This year’s AWFS show is clearly a showcase for innovative design. Today I saw two amazing computerized machines that could be game changers, as well as some clever incremental improvements over on products already on the market. I’ll detail the game-changers tomorrow but I wanted to catch you up on a few other interesting products in the meantime.
Rockler Glue Applicator Kit
Rockler revolutionized glue application a couple years ago when they introduced their reusable silicone glue brush, which made it easy to peel off dried glue without damaging the bristles. Now, as competitors have started to copy the basic silicone brush design, Rockler has taken the quick-clean brush idea to a new level with a kit of applicator tips that fit directly on the top of a glue bottle. You’ll find a glue brush applicator head, a self-centering glue guide for spreading glue on the edges of boards, a mortise tip that fits biscuit and domino slots and a ribbed glue roller for spreading glue on wide surfaces. I especially like the ribbed applicator, which is a major improvement over a flat rubber roller that’s messy to use and clean. This ribbed applicator has a tip that feeds glue on top of the roller. That, plus the ribbed surface of the roller, make it easy to spread glue evenly over a surface. The kit includes all the tips mentioned above, as well as a threaded funnel and a glue bottle. It retails for $19.99. The tips also fit standard 16- and 32-ounce Titebond bottles. My snapshot can’t do justice to all the parts so I’m including a photo from Rockler’s media kit.
Veritas Butt Chisels
Veritas is introducing a set of butt chisels made with its extremely durable PM-V11 alloy, which they say will hold an edge longer than most other steels. These chisels have short maple handles that fit comfortably in my mitts and though they’re billed as ideal for cutting hinge mortises, I think the short overall length makes them even more useful for precision work such as shaving dovetails to size. The chisels will be available this September in six sizes from ¼ inch to 2 inches. Prices will range from $68 to $105.
Perfect Match Stain Applicator
Here’s a product that seems such a no-brainer that my first reaction was to wonder why I wasn’t smart enough to think of it myself. Basically the folks at Perfect Match have created a felt-tipped marker you can fill with the stain of your choice to do touch-up work or shading. The marker comes with a removable syringe on one end and a removable felt tip on the other. To fill the marker, you remove the tip, dip the marker into your stain, and then pull the syringe to suck stain into the marker. Then you remove the syringe, reinstall the tip and use the tool like a standard marker to start staining. Perfect Match says the marker works well on furniture, wood floors, cabinetry and the like, and many customers use it to highlight frame and panel doors. The marker and syringe retails in the $5-$6 range and you can buy a set of 15 replacement tips for $1.
Rockler T-Track Table and Accessories
Building on the success it’s had with its T-track hold-down system, Rockler has developed a ready-made T-track table that has five tracks and a number of innovative accessories to trick out the table. There are Bench Cookies with T-track Risers that hold workpieces up off the bench for finishing, as well as a cord and hose holder to keep your tool cords and vacuum hoses out of the way. If you mount the table on top of their optional 24-inch by 36-inch steel stand, Rockler also offers a 24-inch drawer kit that makes it simple to install drawer guides and drawers. And for those who don’t like to waste a single inch of space. Rockler carries a number of soft storage pouches you can mount to the outside surfaces of a stand. Here’s a shot of a fully tricked out table with many of the accessories in place. The T-track Table retails for $229.99, the stand for $159.99 and the other accessories are in the $10-$45 range.
General Tools Frame Joinery System
Yesterday I reported on Kreg’s new K5 pocket-hole joinery jig. Today, I got a close look at General‘s take on pocket-hole joinery and while it’s tool at this point isn’t as refined as Kreg’s (note that it’s still in the prototype stage), it has one distinct advantage that I’d enjoy: The General system lets you cut your pocket holes while both workpieces are laying flat so it’s easier to keep your parts – and joints – flush and square. General’s basic system, which it calls the X1, consists of a 20″ T-track, a stop block, the jig, a step drill and drill bits. You mount the T-track on a stable work surface, install the jig and stop block in the T-track, then clamp your workpieces and drill your holes. The jig will accommodate workpieces from 1-1/4″ to 2-1/2″ wide, and you can adjust the spacing on the pocket holes from 3/4″ to 1-1/2″.
The prototype I saw worked well but the folks at General said it will even be tighter and more refined when the jig launches around October 1. The X1 will cost $149.99 but General also will offer an expanded system called the X2 that includes two jigs, two stop blocks and two T-tracks for $199.99. General plans to launch the Face Frame Jig System exclusively through Woodcraft and offer only the X2 system initially.