Popular Woodworking 124 Oct 2001

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A full version of Popular Woodworking Magazine, No. 124, October 2001 in pdf format. This is a tool-buying issue for calendar year 2002, with articles comparing 632 different hand & power tools.

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  • October 2001 #124

    Straight Talkon ToolsThe only guide that recommends tools worth buying

    637 TOOLS COMPAREDEDITORS PICK THE 97 BEST!

    12-VOLT PG14DRILLS

    BAND SAWS PG20

    BISCUIT PG28JOINERS

    BRAD PG32NAILERS

    DRILL PG38PRESSES

    DUST PG44COLLECTORS

    HAND TOOLS PG50

    JIGSAWS PG54

    JOINTERS PG58

    MITER SAWS PG62

    MORTISERS PG66

    ROUTERS PG70

    SANDERS PG78

    TABLE SAWS PG82

    THICKNESS PG86PLANERSEXCLUSIVE FAR EAST REPORT

    What You MustKnow AboutChinese Tools

    www.popwood.com

  • POPULARWOODWORKING October 20012

    Admit it. Spending money on tools andmachinery for your shop can producelots of anxiety. Your budget is limited, andso is your knowledge of all the product lines.Go to the store, buy on-line or over the phoneand the salespeople arent giving you anyconfidence that youre making the right de-cision, either. If youre lucky, you may havea friend who owns a tool youre interestedin, but its several years old and there are lotsof new models to consider now.

    We publish this comprehensive ToolBuying Guide for only one reason. That isto give you the best chance you have to makethe right decision the first time when se-lecting a new piece of equipment for yourshop. Our goal is to arm you with more thanenough knowledge to put you in the com-fort zone when you open your wallet.

    On the following pages youll find 17 cat-egories of woodworking tools as well an im-portant article about whats going on in man-ufacturing these days. In specific tool cate-gories, ranging from table saws to combina-tion squares, we give you three importantpieces of information:

    We tell you what are the important fea-tures to evaluate and compare among all thetools in this category (as well as those fea-tures that dont count for much at all).

    We list all the brands and models avail-able in the U.S. market with their specs andstreet prices.

    And we go the extra mile and makespecific recommendations about the mod-els we have actually used in the PopularWoodworking shop and have confidence in.

    We also know that all woodworkers arenot alike. Some of you are just getting start-ed, others have years of experience but keep

    a casual attitude about your hobby. Othersare passionate about spending time in theirshops almost every day, or are pros depend-ing on their skills and tools to make a livingand support a family. Clearly, different wood-workers make different demands on theirtools and have different expectations aboutreliability and how much to spend.

    For these reasons, we make our buyingrecommendations in three user categoriesso you can match yourself to the right tools.

    In this years Guide we added the mostessential non-powered woodworking handtools as a category: low-angle block planes,combination squares and chisels. For spaceconsiderations, we dropped scroll saws andlathes for this year. In the cordless drillcategory, we focused on 12-volt models only.In our opinion, this is the right sized cord-less drill for most, but certainly not all, wood-working shop applications. These 12-voltdrills deliver the power and runtime to getthe job done without the weight that makesyou feel like you just did 100 arm curls.

    And if you fret over the question of ad-vertiser influence on editorial recommen-dations, dont. Our job is to serve you, ourreaders. Not only is it our job, but truthful-ly, your subscription or newsstand purchasegoes a lot further in paying our bills thandoes advertising income.We just couldntafford putting anyone other than you first.

    One final note, many thanks to the EdwardB. Mueller Company in Cincinnati, Ohio,for allowing us to shoot photos in their store.PW

    FROM THE EDITOR

    Buy With ConfidenceSave money and find your comfort zone.

    Contents6 CHINA BOUND

    A lot more tools are nowbeing made in China. Whatdoes this mean for pricesand quality?

    14 12 VOLT DRILLS

    20 BAND SAWS

    28 BISCUIT JOINERS

    32 BRAD NAILERS

    38 DRILL PRESSES

    44 DUST COLLECTORS

    50 HAND TOOLS

    54 JIGSAWS

    58 JOINTERS

    62 MITER SAWS

    66 MORTISERS

    70 ROUTERS

    78 SANDERS

    82 TABLE SAWS

    86 THICKNESS PLANERS

    T O O L B U Y I N G G U I D E 2 0 0 2

  • The Toughest Glue on Planet Earth

    Hardwoods, softwoods, pressure-treated or exotics Gorilla Glue

    is tough enough to hold themall. Incredibly strong, nearlyinvisible glue lines, and100% waterproof. Just the wayserious woodworkers demand it.Call 800-966-3458 for adealer near you, or visitwww.gorillaglue.comto find out more.

    MeasureTwice.GlueOnce.

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200014

    August 2001, Vol. 21, No. 4 www.popularwoodworking.com

    Editor & Publisher Steve Shanesy

    Art Director Tricia Barlow

    Senior Editors David Thiel,Christopher Schwarz

    Project Illustrator John W.Hutchinson

    Photographer Al Parrish

    Editorial Intern John Tate

    Editorial Assistant Barb Brown

    Contributing EditorsNick EnglerBob FlexnerGlen Huey

    Scott PhillipsTroy Sexton

    Technical Advisers:Bill Austin Makita USA. Inc.Scott Box Delta International

    Chris Carlson S-B Power ToolBill Crofutt Grizzly Industrial

    Dale Zimmerman Franklin International

    General Manager Jeffry M.LapinEditorial Director David Fryxell

    CIRCULATION

    David Lee, Director

    Lynn Kruetzkamp, Group Manager

    PRODUCTION

    Barbara Schmitz, Director of ManufacturingMartha Wallace, Magazine Production Dir.Heather Griffin, Production Coordinator

    ADVERTISING

    National Sales RepresentativeBill Warren, Five Mile River Assoc. LLCRR1 Box 1400, Stockton Springs, ME 04981Tel. (207) 469-1981; Fax (207) 469-3050

    wkwarren@aol.comAdvertising Sales

    Joe Wood, Tel. (513) 336-9760Fax (513) 336-9761

    josephfwood@aol.comClassified Advertising Sales

    Joan Wright,Tel. (800) 388-1820joanwright@ix.netcom.com

    Advertising Production CoordinatorDebbie Thomas, Tel. (513) 531-2690, ext. 219

    debbiet@fwpubs.com

    SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Subscription inquiries,orders and address changes can be made at

    www.popwood.com (click on Subscriber Services).Or by mail:Popular Woodworking,P.O.Box 5369,

    Harlan, IA 51593 or call (515) 280-1721.Include your address with all inquiries.

    Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.

    NEWSSTAND DISTRIBUTION Curtis Circulation Co.,730 River Rd.,New Milford,NJ 07646,

    (201) 634-7400, fax (201) 634-7499

    ATTENTION RETAILERS:To carry Popular Woodworking in your store, call ReadersService at 800-844-7075, or write: Popular Woodworking

    Magazine Dealer program, c/o Readers Service, 4099 MartelRoad, Lenoir City, TN 37772

    Back issues are available for $6.50 ($8.50 Canada; $10.50 otherforeign). Ohio residents include 6% sales tax. Send check or

    money order to: Popular Woodworking/F&W PublicationProducts, PO Box 2031, Harlan, IA, 51593 or call 1-888-419-

    0421. Please specify publication, month and year.

    Woodworkers Book Club: 1507 Dana Ave., Cincinnati,OH 45207; (513) 531-8250

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  • If youre not in the habit of check-ing labels on your new tools andmachinery purchases, you might besurprised to learn that Made inChina is showing up a lot more fre-quently these days. Dont make themistake and think this means theproduct was made in the Republicof Taiwan, the island country off thecoast of mainland China.

    With increasing frequency, prod-ucts once made in Taiwan are nowbeing manufactured in China. Whatcan we expect from such a shift? Willquality suffer? What about prices?Just who is having woodworkingequipment made in China now? Andwhy would manufacturers make sucha huge change just when their prod-ucts have finally won broad accep-tance with U.S. woodworkers?

    Importers and manufacturers ofTaiwan-made woodworking equip-ment have worked hard during thepast 15 years for respect in the mar-

    ketplace. Whether the bad rap Madein Taiwan was deserved in the earlydays is not only debatable but, likemost issues, a lot more complicatedthan consumers imagine.

    From the first days that Taiwaneseequipment began arriving in ourports, there were real quality differ-ences among the various importers.Quality differences still exist and canvary on what may seem to be thesame product coming from the samemanufacturing plant. But its fair tosay now that overseas manufactur-ers are producing millions and mil-lions of dollars in good-quality wood-working equipment. Some of itsmade by companies that import theirentire line from Taiwan; some of itsmade for venerable names who once

    built exclusively in the United Statesand now import some products. Eitherway, the American woodworker isreaping a huge benefit from theseimported tools.

    As woodworkers, we groan reg-ularly at constant price increases forlumber. But when it comes to toolsand equipment, particularly ma-chines from Taiwan, we dont stopto think what a bargain they are.A case in point: I bought my firsttable saw, a Delta/Rockwell model10 contractor saw, in 1981. I addedlong guide bars for the fence and cast-ers and paid just over $850. Whatsthat saw cost today? Equipped witha Biesemeyer fence, just over $850.Essentially, its the same saw with afar superior fence.

    Just for fun, I went to a web sitethat allows you to calculate the costmy table saw in 1981 and then ad-just it for 20 years of inflation. Today,my $850 saw should cost $1,833.

    CHINABOUND

    Now that Taiwanese woodworking tools are accepted by U.S. woodworkers,

    manufacturing is moving again. This time, to mainland China.

    What will this mean for American consumers?

    Woodworking tool manufacturing is

    by Steve Shanesy

    Contact Steve at 513-531-2690 ext. 238 or SteveS@FWPubs.com.

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 20016

  • www.popwood.com 7

    Remembering back to that day in1981 when I bought the saw, I recallthat although the price didnt seemtoo expensive then, todays pricesby comparison are quite reasonable.In fact, some prices are almost un-believable. You can buy a Taiwanesecontractor table saw from GrizzlyIndustrial with many of the same fea-tures as my original Delta/Rockwellfor only $325 plus $48 shipping.

    When you think about the costof a reasonably equipped home shop,

    the prices are even more amazing. Ifyou had bought a contractor saw, 6"jointer, small planer, drill press and14" band saw in 1980, you wouldhave paid about $3,200 thatsabout $6,100 in inflation-adjusted2001 dollars. Open up any wood-working catalog today and you canbuy the same equipment and spendas little as $1,400 and as much as$2,600, depending on brand. At$6,100 for stationary equipmentalone, Im certain the number of

    home woodworkers would be a frac-tion of what today is one of top-ratedhobbies in the United States amongmature adult males.

    Are Lower Prices Ahead?According to some major manufac-turers and importers, the great newsfor woodworkers is that prices mightdrop even more during the next sev-eral years. Some, such as Jet ToolsJohn Otto, woodworking productmanager, project prices to drop some

  • POPULARWOODWORKING October 20018

    and then bounce back to todays leveland then hold steady for another 15years. The contrary view, and oneheld by Scott Box, manager of prod-uct development for Delta Machinery,is that prices will hold steady. Allthis good price news is being madepossible by yet another shift in toolmanufacturing. Many Taiwanesemanufacturers are moving to main-land China, where labor costs areabout one-tenth of those in Taiwan,land is plentiful and cheap, envi-ronmental standards are lower andsafety standards are relaxed.

