Hot New Tools: Issue 59

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This article is from Issue 59 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Okada Japanese F Series

Handsaw guide with all the angles

Okada Japanese F Series Guide and Saw

Capable of cutting narrow frames, thick 4×4 posts, and wide panels, the Okada F Series Guide packs features you’d find in a frame shop miter box into a gizmo that fits into your toolbox. To use, set and lock the miter and bevel angles, check your settings with the dummy blade, insert the handsaw, and start cutting. The blade-hugging guide rotates 45° left and right for miters and tilts 45° in both directions for bevels. (The base can be reassembled to accommodate lefties.) The guide comes with a baseplate, two guide bars (for short and long cuts), a hex wrench, and a swing-arm protractor. If you don’t always have access to a power mitersaw–or simply prefer to work unplugged–this guide can help you make the cut.

You may be able to use your own kataba (backless) pull saw, but the Okada Life Saw (sold separately) pairs nicely with the guide. The 14 tpi flush-cutting pull saw cuts fast, tracks straight, and cuts cleanly. (The pistol grip and impulse hardened teeth make it a nice saw for general shop use, even if you don’t get the guide.)

#158870, Saw Guide, $59.99

#158872, Saw, $24.99

Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

OptiGrind 8" × 1" CBN Grinding Wheel

Cool, long-running wheel

OptiGrind 8" × 1" CBN Grinding Wheel for 8" Slow-Speed Grinders

You’ll never see cubic boron nitride (CBN) set in an engagement ring, but woodworkers might have a new best friend. Although it’s slightly softer than its crystalline cousin, CBN ranks alongside diamond as a “super abrasive” in the machining industry and has an edge when grinding steel. Despite claims that diamonds last forever, using them for high-speed grinding of steel strips carbon atoms from them, creating carbides that can clog a wheel and eventually erode the grit. In contrast, CBN has no carbon atoms that can interact with steel.

The wheel isn’t cheap. However,  unlike standard abrasive wheels, the machined steel plate never requires dressing, and neither the wheel nor coating will break or fracture. Because the steel wheel works like a heat sink, there’s very little chance of overheating a tool. In addition, the CBN coating extends 3⁄4" down one side of the wheel for side-wheel grinding. The 170/200-grit coating cuts quickly, but leaves a surprisingly decent edge. Planes and chisels will require final honing, but turners can go from the wheel to their work.

#159099A, $195.99

Tester: Kent Harpool

Retractable Carpenter’s Crayons (Sumitsuke)

Make (and see) your mark

Retractable Carpenter’s Crayons (Sumitsuke)

No disrespect to the standard No. 2, but pencil marks are difficult to 

discern on dark woods and are just so-so for marking smooth surfaces. From Japan Woodworker, these 4mm (5⁄32")-diameter mechanical crayons leave easy-to-read lines on dark woods like ebony and walnut. Although too wide for laying out fine cutlines, the soft, colored “lead” leaves a smudge- resistant, waterproof mark. Besides their clear advantage for roughing out and labelling parts in process, they are great for marking metal, glass, plastic, and wet stock.

Fluorescent yellow, #156362, $6.00
White, #156483, $6.00
Red, #156048, $6.00
Fluorescent pink, #156410, $6.00

Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Available at Japan Woodworker,


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