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By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 57-61

From the December 2007 issue #166
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After eight years of writing the Best New Tools column, you’d think that we’d be jaded and bored with the tool industry. (“Oh look, yawn, another new cordless drill with a bubble level.”)

But every year, all the editors for this magazine sit down with our lists of tools we like, and we are amazed at how many innovative and cool new tools are released every single year. For a craft that is as old as civilization itself, it’s a testament to ingenuity that we can continue to find new and better ways to manipulate wood to our liking.

So what do we look for in a tool that makes it a “Best New Tool?” Usually the winners are the tools that make us sit up in our chairs when we first hear about them. They might be tools that have never existed before, such as the Festool Domino – a shoo-in on this year’s list. They might be tools that are being revived and improved after near-extinction, such as the Veritas Small Plow Plane or Gramercy Dovetail Saw. They might be tools that are simply the “Best in the Category,” such as the Milwaukee two-base router kit or the Apollo HVLP system. They can be tools that make a bold and important statement, such as the riving knife on the Bosch 4100 table saw or the Grizzly jointer/planer – it took guts to bring those European features to the North American market.

And sometimes, a Best New Tool is something that you never ever would have thought of, and is so interesting that you just cannot stop talking about it. I am talking, of course, about the Steel City tools with granite tops and fences. Maybe next year we’ll get bored with this annual award – but I wouldn’t count on it.

From the December 2007 issue #166
Buy this issue now

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