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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Kreg Precision Router Table

Simple micro-adjust feature and a solid base make this one a contender. by Christopher Schwarz page 14 Some router tables have gotten so complex and expensive that they actually rival a decent shaper. I’ve always preferred simple router tables, so I was curious to assemble and use the new Kreg Precision Router Table. Like...

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Texas Heritage Woodworks Auger Bit Roll

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 16 I’ve been looking for a long time for the perfect storage and transport solution for my auger bits. For a while, they were wrapped in kitchen towels – less than ideal. I have two of my grandfather’s old canvas tool rolls, but they both have holes in them where...

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Trend Diamond Whetstone Honing & Polishing Kit

by Christopher Schwarz page 16 To be frank, I’m not a fan of sharpening hand tools using diamond systems because I don’t find the final edge as ideal as one produced on oilstones or waterstones. That said, the new Trend Diamond Honing & Polishing kit (DWS/KIT/B) gets so many things bang-on correct that it...

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Earlex Steam Generator for Steam-bending

Steam-bending has always required a certain amount of jury-rigging to make the steam: adapting a propane burner, retrofitting a kettle or tweaking a wallpaper steamer. Now Earlex has made steam-bending a little easier by offering a steam generator that is simple to hook up to any steam box via a 1⁄2″-diameter hole. In essence,...

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Arbortech Contour Random Sander

I I’ve been building a stacked-lamination piece with plenty of concave and convex curves that require a good deal of sanding. Arbortech’s new Contour Random Sander has helped. Out of the bag, the sander includes everything you need – a metal stem containing two independently rotating shafts that produce the “random” action, a flexible...

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Grizzly Track Saw ‘Master Pack’

I’ve long been a fan of the track saw. For me, there’s no faster, safer or more reliable way to break down sheet goods into sizes I can handle. While I can wrestle a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3⁄4″ plywood onto the cabinet saw if I must, it’s not easy and there’s every...

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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...