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EXCLUSIVE Tool Test
WoodRiver® #62 Low Angle Jack Plane
For the uninitiated, the new WoodRiver #62 low angle jack plane’s unique design deserves special introduction. Based on a bench plane Stanley introduced in 1905, this 21⁄2"-wide, 14"-long tool resembles a #5 (or jack) plane. However, upon closer inspection, its bevel-up blade, adjustable mouth, and lack of a chipbreaker more closely reflect block plane design. Stanley marketed this misfit as a plane for smoothing end grain (and it’s a nice tool for the job), but today’s users have found that they can expand its capability. By grinding a blade to a higher angle (38°-50°) and reducing the mouth opening, woodworkers find that this tool will tackle the gnarliest woods without tear-out. If you’re willing to experiment with blade angles and invest in a few extra blades, this plane may become your go-to smoother.
Modern machining and materials give this plane the edge over its predecessors. I was delighted to discover that the sole and back of the blade are dead flat. Within minutes after taking it out of the box, I had honed the edge and was able to put it to work. Considering that a decent antique will cost you at least $300 (if you can find one), this reboot is a real bargain.
#158756, 25° bevel blade, $19.99
#158757, 40° bevel blade, $19.99
Tester: Craig Bentzley
Stacking, self-sticking setup blocks
FastCap Mag Shims
Setup blocks and bars offer a no-squint solution for setting blades and bits–as long as they’re there when you need them. FastCap’s magnetic shims not only stick to each other (freeing up a hand to adjust the machine), but also cling to metal machinery to ensure that they are always close at hand. The set includes eight 1⁄8" plastic shims and two 1⁄16" metal shims.
Tester: Peter Collins
In my humble opinion, a woodworker with a pristine shop is not to be trusted. That said, most shops could benefit from a light spring cleaning. This accessory set will help your shop vac get the dust that’s gumming up the gears of your most-used machinery or that is simply driving you nuts. The set comes with two hose adaptors, four sections of vinyl tubing ranging from 1⁄4 – 5⁄8", and a piece of rigid tubing. The tubing can be used separately, or linked together to form a long tapered nozzle.
Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk
Step-saving assembly station
General Tools Professional Face Frame System X2
The Professional Face Frame Jig System from General Tools & Instruments has everything you need to create your own pocket-hole assembly station for fast, precise drilling and assembly of cabinet face frames and other assemblies. Unlike other pocket-hole jigs, the X2’s guides clamp both halves to the joint. By aligning and clamping both pieces, you can drill the pocket holes and then drive the screws before removing the parts from your bench.
The guides can handle stock from 11⁄4" to 21⁄2" wide and thicknesses from 3⁄4" to 1". Unlike other fixed-guide jigs, the spacing between the holes can be adjusted from 3⁄4" to 11⁄2" for maximum joint strength.
The parts for the system are available individually, but the X2 Kit offers the best bang for the buck. This set includes two face-frame drilling guides and jig stops, two 20" pieces of HD T-tracks, a step drill with collar, a driver bit, and 100 pocket-hole screws.
Tester: Peter Collins
EWT Mid-Size Easy Parting Tool
Easy Wood Tools has added a parting tool to round out it's turning tool arsenal. Like all EWT tools, using the tool couldn’t be easier; simply advance the Easy Parting Tool slowly into the workpiece, and begin cutting. Maximum part-off diameter is 4". Unlike other screw-on carbide cutters, the Easy Parting Tool’s 1⁄8"-wide carbide cutter slides into a stopped pocket in the end of the tool’s shaft. Installing and removing the friction-fit cutter is accomplished by way of a Flex Key. The key has a pair of protruding pins that engage a hole in the shaft and either the insert’s tip (to press it in place) or the back edge (to pop it free). During installation, the key is designed to flex to indicate that the correct installation force has been applied. While in use, cutting pressure nests the insert even more tightly into the tool.
Tester: Ben Bice
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