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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DEROS Random-orbit Sander

Mirka’s compact electric sander performs like an air-powered tool.  by Megan Fitzpatrick page 12 I avoid sanding as much as possible – but sometimes it has to be done. Since early 2010, when we got a Mirka CEROS (Compact Electrical Random Orbital Sander) in for pre-release testing, that’s been my go-to tool for this dreaded...

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Bosch ‘Power Ready’ Wireless Charging System

by Megan Fitzpatrick Page 14 Although wireless charging is nothing new (it’s been around for years for home and mobile phones), the Power Ready system from Bosch is a first in the tool sector. As of this writing, the system includes only the WCBAT612 18-volt thin-pack 2Ah battery ($89), which is backward-compatible with all...

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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...