    In manufacturing, its not a newtrend. In the 1950s, some tool man-ufacturing left theUnited States forJapan. By 1980, man-ufacturers were onthe move again toTaiwan. Several yearsago, the move acrossthe Straits of Taiwanbegan, and noweverything from shoesto tennis rackets tosome woodworkingmachinery is nowbeing produced inChina. Not that youwould notice, butabout 90 percent of

    all drill presses are madein mainland China today.Principal importers in theU.S. market are Delta,Ridgid and Craftsman.

    The question wood-working consumers mustask is: Will there be a priceto pay for the low prices?Will some of the qualityissues that arose with someimporters after the moveto Taiwan repeat as man-ufacturing shifts to China?The complaints aboutTaiwanese-made equip-ment largely stemmed fromimporters who were in-

    experienced in working withTaiwanese manufacturing, accord-ing to industry insiders. In the UnitedStates, the typical manufacturing fa-cility makes many of the parts for itsproducts, buys some basic or specialtyparts and then assembles the prod-uct. In Taiwan manufacturers areprimarily assembly plants with vir-tually every part and componentsourced from outside vendors. Forexample, to make a benchtop tablesaw, completely separate companiescast the aluminum top, mill the top,form the plastic base, supply themotor, supply the motor mount andblade tilt mechanism, supply the

    In 1997, the author visited the Rexon factory in Taichung,Taiwan, and saw various products from different manufacturersrolling off assembly lines. Miter saws are just one example of high volume products that are making the switch fromTaiwan to mainland China, as Delta Manufacturing has done for some of its miter saw products.

    Taiwanese workers assemble Delta benchtop planersat one of its partner factories, Shin Hou, in Taichung.

    At the same plant, parts for automobile anti-lock brakesystems by ITT were also being made.

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  • fence, supply the fence rails. Themore parts a machine has, the morevendors are involved. The simplestparts could be supplied by a vendorwith crude fabrication equipmentand manufacturing techniques that,from a quality and part consistencypoint of view, would be unaccept-able in the United States.

    Early complaints about machinesof Taiwanese origin concerned mo-tors and inconsistencies with re-placement parts. And, of course, thecomplaint by U.S. manufacturersthat their American-made machineswere being copied and sold for sub-stantially lower prices. As one man-ufacturer put it, R & D in Taiwanmeans Research and Duplicate.Some importers went so far as to copythe color and even the instructionmanual from a U.S.-made machine.To top it off, one story goes that animporter suggested its customers goto the U.S. manufacturer of the copiedmachine for replacement parts.

    In the mid-1980s, DeltaManufacturing filed a complaint withthe Federal Trade Commission to

    block importers from selling equip-ment in Deltas trade dress. Basically,that means equipment that so close-ly resembles a Delta model that aconsumer might be fooled into think-ing it was a Delta.

    Attacking importers on the issueof trade dress was about the only re-course American manufacturers hadbecause most of the patents on theirequipment had run out. Of course,the other alternative, which manu-facturers like Delta said they would-nt do, then eventually did, was begina Taiwan-importing operation.

    Once quality-minded importers,including those with U.S. manu-facturing origins, began Taiwan op-erations with their own representa-tives and engineers on the scene,most quality issues were settled. Today,Jet, Delta, Grizzly, Bridgewood andEmerson Electric (the manufactur-er of Ridgid woodworking tools andformerly Craftsman woodworkingmachines), all maintain offices andrepresentatives in Taichung, Taiwan.Some, like Jet and Emerson, keepoffices in Hong Kong as well to over-

    see operations in mainland China.As yet, Jet has little, if any wood-working product made in China asfinished goods, but does source someparts, particularly rough iron cast-ings, from the mainland. The com-pany has had other equipment man-ufactured in China for years, but itis not woodworking related, accordingto Cliff Rickmer with Jet.

    Taiwanese manufacturers haveprospered by supplying woodwork-ing equipment to the United States.Understanding the value of the busi-ness, they have invested in mod-ernizing their plants, hiring engi-neers and training their employees.

    It seems like a mind-bogglingnumber, but U.S. manufacturers/im-porters estimate the number of wood-working tools and machines cominginto this country at between 2.5 mil-lion and 2.8 million finished unitsannually with a retail value between$765 million and $1 billion.

    U.S. importers praise these sup-pliers for improving existing prod-ucts or even presenting new prod-uct altogether instead of just copy-

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200110

    Raw casting for contractor saw tabletops await machining in this dirt-floor machine shop in Taichung wheresandals are worn by most of the workers.Although located in the city, a rice field was next door and an apartment buildingadjacent to that.

    Taichung, Republic of Taiwan, is the tooling centerof the world, but land scarcity, rising labor costsand demands for lower prices at U.S. retailersare forcing some manufacturing to relocate tomainland China.

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    ing. Theyve learned the money isin new products, so now they arebringing ideas to us, says Otto of Jet.

    Success a Double-EdgedSword for TaiwanSo if prices are already low when ad-justed for inflation, why is there apush for even lower prices? An agingbaby boom population taking up thewoodworking hobby, reasonablypriced tools, and the concentrationof retail power by home center mega-stores such as Home Depot and Lowesall ensured the success of manufac-turing in Taiwan. Now these forceshave driven, if unwittingly, somemanufacturing off the island and onto mainland China.

    Some U.S manufacturers/im-porters say the promise of greaterunit sales by the big retailers comeswith the demand for lower prices.And since most of the efficienciesin the manufacturing process haveeliminated as much cost as possible,reducing the cost of labor is the solerecourse. With labor shortages andrising wages in Taiwan, the vast low-wage labor pool in China is the ob-vious solution.

    Added to this are huge incentivesto relocate, such as:

    An aggressive campaign by the

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  • Chinese government to attract busi-ness investment.

    Millions of dollars worth of in-frastructure being built by the main-land government.

