Hot New Tools: Issue 41

Pinned to perfection

Porter-Cable 23-Gauge 13⁄8" Pin Nailer

I bought a 23-gauge pin nailer for installing trim work in my house, but soon discovered that it was equally handy in the workshop. The same no-see-um sized fasteners that could attach delicate moldings without splitting the wood could also assemble jigs and tack together project parts more quickly than with glue and clamps.

The only disadvantage to these staple-thin fasteners is that “easy in” also means “easy off”; headless pins offer little holding power. But now, instead of switching to a larger 18-gauge brad nailer, Porter-Cable’s new pinner gives me the option of loading a clip of “slight-head” brads. As you can see in the photo at right, these brad heads aren’t much larger than the headless pins, but the tips provide more holding power.

The bargain-priced gun has other features found in premium pinners, such as an oil-free/no-maintenance firing mechanism, a non-marring tip, a nail-viewing port, and a magazine that automatically adjusts when swapping pin lengths. My favorite feature is the dry-fire lockout because it prevents me from thinking that I’m firing pins when the magazine’s empty.

#848280  $129.99
Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

A little dab’ll do wonders

Lin-Speed Gunstock Oil

Think boiled linseed oil at its best. Lin-Speed imparts color and depth, but unlike the stuff that comes in quart-sized cans, this highly refined oil cures fast and hard, thanks to a special catalyst. The manufacturer wouldn’t discuss the ingredients, but pointed to Lin-Speed’s long history in the field. Gunsmiths have been using this finish on stocks and grips for half a century. Based on its resistance to water, gun and hand oils, even metal cleaners, it’s more than suitable for all sorts of small shop projects, including pens and tool handles.

Application couldn’t be simpler: wipe the honey-thick oil on with your fingertip, rub it in with your palm, wait a few minutes, and then wipe off any excess with a rag. The next coat can be applied in 3 to 6 hours. According the manufacturer, the oil may require 7 to 10 days to fully cure, but when I applied three coats, the samples were tack-free by the second day.

As the small-sized container suggests, freshness counts. If the oil starts to thicken in the container, it may not cure like it should. Once opened, storing the container lid-side down will help keep air from prematurely curing the contents within.

#152935  $9.99
Tester: Kent Harpool

Stone-simple sharpeners

Deulen 6" and 12" Jointer/Planer Knife Sharpeners

Even those woodworkers who sharpen plane blades and chisels religiously have a blind spot when it comes to planer and jointer knives. They’re reluctant to get them sharpened until it’s long overdue.

The Deulen makes honing planer and jointer knives almost as easy as the other blades in your shop. To use, set the blades in the jig and then run the edges against sandpaper affixed to glass. The process only requires about 10 strokes per sheet. After running a set of dull jointer knives through a sequence of grits up to 400, the resulting edges were shaving sharp.

The 6" and 12" jigs consist of a pair of brass blade-holding tracks inset into hardwood handles. The 6" jig can hold a pair of 8" knives, or by putting two knives in one track, three 6-inchers. To sharpen three 8" knives, you’ll need to alternate the knives as you work through the grits. This is demonstrated in a DVD that comes with the jig.

(Note: Following the inventor’s suggestion, I restored the edges on a set of disposable knives for my Delta planer. The manufacturers don’t recommend honing disposables, but per Dan Deulen, the blades can be touched up several times.)

#152867  6" Jig  $49.99
#152868  12" Jig  $89.99
Tester: Kent Harpool

Smarter clamps

Bessey Auto-Adjust Toggles

Toggle clamps are as much a part of jigs and fixtures as MDF, Baltic birch, and glue. These hold-downs securely fasten stock where fingers fear to tread. Woodworkers have learned to accept certain toggle shortcomings, such as the inability to apply consistent pressure to different thicknesses without adding shims or fiddling with the soft rubber foot.

Bessey’s auto-adjust toggles provide even pressure to a range of stock thicknesses—from paper-thin veneer to a 11⁄2"-thick stock—without adjustment. (Without treading on any trademarks, the clamping mechanism is similar to the vise-like grip offered by adjustable pliers.) The toggles sport thread-adjusted pads, but they are used for one-time adjustments, such as when setting a clamp on a mounting block. Once set, a few quick turns of the adjustment screw adjusts the clamping pressure from 25 to 550 pounds.

You may not need adjustability for all jigs, but considering that these new toggles are priced on par with standard toggles, you may want to upgrade your most used jigs or add a few to your jig and fixture tool chest for future applications.

#152928  horizontal low  $19.99
#152929  horizontal high  $20.99
#152930  inline toggle  $21.99
Tester: Brian Renner

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