Product Review: Pinnacle Honing Guide and Woodpeckers L.E. Router Tables

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This article is from Issue 15 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Pinnacle Honing Guide

No matter the abrasive medium, you’ll get the sharpest edge possible with surprising accuracy and ease.

By Kent Harpool

Most of us have at one time or another struggled to get a chisel or plane blade razor sharp at just the right angle. The numerous sharpening jigs on the market all claim to help you do just what else is new? The Pinnacle Honing Guide is what’s new.  You’ll get perfect results first and every time, it’s easy to set up and use, it works with oil or water stones, diamond or ceramic, and even the Scary Sharp system. 

Firm hold for precise sharpening 

The guide is comprized of a sled and a set of rails.  The sled’s primary function is to firmly hold the tool at one of six preset primary bevel angles (15˚, 20˚, 25˚, 30˚, 35˚, and 40˚) while at the same time not permitting any roll or yaw (rounded corners).  Unlike conventional guides, it won’t allow oversharpening which changes the actual angle of you tool.  You never have to worry about a distorted bevel again.  Set 20˚ on the sled, put in your blade, and 20˚ is what you get.  There are also six +2˚ secondary bevel positions for creating micro bevel edges.  It is possible to use the sled by itself, without the rails, with honing film lying on a granite or glass surface plate.  

Rail system attachs to virtually any stone 

The primary function of the sled doesn’t change whether used by itself or with the rails.  However, the rails permit the use of almost any bench stone from a 180-grit fine India to an 8000-grit Japanese water stone. The other major advantage to the rails is that with them yoiu can use almost all of the stone’s surface, something that’s impossible with your average sharpening guide.  

For a super sharp edge, I recommend the Pinnacle Honing Plate and Honing Film.  These sheets of very fine abrasive paper (.3 to 15 microns) will take the sharpness of your tools to a level you’ve never experienced before. 

The beauty of the Pinnacle Honing Guide is its accuracy, repeatability and versatility. Whatever sharpening medium you prefer, the Pinnacle Honing Guide will enable you to obtain the sharpest edge possible with surprizing accuracy and ease. 

Woodpeckers L.E. Router Tables

Two new router tables that offer stability, convenience and great value in an efficient work center.

By Peter Collins

Why did woodcraft ask me to review these router tables? It must have something to do with the fact that I own over a dozen routers and four router tables. Passionate? Yes, but I’m looking for practicality and functionality. If I’m going to use a tool it has to work right and perform the job it was designed to do. If it doesn’t, it gets tossed.

When choosing a router table there are basically two main features to consider: the insert plate and the fence. These two aspects of the Woodpeckers L.E. Router Table line are well defined and certainly as good as if not better than a majority of the units available to woodworkers today.

More than just a fence 

The L.E. Router Table Fence from Woodpeckers is much more than an improved version of a shop-built fence. Several distinct features enable this fence to take on the challenge of shaping wood by providing much more than just acting as a straight guide past a router bit. The first thing you’ll notice is the tool-free adjustment of the sub-fences for a close fit around the bit opening and the laser engraved scales for bit height and fence position. The smooth face of the melamine covered sub-fence provides a low friction surface on both the in-feed and out-feed sides. There are even two cleverly designed shims to allow the fence to function as a jointer. 

Unique fence components

The L.E. Router Table Fence has leveling screws on either side of the clamping knobs. These nylon screws allow you to set the fence so that it is “dead-square” to the table surface.

I was most impressed with the dust collection system; while simple in construction it’s this kind of detail that makes the difference. The 21/2" dust port, which accommodates both standard dust collection hose as well as shop vacuum type fittings, is at just the right angle on the rear of the fence and includes ventilation slots machined into the collector housing to ensure that the system will carry waste material away even when the fence is completely covered with a tall board. 

Speaking of tall boards, if you have ever tried to use vertical panel-raising bits with a conventional router table fence you’ll certainly appreciate the 6" tall sub-fences that are available as an accessory. Besides doubling the feed area over the standard 3" sub-fences they also include an embedded T-track for attaching feather boards or other accessories to the fence. 

The l.e. fence has a low friction melamine surface and can be easily shimmed to function as a jointer.

Insert plate: just the basics 

The insert plate is certainly not the most important part of a router table; in fact, there are those that will argue as to whether a plate is even necessary. I believe that an insert plate will either expand the possibilities available to a router table or it will limit the table’s usefulness. Since there are so many different router mounting solutions available, I think that it’s important that the insert plate on your new router table be either the “end-all” of router accessories or leave an easy path for an upgrade. The insert plate that is included on the L.E. Router Tables is perfectly functional, but it’s clearly on the path for an upgrade. The plate is 9¼" x 11¾" which is nearly an industry standard and is constructed of a high-grade 3/8" thick phenolic. It is pre-drilled with a 2" bit hole and uses a Porter-Cable Model 690/890 mounting pattern. This pattern allows the plate to be bolted to a wide variety of manufacturers’ routers such as Porter-Cable, DeWalt, Bosch, Makita, and some Craftsman models. 

A phenolic insert plate with three interchangeable insert rings is available as an upgrade. Two hole patterns are available - the same PC 690/890 or the PC 7518. The latter choice will work with large Milwaukee and Triton routers too. There is also an eight piece phenolic insert ring set that combines with the three ring insert plate to provide a near “zero-clearance” bit set up.

Both the free-standing L.E. as well as the benchtop model utilize the same 9¼" x 11¾" CNC machined opening for the insert plate. Each has set screws for leveling the insert and spring-loaded ball plungers that keep the plate solidly seated in the table opening. This is a standard sized opening with a wide range of third party insert plates and bit height adjusting accessories available for you to choose from. 

benchtop model has convenient cutouts in the base that make it easy to securely clamp it to your workbench.

Two models: floor vs. benchtop 

The top surface on the floor model measures a very generous 32" wide, 24" front to back and is 13/8" thick. Construction consists of double-core MDF sandwiched between high-pressure laminate for a flat, stable surface that won’t transfer vibration from the router to the work surface even during the highest bit load. An anodized aluminum T-Miter Track allows you to use an optional miter gauge with a 3/4" x 3/8" miter bar. The cabinet-grade birch plywood base is 32" tall and includes a lower shelf for storage and added strength. There are even leveling feet on each corner to allow the user to stabilize the unit on uneven floors. 

The benchtop model has an ample work surface measuring 233/4" wide, 153/4" front to back and ¾" thick. The top is constructed of a cabinet-grade birch plywood core sandwiched between high-pressure laminate. Again the material for the stand is cabinet-grade birch plywood and measures 16" tall. There are convenient “D” shaped openings above the lower shelf to allow the user to clamp the unit to a workbench or free-standing table. Both router table stands feature cross-dowel and flange-bolt fasteners for ease of assembly and rigid support.

I found both models to be a pleasure to operate with plenty of clever design elements to make the best use of any router mounted inside. When you combine the versatility of the portable router with the stability and convenience that both of these router tables offer, an efficient work-center is created that is only limited by the user’s imagination.


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