In Feature Articles

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Jet’s JPS-10TS Hybrid Table Saw
The two most important parts of a table saw are its rip fence and its motor. These two components are responsible for making the table saw what it is today: An awesome ripping and joint-cutting machine.

This year we tested hybrid table saws and brought in examples of all the major brands; we had Contributing Editor Troy Sexton go over the saws in detail. Now Troy is hard to impress. He has nice professional machines and knows his stuff. So when Troy freaked out about the Jet model, we knew that something was up. After we started using the Jet’s rip fence, we knew exactly what Troy was talking about. The fence slides over the tabletop like it’s an air hockey game. You actually have to be careful to make sure the fence doesn’t hit the blade sometimes. Add to that the fact that you can adjust the rip fence in all three axes and add jigs to the aluminum faces via T-slots, you might understand why it garnered an “Editor’s Choice” award and now also earns a “Best New Tool” award.

So how did the Jet do when it came to raw power? Very well. If you’re in the market for a hybrid table saw, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better, especially for the price (about $750).

Contact: Jet, 800-274-6848 or

FullPro’s SoundVision
Combining ear muffs and eye protection has always been a problem in the workshop. The two safety devices just don’t play well together. Now FullPro has used the power of Velcro to fix the problem. Put on the muffs, then attach the eye protection to the muffs using the Velcro straps. It’s easy and comfortable. Even after six months of testing, we still like the SoundVision FullPro Protective Gear and use it any time we crank up the big machines.

Contact: FullPro, 888-873-8557 or

Milwaukee’s 5616-24 Two-base Router
The Milwaukee BodyGrip fixed-base router has been a shop favorite since the day it was introduced. It’s stout, accurate and easy to adjust. But Milwaukee didn’t have a plunge router to go with it, or even a second plunge base for the BodyGrip’s motor.

But in 2007 Milwaukee introduced a plunge base that is worthy of the BodyGrip’s reputation. Hands down, the Milwaukee is our favorite two-base router kit. Compared to its competitors, we found that the Milwaukee vibrated the least and had the smoothest plunging operation. The controls are right where you want them. It has power in spades. Switching between the two bases is easy and (more important) this router is the easiest when it comes to changing bits – something you do every day. The only thing we’d change on this outstanding tool is to substitute a base with a square shape instead of a round one. But that’s something you can easily do with a piece of scrap plastic or thin plywood.

Contact: Milwaukee, 800-729-3878 or

Lie-Nielsen’s Large Router Plane
The Lie-Nielsen Large Router Plane might look like the old Stanley No. 71 it’s based on, but the Lie-Nielsen is worlds better. It’s easier to adjust the cutter and infinitely better when you want to set the tool’s depth stop. Plus, as always, the manufacturing quality of the tool is first-rate.

outer planes are great tools for adjusting your joinery, especially dados, tenon cheeks and hinge mortises. Buy one, and you’ll be amazed by how many tasks this tool can make easier.

Contact: Lie-Nielsen, 800-729-3878 or

Steel City’s Granite-top Saw
The first time we heard a rumor about a granite-top table saw from Steel City Tool Works, we all thought someone was playing a trick on us. Two seconds later, we realized that it was such a brilliant idea that it couldn’t be a joke.

Think on this: Granite doesn’t rust. It stays flat. It’s heavy. When thick enough, it’s very durable and long-lasting. And it can be made very smooth and astonishingly flat.

When we first got a gander at the initial Steel City saw with this feature, the 35915G, our suspicions were confirmed. It looks like a great idea. Steel City also is adding granite to the top of its 14″ band saw and (most amazingly) to part of its jointer line as the fence. Anyone who has had a jointer with a warped fence (that is, almost everyone) will see the utility of having a granite fence. We’re scheduled to receive one of these saws soon. So look for a full review in a future issue.

Contact: Steel City, 877-724-8665 or

Veritas’s Small Plow Plane
The Veritas Small Plow Plane is a gem made of iron, steel and brass. Well-made, thoughtfully designed and quite useful, the plow plane will quickly become your favorite tool for making grooves and small rabbets, especially if you value a little peace and quiet while cutting joinery.

We’ve written a full-page review of this tool in the Tool Test section of the December 2007 issue (see page 32), so let us just say here that we think that this plane is further evidence that traditional hand skills are on the rise – after years of neglect and decay. Once you pick up one of these tools and try it a few times, you’ll see that the barriers to learning to use hand tools are mostly in your head.

Contact: Lee Valley Tools, 800-871-8158 or

Lamello’s Fixo Biscuits
The knock against biscuit joining has always been that biscuits don’t work well in joining narrow stock. This led to the popularity of pocket screws and the Festool Domino. Lamello has fixed that with its new Fixo biscuits. These barbed, half biscuits act as clamps, pulling joints tightly together from behind. Fast and effective in our tests, and using a tool that we already own, make Fixo biscuits a winner for everyday joinery.

Contact: Lamello, 781-585-4364 or

Work Sharp’s WS3000
We’ve worked with a lot of sandpaper sharpening machines, but this new Work Sharp unit has some features that really set it apart. First, there’s the tool rest that is also a heat sink. It really works to keep the tool cool during sharpening. Also, the slotted Edge-Vision wheel allows you to see your tool’s edge as it is being shaped.

For woodworkers who dislike hand-sharpening, we think the Work Sharp is the perfect package. PW

Contact: Work Sharp, 800-597-6170 or

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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