    An opportunity for more at-tractive profit margins by manufac-turers and importers alike.

    Even a chance for Taiwanesemanufacturers to hedge their betsand protect their investments shouldrelations between the mainland andTaiwan lead to a possible invasion.By far, Taiwanese investment in main-land China surpasses that flowing infrom any other country.

    Will Quality Suffer? One key question for American con-sumers is whether the move to themainland will hurt the quality ofwoodworking tools. Will the sameproblems, or even different ones,show up as was the case in the earlydays following the move to Taiwan?

    Virtually all manufacturers/im-porters agree that things will be dif-ferent this time. And they have somecompelling arguments. The expla-nation goes something like this: Theimporters are continuing to workwith many of the same Taiwanese

    manufacturers with whom they havelong, established relationships. Thesemanufacturers are building new fa-cilities in China, not relying on old,state-run factories.

    The Taiwanese manufacturers areworking with Chinese suppliers whoare also investing in the new facili-ties. The result is a large facility withthe separate principal manufactur-ers under one roof. For example, Boxof Delta Machinery described onenew plant as composed of an alu-minum injection molding operation,a plastic molding operation, a ma-chining facility and paint line allfeeding parts to an assembly area.This type of integrated manufac-turing arrangement follows a suc-cessful Volkswagen car building modelin Mexico. All these various opera-tions are using modern, high-techequipment. Lastly, only certain typesof products lend themselves to thismanufacturing method. These aremachines produced in large volumeand require only a few, highly skilledworkers but many more lower skilledlaborers to produce. This fits theavailable labor pool for much ofChinas developing industrial areas.

    High-volume products that have

    moved to China are often bench-top machines, including power miterbox saws, small band saws, jointers,grinders and table saws. High vol-ume hand power tools such as cord-less drills and jigsaws also fit the for-mula. Says Otto of Jet Tools, its thehigh-volume consumer-grade toolsthat will be moving to mainlandChina. On the other end of the spec-trum, says Box of Delta, the big in-dustrial-grade machines such as bigjointers and shapers, machines withbig castings, have been made in Chinafor some time.

    Cautious Optimism Woodworkers and future woodworkersshould be optimistic about pricesand the quality of their future wood-working tools and machines. Thelatest developments in Asian man-ufacturing point to a possible recipefor success. But all new ventures hitoften unforeseen bumps in the roadand its likely the cruise across theStraits of Taiwan will not exclusivelybe of the honeymoon variety. Foryour own future tool purchases, prac-tice a concept made popular by for-mer President Ronald Reagan trust, but verify. PW

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200112

    At Hsum Tsao, a Taichung aluminum die cast molding plant, a worker knocks off excess aluminum from a miter sawfence casting (left). Castings for benchtop saws are stacked for machining and assembly later (right).

  • Every year as we travel the coun-try to woodworking shows, wereshocked and amazed at how big andpowerful cordless drills have become.Its fair to say theres a small part ofus thats impressed with the perfor-mance of these heavyweights. Butthe small bones in our wrists knowbetter. For most woodworking, a 12-volt drill is more than enough.

    If youre a contractor or profes-sional deck builder, then your ob-jections have been noted, so go aheadand purchase that 24-volt workoutmachine. For the rest of us, hereswhat to look for in a 12-volt drill.

    Handle DesignMost cordless drills these days are T-shaped, with the handle comingdown near the middle of the drill. Afew are pistol-grips, where the han-

    dle comes down from the back endof the drill, like on most corded drills.

    T-handle drills are more balancedand will stand upright (usually) onyour bench. Pistol-grip drills allowyou to put more of your weight be-hind them usually not a big issuewith woodworking.

    TorqueCordless drills with 12-volt batter-ies are available with 1 amp-hourbatteries all the way up to 3 amp-hour batteries. The amp hours areanalogous to the gas tank on yourtruck. The bigger the tank, the far-ther you can go. More amp hoursgive you more run time. Also criti-cal is the amount of torque producedat the chuck. Torque is measured ininch-pounds for cordless drills; high-er numbers are better. The more

    torque you have, the less likely youregoing to bog down in a hole.

    Battery TypeAs you shop for a drill, youll noticethat some come with NickelCadmium (NiCad) and some withNickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) bat-teries. Which is better?

    According to battery experts,Nickel Metal Hydride technologygives you more run time in the samesize battery cell.

    NiMH batteries are also more en-vironmentally friendly. The cadmi-um in NiCad batteries must be dis-posed of in a controlled manner.NiMH batteries are more expensive,and some manufacturers haventjumped on the bandwagon yet say-ing the technology isnt perfect.

    SpeedsAll but the least expensive (and light-est duty) drill/drivers offer some nicefeatures you wont find on many cord-ed drills, including variable speeds.

    Many drills are available withboth variable speed and two-speedcapability. Theyre different featuresthat work together. Variable speedis the ability to control infinitely therotations per minute (rpm) of thechuck by increasing or decreasingthe pressure on the trigger. This al-lows better control over your work,to keep a drill bit from wandering offthe mark, or to start a screw in theright spot. The two-speed capabili-ty allows the drill to be switched fromone speed range to another, likeswitching from first to second gearin your car. Torque in low speed ishigher, but the top rpms are lower.This is best for large-diameter drill

    Bigger is not always better in the world of cordless drills. Figure out how much power you need without breaking your wrist.

    Get the most torque and highest amp-hours you can afford. Make sure your drill is variable speed. This will be listed on the side of the gearbox as,

    for example, 1-1,000 rpm. Drills without variable speed are more difficult to control. A high- and low- speed selector is handy for setting your tool to drill holes

    or drive screws. Dont get worked up about the number of clutch settings. Six or more will be enough.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINES12-volt drills

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200114

    12voltdrills

    On pistol-grip drills, the handle comes down at the rear of the motor. You can put more of your weight behind the drill with this arrangement, but thisshould rarely be necessary with these drills.

