Hot New Tools: Issue 52

Wipe. Buff. Done.

Odie’s Oil Clear

Few finishing labels could honestly include “easy,” “fast,” and “safe,” with “lustrous” and “long-lasting” on one label, until now. A blend of food-safe oils and waxes, Odie’s oil is perfectly suited for cutting boards and salad bowls, but the product’s applications extend far past the kitchen. Odie’s has a commercial track record as a finish for floors, countertops, and cabinets. And because it contains UV inhibitors, Odie’s has also been used to finish doors, decks, gates, and even boats. Turners will appreciate the finish’s unique ability to penetrate and fill wood pores, thereby stabilizing wet wood and resisting checking.

Using it couldn’t be simpler: wipe it on, wait a half hour, then buff it off. At room temperature the finish has a honey-like consistency. Heating the jar in warm water, or leaving it in the sun, makes it easier to apply, and improves absorption. The finished item can be handled almost immediately, and is ready for direct food contact in three days.

Don’t let the small jar fool you. Since it’s solvent-free, a little Odie’s Oil goes a long way. The manufacturer claims an ounce can cover 20 square feet (about 20 times more coverage than other finishes).

#157861 (2 oz.) $11.99
#856038 (9 oz.) $27.99

Tester: Kent Harpool


Chappell Universal Center and Gauging Squares

After building timber frame structures for more than 35 years, Steve Chappell designed a square for builders like him. The result: a line of 13-gauge 304 stainless steel squares guaranteed to be square within .003" over the length of the tongue and blade. The squares feature crisp machined edges for precise layouts and deeply etched, black-filled markings for legibility.

The large and medium squares have center rules on the leg and blade. This is handy for determining a center point, and laying out joints. The smaller gauging square lacks a center rule, but is nicely sized for laying out joints and setting machinery.

#158214, 12 × 9" Center Square, $49.99
#158215, 9 × 6" Center Square, $34.99
#158216, 4 × 3"  Gauging Square, $24.99

Tester: George Snyder

Hold it right there

Jorgensen Casework Claw Clamp

If you accept the notion that most woodworking is about making boxes, then any accessory that makes holding and handling boxes easier is worth adding to the arsenal. Jorgensen’s two-screw clamp excels at aligning and holding big boxes (namely, frameless cases) for installation. Having recently tackled a cabinet installation project, I found that the pair of clamps was better at positioning the boxes than my flesh-and-blood assistant. (The manufacturer claims that the clamps can hold panels together at 90° for case assembly. This is true, but the clamp heads need to be carefully positioned to draw the corner together.) The magnesium jaws have a maximum opening capacity of 15⁄8" and a load limit of 500 lbs. Two clamps per set.

#154636, $89.99

Tester: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Tight-Spot Sanders


The teardrop shape of these tools brings another (trademarked) product to mind, but unlike their cotton-tipped cousins, Sandits have serious grit. These 6"-long sticks are tipped with 120- or 180-grit aluminum oxide. These disposable swabs are ideally suited for a host of sanding and cleaning chores, but don’t even think of using them in your ears. A 10-swab pack contains five 120- and five 180-grit sticks.

#158250, $6.99

Tester: Brian Renne

Pocket-Sized Drill Press

Big Gator Tools V-Drill Guide

Considering that drilling guides pre-date electric handheld drills, it’s unusual to find anything new, but this tool is just that. This 8"-long hardened-steel guide keeps bits from wandering and ensures perpendicular holes in both round and flat stock. To use, line up the centering lines on the sides with your layout lines, clamp, and drill.

The standard guide has 17 holes, from 1⁄8" – 3⁄8" in 1⁄64" increments. The metric guide has 17 holes ranging from 3-6.8mm.

#154758, standard, $24.90, #154759, metric, $24.90

Tester: Peter Collins

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