Woodworking News & New Products

(September 2017)

New 5-Wing and 3-Wing Spoilboard CNC Bits

Amana Tool has introduced a couple of new affordable, high performance, heavy-duty spoilboard inserts. They are the 3-11/32" diameter RC-2259 and the 2" diameter RC-2255. Beyond planing a spoilboard, they can be used to chamfer edges and also surface and finish timber slabs. The 2259 has 4-sided solid carbide insert knives and can plunge to 1/4" and then start resurfacing. It is also capable of removing very thin layers of material, at less than 0.001" per pass. The unique chamfer corner insert design creates a flawless surface, and the 5-wing design results in a more balanced tool while running. The inserts on these industrial grade bits allow users to rotate the knife when one side becomes dull.



Cleaf Presents Piombo

A new matte surface is joining Cleaf's Hyper Materials collection, and it shares one characteristic with the metal from which it takes its name (symbol Pb, atomic number 82) - it is completely matte. Acrylic resins, applied with electron beam curing, mean that Piombo reflects very little light while making it resist fingerprints, feel soft to the touch, and remain highly resistant to scratches. Piombo is available in faced panels, laminate and edging. The Calvi Brambilla studio has created an installation at Cleaf's corporate showroom in Lissone, Italy, to showcase its potential. A series of screens, inspired by Bruno Munari's Sculture da Viaggio and the Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida, invites the visitor to explore this innovative product. The display features an eccentric arrangement of slotted planes, each with two or three doors where one side is mirrored and decorated with a molecule motif recalling the chemical element which gives the product its name.

New Cordless Router From Makita

La Mirada, California is home to Makita, and the company has just released a new 18-volt brushless router called XTR01. It has electronic speed control and is part of Makita's LXT® battery platform. The XTR01 has an aluminum housing, a purpose-built brushless motor, dust extraction capability (shown at right) and a full range of accessories and bases that were originally designed for the corded RT0701C model, which is a 1-1/4 HP unit. It also has a variable speed control dial with five settings (10,000, 15,000, 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 RPM) to match speed to an application. Electronic speed control is engineered to maintain constant speed under load, with soft start for smoother start-ups. Convenience features include a rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings, dual LED lights to illuminate the work surface, and a quick-release cam lock system for convenient depth adjustments and base removal/installation.



Hello, Sailor!

Like SATA's special edition spray guns of previous years, this year's contest winning design is a limited production model that will be available on November 07 from SATA dealers, at least while stock lasts. The SATAjet 5000 B Sailor was created as an entry for the company's 2016 design contest by Connie Manjavinos from Colorado, and the imaginative design came in second. Inspired by classic pin-up motifs and traditional tattoos, the colorful spray gun was developed in co-operation with graphic designer Bryson Kinslow. It is a fully functional gun that is suitable for daily use in the paint shop, and it is available in all the currently available configurations of the SATAjet 5000 B spray gun series. Those configurations include the option of HVLP and RP (reduced pressure) technology in both non-digital and digital (a readout on the handle) formats, as well as with a selection of RPS disposable cups (rapid prep system, which comes in three sizes) or with a QCC (quick cup connector) reusable 0.6 litre plastic cup.

Compact Finish Sander from Festool

The new ETS 125 sander has Festool USA's finest sanding stroke at 5/64" (2.0 mm), and is the ideal one-handed machine for maximum surface quality when finishing or pre-sanding. Compact in size and weighing only 2.4 lbs., the ETS 125 is perfect for sanding vertical surfaces and for doing overhead work. Technical features such as a sanding pad brake and Vibration-stop balancing put the ETS 125 in a category of its own. Ergonomically formed to fit comfortably in any size hand, it is compact and lightweight enough for extended vertical and overhead use. The step-less variable speed allows you to adjust to the needs of the application and that balanced vibration stop (VS) design delivers better finish results, smoother operation and greater comfort. Plus, the jetstream design delivers highly efficient dust removal, resulting in cleaner air, better finishes, and longer abrasive and pad life.



