New Porter-Cable Tools to be Released This Fall

Next week, several members of our staff and myself will be headed to the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) in Atlanta, GA, for three days of new tool overkill. We’ll be filling you all in on our IWF blog during the show, with both video and text coverage from the heart of the action.

But that’s then.

Yesterday afternoon, Porter-Cable held a new product webinar to unveil five new tools that will be available mid to late October. These folks aren’t gonna wait till Atlanta to start dishing the new goods!

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Milwaukee Bound

Summer is typically travel time for us woodworking editors, and this one is no different. In June I was at a Bosch media event to learn about their new tools. Next month many of the Journal staff (including yours truly) will be in Atlanta attending the International Woodworking Fair. But this week, I’m headed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin—home to Miller Brewing Company and Harley Davidson Motorcycles—to visit with the folks at Milwaukee Electric Tools.

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Last week, while making some parts for our September issue’s Jigs & Fixtures project, I needed to drill some holes through a stack of plywood. I was using a little benchtop drill press to do the job. While it chomped quietly through those holes, it reminded me of how handy a little benchtop drill press is.

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Out with the Old? Thankfully, Not Yet.

Ten years ago, our family moved from the Minnesota to central Ohio. We had young kids, I was transitioning from a 9 to 5 publishing job to full-time freelancing and let’s just say, the budget was really strapped. I needed a workbench for cheap. I also didn’t have a lot of time to build it. So, I tabled those dreams of a fancy bench and drove to Lowe’s to buy my bench supplies. That amounted to a pile of 2x4s, two sheets of 3/4-in. MDF and a piece of subflooring. Oh, and some casters. I didn’t even have a clear plan for what the final bench would be, just a bigtime need.

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A Tool By Any Other Name…

Tool InspectorOur recent Woodworker’s Journal eZine Industry Interview with Rockwell Tools engendered quite a few comments, some of them unprintable, with the general take that if the tools are Asian-made, the name means little. While I will not agree with the contextual argument that an Asian-made tool is, without exception, of lower quality than a U.S.-made tool, I do agree that brand names move around a good bit.

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Table Saw Injury Lawsuit

Table Saw Blade ChangeThere has been copious amounts of virtual ink (and probably more than a little actual ink) used to discuss the recent settlement awarding $1.5 million to a Massachusetts woodworker who injured his fingers using a table saw.

I’m left thinking that Chris Marshall’s post, A Darker Side to Loaning Tools, was eerily prescient considering it was written almost three months before the court decision was rendered, and (as far as I know) completely unaware of the lawsuit.  It almost begs the question, does this decision mean that there’s a darker side to SELLING tools?

So what do you think? Was this decision a good one for woodworking? Was justice done?  Bad decision? Good decision?  And more importantly, where could this decision lead us?

Rob Johnstone
Editor in Chief

Ah, Those Tools We Love

Normally, I’m not one for chain emails. I generally delete them about as fast as they hit my inbox. But recently one of our readers forwarded the following email about tools that just caught my attention. It sure gave me a good laugh, because, well, truth is pretty funny sometimes. See if you agree:

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used to cut good wood into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside.

DRILL PRESS: A tall machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beverage across the room, denting the freshly-painted project that you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off of bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, “Oh, crap!”

CIRCULAR SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-ups into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

LOCKING PLIERS: Generally used after regular pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool that can launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids; can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use. Also cuts fingers.

There you have it—life with tools. We sure can’t live without them … and sometimes not even with them!

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

Sideways Squeeze

For the June print issue, I’m building a big plywood shop project. Several pieces in the project include some rather thick edging strips, which can be difficult to clamp tightly in place. Especially when they’re on the ends of an 8-ft. sheet of plywood.

I’ve used thicker edging before in a few projects, and each time I’ve wondered about those funky C-clamps made for jobs like these. They’ve got three screw jaws instead of just one—the most helpful being the third that runs through the spine of the clamp, perpendicular to the other two.

Well, last week I took the plunge and bought a half dozen to give them a try.

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