Hot New tools: Issue 64Comments (0)
Finger-saving saw that’s ready to roll
SawStop Jobsite Tablesaw
SawStop’s newest saw may primarily be aimed at jobsite carpenters, but there are lots of reasons that small shop woodworkers should be eyeing it too. The first ten you can count on your hands, since this saw includes SawStop’s famous finger-saving blade-brake technology. But this tool’s features go way beyond that, especially when compared to many other portable tablesaws. For example, most other saws require 20+ rotations to raise or lower the blade, while this one does it in a single turn of the handwheel. Adjusting the bevel angle is just as easy. Simply squeeze the paddle behind the handwheel, tilt the blade, release the paddle, and then fine-tune the angle with the MicroTilt wheel. The Jobsite sports a solid-locking T-Glide rip fence and a rail-guided extension table that slides out to support rips up to 251⁄2" to the right of the blade. The included low profile blade guard increases visibility and helps protect against kickback. For non-through cuts, you can switch-in the riving knife with the flip of a lever.
Innovation doesn’t stop at the top. The blade shroud maximizes the dust-collecting abilities of any shop vac, and the built-in drawer keeps parts close at hand. Finally, the pedal-activated stand folds and unfolds easily, while the large wheels allow easy navigation on almost any terrain.
Because wet contruction stock can trigger the brake, the operator can “ask” the saw if questionable material is too conductive by simply touching the wood to the blade. Lights on the saw’s front will indicate if the material requires the no-brake bypass mode.
This saw isn’t inexpensive, but its features (including the blade brake) all add up to a smart investment for any carpenter, DIY enthusiast, or small-shop woodworker.
Tester: Andew Bondi
Do-it-all dust buster
Oneida Dust Cobra
Although this portable dust collector was designed primarily for floor refinishers, woodworkers will soon discover how well Oneida’s compact cyclone can meet a variety of needs in a small woodshop. With its tiny 20 × 20" footprint and short 52" stature, the Cobra weighs in between a high-end shop vacuum and a typical dust collector. This makes it a viable solution for woodworkers who might need both dust- and chip-collecting machines, but can only afford one.
According to its specs, this pint-sized cyclone provides twice the suction of premium dust extractors (23" of static pressure). Although the overall airflow (245CFM) is about half that of full-sized dust collectors, I found that the Cobra could handle any dust- or chip-making machine in the shop. Perhaps the only disadvantage is the 17-gallon steel drum. Although it is considerably larger than most shop vac containers, you’ll be using this machine so frequently that you may wish it had larger capacity.
#159240, $899.99 (drum level indicator, hose, & wheels sold separately)
Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk
Mighty midi Rikon 70-220VSR
The ever-growing number of midi-class lathes suggests that woodworkers are interested in ambitious turning projects. However, larger motors and the expansive list of features on midi lathes have also resulted in higher prices. For this reason, many entry-level turners settle for a smaller 1⁄2 HP mini lathe or patiently save up for a full-sized lathe. If you have grown tired of waiting to turn and don’t want to get stuck turning only pens and ring boxes, you need to check out the Rikon 70-220VSR.
Despite a footprint that’s only slightly larger than a mini, this affordable midi lathe sports the same features found on the best (and most expensive) lathes in its category. With its 121⁄2" swing, stout 1" tool post, and 1-HP motor, the Rikon is fully capable of tackling good-sized bowls. The digital-readout speed control allows dialing in variable rpm ranges of 250-750, 550-1650, and 1300-3850.
Like other top-shelf lathes, this one can run in reverse for finish sanding. The 20" center-to-center turning capacity can be increased with an optional bed extension.
Tester: Andrew Bondi
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