Hot New Tools: Issue 24

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This article is from Issue 24 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Kapex makes the Kut

Festool Kapex KS 120 EB Sliding Compound Mitersaw

As with the other tools in their line, Festool’s Kapex mitersaw sets the bar not only in terms of innovation and precision, but also in price ($1,300). But if you can survive the sticker shock, you’ll have a saw that’s unlike any other.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the saw saves space. Compared to other saws that employ rails that slide behind the base, Kapex’s dual fixed-rails allow you to butt the saw against a wall. Multiple cut-assisting features, such as the dial-able bevel gauge, dual-line adjustable lasers, crown molding stops, and removable protractor/angle bisector make it almost impossible to miss miters. Some of the things you won’t notice are equally important. Attached to a vacuum, the Kapex catches 91% of sawdust. In addition, the speed-sensing motor banishes the bogging and burning that happens when cutting thick, dense stock. (A useful feature when you consider that the 10" saw sports a cutting capacity that rivals most 12-inchers.)

This may not be a saw that you’d want to toss in the back of your pickup, but woodworkers who measure angles in seconds and think knife lines are meant for splitting will appreciate the value despite the price. This saw won’t disappoint.

#561287 $1,300

Tester: Jim Nuckolls

Seal off green wood checks and cracks

Anchorseal Green Wood Sealer

I prefer green wood for turning and carving because working green is easier on my tools and me. The only disadvantage is the cracks that appear when the wood dries out too quickly. Luckily, I’ve found an easy brush-on solution that slows down the drying process.

Anchorseal is a wax emulsion that controls cracking and checking up to 80% (about the difference between a bowl and a chunk of firewood). To use, I apply it to exposed end grain as soon as soon as I shut off the saw. Besides being easy to use the sealer won’t alter the color of the wood or affect the final finish. So whether you’re carving, turning, or storing fresh cut lumber, Anchorseal is cheap insurance from unwanted checks and cracks.

#148772 quart, $10.99
#148773 gallon, $20.99

Tester: Kent Harpool

Syringes put just enough glue in just the right spot

WoodRiver Disposable Glue Syringes

Most glue bottles aren’t good for detail work. If you don’t want globs, you’ll need a pile of toothpicks, or a better applicator. I found these syringes when making some furniture repairs, then immediately started using them for all sorts other jobs where glue bottles are overkill. The syringes are especially handy for putting glue in grooves, such as when doing inlay work or installing machine cane in a chair. 

The syringe is easy to fill and even easier to dispense. By keeping the glue to a thin bead exactly where it’s needed, squeeze-out (and later clean-up) is practically eliminated. The syringes are easy to clean and reuse but, for the times when I forget, inexpensive enough to toss.

#148674 bag of 5, $5.99

Tester: Kent Harpool

“Gadget” makes sharpening drill bits easier, cheaper

Prazi DrillGadget

I know that brad point and Forstner drill bits are best for round, precise holes, but I use twist drill bits for all sorts of jobs. As luck would have it, the bit I need is usually the dullest. Enter the Prazi DrillGadget, an inexpensive device that sharpens twist bits fast.

To put it to work, determine whether your bit is 118° or 135° (the gadget helps do this), place the bit in the holder, and align the edge on one side. Make a pass against the abrasive. Then rotate the bit and do the same to the opposite side. Test the bit and repeat until you’re satisfied. Most bits can be sharpened with about four or five passes per side. 

So, how good a job does it do? The gadget will not fix a broken or chipped bit, and it may not sharpen a really, really dull bit without some effort. But for slightly-dulled bits, it works surprisingly well—well enough to save me from more than a few unplanned trips to the hardware store. 

#148939 $11.99

Tester: Kent Harpool

Go cryogenic: more turning, less sharpening time

Pinnacle Cryogenic Turning Tools

Want to find more time for turning? Spend less time sharpening. Pinnacle’s Cryogenic Turning Tools have been like “time in bottle” for me, giving me more time at the lathe and less wasted time at the grinder.

Manufactured in Sheffield, England, exclusively for Woodcraft, these cryogenic turning tools offer many of the characteristics of powdered metal tools but are less expensive. The cryogenic treatment process deep-freezes the steel down to -300°F to modify the micro-structure. Some of the benefits of the cryogenic treatment include promoting more uniform grain structure, fewer failures caused by cracking, and the ability to be honed to a fine edge. Last but not least, cryo-treated tools stay sharp two to three times longer than standard high-speed steel, earning them a permanent spot in my shop.

#149020 3-Piece Cryo Spindle Set, $154.97
#149021 3-Piece Cryo Bowl Set, $159.97
#149022 5-Piece Cryo Combo Set, $254.95

Tester: Tim Rinehart

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