  • bits. In high speed, the rpms areincreased, but with less torque. Thisis best for small diameter drill bits.

    ClutchesAnother finesse feature is the clutch,something available on only a fewcorded drills. The clutch allows youto disengage the motor when a cer-tain amount of resistance is met.Why is this important? You can setthe clutch to sink screws perfectlyflush and then disengage the motor(it makes a clicking sound when itdoes this). The clutch also keeps youfrom ripping the head off that solidbrass screw. Clutch settings rangefrom none to 24, but we tend to thinksix or more settings is plenty for mostwork.

    ChucksChucks on drills appear very simi-lar, but closer inspection will showsome important differences. To start,a maximum 38" jaw opening is stan-dard on many drills under 14.4 voltsize. If you use bits with large shafts,buy a drill with a 12" chuck. Next,check the construction of the chuck.They can be mostly plastic with metaljaws, half metal and half plastic, orall metal. In most cases the half-and-half chuck is sufficient, but for moredurability, an all-metal chuck is best.Finally, take a look at the jaws them-selves. Do they close to allow no

    opening whatsoever, or do they closewith a small gap? The jaws shouldclose to hold at least a 116" drill bit.

    One feature we recommend is akeyless chuck. Nearly universal oncordless drills, the keyless chuckmakes changing from bit to driver atoolless job. Keyless chucks are nowavailable in two-sleeve or single-sleeve designs. The two-sleeve vari-ant requires both hands to loosen ortighten the chuck. Single-sleevemechanisms allow one-handed op-eration. A built-in shaft lock pro-vides the opposing force. One ap-plication where we usually recom-mend a keyed chuck over the key-less variety is when using hole saws,auger bits and other larger tooling.A keyed chuck allows you to closethe jaws more tightly on a bit, re-ducing the chance of slippage.However, keyless chucks are begin-ning to close this gap, too.

    One other feature worthy of com-ment is an electronic brake. Whilehardly a deal-breaker if not provid-ed, a brake can speed up your workbecause you dont have to wait forthe bit to spin down after each hole.

    ChargersFinally, a quick word about charg-ers. The industry standard is a one-hour charger, which for most appli-cations is quick enough. Fifteen-minute chargers are available as an

    occasional user Hitachi FDS12DVA , Hitachi has the

    market cornered when it comes tobargain drills that perform. Thoughit doesnt produce the same amountof torque as more expensive models,youll hardly notice.

    Ryobi HP1802MK2, If you want tosave a few dollars, then check outthis drill/driver, which has the heft,feel and features of a more expen-sive drill without the price tag.

    serious home woodworker,advanced woodworker & professional user Metabo BST12 Impuls, This drill is

    definitely worth seeking out. It isdecidedly a heavy-duty drill with anadded feature no other drill has: apulsing feature. This feature, whichyou can switch off, makes it easier tosink screws in difficult woods andremove stuck screws.

    Porter-Cable 9866, Porter-Cablesdrill/drivers get better each year, andthis one is priced to compete withanything out there. This is a shopfavorite.

    Milwaukee 0501-23, Pros know thatMilwaukee makes drills that aredesigned to take a beating. Pick oneup, and you may never go back.

    Makita 6216DWBE, Makita excels atdesigning cordless tools, and its top-of-the-line 12-volt cordless drill isdesigned to run all day, everyday.

    Panasonic EY6407NQKW, Panasonicdrills enjoy almost a cult-like follow-ing. These are tough and reliabledrills.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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  • Handle type:T= T-handle;P=Pistol grip;NA=Not available, = PW Recommends

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200116

    BRAND & MODEL STREET TORQUE MAX. BATT. AMP # CLUTCH WEIGHT #/TYPE HANDLE BRAKE COMMENTSPRICE IN./LBS SPEED(L/H) CHARGER HOUR SETTINGS (LBS.) BATTERIES TYPE

    12 VOLTBlack & Decker FS12 $99 115 800 3hr 1.3 24 3.5 2/NiCad T Y Best New Tool 1998B & D FSD122K-2 79 125 0-800 3hr 1.3 36 3.5 2/NiCad T Y Quick connect chuckBosch 3305K 139 200 400/1200 1hr 1.4 6 3.4 2 /NiCad T Y Performance 4.5 starsBosch 3315K 165 225 400/1200 1hr 1.7 16 4.3 2/NiCad T Y 15 min. charger optionalBosch 3360K 159 400 500/1500 1hr 2.0 16 4.8 2/NiCad T Y 12" chuck, soft gripCraftsman 27121 160 350 350/1100 1hr 1.7 24 4.4 2/NiCad T YCraftsman 27123 190 400 400/1400 1hr 1.7 24 4.6 2/NiCad T YCraftsman 27124 230 525 400/1400 1hr 2.0 24 6.8 2/NiCad T Y Aux handle 12"chuckCraftsman 27125 270 625 400/1400 1hr 2.0 24 7.1 2/NiCad T Y Aux handle 12"chuckCraftsman 27127 250 500 400/1400 1hr 2.0 24 7.0 2/NiCad T Y Aux handle 12"chuckCraftsman 27398 99 230 330/1000 1hr 1.3 24 3.5 2/NiCad T YDeWalt DW953K-2 170 210 400/1200 1hr 1.3 17 3.8 2/NiCad T YDeWalt DW980K-2XRP 180 350 450, 1400, 1hr 1.7 22 4.9 2/NiCad T Y 3 speeds, 12"chuck

