Hot New Tools Issue 48

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This article is from Issue 48 of Woodcraft Magazine.

4424B Lathe

Lathe envy
Powermatic 4224B Lathe

Powermatic has added a battleship to its fleet of professional-grade machines for turners dreaming of creating colossal columns and behemoth bowls. The 950-pound brute sports a 24" swing over the bed and a 42" working distance between centers (20" and 63" beds are also available). Powered by a 3 HP, three-phase motor with a built-in converter for single-phase power, the lathe features electronic variable speed (EVS), providing infinite spindle speed adjustment between 40 and 3,500 rpm, plus a reverse-mode for sanding. The machine offers a host of other features as well, including a headstock that slides the full length of the bed to facilitate outboard turning of pieces up to 88" in diameter, a built-in vacuum system for chucking bowls, and even an air nozzle for clearing chips.

#854112, $7,499.99

Tester: Andrew Bondi


Better box joints – and beyond

Shop-made box joint jig designs abound, so why would you want to buy one? The problem is that most shop-made jigs don’t allow the kind of fine-adjustability that makes for precise joints. And any tiny error in the jig setup multiplies with each successive cut, making for sloppy work.
Enter the INCRA I-Box. Within minutes after setting up a blade or bit, you can start cutting box joints. Designed for use on a tablesaw or router table, the jig has adjustable miter bars to ensure that the unit won’t shift in use, a pair of fingers to set the pin width, and a dual-pitch lead screw that enables users to dial in perfectly-fitting joints.
 The I-Box can cut pin widths ranging from 1⁄8" to 3⁄4" wide in stock ranging from 1⁄8" to 11⁄4"-thick. In addition to box joints, the jig can also be used to cut key joints and dentil moldings. Setup and operation are explained in the included DVD.

Tester: Peter Collins
Whiteside Ultimate  Flush Trim, Pattern, and  Combination Spiral Bit

Whiteside Ultimate Flush Trim, Pattern, and Combination Spiral Bits

If you plan to do a lot of pattern routing, you need to see these bits. Compared to standard straight-flute bits, these feature a compression grind, which combines an upcut and downcut spiral flute configuration to produce tear-out-free top and bottom surfaces. The 7⁄8"-diameter cutter (most spiral bits are only 1⁄2" diameter) allows for a higher shear angle for smoother cuts, even when routing against the grain.

Up to now, it has been difficult to find anything other than bottom-bearing (flush-trim) spiral bits; now, Whiteside offers three bearing configurations to suit your work. In addition to the flush-trim bit, there’s a top-bearing (pattern cutting) bit that’s suitable for template routing and making plunge cuts. With bearings on both ends, the combination bit (sometimes called an “over-under” bit), can be guided by a template on either side of your work.

#154274, Combination Bit, $149.99
#154275, Flush Trim Bit, $139.99
#154276, Pattern Bit, $149.99 

Tester: Brian Renner

Kreg Jig HD Heavy-Duty Pocket-Hole System

Imagine your pocket-hole jig on steroids. Kreg’s HD (Heavy-Duty) jig creates joints as quickly and easily as standard-sized jigs, but utilizes larger screws that can create joints 50% stronger than those made using a standard-sized jig. The HD screws are perfect for 2-by construction. Now, assembling outdoor furniture, fences, and trellises can be as easy as building a pocket-screwed plywood cabinet box.

The HD Starter Kit includes a drill guide, a stopblock, a 1⁄2" step-drill bit with stop collar, a 6" #3 square driver bit, and a sample of #14-size HD screws.

Note: Check your local building codes before using pocket screws to construct load-bearing objects such as interior walls or deck railings.

#154345, Kreg Jig HD starter kit,  $59.99
#154349,  #14 × 21⁄2" HD screws, 125-ct.  $19.99

Tester: Peter Collins

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