A new power tool is all that it takes to get my attention – present 30 new ones all at once and you’ve earned my undivided “deer in the headlights” attention. That is exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago when I was invited to see the new line of power tools that Steel City Tools will be launching this August at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia.
It is not only a new line of stationary power tools, but a whole new company to boot. But for me, it seemed like old times, because the owners of Steel City Tools are all alumni of major tool companies that have been the core of the stationary power tool market for years.
I saw several models of table saws, jointer, shapers, planers, mini-lathes and a really interesting band saw and drill press as well. Steel City also has dust collection equipment and sanders, grinders … all the major categories. And the quality of the product seemed to be well above average. I do have to say here that I was not testing these tools and in fact, many of them were pre-production models. But some details are easily evaluated even at this stage of the game. Heavy-duty trunions on the table saws and excellent industrial engineering are examples.
Their biggest innovation was a titanium coating (a patent-pending process) for cast iron tabletops that they claim will virtually eliminate any maintenance requirements. Non-rusting, with increased lubricity and extremely wear resistant: the TiN (titanium nitrite) treatment that you’ve likely seen on drill bits and saw blades, will be available on selected table saw and shaper tops.
Any new tool company presents both exciting news and questions begging for answers: Like… “Will this company be around in the years to come?” I am no prophet, but if I were a betting man, I would stake a claim on this group.
The experience and personal contacts found in the partners of the company will go a long way towards a successful launch. And if the tools prove to be as good as they seem – quality products would provide another argument for an optimistic future for the Steel City folks. Keep your eyes and ears open for more news and further developments in the Steel City saga.