Tools and Plans: Pricey to Free

Tools and Plans: Pricey to Free


“Your Tool Preview on the Festool Kapex miter saw was great. They make some really interesting tools, though their prices are just as interesting. The one thing you did not tell us is the blade size. I assume that the model 120 indicates that it is a 12-inch blade. By the way, I really like the email web version. Keep up the good work.” — John Cotten

Nope, it’s a 10-inch blade. However, according to the company literature, the saw is designed to offer “a 12-inch miter saw capacity with a 10-inch blade.” — Editor

“I just love when you guys review Festool tools, such as the Kapex KS120 saw. Every single tool that they make obviously sets a standard for other tool makers to emulate. I’m sure every woodworker that reads your magazine salivates, as I do, when we see their wonderful tools. I just wonder if they ever sell any of them. As a retiree and woodworking enthusiast, the only way I could afford one is if I won the lottery. For many years, I was in business for myself, and I understand the importance of buying good quality tools. My grandfather, told me, ‘A workman is known by the tools that he uses, and the skill with which he uses them.’ Still, there comes a point in the price vs. quality equation where no business is willing to spend the money. In my humble opinion, Festool is way beyond that point.” — Mark Messer

Festool is the largest selling handheld woodworking tool brand in all of Europe. Over there, 95 percent of the tools are sold to professionals. Here in the U.S., it’s closer to 60 percent, with 40 percent going to hobby woodworkers. — Editor



“First, thanks for eZine. In most cases, it is very informative. On your last Industry Interview, ‘Dispozablade®: You Can Never Go Hone Again,’ the history of how it came to the U.S. market is interesting, but the technical part is not very clear to understand.” — Gideon Levinson

We agree. It took us a while to understand how it works, and honestly, it is hard to describe in mere words.

There is a video on their website that explains the Posi-Set®, but as you say, envisioning how the Self-Set® works is difficult until you actually see one of the blades, at which point it is quite obvious. — Editor

Gift Horse

“I wanted to respond to those woodworkers who whine and moan about the free project plans you add to each eZine. Here in the West, I was taught to never look a gift horse in the mouth. Why don’t these folks use these projects to build their skills, and when they get good enough to make a project and sell it, they might have enough money to purchase a plan from Woodworker’s Journal. Perhaps if they spent their hard-earned cash and purchased a plan, they might appreciate building it a lot more. I, for one, really appreciate your offer and I enjoy reading the eZine and the print magazine.” — Hayden Kimbley

Hayden signed his very loving letter not only with his name, but his city, which we found oddly appropriate. He’s from Loving, New Mexico. — Editor 

“A little feedback on the request for better, newer more modern plans: I am quite happy with the free ones that are published with each issue. It was a lot of fun making the Cooling Racks from this edition. I made 12 of them and also changed out the arrangement of the pieces and ended up with quite a few different shapes and designs. I usually try to make both of the free plans that come with  each issue. Keep up the good work, and thank you.” — Tom W. Reichle

Aftermarket Lasers 

Our answer experts told a reader that there were no drawbacks to an aftermarket laser for saws, provided it was properly installed, but this writer disagreed. — Editor

“Actually, there are a few drawbacks. They only illuminate the left side of the cut, they don’t work well at all in bright light, and it’s difficult to line up the cut when working from the right-hand side of the blade. Other than that, they are kind of handy.” — Martin Frincke

Actually, Martin, we’re pretty sure the person wanted to know if there were any drawbacks endemic to aftermarket versions as compared to the original equipment versions. While what you list is true, those characteristics are equally problematic for both. — Editor.

A Rose by Any Other Word

“While a piano may have strings, it is actually a percussion instrument.” — Walt Dotter

You are quite right, if you define it by how it is played rather than by the source of its sound. One reason for defining by the sound source is that hammered dulcimers, harps, violins, guitars and harpsichords, all stringed instruments, are played, in order, by being hammered, plucked with fingers, bowed, strummed and plucked with plectra.  Some instruments are played many different ways, making definition by how it is played even more challenging, and lending credence to lumping them all as stringed instruments. — Editor

Haiku Hanging On

OK, we’ll share yet another clever, albeit cynical, haiku, but we swear this is the last one. — Editor

“Here’s an unintentional haiku from a neighbor describing her husband’s new shop.
A costly building
To house some expensive tools
That rarely get used.”
 — Gerald Horn

Hunting Brouhaha

A reader objected to hunting references showing up in his favorite woodworking magazine, and this reader responded. — Editor

“It is unfortunate that one reader is offended by hunting, but many woodworkers enjoy nature and enjoy hunting, which is a perfectly natural activity. Animals hunt; so do we.” — Steve Hammer

Just think; if we could only convince animals to do woodworking, we could call that a natural activity, too! — Editor 

Same Typo, Different Interpretation 

“I always enjoy your typo section. This most recent one got me thinking. It was, ‘We have two rough sewn wood beams running across the ceiling,’ and your comment was ‘Were they made by stitching together smaller roughhewn beams?’ Don’t you think it’s possible the writer meant ‘we have two rough sawn wood beams’ as opposed to ‘hewn?’ Either  would be apropos.”— Craig Erickson

Yep, that’s entirely possible. Good catch, Craig! — Editor 

Dark Matter 

Some “dark” humor in the Web Surfer’s Review inspired these two comments, the first of which recalls our halcyon days of Dayglo® and blacklights. — Editor

“Taking your table saw out into the light to get rid of the dark is much too difficult. I just turn on a dark bulb. It is the opposite of a lightbulb, and works as a light sink, the same way a heat sink works. They are great for parties as well.” — Robert Buch

“I loved Mark’s answer to the table saw question. I roared!” — T. Keller

Typo Corner

“I am tired of cleaning it out with a dump cloth once a week.”

Next week, try a damp cloth. — Editor

Posted in: