Tool Reviews

A woodworker is only as good as his tools. In a world with enough woodworking tools to fill entire big-box stores, it’s important to know what you should buy (and what to avoid) so you can produce the best pieces possible and save money. Our tool reviews are different. Rather than use pseudo-science, we use the tools in the shop (we’re all experienced woodworkers), and report back how they perform. So whether you are in the market for a new set of chisels or a powerful table saw, we’ve got the best tools covered.

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Veritas Bevel-down Bench Planes

Blade carrier helps to preserve cap-iron settings with ease.  by Christopher Schwarz page 14 When Veritas redesigned its bevel-down bench planes, the Canadian company started from scratch. Released in the fall of 2014, these tools share almost no DNA with the company’s previous generation. And, in the Veritas tradition, the company’s engineers also chucked...

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Tormek T-4 Water-cooled Sharpening System

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 16 I’m not usually a wet grinder kind of woman, because a dry grinder does the same work faster, then I move to waterstones to polish and hone. I might be a convert, however, when it comes to tools that are difficult to grind on a dry grinder, including carving...

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Shellac Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood

by Christopher Schwarz page 16 Because shellac is my favorite finish, I have tried nearly every brand of flakes on the market. By far, my favorite brand is the premium dewaxed flakes – Tiger Flakes – sold by Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, N.Y. Because there are no lac bugs in Brooklyn, this...

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How to Read & Write Tool Reviews, Part 3

For experienced woodworkers, it’s easy to ignore tool reviews and say: “I just buy the brands that have served me well.” But what if you know little about the different brands? When I was growing up, Skil made fantastic circular saws. Black & Decker made good drills. Craftsman put its name on some good...

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How I Read Tool Reviews (And Write Them), Part 2

Most tool reviews aren’t really reviews. They’re press releases dressed up with a lab coat and a clipboard to look respectable. For experienced woodworkers, these faux-reviews are easy to spot and ignore. What are the signs? They’re missing key information about the tool’s place in the market compared to its competitors. Even more telling,...

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Earlex SprayPort 6003

This turbine-driven gun produces a good finish at a good price. by Robert W. Lang page16 I first became aware of High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP) systems about 20 years ago. At the time, it seemed like a great idea – reduce overspray and eliminate the need for a massive air compressor chugging away. Since then, I’ve...

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Jet JWBS-14SF-3 Band Saw

by Chuck Bender page 18 The new 14″ steel-frame band saw from Jet is nothing less than heavy-duty. With its 3-horsepower, 220-volt motor, this saw is built to handle just about anything you can throw at it. The one-piece frame makes this band saw extremely rigid for tough cuts such as resawing wide boards...

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Shenandoah Tool Works Birdcage Awl

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 18 If you’re in the market for a birdcage awl, this Shenandoah Tool Works version offers a stylish twist – that is, the hand-forged 01 steel shaft is actually twisted during manufacturing. While this aesthetic touch has no effect on performance, it looks nice – and one could argue that,...