As you know, we love to introduce you to small companies that offer niche products, but now and again we also like to peek in and see what the big boys are doing. This week I spoke with Chuck Hardin, the vice president of marketing for Delta and Porter Cable, to see what interesting new treats they have in store for us. It turns out there are quite a few. Omnijig® First up, on the Porter Cable side, is a newly designed dovetail jig that stands out from the myriad of other such jigs on the market. “This is the dovetail jig that does it all,” Chuck said proudly, “with adjustable finger templates for custom positioning and the capability of doing both dovetails and box joints in full size or miniature. On top of that, our jig is much easier to use than others, thanks to “set and forget” positioning stops. The positioning stops minimize the need for test cuts and offer repeatability across changing applications. That saves a ton of time. The stops come pre-set from the factory, but you can adjust them if you choose. There’s also a router bit depth gauge to simplify the task of setting the bit depth.” Nailers and Staplers “We’re also showing a new line of nailers and staplers” he continued. “The big innovation here is that our six new units have a maintenance free motor design. An oil-free motor reduces the possibility of work surface contamination and frees you from the need to ever have to oil it. Other features include a rear exhaust port, to circumvent the annoying exhaust blasts from a port on top of the tool; a tool-free drive depth feature with precise détentes; a tool-free adjustable belt clip; and a reload indicator so you never run out of fasteners at just the wrong time.” Low-Profile ROS “Our low profile random orbit sanders (ROS),” Chuck explained, “follow a whole new design concept. Essentially, they are electric sanders that handle more like an air sanders. Inside is a new ENDURATECH® motor technology using a brushless motor that is 31% shorter. That means a lower profile sander that puts your hand closer to the work surface, to give you increased control. The brushless motor has 71% fewer wearing parts, resulting in five to ten times longer tool life. We’ve also added electronic load control, to maintain the pad speed even when you push down on it, and electronic braking to shut off quickly when you stop. We find that the electronic load control results in 42% faster material remover, and for most of us, there’s nothing better than spending less time sanding.” Those are just the tools that have already been released; there’s even more to come. “In the second half of the year,” Chuck promised, “Porter Cable will be launching a new line of lithium ion cordless tools.” Drum Sander “Meanwhile, over on the Delta side,” Chuck continued, “there’s a new 18/36inch drum sander. It sports an 18-inch long drum on an open sided frame that allows you to sand up to a 36-inch wide board in two passes. A stronger, rigid OEC frame offers superior parallelism and stability, and there’s an oversized hand wheel for smooth and simple height setting and new micro adjustment gauges. A storage cabinet below both adds weight, to dampen vibration, and provides space for sandpaper storage.” Two New Dust Collectors “We’re also offering two new one horse dust collectors. One is fitted with a 1-micron bag with a patented integral halo support. The internal support prevents that annoying puff of dust in your shop that often occurs when you first turn on the dust collector. The other has a two micron pleated canister.” “Inside, a curved blade impellor produces maximum air velocity; in this case 650 cfm. That’s pretty impressive for a one horse motor. The whole collector has a smaller than normal footprint, and sits on four sturdy casters. That lets it move around easily instead of handling like a laundry cart. In spite of its small stature, the enclosed steel base is surprisingly stable.” Planer “When it comes time to surfacing wood,” said Chuck, “we’ve got a new fifteen-inch planer with a three horsepower motor. Oversized infeed and outfeed tables drop down to the side of the cabinet to save space when you are not planing. In the up position, the tables, fitted with eight rollers, provide smooth feed and virtually eliminate snipe. Below, the enclosed cabinet helps dampen vibration, and there’s a dust port that connects to either a four or five inch hose. Two feed speeds allow for both fast and fine cutting.” “There’s more to come in the DELTA line as well,” Chuck told me. “In the second half of the year, look for a new line of midi lathes, and a new line of Unisaws.” Once again, it seems, Delta and Porter-Cable are going out of their way to prove that just because you are venerable does not mean you have to be stodgy.