Hot New Tools: Issue 95

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This article is from Issue 95 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Triton - 450W Oscillating Spindle and Belt Sander #170035, $234.99

Sander for the space-starved and budget-conscious woodworker

Triton Oscillating Spindle and Belt Sander, TSPST 450

Overview

  • 3.5 amp motor
  • 2000 rpm spindle
  • 480 rpm belt
  • 58 opm
  • Spindle drums: 2" 11⁄2" 1" 3⁄4" 1⁄2"
  • Belt size: 4 × 24"
  • 11⁄2" dust port, side-mounted
  • Table size: 17 × 16
  • Tilted size: 8 × 16"

Triton’s newest benchtop sander offers two capable sanders in one convenient, clever package. It’s essentially an oscillating spindle sander with the added functionality of a small, stationary belt sander. And because the 4 × 24" belt sander attachment mounts to the same drive shaft as the spindle, the belt oscillates as it runs, a feature not found on a typical belt sander. In addition to the belt, the unit includes the necessary drums and five 80-grit sanding sleeves.

Switching from spindle to belt mode is a simple matter. Unscrew the spindle nut with the supplied wrench and remove the spindle washer that holds the drum. Slide the drum off the shaft and replace it in the onboard rack. Remove the matching slotted throat plate and the table insert. Drop the belt attachment on the spindle shaft, place its washer, tighten the knob and you’re ready to sand.

The TSPST 450 is completely self-contained; no extra tools required. All the necessary parts come in the box and store on the machine. And at under 30 lbs., it’s light enough to tuck out of the way when not in use. When it is in use, the 3.5 amp motor provides plenty of power.

The cast aluminum table splits in half with the front portion tilting down for angled sanding. Protractor-style trunnions on the sides allow any angle (between 0° and 45°) by tightening their knobs. The right trunnion features indents at 15°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45° that snap onto a metal switch mounted to the base.

A 1-1/2" dust port under the table works better in spindle mode than belt sander mode. But then again, belt sanding throws much more dust. (Always wear a mask and use an air filtration system in addition to your at-source collection when sanding.) Suction through the finger hole for the table insert made sanding thinner plywood pieces a little challenging. As you’ve probably experienced, it takes only a brief pause to introduce a divot. This wasn’t a concern with thicker workpieces.

On the whole, this compact machine is great for rough sanding and shaping. If your space is tight and your wallet light, consider this neat, nifty package that’s easy and fun to use.

—Tester, Chad McClung

Available at leightools.com, but look for the Leigh TD330 on Woodcraft shelves soon.

Dead Simple Dovetails

Leigh TD330 Through Dovetail Jig

Overview

  • Through dovetails only
  • Comes with 8° dovetail bit, 1⁄2" straight bit, and Leigh’s e10 Elliptical Guide Bushing
  • Accommodates boards from 11⁄8" to 127⁄8" wide and 1⁄8" to 13⁄16" thick
  • Can join boards of different thicknesses

For many woodworkers, cutting a perfect through dovetail joint is a rite of passage. Now, for an investment of about a hundred dollars and a couple of hours, even a budding woodworker can show off their dovetail skills to friends and family. Canadian toolmaker Leigh Tools makes it stone simple with their new through dovetail jig.

Veteran woodworkers will find a lot to like, too. Leigh provides a through dovetail template, the necessary bits and bushing, and a couple of stops - everything you need except for a couple of minor items: some clamps and a simple shop-made MDF beam. Some assembly is required, but it’s easy to do and goes a long way in helping you understand how the jig works. To start, fasten a test board in your vise, and clamp the jig to the board’s end. Rout the tails first, setting a stop for repeatability. Then unclamp the jig, but leave the tailboard in the vise. Now, fit the template’s pins into the tailboard’s pin sockets and set the pin stop. Clamp the jig to a second test board, and rout the pins and check the fit.

If your setup is a little off, Leigh’s innovative “ebushing” can tighten or loosen the fit of your joint by a thousandth of an inch at a time. This special widget is elliptical, unlike a typical round bushing. Rotating it subtly changes the relationship of the bit to the template, affecting the fit. You can also use the jig (and ebushing) at the router table.

To say something is dead simple is usually an overstatement. But in this case, it may actually be an understatement. This jig has no knobs or clamps to figure out or confusing ways to mount boards. You can’t change the dovetail spacing and are limited to boards under 13" wide. But what the TD330 lacks in versatility it more than makes up for in value. Its low cost, ease-of-use, and simple setup are hard to ignore. 

—Tester, Chad McClung

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