If you're considering buying a miter saw stand, or a rolling base for one of your woodworking machines, Affinity Tool Works may have your needs covered with a variety of product options. In fact, Affinity is an umbrella of brands providing a wide range of clamping, sharpening, cutting and drilling tools, plus miter saw stands and tool bases.
Until recently, I wasn't familiar with the company or its product options, so Todd Gluski, Affinity's brand manager, brought me up to speed.
Affinity Tool Works was founded eight years ago by Mike Ursell, who's served key positions for a number of tool-oriented companies, including HTC Products. Ursell's goal for the Troy, Michigan-based Affinity, Gluski says, is "to provide professional tool solutions that are designed to increase productivity, simplify complex tasks and provide increased efficiency on projects."
Maybe you know about BORA® Tools, and BORA Clamp Edges, in particular. BORA was a principal brand that helped launch Affinity back in 2006. BORA's Clamp Edges are 24-, 36- or 50-in.-long aluminum straightedges that can be clamped to sheet goods or other wide workpieces for guiding a router, circular saw or jigsaw. The Clamp Edges have a swivel-head design that will firmly clamp angles up to 22.5 degrees, and they lock in place without tools. Gluski says the Clamp Edges are the best-selling products within the BORA tool family and also are his personal favorites. "I'm a very poor craftsman, and our Clamp Edges help me keep my cuts straight."
BORA's product offerings also include spring and bar clamps, as well as various measuring and marking hand tools. Numerous metal-care products by BORA can help you hone edges, clean blades and bits, remove rust or wax and polish your tools.
About two years ago, Affinity acquired Port-a-Mate® and HTC Products to help expand the company's product offerings more broadly into power tool accessories. There are some 18 different Port-a-Mate products that focus primarily on workpiece support, lumber storage and portable workstations. Folding sawhorses, including an auto-clamping version, are available, plus freestanding rollers for use behind planers and table saws or underneath a drill press table.
Port-a-Mate provides four different portable workstations for miter saws, and Gluski is particularly excited about the PM-7500 model, just launched in January. The aluminum stand comes with a pair of universal tool mounts, which can be secured to miter saws as well as benchtop planers, band saws, or scroll saws. Two pull-out "wings" with rollers expand it from 49 in. long to 8 ft., for supporting long workpieces. Fold-out legs lock in position in sawhorse fashion, or you can fold them up and roll the stand to its next location on a pair of 6-in. wheels. "The PM-7500 also has all the bells and whistles of our PM-7000 model: a built-in power strip, removable LED task light and a storage compartment," Gluski adds.
If you have a black rolling base under your table saw, band saw or jointer, and you bought it separately from the machine, chances are it has an HTC Products logo on it. HTC, which formerly was located in Troy, Michigan, was bought by Affinity two years ago. The brand offers many variations of mobile base solutions, either welded in a fixed size for specific machines or as universal bolt-together kits that can suit a range of machine base sizes. Among them is the HTC-2000 Adjustable Universal Mobile Base, which can be adapted to any machine footprint measuring up to 36 x 36 inches, or 20 x 52 inches. Gluski says this model is Affinity's best-seller in the HTC line, "and with its ease of use and 500 lb. capacity, it's ideal for the average woodworking shop's needs."
Affinity is also the exclusive U.S. distributor for both the Fisch® and Tormek® brands. Fisch encompasses an extensive line of high-quality drill bits, countersinks, plug cutters, Forstner bits and hollow-chisel mortiser bits. Tormek's slow-speed, wet-grinding sharpeners are well-known within the woodworking community for bringing keen edges to all manner of bladed hand tools and jointer and planer knives. Gluski sees both of these brands as good opportunities to expand Affinity's penetration into the professional trades market, while also serving woodworkers and DIYers.
Todd wouldn't divulge specifics about new products coming to market soon, but he did say that five new items are in development in the Port-a-Mate and BORA lines and should be available in the next year and a half. But he assured that growth across the brands is certain.
"Since our beginning, we have brought quality products to the marketplace. With our owned brands of Port-a-Mate, HTC and BORA Tools, we will definitely continue to improve upon and innovate our product line. We also will continue to engage in exclusive distributorships like we currently have with Tormek and Fisch, increasing the number of quality offerings we bring to our customers."
To learn more about Affinity Tool Works, click here.