    1800Fein ABS12-2 EUQ 250 230 340/1200 50min 2.0 13 4.5 2/NiCad T Y Best New Tool 1998Festool CDD12 ES 340 221 380/1100 15min 1.7 18 4 1/NiCad P Y Also uses 9.6 batt.Hitachi FDS12DVA 125 191 350/1050 1hr 1.4 22 3.4 2/NiCad T YHitachi DS13DV2 195 200 350/1200 1hr 2.0 22 4.2 2/NiCad T Y 12" chuckMakita 6227DWE 159 200 350/1100 1hr 1.3 16 3.3 2/NiCad T YMakita 6213DWAE 209 287 450/1400 1hr 2.0 18 4.2 2/NiCad T YMakita 6313DWAE 209 225 450/1400 1hr 2.0 18 4.4 2/NiCad T Y 12" chuckMakita 6213DWBE 219 287 450/1400 1hr 2.2 18 4.2 2/NiMH T YMakita 6213DWBLE 229 287 450/1400 1hr 2.2 18 4.2 2/NiMH T Y w/flashlightMakita 6011DWE-2 199 239 450/1350 1hr 1.3 12 4.2 2/NiCad P Y Also uses 9.6 batt.Makita 6216DWBE 249 320 400/1300 1hr 2.2 17 4.6 2/NiMH T Y Met. gear housingMetabo BST12 Impuls 188 282 450/1450 1hr 1.4 20 3.5 2/NiCad T Y Pulse featureMetabo BST12 Plus 203 466 450/1600 1hr 2.0 20 3.8 2/NiCad T Y Performance 4.5 starsMilwaukee 0502-20 129 220 360/1100 1hr 2.0 19 3.8 1/NiCad T Y Reversible batteryMilwaukee 0502-23 149 220 360/1100 1hr 1.3 19 3.8 2/NiCad T Y Reversible batteryMilwaukee 0501-20 129 220 360/1100 1hr 2.0 19 4.2 1/NiCad P Y 12" chuck, revers. battMilwaukee 0501-23 149 220 360/1100 1hr 1.3 19 4.2 2/NiCad P Y 12" chuck, revers. battPanasonic EY6406FQKW 165 293 350/1000 30min 2.0 18 3.8 2/NiCad T Y Elec. feedbackPanasonic EY6407NQKW 180 293 350/1000 45min 3.0 18 4.0 2/NiMH T Y 12" chuckPorter-Cable 9866 137 330 400/1200 1hr 2.0 20 5 2/NiCad T Y Performance 4.5 starsPorter-Cable 9866F 175 330 400/1200 1hr 2.0 20 5 2/NiCad T Y w/flashlightRyobi HP1202MK2 60 N/A 0 - 550 5hr 1.5 24 3.5 2/NiCad T N Mag trayRyobi HP1442MK2 80 N/A 330/1100 1hr 1.7 24 3.9 2/NiCad T Y Mag trayRyobi HP1802MK2 100 N/A 350/1300 1hr 1.7 24 4.8 2/NiCad T Y Mag traySkil 2480-02 53 90 700 3hr 1.3 6 3.5 1/NiCad T NSkil 2480-04 75 90 700 3hr 1.3 6 3.5 2/NiCad T NSkil 2492-04 85 175 400/1200 1hr 1.3 16 3.5 2/NiCad T Y Performance 3 starsSkil 120VXT 79 100 850 3hr 1.0 6 3.9 1/NiCad T N w/corded back-upWagner WB120K-2 90 NA 550 3hr NA 6 3.3 2/NiCad T Y

    stats

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    option on some models, and as a stan-dard item on a couple. On the op-posite end of the scale, some lowercost drill/drivers are sold with a three-or five-hour charger. While this seemsa deficit compared to a one-hour

    charger, if your use of the tool re-quires less frequent use, a three-hourcharger can save you money. Alsocheck on the type of charge beingprovided. Some chargers require thebattery be removed after charging,

    while others can remain in the charg-er with a continuous trickle chargeto maintain full charge. Better charg-er technology improves the life ofyour batteries, and keeps your drillready. PW

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  • When readers call with ques-tions about what tools arenecessary in their shops, band sawsare never very high on their lists, orthey seem to be an afterthought. Ohyeah, and a band saw. If theres onething to be said about band saws, itsthat theyre frequently underrated.They rip, they crosscut, they bevel,they miter, they cut simple and com-pound curves, they resaw and theymake a pretty cool cold cut slicer.But seriously, dont underestimatethe band saw every shop shouldhave one.

    They come in a variety of sizesand prices to fit just about every wal-let and shop. Its a tool thats best setup and left in place, so take a lookat your space requirements, then de-cide how much machine your wal-let can afford.

    Benchtop ModelsOn the inexpensive end of the scale(mostly) are the benchtop band saws.Ranging in price from $100 to $800,with the majority ending up around$175. They come in both two- andthree-wheel configurations in 8"to 12" sizes (determined by the di-

    ameter of the wheel). The throatdepth (the distance between theblade and the neck of the saw) is usu-ally an inch or so less than the wheeldiameter. And the resaw capacityranges from 3" to 612", though ac-tually resawing on some of these ma-chines would be challenging.

    In deciding between a two- orthree-wheel design, the largest dif-ference is the increased throat depthwith the addition of the third wheel.The downside to that deceptivelysimple decision is that in the three-wheel design the sharper turns in theblade reduce blade life, and it can beharder to get the blade to track prop-erly.

    In general, unless youre strappedfor cash or space, youll get betterperformance from a floor-model bandsaw. If benchtop is your only option,look for the best motor output andlargest throat and resaw capacities.

    Floor-Model Band SawsFloor-model band saws cost more(averaging in the $500 to $800 range,with a number of commercial mod-els running into the thousands), andthey are the best choice for home

    shops. Ranging from 10" up to 24",the most common floor model sawsare the 14" designs.