New Small Parts Vise

Reno, Nevada based PanaVise has introduced a smaller version of its popular Vise buddy. The new product, the Vise Buddy Jr (model# 207) is designed totransform a bench vise into a precision instrument. It can be used with a traditional cast iron bench vise, and it does the detailed, delicate jobs that a bench vise can't. Through-holes allow it to be mounted to a pegboard for storage and quick access. The small vise (2" tall and 1" wide jaws) will hold work gently but securely, and can be positioned exactly where it's needed. A single, easy-to-use knob controls the head movement through three planes - 210 degree tilt, 360 degree turn and 360 degree rotation. There's a fine/coarse adjusting knob to control the jaw pressure for delicate work, and the grooved, reinforced thermal composite plastic jaws are excellent for holding small objects. The Vise buddy Jr can tolerate continuous heat to 350F (177C) and opens to 2.875".

Sjöbergs' Elite Clamping Platform

The Swedish company Sjöbergs Workbenches AB has introduced a new accessory called the Elite Clamping Platform. Designed as an add-on for its Elite workbenches, it makes the work area larger and more flexible. Measuring approximately 24" x 18" with a 1-1/2" thick surface and a 4-5/16" apron, it weighs 37 lbs. The platform comes with about three dozen 19mm benchdog holes already drilled, and they are located in a pattern that makes the accessory work with most aftermarket clamps, or the company's Holdfast ST11 vertical clamp. Woodworkers can secure work on either the top or the apron. And the entire platform can also be used separately: just attach it to a wall using the supplied brackets. It is made from solid European beech, and treated with a high quality natural oil. The Elite Clamping Platform comes with four bench dogs.



New York Abrasives Company is on the Cutting Edge

Uneeda Enterprises Inc. of Spring Valley, New York supplies high quality coated abrasives to woodshops. The company's new AKF abrasive belts with Rombex® technology won a Visionary Award at AWFS 2017. The new belts have a unique rhomboidal coated pattern that was patented by the Italian manufacturer Levorato Abrasives. It allows increased dust extraction while dispersing heat from friction more evenly and efficiently. Uneeda's AKF belts "deliver a longer lifespan compared to conventional abrasives, which translates into longer machining time and fewer line stops to replace worn materials". That longevity also makes them one of the most cost-effective and environmental friendly options available. The company also recently introduced EKAMESH open mesh abrasive discs, which offer a unique net pattern that is designed to improve sanding performance and deliver a smoother finish and a dust-free environment. It comes in fine, regular and aggressive grades.

SuperMax Tools acquired by Laguna Tools

In a press release on Monday, Minnesota based SuperMax Tools (aka St. Joseph Tools, LLC) announced that it has been acquired by Laguna Tools, Inc. of Irvine, California. Laguna manufactures CNC machinery, bandsaws, tablesaws, edgebanders and other woodworking equipment. SuperMax builds drum and brush sanders, dust collectors, and abrasives. The acquisition is effective immediately. SuperMax dealers and customers can continue to use the existing contact info, and all current terms and conditions remain intact for SuperMax products at this time. SuperMax and Laguna Tools customers will be able to combine their orders as soon as a new east coast distribution center is opened prior to year’s end.



From Forest To Furniture

On September 24th, woodworkers Thomas Latane and Derek Olson demonstrate medieval woodworking at the Castlerock Museum in Alma, Wisconsin as they recreate a Viking Era stool. "For the past few years," Olson says, "Tom and I have partnered up in a presentation called Forest To Furniture where we show the process of taking logs and producing furniture from the rough parts. In the past we've tackled general techniques, joined stools and a couple of small corner shelves that are used in the museum. This year, we are working on a three legged staked stool based on patterns found in numerous Viking Age archaeological digs." The museum, a two story castle with crenellated walls, focuses on the development and evolution of arms and armor through the ages. Located about 85 miles southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul on the Mississippi River, it is a series of chronologically arranged displays, each focusing on a different civilization, and it walks visitors through 2,000 years of history in a self-guided tour with interpretive panels.

Don't Touch That Screw!

