Hot New Tools: Issue 96Comments (0)
This article is from Issue 96 of Woodcraft Magazine.
On the cutting edge
Bora Portamate NGX Clamp Edge, T-Square, and Saw Plate
- Heavy-gauge rigid aluminum
- Integral clamping
- Can guide from 24" to 100" with accessories
- Works with most circular saws
- Plastic strip reduces tearout
- Locking T-square
Bora Portamate 50" NGX Clamp Edge #172822, $64.99
Premium Saw Plate for NGX Clamp Edge #172825, $59.99T
-Square for NGX Clamp Edge #172826, $29.99
Bora Portamate has introduced a new power tool edge guide, along with a line of accompanying accessories. At the heart of the NGX system is the Clamp Edge – available in 24", 36", and 50" lengths. This next-generation straightedge is a thicker, more rigid extruded aluminum guide with less deflection than the WTX model it replaces. Another improvement is that the moveable jaw is also the locking jaw, making for quicker, easier set-up.
Add-ons include a Saw Plate for circular saws, a T-square attachment designed to square cuts automatically, and an easy-to-attach 50" extension for ripping full sheets of plywood. The new accessories aren’t compatible with the old WTX Clamp Edge, however most of the WTX add-ons including the Router and Jigsaw guides and the Track Clamps will work with the new system.
Using the Clamp Edge couldn’t be easier, but some setup is involved. First, fit your circular saw to the Saw Plate. The new, sturdier plastic plate accommodates most right- or left-handed circ saws. Aluminum T-tracks adjust to align your saw in the proper position, and cam locks slide as needed to clamp your saw’s base plate in place. It took some finagling to position the cams to clear my Hitachi’s motor, depth, and bevel adjustments, but once the saw was in, it stayed there. The Saw Plate’s wide bottom groove fits snugly astride the Clamp Edge, and the assembly glides smoothly. It comes with a Non-chip Strip that combats tearout. This plastic strip adheres to the underside of the Clamp Edge, and is trimmed to size with an initial cut made on scrap. After that, you align the strip with your workpiece cut line to set up the cut. To avoid compromising the strip when making beveled cuts, reverse the plate so that you’re cutting along the opposite side of the Clamp Edge.
The T-square attachment is simply a separate length of aluminum that securely attaches to one end of the Clamp Edge to convert it into a T-square. However, to make through cuts, it must be slid entirely to one side, essentially creating a big framing square. Unfortunately, the weight of that cantilevered “leg” tilts the entire assembly, making for an awkward setup. I found that it was easy enough to set up square cuts without using the T-square attachment.
Despite that annoyance, this tool does its core job well. In addition, the ability to guide multiple tools with this robust system is a solid plus in its favor. If you break down a lot of sheet goods and are interested in the world of entry-level track saw systems, look no further. n
—Tester, Chad McClung
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