Woodworking News & New Products

(July 2017)

Mission Bell: Wood With A Story

There is a richness and warmth that comes from using wood that has been previously used, or has been saved from the landfill. Much reclaimed or salvaged wood has significant architectural quality and character, and often carries an interesting story that makes it especially appealing. That's true of a collection of lumber now available from Hardwoods Inc. For example, for many years the Martini & Prati Winery used large wooden redwood tanks to store, ferment, and age their California wines. These tanks each held 50-60 thousand gallons of wine and reached up to 19 feet tall and 20 feet wide. They held the wine for up to two years before it was bottled. Mission Bell is exclusively saving the old growth redwood wine staves and Douglas Fir underpinning beams from the winery, and making them available for new projects that preserve their story. To see, and purchase, other historic woods, visit Hardwoods online.




Now You Can Connect Your Winbags

It's hard to hire an extra hand for about twenty bucks, but a Florida company named Red Horse USA came up with one a couple of years ago. The Winbag is a flat envelope, about as thick as a credit card, and it can slip into gaps under cabinets or countertops, or perhaps between a pantry unit and a wall. Then, the installer just pumps the bag (like a blood pressure gauge) until it moves casework up to 300 lbs in extremely small increments - and renders the box perfectly level or plumb. A button allows air to escape slowly if the cabinet needs to go back a little. Now, Winbag has come out with a connector that allows the woodworker to chain devices together so the bags can lift up to 1,000 lbs. Last year, Winbag won 'Most Innovative Building Product' and 'Best in Show' at the International Builders Show (IBS), and 'Best New Product' at the Lumber and Building Material Expo.

Drum Sander Has Quick Height Change, Better Dust Collection

SuperMax Tools introduced a new machine at AWFS - the 16-32 Drum Sander (#71632). It has several new features and retails for $1,199. The newly patented Quick Adjustment Lever is a faster way to change the drum height, allowing it to move from 0 to 3 inches with one pull of a lever (instead of multiple revolutions of the hand wheel). This lever complements the patented Fast Lever, which allows quick adjustments for wide and narrow stock. There is also an innovative Turbo Vented Dust Port that has an impeller-like design that improves dust collection by 15 percent. Plus, new folding infeed/outfeed tables can be purchased separately and offer extra support for larger stock, as well as easy storage in shops with limited space. Another significant change from previous models of the 16-32 is the rear placement of the Gear Motor. That allows stock to be pulled through, rather than pushed, to improve conveyor belt tracking. Additional optional accessories include a new Expandable Roller Conveyor (#875600) for larger, longer material support ($179.99), and a set of four caster wheels ($89).




Compact Compressed Air Blow Guns

At AWFS, Prevost featured its newest range of prevoS1 blow guns with built-in adaptors. The guns feature a compact, ergonomic design that makes them easy on the hands. The profiles are color-coded, so that the company's wide array of couplings and spray guns can be easily matched. Included are a standard model and a pocket model with various nozzle types. Prevost was founded in 1978 and is based in the French town of Annecy-Le-Vieux. It makes products for compressed air and fluid distribution systems, including the world's first push-button quick disconnect coupling. Prevost has a US distribution center in SC (800-845-7220) and offers both regular and safety quick-disconnect couplings, a variety of hose products (reels, spiral hose assemblies, bulk hose and fittings), OSHA-compliant and ergonomic blowguns, filter-regulator-lubricators (FRLs), push-in fittings, and an energy-efficient aluminum pipe system for routing compressed air through a shop.

Manufacturing ERP System that Increases Efficiency, Productivity

ExhibitForce has introduced a cloud-based app that improves speed, visibility, and control for a leaner, more efficient manufacturing operation. It also tracks customers, projects and other management data, and lets the shop manager retrieve and use the information in a user-friendly way. The ERP app, called Enterprise, covers project management and workflow processes, connecting all aspects of a project, including estimating, approvals, proposals, project messages, project timelines and project financials. More than 30% of Fortune 500 companies worldwide use ExhibitForce software. According to webopedia.com, ERP or enterprise resource planning is "business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources".




