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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Bosch VAC140A Dust Extractor

by Chuck Bender page 18 There are lots of vacuums and dust extractors on the market, but what sets the Bosch VAC140A apart are the well-thought-out details. From the easily accessed drain hose to the hook for hanging the power cord, Bosch has taken into account how people actually use an extractor – the...

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The Uffy TH-T-1825XP 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

Part of my job at Popular Woodworking Magazine is to talk with tool manufacturers and get their newest innovations into the PWM shop to test and review. I tend to do things in a big way, which means I have a small mountain of things to review crowding the shop, my cubicle and the...

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Diablo General Purpose & Crosscut Finish Blades

by Chuck Bender page 16 In recent years, Freud’s Diablo brand has become synonymous with high quality, high tech, reasonably priced circular saw blades; these new blades should only enhance that reputation. The D1040X (general purpose) and D1090X (fine crosscut) blades feature unique grind angles on the teeth. Both are alternating-top-bevel blades, but they...

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Arbortech TurboPlane & Mini-Turbo

by Chuck Bender page 14 If you are into sculpting wood or forming sculpted furniture parts, the Arbortech TurboPlane and Mini-Turbo are two tools that could make your work much easier. Although they are sold separately, they work well as a team. The TurboPlane is an easy-to-handle, relatively safe 4″-diameter power carver that fits...

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SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander

Attention to detail makes this machine a top-quality addition to any shop. by Chuck Bender page 14 The first thing that comes to mind upon seeing the SuperMax 19-38 drum sander is the company’s focus on quality. It’s evident in everything from the castings to the precision-milled drum to the thoughtful placement of the...

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Grobet Cabinetmaker’s Rasps

by Robert Lang page 18 A good quality machine-cut rasp or two should be in every serious woodworker’s tool box. Rasps come into play when a small amount of material needs to be removed, either on a flat or curved surface. It wasn’t that long ago that you could walk into your local hardware...

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Blue Spruce Joiner’s Mallets

by Christopher Schwarz page 18 For some woodworkers, building your own mallet is a rite of passage. After using dozens of student-made mallets, however, I wonder if many of us would be better off with a well-balanced, professionally made mallet. If you are a person who wants to buy a thing once and be...

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Nova Comet II Midi Lathe

The reversible motor turns this benchtop tool into a sterling machine. by Chuck Bender page 16 Teknatool’s new Nova Comet II wood lathe is feature-packed at a price that’s hard to beat. Not only does it have variable speed, it has a reversible motor – not usually found on lathes of this size –...

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Devilish Diablo Deftly Dissects

We recently received some new Freud Diablo blades at the magazine to test (two of which will be featured in an upcoming Tool Test in the magazine). The blade is what Diablo calls its Ultimate Flawless Finish blade. It’s a 12″ diameter blade that is designed to work on fixed and sliding miter saws...