WOOD® Innovation Awards 2023
Despite continuing pandemic-related issues, manufacturers are still launching new products. We honor these 11 as our favorites.
Get accurate measurements from any angle (photo above)
You can find a dozen or so tablesaw sleds at retail, but only this one automatically adjusts the fence scale for every angle of cut. The AutoScale miter sled's fence slides side-to-side as you pivot it to your desired angle. This keeps the fence's end the same distance from the blade, ensuring accuracy without measuring. The sled has six positive angle stops and a scale in 1/2° increments up to 60°. And the flip-stop tucks inside a groove on the fence face to prevent sharp mitered corners from sneaking behind the stop. Leaf springs on the miter bar ensure a snug fit in the miter slot. You can also buy a support sled to keep cutoffs on the same plane, preventing accidental kickback.
Tablesaw miter sled
(left or right); cutoff-support sled optional
Glue up flatter panels
Woodpeckers' Joint Bridge clamping pads help you align boards when edge-gluing panels by bridging the glueline. When you clamp the pads tightly, the board faces draw flush to each other. The glass-reinforced polycarbonate pads avoid the glueline, but should they touch it, the glue won't stick. You can also use these pads as clamping cauls for the center of large glue-ups that prove difficult to clamp.
Glue-joint clamping bridges
no. JB-22 (12-pack); no. JB-22-X2 (24-pack)
Custom-apply glue to joints with custom brushes
If you've ever tried to evenly spread the perfect amount of glue onto all the inner walls of a mortise for dowels, biscuits, Festool Domino, or Rockler Beadlock, you know the struggle: Gett he glue on and assemble the project before the glue starts to set. To help beat the clock, Rockler launched these silicone glue brushes specially shaped to fit multiple sizes of those joints. So now, just dip the brush in glue, insert it into the mortise, wiggle it around a little, and move on to the next. As with all silicone brushes, the glue washes off easily with water or peels off when dry.
Silicone joinery glue brushes
Convert your circsaw into a tracksaw
Other manufacturers have made similar products before, but Milescraft's TrackSawGuide turns your sidewinder-style circular saw into a tracksaw capable of crosscutting the full width of plywood! Add the extension kit to cut the full length of a 4×8' sheet. The aluminum base uses four clamps to secure your saw. The base then rides on aluminum track with a zero-clearance edge (once you cut it to match your saw). Maximum cut depth is 2" with a 7-1/4" saw. The base kit comes with two 27-1/2" tracks and connectors; the extension kit adds two rails with connectors and clamps.
55" tracksaw kit
no. 1409; 55" extension kit no. 1408
Apply stain and getaway clean-handed
In most cases, you can't help but get stain on your hands when finishing a project. Varathane's Less Mess bottles use a sponge-tip applicator (much like a shoe-polish cap) to apply water-based stain, keeping your hands away from the colorant. Available in six colors for now (dark walnut, smoke gray, espresso, gray, ebony, and golden oak), the 4-ounce bottles can be recapped for reuse.
Wood stain applicator bottle
One battery powers new tracksaws
Milwaukee and Ryobi, both owned by Techtronic Industries Co. (TTI), have each launched a 6-1/2" tracksaw that runs on a single 18-volt battery pack, the first to do this. This means you can share the battery with that drill of the same battery platform on your workbench rather than needing to use multiple batteries or upgrading to a higher-voltage platform. The Milwaukee kit comes with a 6.0-amp-hour battery pack, charger, and a Packout storage box. The track—in 31", 55", and 108" lengths—along with connectors and clamps, sells separately. Ryobi's saw kit comes with a 4.0-Ah battery pack, charger, two 27-1/2" tracks, connectors, and clamps.
18-volt 6-1/2" tracksaw kit
no. 2831-21; 31" track; 55" track; 108" track
no. PTS01K; accessory track kit (two 27-1/2" tracks and connectors)
Take the guesswork out of routing hinge mortises
If you've used the Shaper Origin, you likely already appreciate the convenience of carrying CNC precision to the workpiece in a handheld-router form factor. Adding the Shaper Plate accessory ramps up that convenience for routing mortises for hardware, inlays, bow ties, and more with minimal layout and measuring. And the Plate has ShaperTape (the tool's "guide" normally sold in disposable rolls) imprinted on its surface, directing the router to your workpiece. Best of all, Shaper provides vetted downloadable files you can use to rout precise mortises for hundreds of common hinges and hardware. With the Plate, you get clamps, leveling screws, a 32mm-referencing shelf pin, and a storage container.
SHAPER ORIGIN mortising template
Composite sheet goods? You bet!
Modern Mill makes Acre sheet goods from rice hulls—a byproduct otherwise thrown out—and other materials to create 4×8' sheets that are resistant to water, weather, and pests and can be used for exterior projects. Sold in six thicknesses, Acre has one smooth face and one with wood-grain texture. It can be machined, stained, and painted just like wood, the company says. Menards (menards.com) carries Acre sheets in three sizes. (Modern Mill is working on increasing retail distribution.)
Hybrid-composite sheet goods
Modern Mill, modern-mill.com
available in 1/4", 3/8", 1/2, 5/8", 3/4", and 1" thicknesses
Cut math out of the equation
MicroJig's FitFinder employs principles from geometry class—namely, the Pythagorean theorem—to instantly determine half the thickness of a workpiece up to 3" thick so you can avoid both the math and the trial-and-error test cuts. Use it as a layout guide or to directly set the height of your router bits and tablesaw blades for joinery such as half-laps and rabbets. Simply rest the gauge against the board, slide the top section down until it rests on the top face, and the lower section automatically finds the center.
Take this vise to the job
WoodRiver's 6" Quick Vise joins the function of a bench vise with the ease-of-use of a one-handed bar clamp in a portable package. Slide the movable jaw up against a workpiece, then push the handle down to clamp. Woodcraft says this vise has up to 300 pounds of clamping force, more than enough hold for most woodworking tasks. Openings on Quick Vise let you insert round-bar fence clamps or T-track clamps to secure it to a variety of work surfaces. Or simply screw it to a plywood base for easy clamping to your workbench.
Quick-clamping portable vise
Connect and go where the dust gets made
Rockler launched its FlexiPort dust-collection hose system several years ago, with flexible rubber, swiveling nozzles of various sizes to fit different tool ports. Now, Rockler upgrades that system with quick-connect adapters. These fit onto existing FlexiPort nozzles and hose with squeeze tabs that click into place. This lets you leave a nozzle on a tool and simply disconnect the hose to move to the next nozzle-equipped tool. You can buy the adapter kit for existing FlexiPort nozzles, new individual nozzles or a full kit with hose, connectors, and nozzles.
Vacuum-hose quick-connect kit
upgrade hose kit no. 48212; kit with hose and five nozzles no. 68966