Hot New Tools: Issue 25

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This article is from Issue 25 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Eats more dust

Porter-Cable 390K Random Orbit Sander

Competing head-on with smaller, tougher pneumatic sanders, Porter-Cable’s newest variable-speed model sports a brushless motor that monitors and maintains motor speed electronically, allowing for faster material removal. Most importantly, this cutting-edge motor has 71% fewer wear components than traditional motors enabling it to last five to 10 times longer than other random orbitals.

ned into my work. (Typically, too much downward pressure slows down the pad and reduces tool performance. Heavy-handed sanding can also shorten the life of the motor.)  In fact, this electric sander performed about as well as a pneumatic, minus the king-sized air compressor or any oily residue.

Porter-Cable built in some other great features including an electronic brake and mechanical brake pad that reduce spin downtime by 73%, and an integral dust port that accepts 1" and 11/2" vacuum hoses. The new sander is also shorter than previous models, making it easier to control and sand in tight spaces. 

#149120 $129.99

Woodcraft Tester: James Nuckolls

Better Besseys

Revo Fixed Jaw Parallel Clamps

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” We have all heard that line sometime in our life. But what if you could improve on what is already a great design? That is exactly what Bessey Tools has done with their parallel clamps. The re-designed K Body clamp offers 30% larger clamping surface and 25% more clamping force. But my favorite improvements are the new end rail clips and mid-rail protectors that elevate the wood off the rails, and removeable glue- and finish-resistant clamp caps. The larger soft-grip handles let you apply more clamping pressure.

#149053   12", $34.99
#149054   24", $37.99
#149055   31", $41.99
#149056   40", $46.99
#149057   50", $49.99
#149058   60", $54.99

Woodcraft Tester: Peter Collins

Good (and sharp) things can come in smaller packages

Tormek T-3

The Tormek Supergrind (now called the T7) sits at the top of many woodworkers’ lust lists; but if you are on a less forgiving budget, you might try the T3. This slightly smaller Tormek (the T3 has a 200mm stone; the T7’s is 250mm) uses the same sharpening accessories, so the feel is almost identical, with just a few minor exceptions. In side-by-side tests, I was able to stall the T3 if I pressed down too hard (the T7 is almost unstoppable), but with the right amount of pressure, the smaller wheel worked as quickly as the larger one. While the downsized wet and leather honing wheel combo doesn’t do planer and jointer knives like the T7, the T3 sharpens plane blades, chisels, and turning tools (most of what I need it to do) quickly and without any risk of burning an edge.

#148962    $339.99

Woodcraft Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Base-saving chamfer bit

Whiteside 45º Chamfer Bit

If your router base resembles the one below, read on. The problem with most better-quality chamfer bits is that they’re too big for guide bushing bases. Raise the bit too high and you’ll chew through the bushing’s lip. Whiteside has reduced the bit’s diameter by about 3/8" so that it can spin without rubbing and ruining the base. The smaller-sized bit is only available with a 1/4"-dia. shank but this isn’t a problem with lighter cuts.

#149227 $24.99

Woodcraft Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Precise positioner that’s repeatable makes this fence unbeatable

Pinnacle Premium Positioner Fence System

The Pinnacle Premium Positioner Fence System offers a level of precision and repeatability that you can’t get from other fences. I used the twist knob alignment to sneak up on a cut one-thousandth of an inch at a time, or the release lever to quickly move the fence over greater distances. In either case, I found I could use the scale on the fence’s arm to instantly slide it back to the original setting. In fact, by sliding additional scales into the arm (two scales are included with the fence, but the arm fits three), I could program the fence to perform three different operations at the same time. My only complaint is that the system doesn’t come with a fence stop or right-angle fixtures, but plans to build both are included.

Using the easy-to-follow directions for 3/8" box joints and 1/2" dovetail templates that come with the Positioner, I was ready to make Incra-style joints, but for joinery magic check out Incra’s Master Reference Guide and Template Library (sold separately). You can make almost any joint: box joints; half blind, sliding, through, and even double dovetails. 

#149066     $129.99

#149018    Incra Master Reference Guide and Template Library, $24.99

Woodcraft Tester:  Peter Collins

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