Portable, Powerful Pocket Joinery

At the Castle Inc. booth at AWFS in Las Vegas this week, Woodezine editors were given a quick demo of the new Castle 100. Both portable and rugged, the machine makes creating a shallow 6° angle screw pocket possible, so that material thinner than 3/4" can be joined. At just 8 lbs, this extremely rugged machine is still light enough to operate in the woodshop, or pack to the jobsite. The built-in Bosch router cuts the distinctive Castle pocket: this one is narrower, and quite aesthetically pleasing - so much so, in fact, that many furniture builders are featuring it in much the same way that they expose dovetails or other fine joinery details (that is, no plugs). Plus, because the screw's pilot hole is drilled from the opposite side (the back of the machine, using a separate drill), there is no accumulation of waste or tearout, so the parts fit as tightly as possible. Included are a 9/64" drill bit, a 3/8" router bit, an Allen key, the router wrenches and a Wilton C-clamp. Currently available for pre-order, the Castle 100 retails for $479. The company's machines are made in Petaluma, California, and are manufactured using local vendors wherever possible.

The World's Most Advanced Workshop Fan

The new AirEye fan from Big Ass Solutions comes in 20", 24" and 30" diameters, and a choice of five mounting options: Pedestal, Wall, Swivel, I-Beam and C-Channel. A woodshop can dial in any one of three control options - on/off, a timer, or Occupancy Sensor. This goes above and beyond traditional occupancy sensors, because it actually detects infrared radiation. The fan shuts off when a worker leaves his/her bench, and turns back on when they return, ensuring serious energy savings.. The fan has 11 speeds, and delivers 50% more cubic feet per minute of airflow per watt than traditional induction motors. It's enclosed in a robust, OSHA-compliant steel cage, and powder coated for superior corrosion resistance. The motor and controls are rated IP65, so it can be washed clean. And AirEye comes with a 7-year, full parts warranty, which is more than twice the industry standard. Plus, it has easy-open, removable hinge pins for quick repairs.




Turning Rice Straw Into MDF

After two decades in the works, California based CalAg LCC (formerly California Agriboard) has ordered a complete plant for the processing of rice straw into MDF from the German engineering company Siempelkamp Maschinen. CalAg is investing more than $315 million at the new location in Willows, which is about a hundred miles north of Sacramento. Siempelkamp will plan, build, supply, install, and start up the entire machine technology. Rice straw is available in large quantities in North America, as the US grows approximately 10,000,000 metric tons of rice every year. It is the eleventh largest rice producer in the world, and the band includes Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and California. CalAg LLC signed the supply contract on June 14, and the project is being financed by bonds on the New York Stock Exchange.

New Larger Glue Pot for nVision Contour Edgebander

SNX's contour edgebanding customers now have an option for their US-made nVision machine that allows them to have more heated EVA glue available for banding. An optional new larger glue pot offers three times greater glue capacity than the standard nVision glue pot. A 1000-Watt, six-inch ring heater provides rapid melting and temperature control with the glue. The new glue pot is designed for consistent circulation of the melted glue to the auger. The pot itself is coated with Teflon for easier glue clean-up and pellet type changeover. For information and pricing about the new nVision glue pot as an upgrade to a current machine, contact Mike Noelting or Craig Sexton.




Tapio And The intelliGuide

Stiles Machinery Inc., in partnership with HOMAG, recently introduced tapio, the world’s first digital platform designed to coordinate data for every stage of the manufacturing process. With tapio, everything a shop needs to be successful is now centralized in one easy-to-use platform. It is designed to dramatically increase the efficiency of production management including optimization, plant and machinery operation, predictive maintenance and more. Stiles has also just revealed the first intelligent operator assistance system in panel sizing, called the intelliGuide. It supports the operator visually by guiding him/her with an LED light strip and new laser technology that is projected directly onto workpieces during cutting. This is achieved through a unique camera system that monitors the operator’s exact movement and reacts in real time, achieving new levels of quality, accuracy, and performance It simultaneously offers more flexibility to the operator, who is no longer bound to a specific order of operation.

Porcelain Tile Simulates Wood

Woodworkers looking for the perfect flooring complement to their casework or furniture might want to check out a range of options from Arizona Tile. The porcelain body is topped with digital printing that delivers the toughness of tile and the beauty and warmth of wood. On the company's homepage, simply click on the phrase "Looks Like Wood". The tiles are 6" x 24" and can be laid in herringbone, running bond or pretty much any wood flooring pattern. (There's a March blog entry on the website that addresses flooring patterns.) Made in Italy, most of the wood lookalike options have a high recycled material content. They can be used on walls, too. Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte founded Arizona Tile in 1977, beginning with a small store in San Diego. The company has since grown to more than twenty-five locations in seven western states.