Castle has uploaded a new video to YouTube that shows its CSI 1.5 D pocket cutter/screw inserter in action (click on the image at right to see it). This impressive piece of equipment drills parts for pocket screws and then pops the screws in place, ready for assembly. It cuts Castle’s distinctive screw pocket, drills a low angle pilot hole, and then inserts a flush, stackable screw - all in just 1.5 seconds. That can dramatically decrease production time by eliminating screw handling at assembly, as the woodworker doesn't have to pick up a screw, orient it, insert it or get it started. The patented machine is ideal for shops making five-part doors and similar assemblies. There are several videos of it in action on the Castle website. Castle machines are made in Petaluma, California, and are manufactured to the highest standards using local vendors wherever possible.



Ryobi's 2300 Watt Bluetooth Inverter Generator

It's small - 12" x 22" x 19" tall and just 53 lbs - but it delivers a lot of power (about 16 Amps at 110 Volts). It's quiet - 57 dB idling, and 67 dB under a full load. And it's smart - there's integrated Bluetooth and a smartphone app that tell how much fuel is left and how much run time, along with load level monitoring so you know how much power is available before plugging in a tool. There's even remote shut off capability and an on-board LCD screen. Billed as "powerful enough for the jobsite, yet quiet enough that it won't disturb the neighbors", it's also reliable enough to charge or power sensitive electronics. Plus, it's very efficient: over four hours at full load and more than ten hours at 25% on a 1.2 gallon tank. There's a built-in easy starting system, and this generator is made for jobsite hauling with a telescoping handle, carrying handles and rear rolling wheels. Plus, a person can monitor two generators at the same time when a second is paired in parallel for higher power needs. The Ryobi Bluetooth 2,300-Watt Inverter Generator comes with a 3-year limited warranty, and we found it at The Home Depot for $599.

Installing Phone Chargers in Cabinets?

The Canadian tooling company Kempston has a patent pending device called a Quick Connect Extension and Installation Kit that can make life a little easier for cabinet shops that are installing lighting or device chargers in casework. It's essentially a flexible drill bit that comes in 18" or 36" lengths, but it's a little more versatile than that. Designed to simplify the frustrating and time-consuming process of installing wire or cable inside existing walls and ceilings, it switches quickly from drilling holes to pulling wire with a quick-change pulling grip. A woodworker can create the right length tool for the job by attaching 18" sections together, and the Quick Connect can be used with any type of bit that has a 1/4" hex base. Because it breaks down, the device is easy to fit into a toolbox. Kempston has been a supplier of premium carbide router bits and saw blades since 1996.



Circular Saw Kit with 18V Battery

Bosch's new CCS180-B14 is a 6-1/2" circular saw that comes with the company's CORE18V battery, a charger and a bag. It can easily cut through 2x material across its entire bevel range - up to 50 degrees. It has a simple depth gauge and bevel scale, an anti-snag lower guard, and a dust blower that helps keep the cut line visible. Weighing in at 6.6 lbs (8.4 lb. with battery), it has next-gen Li-Ion technology that produces 80% more power than previous cells. The battery also has up to 135% more cooling effect than ones without CoolPack technology, and it is compatible with all of Bosch's 18V Li-ion tools and chargers. In independent tests, the new saw made up to 333 cuts in 2x4s on a single charge. It charges to 80% ready in 41 minutes, and 100% in 55 minutes. The kit comes with an 18-tooth carbide blade, a robust spindle lock and an on-board blade-change wrench. Maximum depth of cut at 45 degrees is 1-9/16", and a full 2" at 90 degrees.

SCM Group Offers Help To Shops in Harvey's Path

SCM Group has locations in Georgia, California and North Carolina. On September 4, the company issued the following statement:
"Has your business been impacted by Hurricane Harvey? We’ve got you covered. If your machines are experiencing downtime and your business operations have suffered as a result, we’re here for you. SCM wants to help you recover as quickly as possible by offering any spare parts and service needed at our cost with payments postponed for 60 days. You must be a current customer in good standing, and this doesn’t include installations or other service activities scheduled before the storm."
For more information, contact SCM Service & Parts (servicena-at-scmgroup.com), or call (866) two-six-one-2166.



