A tool manufacturer does its homework to build a better band saw.
by Chuck Bender
The Laguna 14-Twelve band saw has the look and feel of a machine thrice its price. There’s a lot to like about this machine and the price makes it almost irresistible. Coming in at just under $1,100 ($1,345 with the mobile base and work light) puts it right in line with other manufacturers’ mid-range 14″ band saws.
The Laguna has plenty of oomph, with a 13⁄4-horsepower motor; most other band saws in this class are 11⁄2 hp or less. (Grizzly’s saw is the exception with a 2-hp motor.) It might not seem like much, but when you’re resawing wide material, every bit of power counts. The great thing is you get all that power and can still plug the machine into a standard household outlet.
Contact: lagunatools.com or 800-234-1976
Street price: $1,097
Video: Take a closer look at some of the unique details of this new band saw. (To come.) Read more
by Chuck Bender
The first thing you notice when you grasp a Czeck Edge Hand Tool birdcage awl is how well it fits in the hand. The cocobolo handle is beautifully turned with a shellac finish that is silky smooth. And the blade is balanced, polished and sharp.
Czeck Edge has sold birdcage awls for quite some time, so why is a review just now gracing these pages? It’s because the company has started making an awl with a solid carbide blade.
Street price: $79
Blog: Read about other new cutting-edge Czeck Edge tools. (To come.) Read more
by Chuck Bender
Starborn Industries has set the benchmark for driving screws. The Smart-Bit Depth Setter allows you to sink screws to a consistent depth every time.
Although it was first introduced to the deck-building industry, there are a lot of features about this little tool that make it appealing to furniture makers.
Contact: starbornindustries.com or 800-596-7747
Street price: from $21
Video: Watch the Smart-Bit Depth Setter in action. (To come.) Read more
The right orientation adds shimmer and pop to your work.
by George R. Walker
The barn loft was hot and dusty – and especially so after digging through piles of rough lumber for wide cherry boards at the bottom of the stack. We took a break outside for some fresh air and sat on a pile of firewood. I didn’t notice it right away, but the surface on the freshly split wood was deeply corrugated like a washboard and, to my horror, the whole woodpile was curly maple – wicked-good curly maple. The farmer seemed as disgusted as I was, but for a different reason. He held up a chunk of it and said, “This junk is a beast to split, burns good, but hardly worth the trouble.”
I’ll be the first to admit that figured maple, which includes tiger, curly, quilted and fiddleback grain, is ornery. The wavy grain and hardness is a challenge to split, carve or smooth with cutting tools. On top of that, the figure can be elusive: wild in one section of a board then suddenly going dead with no apparent reason.
Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his Design Matters blog.
In our store: “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings,” DVDs by George R. Walker (Lie-Nielsen). Read more
Simplification and organization are the keys to success.
by Bob Rozaieski
I’ve worked in a small workshop for many years now. Many, if not most woodworkers, would classify my 7′ x 13′ space more as a closet than a workshop. In fact, I have seen some master-suite walk-ins that were indeed larger than my shop.
The challenges of woodworking in a small space are fairly obvious to most people. Many of the luxuries that are afforded by working in a large basement, garage or stand-alone workshop don’t exist in a small shop. Nonetheless, one can work efficiently; the secret is to simplify and stay organized.
Blog: Read Bob Rozaieski’s blog.
In Our Store: “The Arts & Mysteries of Hand Tools” on CD. Read more
There’s no need to fear the most versatile machine in the modern shop.
by Robert W. Lang
There are good reasons that the table saw is at the center of many shops. This machine revolutionized the way we make things. And in recent years, it has become the center of controversy on two fronts: safety and accuracy. There is a lot of money to be made scaring woodworkers about table saws, both in manufacturing and in the media.
Read: Free online articles about using a table saw for many operations.
Article: Read from a series of articles by Marc Adams on safe table saw operation.
To buy: “The Ultimate Table Saw Guide” provides all the table saw information you need on a single DVD. Read more
This solvent’s versatility makes it ideal in many situations.
by Bob Flexner
If you’ve been shopping at paint stores or in the paint department of home centers for the last decade or so, you may have noticed the increased prominence of acetone among the solvents. There is a reason for this.
Acetone is among the very few solvents that have been exempted as a volatile organic compound (VOC) – an environmental (smog) pollutant. And it is the least expensive one, by far. Acetone is exempt because it has so little reactivity.
Articles: You’ll find many free finishing articles on our web site.
In Our Store: “Flexner on Finishing” – 12 years of columns illustrated with beautiful full-color images and updated, and “Wood Finishing 101.” Read more