    Offered in either open- or en-closed-stand designs (open standsare frequently less expensive, butthe enclosed-stand design decreas-es vibration and makes a more sta-ble tool), most 14" saws offer 6" ofresaw capacity as standard, but alsooffer the option of a riser kit to in-crease that capacity to 12". Thesekits cost from $60 to $100 and in-clude a cast chunk of metal to ex-tend the neck of the saw, extendedblade guards and usually a longerblade (required). If you want to oc-casionally resaw a board wider than6", make sure the riser block optionis available on your saw.

    As with the benchtop models,motor performance will affect thequality of the machines cut. A larg-er motor (check the amps or watts,not horsepower) will make the cuteasier to make.

    Other features to consider in anyband saw include: blade guides, fences,wheel brushes, rack-and-pinion bladeguards and brakes on larger models.

    GuidesBlade guides can make or break aband saw. They keep the blade inalignment and stop it from wander-ing during a cut. Good guides pro-vide straighter, smoother cuts. Thestandard guide parts on most bandsaws include a rear thrust bearing (tosupport the blade from the back) anda set of metal blocks to keep the bladefrom moving side-to-side during acut. This guide arrangement appearsabove the table and below.

    Though the stock guides are ad-

    Usually an also ran to the table saw, the band saw is a surprisingly versatile machine that belongs in every shop.

    bandsaws

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    Buy the largest motor you can afford in any size band saw. Check for the best capacity, both height and width. Look for the option to increase height capacity with a riser block. If possible, buy a model with a worthwhile rip fence. Check the guide system for easy adjustability and smooth movement. If you can afford an enclosed stand, good, but dont sweat it

    if the other features are available. A 14" saw is practical for most home (and many commercial) workshops.

    Larger saws are generally prized for their resawing capacity.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor band saws

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  • equate for most operations, after-market upgrades to these guides im-prove tracking and decrease heat.These systems include synthetic-guide block systems (such as CoolBlocks) and, most recently, ceram-ic guide blocks to replace the metalblocks. These reasonably inexpen-sive upgrades ($15 or so) allow theblade to be held tighter without in-creasing heat on the blade.

    Other guide upgrade options in-clude a couple designs from Carter(616-451-2928) including one to re-place the blocks and thrust bearingaltogether ($150), or the Stabilizerthat can be used on 14" or smallerblades. It replaces the thrust and sidebearings with a single grooved bear-ing ($65). Iturra Design (888-722-7078) offers a variation that replacesthe metal side guide blocks withblocks utilizing small bearings forabout $60.

    When it comes down to decid-ing whether to replace your guideblocks, let your work dictate yourdecision. If youre disappointed withyour saws performance it may beworth a try. But you may also lookto one other area that affects per-formance, the blade.

    BladesJust like your car, if you spend lots ofmoney on a quality machine andthen put cheap or ill-matched tireson it, youre not going to get the rideyou expect. There are a few thingsto remember about band saw blades.For tight curves, use a narrower blade;with dense woods, use a blade withmore teeth per inch; and for resaw-ing, a wider blade with fewer teethper inch provides the best perfor-mance. A good general purpose bladeis a 38" blade with six teeth per inch.PW

    occasional user Delta 28-150, This two-wheel bench-

    top model is a great starter band sawthat provides easy-to-use featureswithout taking up a lot of space.

    Grizzly G1052, For a little extra cash,this two-wheel benchtop adds a lotof metal to the mix, making it a solidperformer with a larger motor.

    Grizzly G1019, Though benchtopmodels save space, we recommend afloor model whenever possible. Thebargain priced G1019 offers power,capacity and accepts a 6" riser block.

    serious home woodworker Inca 205, If your working space forces

    you into a benchtop band saw, thismodel offers some pretty large fea-tures in a small space.

    JET JWBS-C14CS & 14CS, A 14" bandsaw that has the nice features everyband saw should have, the Jet is agreat floor model choice for theserious home woodworker.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Delta 28-280, While comparably close

    to the Jet above, this Delta floormodel has more cast iron and contin-ues to be a staple in many profes-sional woodworking shops.

    Laguna LT18, Pros are frequentlylooking for greater capacity andresawing performance. The LagunaLT18 provides both in a well-craftedEuropean design.

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

    PWRecommends

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  • POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    MODEL PRICE SIZE RESAW CAP. TABLE TILT BLADE MAX. HP VOLTS WEIGHT COMMENTSIN. IN. LEFT, RIGHT GUIDES BLADE (IN.) (LBS.)

    BENCHTOPInca 205 $400 8 512 45, 0 M 38 13 115 44 with rip fenceCraftsman 21459 180 9 312 0, 45 M 38 13 120 35 work lightDelta 28-150 170 9 334 3, 45 CB 38 13 120 33 work lightGrizzly G1052 180 9 418 15, 45 BB 38 12 110 100 with rip fenceRyobi BS901 100 9 312 0, 45 BB 38 13 120 30Tradesman 8168 350 10 4 0, 45 BB 38 13 115 36Inca 340 800 1012 612 45,0 M 12 34 115 80 with rip fenceCraftsman 21451 210 11 3 0, 45 M 38 13 120 32 three wheelsGrizzly G8976 140 12 458 0, 45 BB 38 34 110 38 three wheels