DeWALT's New Narrow Crown Stapler

The DCN681 is an 18-ga. gun that drives 1/4" narrow crown staples from 1/2" to 1-1/2" long. It is ideal for cabinetry, furniture, paneling and flooring underlayment. It has a brushless motor powered by the company's 20-Volt MAX™ Li-Ion battery - there's no need for gas, a compressor or a hose. There's a tool-free selectable trigger for sequential or contact actuation modes. There is also a tool-free depth adjustment, for precise countersinking of staples. A low-nail lockout prevents dry firing and unwanted marks on the wood. A multi-functional LED lights help to provide both workspace illumination and also tool diagnostics. The gun has an integrated, tool-free, stall release lever to quickly reset the driver blade in the event of a stall. An djustable belt hook works for left or right attachment, depending on user preference. The DCN681 also has a bottom load magazine for easy loading and removal of jammed fasteners. It weighs 5.7 lbs.

New Online Store for Green Vacuum Cups

Better Vacuum Cups Inc., located in Chino Hills, California, has just launched a new online store at GreenBVC.com. And if you are interested in a 25mm wide cup, the company has also just announced a new 1" cup for flat/grid tables, as well as the Biesse ATS series of cups. According to BVC, its cups have 30% better holding power and are a fraction of the cost of OEM versions. Plus, BVC rubber tops are sectional, and 2" parts are no problem on its 6" cup - just use gasket material. BVC rubber tops are also thicker, giving a woodshop more than 10mm of clearance before routing into the plastic. And to prevent clogged ports or dust in the vacuum system, the green cups have a simple ball valve to keep the dust out. If you do cut into the rubber tops, there is an incorporated groove that will accept a foam gasket to make a new seal. And damaged cups have a modular plastic design that can be made into a half or quarter cup.



Gold Medal for Titus T-type Hinge at Furnica 2017

Furnica is an annual trade fair in Poznan, Poland (halfway between Warsaw and Berlin) for the furniture components industry, and this year's event runs from September 12-15. Titus Group will be awarded a Gold Medal for its T-type hinge at the show, based on that hardware's high quality materials and excellent design. The hinge provides some product features that save time during cabinet assembly, and help provide consistent performance on a wide range of doors. The 3-Way snap-on system allows for an intuitive hinge-to-plate mounting in any one of three directions, which simplifies the mounting experience and enables easy door installation - even in tall cabinets, where four or five hinges per door are required. The shallow hinge cup allows for installation on doors from 15 to 26 mm thickness.

Are You Using Onshape?

Onshape is online 3D CAD software that simultaneously gives everyone on a design team secure access to the same CAD file and data. MecSoft Corporation publishes VisualCad/CAM and RhinoCAM among other programs, and it has just announced the launch of a free Beta program for VisualCAMc, which is a cloud hosted, fully integrated CAM add-on app for Onshape. The beta is free and available to anyone who has an Onshape account and is approved by MecSoft. A new browser based user interface allows this product to be used from any device, anywhere in the world. It is fully cloud based, so there are no downloads required. It runs as a tab inside the Onshape environment, and uses the same geometry kernel as Onshape, which allows error-free data transfers. The new program includes 2-½ and 3 axis milling, with more to come. (The work shown at right is by Max Emmer and was designed on MecSoft CAD software.)



Italian Company Builds Houses the Way Cars are Built

LeapHome is a new concept in housing for Europeans - an energy efficient, easy to maintain, very customized house that is completely built in a factory using methods akin to the ways in which automobile factories work. The company is based in Torino, Italy, and one of its goals is to create homes that are designed to minimize environmental impact. The tube in the image at left is a ski hut called Bivouac Gervasutti that sits on a rocky Alpine spur at 9,000 feet altitude. Designed by LEAPFactory, it has a dining room and two bedrooms with 12 beds in roughly 325 square feet, and weighs one ton. Electricity is produced by photovoltaic units, and all systems are monitored online. The inset pictures are of a more traditional two-story home being built, and a one-story home in situ. The company says that: "controlling production inside the factory increases quality standards, speeds up the building process and limits risks".

