2016 WOOD Innov8 Awards
We appreciate innovation in woodworking tools, especially when it makes a meaningful difference in shops large and small, pro and hobbyist. These eight cutting-edge products are tops among the dozens we considered.
Cut dadoes as thin as 1⁄16"
Most stacked dado sets won’t cut less than a 1⁄4 " width, and only a couple will cut 3⁄16 ". But Amana’s new kit goes as narrow as 1⁄16 ". It consists of two mating hubs with quartered blade sections that nest together. Add shims (included) to fine-tune the width as needed.
8" thin-kerf stacked dado set
Diamonds don’t dull
Carbide saw blades work great and stay sharp a long time cutting most hardwoods. But they’re no match for abrasive woods, such as ipe and teak, and synthetic flooring materials. For these dulling duties, Diablo’s Pergo blade uses diamond-infused carbide teeth, which stay sharp about 75 times as long as standard carbide, according to Freud.
Pergo circular saw blade
10" (no. D1012LF)
12" (no. D1216LF)
Rotary plunge kit adds finesse
High-speed compact rotary tools work essentially like small-scale routers. This robust plunge base and microadjustable edge guide from Lee Valley give you the ability to do fine-detail routing, such as for inlays or interior recesses. Simply remove the rotary tool’s nose collar, thread the base onto the tool, and you’re good to go. Most brands of rotary tools will work if they share this thread pattern.
Rotary-tool plunge base (no. 05J65.01)
Edge guide (with 6" rails) (no. 05J65.03)
Microadjuster (no. 05J65.05)
12" rails (no. 05N29.06)
Complete kit (no. 05J65.07)
Cutting multiple mating mortises for right-angle quadrant hinges in a box and lid proves tricky because everything must align precisely for the hinges to work correctly and look flawless. With Rockler’s jig, you rout these mortises in three steps, box and lid at the same time, to avoid misalignment. The jig comes with two sizes of insert plates, depending on your hinge dimensions. (Clamps not included.)
Quadrant-hinge mortising jig
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
Affordable laser etching
The manufacturer says it works as simply as printing on a desktop printer, including reproducing high-resolution photos. It will cut wood or acrylic up to 1⁄4 " thick, and engrave most materials. The removable bottom panel lets you engrave items too large to fit inside, as well as reposition for step-and-repeat large jobs.
3 tech tools in one
Start with the CNC Piranha carving module and you get a 12x18" capacity automated routing station (using your own trim router). Then add the laser engraver, which mounts in the router chuck (with the router switched off), and you can add detailed engraving into any project. Finally, swap in the 3-D printer to create objects, such as chess pieces or project mock-ups, using a plastic-line feed. All three systems operate via a touch-screen interface.
CNC Piranha system
CNC carving module
Carving module, laser engraver, and 3-D printer package
Next Wave Automation
Lighter, more durable sanders
We like tools with brushless motors because they run cooler, with more power, and less vibration than carbon-brush motors. That’s a welcome relief when it comes to sanding. In addition to their brushless motors, these compact Festool sanders weigh less than comparable brushed-motor models. They’re also compatible with the company’s nine-hole sanding discs and pads, as well as its dust-extraction hoses.
Brushless random-orbit sander
5" pad (no. ETS EC 125/3 EQ)
6" pad (no. ETS EC 150/3 EQ), 1⁄8 " stroke
6" pad (no. ETS EC 150/5 EQ), 3⁄16 " stroke
A finger (and blade) saver
Bosch’s flesh-detecting Active Response Technology immediately drops the spinning blade harmlessly below the table, should a finger accidentally touch the blade. And, because there’s no brake pawl plunging into the blade’s teeth, your blade lives to cut another day. The safety mechanism-born out of Bosch’s automotive-airbag technology-consists of a two-activation cartridge. The 110-volt saw comes on a collapsible mobile stand, has 25" rip capacity, and includes a slide-out outfeed support.
REAXX 10" job-site tablesaw
(no. GTS1041A- 09)