Hot New Tools: Issue 57

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This article is from Issue 57 of Woodcraft Magazine.

crown wooden planes

Plane royalty

Crown Wooden Planes

The Crown Plane Company is one of the granddaddies of boutique plane makers. Decades ago, Leon Robbins began making a few specialty tools for Windsor-chair wizard Mike Dunbar. Over the years, he continued to work with Mike and his students and gradually developed a small line of wooden-bodied planes. (Leon sold the company to Jim White in 1999. He remained a consultant until his death in 2007.)

As they did in Leon’s day, Crown planes represent a fine blend of old and new toolmaking technologies. For example, A2 steel has replaced O1, but each blade is still custom-fitted to its solid wood body, and every plane is tested before it’s shipped. In addition to standard jack, scrub, and block planes, Crown offers several specialty planes that do not have metal-body counterparts. Due to the company’s fastidious manufacturing processes and small production runs, you may need to wait a few weeks for the next batch of planes. However, if you’re lucky, you might find a few at your local Woodcraft store, where you may try them out for yourself.

158521,   $99.99-179.00

Tester: Kent Harpool

Flash-rust suppressor Bora MetalGuard Ultra

BORA MetalGuard Ultra

Flash-rust suppressor

BORA MetalGuard Ultra, 250ml

Technically, MetalGuard Ultra is a thin film, silicone-free coating that inhibits ferrous and yellow metal corrosion. Aside from the specs, after two years of using this stuff, I can happily report that MetalGuard blocks rust on everything from edge tools to cast-iron tops. For me, the key to MetalGuard’s success is the special nature of its protective film. After it’s wiped onto a surface, the coating dries to create a skin that’s barely there. Unlike waxier protectants, there’s no need to wipe it off, but unlike lightweight oils, the skin doesn’t evaporate off, and it stands up to casual contact. This attribute makes MetalGuard equally well-suited for your most-used tools, as well as those items that spend the bulk of their time on a shelf or in a toolbox.

#158703, $29.99

Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Norton Red Heat Ceramic-Grit  Sanding Belts

Super-fast, super-smooth sanding

Norton Red Heat Ceramic-Grit Sanding Belts

Having proven the advantages of ceramic abrasives to the flooring and metalworking industries, Norton has now tailored its top-shelf belts to suit portable and benchtop belt sanders.

Possessing a hardness second only to diamonds, ceramic abrasive is the best choice for hogging off stock, roughing out shapes, removing finishes, and leveling uneven boards. Compared to other super-hard abrasives that can glaze or round over, this ceramic is designed to fracture in order to expose fresh cutting edges. In addition to maintaining an aggressive cutting action through the life of the belt, this carefully controlled break-down reduces the chance that a rogue grain might remain and gouge deep scratches in your almost-finished surface.

Ceramic doesn’t come cheap. Red Heat belts cost about three times more than aluminum oxide belts; however, they last about five times longer than the competition.

158680, $4.99-29.99

Tester: Brian Renner

Anti-Microbial  Dust Mask

Multi-use mask

Anti-Microbial Dust Mask

Like safety glasses, a good mask–one that you’ll regularly use–must be functional and comfortable. This cloth mask accomplishes both requirements at a surprisingly nice price (and since it’s washable, it will save more money the longer it’s used). These masks have been lab tested to effectively filter out fine shop particulates and dust (1.0+ microns), pollens (6.0+ microns), and even mold (1.0+ microns). What’s more, with the ability to capture bacteria (down to .35+ microns) and germs (4.0+ microns), it can provide extra defense during the cold and flu seasons.

#155437, $14.99

Tester: Kent Harpool

Touch-Up Solutions  Stain and Finish Pens

Furniture fixers

Touch-Up Solutions Stain and Finish Pens

Here’s the best finishing solution that you may never see in your shop. Stain pens offer a simple on-site solution for the scratches that come with life–without the hassle or mess associated with cans, brushes, or spraying. With 12 colors to choose from (see, you’ll likely find a close match, or you can mix several colors to make a perfect patch. Once you’ve colored the scratch, finish it off with a dab of clear finish using one of Touch-Up's lacquer pens.

#158304-158344, $6.99

Tester:  Kent Harpool


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