New Tools Star in Atlanta
A sampling of new products at the 2008 International Woodworking Fair
This past August, as I do every couple of years, I had Georgia on my mind. That’s when the FWW editors attend the biennial International Woodworking Fair (IWF) in Atlanta. It’s the place to be for anyone who understands the difference between a rabbit and a rabbet.
Like bloodhounds on a mission, we wandered the show floors, sniffing out a number of interesting new tools. Here’s a sampling of what we spotted. Look for some of the tools to get a full review in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
Delta Unveils Redesigned Unisaw
Delta’s new Unisaw is indeed new, as it has been completely re-engineered (see photo above). The old-fashioned splitter system has been replaced with a riving knife, so kickback is far less likely. A clever tool-free adjustment mechanism allows the same riving knife to be adjusted up or down for through-cuts or slot-cutting.
Three models will be available, all left-tilting—two 3-hp models with rip capacities of 36 in. or 52 in., and a single 5-hp model with a 52-in. rip capacity. The saws are made and assembled in Tennessee and powered by American-made Marathon motors.
For convenience, Delta put both the blade-elevation crank and the blade-tilt crank at the front of the saw. The blade-bevel gauge, which Delta claims is accurate to within 1/2 °, is located between the cranks. Stops for the blade-tilt (at 45° and 90°) are quickly and easily adjusted with large socket-head screws on the front of the cabinet, a system that’s easy to like. A tool-free arbor-lock makes single-wrench blade changes easy.
The Delta Unisaw will be available in early 2009. As we went to press, the price was not finalized. For more information, go to www.deltaportercable.com.
Bessey upgrades K Body
Bessey Tools has improved its venerable K Body parallel clamp. The new clamp, called the K Body Revo, has some advantages over the original model.
Each jaw has about 30% more surface area. A larger, soft-grip handle makes it easier to add extra force when tightening the clamp. According to Bessey, the new clamp can generate 1,500 lb. of pressure, a significant improvement over the older model.
Also new is a plastic end piece that keeps the bar from tipping when the jaws are working close together. This end piece is removable, so you can remove and reverse the jaw and use the clamp as a spreader. The Bessey K Body Revo is made in eight lengths ranging from 12 in. to 98 in. You’ll pay about $36 for a 12-in. model; $50 for a 50-in., and $72 for a 98-in. You can find more information at www.besseytools.com.
Affordable slot mortiser from Laguna
At the Laguna booth, we found the new Platinum Series Slot Mortiser that sells for $995. The machine is powered by a 3-hp, 220v reversible motor with a 5/8-in-dia. chuck. The 8-in.-deep by 19-1/2 -in.-long worktable moves 5-1/2 in. vertically, 5-1/2 in. front to back, and 11 in. side to side. To learn more, visit www.lagunatools.com.
Steel City portable planer has spiral cutterhead
At the Steel City Tool Works booth, we saw the first portable planer equipped with a spiral cutterhead.
The planer, model number 40200H, will be available in November. Expect to pay about $750. The same planer, with a straight-knifed cutterhead, model 40200, costs around $440. For more information, go to www.steelcitytoolworks.com.
Side rabbet plane from Lee Valley
Lee Valley showed us its new side rabbet plane. We’ve all cut rabbets, dadoes, and grooves that end up slightly narrow. When that happens, the best solution for a perfect fit is to trim the side walls. That’s what the side rabbet plane is designed to do.
It can be used in rabbets, dadoes, and grooves as deep as 1/2 in. and as narrow as 3/16 in. The cast-iron plane body has two cutting blades made from 01 tool steel, one on each side of the plane body, plus a spring-loaded pivoting handle that can be used in either hand to cut in either direction along the rabbet, dado, or groove. The Veritas Side Rabbet Plane sells for $140. For more information, go to www.leevalley.com.
Powermatic rolls out flagship bandsaw
Designed as a no-compromise machine from the ground up, the PM1800 stood at the front of the Powermatic booth, clearly the company’s big news at the show. The price tag is high for an 18-in. bandsaw, but this one seems to have everything a serious woodworker needs.
Unique blade guides are just one of the innovations on this 5-hp machine. For $4,000, you get an industrial strength saw built to make flawless resaw cuts in your widest planks and cut smooth curves with your tiniest blades. For more information, go to www.powermatic.com.