New Products Unveiled at AWFS

There are always new products introduced at AWFS and this year is no different. Because I ran into so many items, I’m going to give you a quick-hit review of a number of them rather than focus on one company right now , but there is a tool company here that brought 22 new tools to the show.

First up, let’s begin with the small items that are the tools that make you slap your forehead and say, “Doh!” Festool, having introduced its T-12+3 and T15+3 drills (more on them in another entry), is working diligently on a new vacuum system that is way cool , look for it in Q1 or early Q2 in 2010. But at this AWFS, Festool is showing hand sanding pads (shown above). Big deal, right? Well, these are clever. The pads are shaped to ergonomically fit your hand and there is hook-and-loop material that wraps up both sides of the pad. That allows you to use round sanding discs without having to grip the disc as you work. The pads are due out this September. Pricing and packaging are yet to be determined.

Here’s another product that’s small and looks very interesting. I can’t say the product is slick because it’s just the opposite. Bench Cookies (you gotta love that name) are small discs made with high-friction rubber pads fixed to both faces. One pad grabs the workpiece while the second grabs the bench, table or saw top, wherever you’re working. The cookies are superb for holding small pieces as you route or sand (I’m sure you’ll have more ideas) and they work even if there’s light sawdust in the mix. The Rockler guys told me they test the cookies by dumping them in the dust in their table saw then pull them out, simply knock off the excess sawdust, then put the Bench Cookies to work. There’s no slippage. Rockler’s Bench Cookies come four to a pack and should be out in early August for $11.99 per pack.

How about a woodworking machine? Rikon has joined the 12″ jointer/planer market with its model 25-200. The company states that this machine is the industry’s fastest changeover jointer/planer. What adds to the speed of converting from one tool to the other is that to get from the jointer to a planer operation, you need only to lift the outfeed table; the infeed table stays put and that should maintain accuracy in the machine. Another thing I hear woodworkers discuss on these machines is the amount of time that’s lost in moving the planer bed from a workable height to the lowest position to convert back to the jointer. Rikon has designed the threads that raise and lower the bed to speed up the movement. Additionally, the 25-200 has three knives, a three-horsepower (hp) motor and European scallop grind on the table surfaces. You can add this machine to your shop for $1,999.

Another new machine is a 1-1/2 hp, 866 CFM cyclone dust collector from Grizzly. This setup stands only 65-1/2″ and has a footprint of 38-1/4″ x 23-1/4″ , a great size for smaller shops. The unit includes a 30-gallon drum that rolls on swivel casters and the entire unit is also on wheels. A simple quarter-turn of the handle moves the internal shaker paddles to clean the dual-pleated filter to allow maximum air flow and efficiency. This cyclone comes with a remote-control switch that allows you to activate it from across the shop. Ready to go when plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet, the G0703 sells for $825 and should be ready to ship this September.

– Glen Huey