AWFS Tool News: Rockler Rolls Out New Crop of Innovations
A few years ago, goaded by the endless stream of inventions coming out of Lee Valley/Veritas, Rockler hired some new product engineers, and the results showed almost immediately, with market-changing products like the Bench Cookie. The beat went on this year at AWFS, and we had a good time at the Rockler booth, seeing a new list of cool gizmos in the “why-hasn’t-anyone-else-thought-of-that” mode.
My favorite is a $90 steam-box kit, which includes a steam generator, hose, plans for a box of any size, and all the hardware needed to make it. Steam-bending is a wonderful way to make curved parts, but a lot of woodworkers are daunted by finding some sort of boiler and connecting it to a box etc. I’m one of them, and I’ll be building one of these Rockler kits the next time I need bent parts.
My second favorite is large, grippy new push pad, covered with the same spongy stuff found on the Bench Cookies. It gripped a slick finished benchtop extremely well when I tried it out atthe show. I asked if the guys had considered putting some kind of flexible hook in the pad, to grab the end of boards but flex out of the way when not needed. They said they had, but that the new material is so grippy they didn’t need the hook. Can’t wait to try this one out in my shop, though the Bench Cookies have proved remarkably grippy, even with dust on them. The new pads also have a larger, more comfortable grip handle.
Filling out the list of innovations is a bunch of small but handy items. A three-way dust junction, which when combined with Rockler’s blast gates, will make it easier to group machines together in a shop and connect them all permanently to a dust-collector, instead of rolling the collector around and connecting and disconnecting hoses constantly. And a through-the-wall hose port makes it easier than ever to put a noisy dust-collector in the next room.
Kudos to Rockler for continuing to innovate, even in a down-market.
Rockler's steam box kit includes everything you need, except the actual box. But plans are provided so you can easily build your own with the hardware provided.
These push pads were so grippy, I had a tough time moving them across a slick, finished maple work surface.
Rockler's through-the-wall dust port allows you to keep your dust collection system in a separate room, greatly cutting down on workshop noise.
The new three-way dust port junction is designed to work with Rockler's 4-in. blast gates.