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The 2011 AWFS Fair is underway in Las Vegas (the big show ends Saturday, July 23) and I’ve picked through the aisles looking for innovative new products. I’ve found several, so here’s a look at what’s coming from various manufacturers.

Bosch Random-orbit Sander Kills Vibration

I’ve known more than one woodworker who’d wear gel-filled gloves when sanding a large project to reduce the numbing sensation caused by the machine’s vibrations. Bosch has come up with a very clever way to substantially reduce, if not eliminate, that annoyance. How? There’s basically two plastic cases for the machine, an outer like you’d find on any sander, and on this one, an inner case. Between the two, Bosch has built in a series of dense foam cushions that isolate the vibrating inner motor from the outer case and handle – and it works very well.

The new sander (model ROS65VC) also features easily interchangeable 5″ or 6″ sanding pads and what looks to be a significant improvement in dust collection. A plastic canister with a pleated paper filter slips easily on and off so collected dust can be easily removed. Fittings are available to connect either U.S. or European shop vacs. This sander will be available September 1 and you can expect to pay $229 for the sander and pad, or $299 to get the sander, the second pad and a nice storage case.

Powermatic Celebrates 90th Anniversary/New Color Scheme Plus Extras

As Powermatic starts its celebration of a 90th anniversary, its tools are sporting a new color scheme to mark the occasion. Plus, the company is throwing in a number of goodies for the product line. The more pricey the product, the more goodies you get. And all the machines will carry a 90 month– yup, that’s a 7.5 year– warranty. I wondered about the color choice, which is primarily gloss black. But it made sense when it was pointed out that the black with gold trim is actually a reverse of the normal Powermatic dress. Extras that come with the PM2000 table saw are a trio of Amana saw blades including a rip, crosscut and combination blade. The blades are valued at $200. And, Powermatic is throwing in, or down, an anti-fatigue mat with the saw and each of its other featured products. Other machines include a 14″ band saw that comes with the riser block and mat; the 3520B lathe includes a bed extension and mat; and the 15″ planer comes with a digital readout and mat. Other machines are included.

Earlex Has Something to Get Steamed Up About

You know this company for its inexpensive but effective HVLP spray system. But now its pulled a product from their traditional product line (a wallpaper steamer), taken away everything that had to do with wallpaper and set up the steam generating part to provide an economical steam power plant for steam-bending wood. At just under $70, the 1,500-watt steamer has the safety features you’d rarely, if ever, see on jerry-rigged homemade versions– stuff that will keep the unit from blowing up. It will produce steam for a couple hours. Generally, 1″-thick wood requires about one hour in a steam box before bending. The steamer comes with a heat-protected hose and other fittings for connecting to a steam box. At this price, though, you’ll be making the steam box or chamber yourself, which can be a rather simple chore.


The New Delta – A Glimpse at What’s Coming from New Owners

Delta is under new ownership after being sold by Stanley/Black&Decker and frankly, the company has been rather quiet for months. But last night I spent an hour with the new management team and got a look at what’s coming in the months ahead. Here are a few products and new features to look for and while there’s more on the way, I’m not at liberty to divulge them at this time.

We’ve reported on helical cutterheads and have been favorably impressed with some of them. Last night I saw a whole new version of the head that’s under development at Delta. The company looks to begin deploying something similar to this prototype in the coming months on its jointers and stationary planers. Delta is even hoping to feature it on 13″ benchtop models, but that is farther down the road.

What makes this two-row model different from the four-row models now available is how the square insert cutters are positioned. These actually overlap each other along the row, which eliminates the spaces between you typically find. The cutting edge is also skewed to deliver a shear cut. The advantages include lower cost to manufacture and half as many carbide insert cutters. Looks for the first use of these new heads around the the end of the year.

In 2012 , the company plans to release a midi-shaper (think router table with a permanent motor and lift mechanism) with a 3.25 hp variable speed motor. They also plan a Biesemeyer-style fence featuring fine and gross adjustments and split infeed-outfeed sides that offset to accommodate the cut. It will use router tooling with typical 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets. Delta will also be rounding out its table saw offerings with new designs and features for contractor and cabinet style machines. The company is working toward the latter being a true cabinet saw with cabinet mounted cast iron trunnions. Other machines are coming – so stay tuned.

– Steve Shanesy
Editor and Publisher


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