reach for most home woodworkers. Now, Leigh's Super FMT does much of what its sibling can, but for half the price. The Super FMT is made of steel rather than aluminum and uses F-style clamps instead of built-in cam clamps. It comes with five 5/16" joint guides for making two dozen sizes of mortise and tenon joints. Leigh sells more snap-in guides as accessories.
Leigh Industries Super FMT Frame Mortise & Tenon Jig, $450