New WorkPLAN Shop Management Software

Vero Software is unveiling a new product designed to help manage the entire woodshop. WorkPLAN is a fully-scalable family of manufacturing software solutions, from project management to ERP, which enables shops to automate and manage processes such as job costing, quotations, sales order processing, planning, quality, time, purchasing, and stock management. Headquartered in England, the company’s brands include Alphacam, a leading CAM solution for 2-axis through 5-axis NC programming applications, and Cabinet Vision, the most widely used design-for-manufacturing software. The latter is capable of custom cabinet and room design, photo realistic renderings, material optimization, bidding, costing, cutlists and bills of materials. When combined with Cabinet Vision Screen-to-Machine™ (S2M) Center, it can automatically create machine-ready G-Code. Vero Software will introduce the new WorkPLAN family, and also exhibit the latest versions of Alphacam and Cabinet Vision, from July 19-22 at AWFS in Las Vegas.

Species Identifying Book

Eric Meier spent six years compiling what will probably become a staple in every professional woodshop and serious hobbyist's library. His book, appropriately named "Wood", was first published in late 2015 and is now available on Amazon (hardcover, $34.99). It was written from a craftsperson's perspective and translates scientific knowledge into practical data for woodworkers. Over 350 woods are covered with more than a hundred full-page profiles for the more popular species, and half-page profiles for less common woods. It also includes guides for distinguishing lookalike woods, detailed identification data, and strength properties. Meier also publishes The Wood Database, an online and free resource for woodworkers who need to research a specific species.




Architectural Grade Veneer Panels

Furniture builders and cabinetmakers who want to use natural wood color and grain to enhance projects can visit a comprehensive library of species on the Indiana Architectural Plywood website. The images, courtesy of Fritz Kohl and Interwood Forest Products, run the gamut from Afrormosia to Ziricote. IAP has also provided a handy button that reveals an instant guide to price ranking, color and size. A family owned business since 1983, IAP has customers nationwide and experts on staff who can advise on the suitability and availability of specific veneers. The company manufactures uniquely sized architectural panels for blueprint matched applications that range from wall systems and doors to furniture components, inlaid conference table tops and aircraft interiors. Doors can even be ordered pre-finished and machined. FSC certified, IAP can supply panels on a variety of core options such as FSC, NAUF, PB or MDF.

Powder-coated MDF Doors

Integra Doors in Greer, South Carolina has been manufacturing MDF doors with a powder coated finish for three years, and is now offering moldings too. The company says that powder coatings won't melt or delaminate like vinyl, or peel and wear thin as painted doors can. They also won't yellow or fade, plus there are no chemicals to outgas into a customer's home. And they can be powder coated in virtually any color a client desires. Being quite water resistant, these doors can be used anywhere in a home or office. Powder coating has been used overseas on MDF for many years, in both cabinets and the furniture industry, and Integra says that abrasion tests can demonstrate that a powder coated door is more durable than paint. For that and other reasons, the company's doors now carry a five-year warranty.




Powermatic Lathe Tailstock Swingaway

For turners who own a Powermatic 4224B lathe, or are considering one, there's a new twist. The company now offers a tailstock that simply swings to the side, rather than having to run it the length of the bed and slide it off the ways. Powermatic describes it as being "the ultimate alternative to wrestling with a heavy tailstock when you need it out of the way. With the Powermatic Tailstock Swing Away, you just gently slide your tailstock onto the swing away, lock it down, unlock the swing away, and gently ease your tailstock out of the way, with a small fraction of the force needed to lift it the old fashioned way." One can easily swing the lathe tailstock down and store it out of the way. The device quickly locks to the lathe bed with a few turns of the handle, and it doesn't interfere with a bed extension when it is mounted in the lower position.

New James Martin Catalog

Dallas based James Martin Furniture is a leading manufacturer of high quality bathroom vanity cabinets. The company's latest catalog is now available on its website. The shop uses North American hardwoods, and each cabinet is hand crafted. That means that every component is created and hand assembled by a team of craftsmen, with carving completed by hand too, as is the drawer construction and door assembly. Along the way, James Martin has a team of highly trained quality control supervisors that checks the work at each stage of production. The finish is applied in multiple steps and in multiple layers to give the piece a depth and richness that can only come with layering. The end result is a unique product, much like a work of art. There is a physical showroom for the trade in Dallas, and offices in Mississippi, Washington, California and Illinois.