EcoGate Saves Door Maker Almost 50%

Crystal Doors is a maker of custom vinyl-wrapped doors and accessories near Manchester, U.K. The company has a reputation for environmental quality and efficiency. New machines were causing the shop to operate near the limits of its dust collection system, so it had Dust Control Systems Ltd. install a new filter unit that uses a flow-optimized cascade of five 30 kW fans. What's interesting here is that the system is controlled by a state-of-the-art Ecogate greenBOX Master. This automatically adjusts power output to the fans, in real time, to match the exact requirements of the manufacturing process, resulting in significant energy and cost savings. Early indications are that the new system runs at almost half the cost of the old one. In a cascading fans setup, multiple fans control airflow into a single dust collector. The greenBOX Master supports controlling up to 9 fans and up to four separate dust collection systems, or 36 variable frequency drives.



Young Woodworkers Showcase Their Talent

Sarah Provard won First Place ($1,000) in the Case Goods division at the Fresh Wood competition at AWFS in Las Vegas. She recently graduated from West Jordan High School in Utah. Her piece, a cabinet with themed inlay that was aptly named Musically Inclined, also won the People’s Choice Award ($750, photo by Focus Event Photography). That was sponsored by Wagner Meters, and voted on by Fair attendees. Cody Campanie, a student at Seattle Central College, won The Best of Show Award (an iconic sculpture by Garry Knox Bennett, some KCD software, and $1,000) for his project Azulejos Table. AWFS covers project shipping and the majority of travel and hotel costs to bring students and their teachers to Las Vegas. The biennial event, held as part of AWFS®Fair, attracted a near-record 195 entries from schools in the United States and Canada in 2017. The Fresh Wood 2017 judging panel included Jena Hall (Jena Hall Designs Ltd.), Tom McKenna (Fine Woodworking magazine), Chris Poehlmann (CP Lighting), Mei-Yen Shipek (Autodesk Pier 9), and Scott Vasey (Advanced Fixtures Inc.).

Woodpalooza 2017

Seattle and Tacoma are protected from the Pacific Ocean by a twenty-mile wide chain of islands and waterways. One of the former is Whidbey. Just north of Puget Sound, it is home to the Whidbey Island Woodworkers' Guild and an annual Labor Day weekend event called Woodpalooza. That is an exhibition of fine work by a distinctly talented group of artists who often take advantage of the area's abundant raw materials. This year, some twenty woodworkers exhibited at the Langley venue. The Guild was formed in 2001 "to bring together the woodworking community of Whidbey. The Guild includes makers of furniture, cabinetry, architectural woodwork, turners, clockmakers, sawyers, carvers, restorers, musical instrument makers, boat builders and refinishers." Monthly meetings are hosted by different members, and the Guild seeks to support professional woodworkers, inspire and educate amateurs, and provide awareness to the general public of the skills available locally.



Universal Dust-Free Router Hood

Oneida Air Systems in Syracuse, New York won the Visionary New Product Award at AWFS for this hood molded from clear polycarbonate. Its upper dust dome and lower chip cover rotate as the router moves, so the router can turn corners while capturing dust from above and below. The cover removes quickly without use of tools for inner plunge work, and can be replaced by an included shallow cover for tighter edge work. The hood has a quick-release hose connection port for storage. The universal base fits most portable routers and is made in the USA. It is available from Oneida, Woodcraft, ACE and Do It Best. The MSRP is $29.99.

Floods and Fires

In the midst of gut wrenching reports from Texas and neighboring states on the damage from Harvey, it's easy to lose track of other disasters. Unfortunately, much of the West is aflame. On September 1st the active fires map of the USDA Forest Service listed some eighty large incident fires from Montana to California. And on a much more local note, the Independent Record in Helena, Montana reported on September 1st that a fire at a woodshop in that city caused $300,000 in damage. The newspaper's Angela Brandt reported that staff at Doug Kralicek's cabinet shop on East Lyndale Ave. called 911 at 10:53 a.m. on Thursday, after evacuating the building. Crews had the blaze extinguished roughly twenty minutes later, and equipment failure was believed to have caused the fire. Kralicek Millwork has been in business for twenty-seven years, and has about half a dozen employees.