While some try to dodge the rising temperatures of Florida in June, associate editor Joanna Werch Takes and I spent three days on the Gulf Coast last week with other woodworking editors to get a sneak preview of Craftsman’s new woodworking tools. This year marks Craftsman’s 77th anniversary, and Sears is celebrating with some hot new products worth getting excited about. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming.
A Trio of Heavy-duty Table Saws
If this is the year to buy a cabinet saw or one of those new hybrids, don’t write that check without first giving three new 10″ saws from Craftsman a closer look. Craftsman is clearly after the professional user here. All these saws feature steel cabinets, cast-iron tables and TEFC induction motors in the 1-1/2 or 1-3/4 HP ranges with poly V-drive belts.Unlike contractor’s saws of the past, these saws have enclosed motors to boost dust collection efficiency and reduce machine storage space (4″ dust ports are standard on the mid-priced and Professional models).
Oversized cast-iron trunnions, which bolt to the base like cabinet saws, should keep blade vibration to a minimum and improve cutting accuracy. Each saw comes with a precision rip fence and left-tilting arbor. The flagship Professional model sports a Biesemeyer Commercial T-Square Fence, folding outfeed support and a German-made Leitz variable-pitch saw blade as standard features. These sweet saws (models 22104, 22114 and 22124) are available now in prices ranging from $530 to $950.
Other Hot New Tools
Table saws weren’t the only show stealers. We also previewed a 2.25 HP, variable speed fixed- and plunge-base router kit with above-the-table bit height adjustment (model 26620, $220). Craftsman partnered with Bosch here, and these machines look like Bosch 1617EVS routers, which have been bulletproof performers on the router scene for years.
More machines are cropping up with lasers every year. Craftsman unveiled new 10″ and 12″ compound miter saws and a 12″ slider-all with laser guides (models 21254, 21215 and 21206, priced at $200-$600). Lasers on the non-sliding saws are adjustable and project dual-view beams that illuminate both miter and bevel angles on workpieces. The sliding miter saw has a single-beam laser and front-mounted miter and bevel-tilt controls for added convenience. All three should hit Sears stores and the web site this August. If you’ve always wanted laser crosshairs on your drill press, Craftsman’s 15″ Laser Trac” drill press (model 22925, $320) may be just what you’re looking for.
Other tools that caught our eye include Craftsman’s Professional 6″ Variable Speed Tilting Arm Scroll Saw with impeller-assisted dust collection (model 22436, $270). It comes with a 2/5 HP induction motor and 14 x 23 1/2″ worktable. This saw accepts standard pin-style blades. For large panel-sanding jobs, check out Craftsman’s redesigned 18″ Professional Drum Sander (model 21568, $700) with onboard dust collection. The machine will sand workpieces up to 36″ wide and 5″ thick and draw the sanding dust into a plastic waste bag or 30-gallon garbage can. Its bottom conveyor belt has an adjustable feed rate of 2 to 12 fpm. The 4″ diameter internal sanding drum accepts sanding rolls from 50 to 220 grit.
For more information on these and dozens of other new Craftsman tools, visit www.craftsman.com or your local Sears store. Many are also available in the 2004-2005 Craftsman Power and Hand Tools catalog.