Bamboo Veneer Now Available In Four Options

FormWood Industries Inc. in Clark, Indiana now offers bamboo veneer. This exceptionally strong wood is available in both vertical (narrow cane) and horizontal (wide cane) cuts. Natural and caramelized colors are also available. Part of the family Gramineae, bamboo (phyllostachyys pubescens) has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years in China. It is now available in a format that allows it to be used on cabinets, furniture and wall applications. FormWood is also working with the Forest Stewardship Council to offer veneer sheets and architectural panels in several other species that have been FSC certified. The company manufactures custom veneer faces, flexible veneer, NBL® wood-on-wood laminates, architectural veneer plywood and edgebanding. It has been supplying the industry since 1972.

New Vacuum Generator Needs No Compressed Air

A new vacuum generator, the ECBP, was recently introduced by Germany's J. Schmalz GmbH , which has US headquarters in Raleigh, NC. This is an intelligent vacuum generator that does not require compressed air. It has an integrated interface for connection to grippers and robots, and is particularly suited for use on lightweight robots, as well as for stationary handling tasks. It is ideal for handling airtight and slightly porous workpieces, and features an integrated speed control function, which regulates the power of the pump to suit the process or workpiece. As there is no compressed air hose, the ECBP is particularly useful in fully automated small parts handling. Different grippers from the Schmalz VEE modular system can be attached simply and easily with integrated flanges. Connection to lightweight robots from different manufacturers works in the same way. A data interface provides the user with energy and process data by an IO-Link from the machine to the cloud. Thanks to the plastic housing, the device weighs just 700 grams (25 ounces) and the electrical connection is established with an 8-pin M12 connector. Maximum suction capacity is up to 12 liters per minute at a maximum current strength of 0.7 amperes.




A Hole Saw That Releases Its Plug

Last year, RM Tools came up with a snazzy little device for extracting the plug after drilling with one of their hole saws. When the drilling is done, one slides the saw back up along the bit and the plug is revealed. It's called the ezAbo Quick Release Hole Saw Arbor, and you can click on the image at left to see a YouTube video showing how it works.

WoodEzine contacted the company asking where it is for sale in North America, but so far it's not, although some European catalogs may carry it. For enquiries, contact the company at info-at-rotemate.com

Woodworking Catalog Adds New Feature

Tacoma based Carbide Processors has been making superb saw blades for decades, and over the last few years the company has added a full catalog of woodworking tools and supplies. Now, it has teamed up with Woodpeckers' OneTime Tool program, where specific tools are made to order in a one-time production run. Woodpeckers only makes enough of these tools to fill pre-orders so there is only one chance to buy, and customers have to act fast. Since 2011, there have been over 75 different OneTIME Tools. Carbide Processors will run a notification on its homepage when new tools are available. Woodworkers can create an account on the Carbide Processors' website to receive notifications of these and other tool events, plus sales and specials. (If you visit, check out the Tom's Tools page, where things that don't quite fit in the regular catalog appear.)




Matte Finish Stone Countertops

The family-owned company Cambria is based in Minnesota and produces American made natural quartz surfaces. It has just introduced Cambria Matte, which provides an appealing low-sheen alternative to Cambria’s standard High Gloss finish. The new finish comes in eight new designs across three collections, all of which are now available. "Unlike competing honed surfaces on the market today,", says Peter Martin, VP of sales, "designs in Cambria Matte are nonporous. They virtually eliminate surface soiling, and requiring no sealing." Shown at top left is Clareanne, which features a soft-gray background with end-to-end linear white veins. And below it is a detail of Beaumont, which is described as: "soft swirls of warm cream and beige, accented with shimmering gold and crystal white veining."

Barn Door Hardware Kits At Woodworkers Supply

Woodworkers Supply is now carrying KV® barn door hardware kits for round steel rails. Each kit includes all the hardware needed for one rolling door with Barcelona™ style carriers. Woodshops can create designer showroom environments using these simple to install kits and a unique wall mount system for the rails. The door hardware kits contain two carriers, five wall mounts, end stops, floor guides and fasteners for one wooden door up to 1-1/2” thick, and not to exceed 250 lbs. Cast composite rollers keep the door movement quiet, and a shop can select from a number of styles and three finishes to create unique space dividers for rooms, lofts, warehouses and offices. The solid steel round track is simple to mount using wall brackets that can be placed anywhere along the rail. The tracks are available in 4-foot, 6-foot and 8-foot lengths. (Tracks are sold separately from door hardware kits.) Longer brackets are available to accommodate doors from 1-1/2" to 2-1/4" thicknesses. A typical installation will require two door hardware kits and two lengths of tracks at least twice the width of one door. All hardware in this series is made in USA.