    FLOORDelta 28-195 $310 10 7 3, 48 CB 12 12 120 75Craftsman 22432N 350 12 6 10,45 M 12 58 115 103 open standJet JWBS-120S 340 12 6 10, 45 M 12 12 115 138 open standCraftsman 22414N 550 14 6 15, 45 NM 34 112 115 202 open standDelta 28-275 600 14 614 3, 45 M 34 34 115 201 open standDelta 28-280 740 14 614 3, 45 M 34 1 115/230 224General 90-100M1 605 14 7 0, 45 M 34 1 115/230 210Grizzly 1019 315 14 614 10, 45 M 34 34 110/220 203 with rip fenceGrizzly G1019Z 335 14 638 15, 45 M 34 1 110/220 165 open standJet JWBS-14CS 580 14 6 10, 45 P 34 1 115/230 197Jet JWBS-14MW 630 14 6 10, 45 P 34 1 115/230 206 3-speed, open standJet JWBS-140S 500 14 6 10, 45 P 34 34 115/230 183 open standJet JWBS-C14CS 695 14 6 10, 45 BB 34 1 115/230 200 Carter guidesJet JWBS-C14MW 630 14 6 10, 45 BB 34 1 115/230 209 Carter guidesJet JWBS-C140S 630 14 6 10, 45 BB 34 34 115/230 186 Carter guidesLaguna LT14 795 14 8 15,45 CB 1 112 220 240Lobo BS-0143 330 14 6 10, 45 NM 12 34 115 167North State WA-14M 425 14 614 10, 45 M, BB 34 1 115/230 250Powermatic 44 650 14 9 15, 45 BB 34 1 115/230 212Ridgid BS1400 500 14 6 10, 45 M 34 34 120 178 Lifetime warrantyShop Fox G9970 550 14 7 0, 45 M 1 1 110/220 215 with fenceStar WBS14 325 14 634 10, 45 - 58 34 115/230 195Star WBS143 375 14 634 10, 45 - 58 34 115/230 195 3 speedsTradesman 8157 580 14 614 10, 45 BB 12 1 115/230 162Transpower SB500 265 14 6 10, 45 NM 34 1 110 180Bridgewood BW-15BS 330 15 6 10, 45 M 1 34 115 151Craftsman 24393N 700 15 812 0, 45 M 34 34 115 234 3 speedsGeneral 490 1,250 15 634 10, 45 M 34 34 115/230 310Grizzly G1148 445 15 712 10, 45 M 34 1 110/220 175 2 speedsEuroshop B-16 1,595 16 10 5, 45 ES 1 2 230 288Grizzly G1073 625 16 734 10, 45 M 1 2 110/220 456 with rip fenceGrizzly G1073Z 695 16 734 10, 45 M 1 2 110/220 480Hitachi CB75F 2,950 16 111316 0, 45 P, BB 3 2.8 115 309Laguna LT 16 1,100 16 12 0, 45 ES 1 1-12 220 320Laguna LT 16 HD 1,895 16 12 5, 45 ES 138 3 220 385Laguna LT16 SEC 1,595 16 12 5, 45 BB/ES 1 2-12 220 320Lobo BS-0163 620 16 10 10, 45 ES 1 1-12 115 270Shop Fox G9971 825 16 812 10, 45 BB 114 1-12 110/220 335Transpower SB600 560 16 6 10, 45 CB 1 1-12 110 270Bridgewood PBS-440 1,795 17 12 0, 45 ES 1316 3 230 480 fence; foot brakeCraftsman 24396N 1,200 18 11 0, 45 M 1 1 115 330 2 speedsEuroshop B-18 1,895 18 12 5, 45 ES 1 212 230 390General 90-260M 1,725 18 938 10, 45 CB 114 112 115/220 495Grizzly G1012 695 18 10 5, 45 M 114 2 220 350 3 speeds

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  • PW recommendsM= metal, BB=ballbearing, CB=CoolBlocks, NM=non-metal, P=plastic,ES=European-styleball bearing

    key

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    The LT16 band saw is a perfect example of theEuropean-style band saw. Instead of a cast frame,the machines body is made from welded panels.These machines are remarkably rigid and vibratevery little.

    Benchtop band saws stow easily and are econom-ical, but youre going to wish you had a bigger machine when you want to resaw a 6"-wide board.

    MODEL PRICE SIZE RESAW CAP. TABLE TILT BLADE MAX. HP VOLTS WEIGHT COMMENTSIN. IN. LEFT, RIGHT GUIDES BLADE (IN.) (LBS.)

    Grizzly G4186Z 895 18 938 10, 45 M 114 2 110/220 345 with rip fenceJet JWBS-18 1,130 18 10 10, 45 ES 112 112 115/230 320Laguna LT18 2,095 18 12 5, 45 ES 138 3 220 451Laguna LT18RM 3,295 18 1514 5, 45 ES 2 5 230 561Lobo BS-0183 800 18 1112 10, 45 ES 112 2 230 360Mini Max S45 1,895 18 10 0, 45 ES 34 212 230 330North State WBS1803 795 18 1012 10, 45 M 112 2 115/230 425North State WBS18L 975 18 10 0,45 M 1 2 115/230 330Transpower SB800 635 18 9 10, 45 CB 1 2 220 390Delta 28-640 2,000 20 11 4, 45 BB 1 2 230 585Euroshop B-20 3,095 20 13 5, 45 ES 114 3 230 458General 390 3,200 20 1212 12, 45 M 1 2 230 865General 90-360 2,200 20 1138 0, 45 M 138 2 220 640Grizzly G1258 1,395 20 1378 10, 45 BB 114 3 220 613 foot brakeInca 710 1,895 20 8 45, 0 BB 1 112 115/230 175 3 speedsPowermatic 2013 2,695 20 1238 15, 45 BB 112 2 230 740 fence, worklightLaguna LT20 2,495 20 12 10, 45 ES 138 5 220 545Lobo BS-0202 1,600 20 1134 10, 45 ES 134 3 230 620North State WBS-20 1,495 20 11 10, 45 BB 112 3 230 700Seco SK-20BS 1,545 20 10 10, 45 BB 1 3 220 816Star WBS20L 1,900 20 12 10, 45 BB 112 3 230 575Transpower SB1000 1,220 20 1112 10, 45 NA 134 3 220 650Woodtek 959571 1,500 20 1212 0, 45 BB 1 2 230 551Bridgewood PBS-540 2,195 21 14 0, 45 ES 138 4.8 220 595 fence;foot brakeGeneral 90-600 3,800 24 1334 0, 45 M 3 35 230 990General 90-460 2,795 24 1338 10, 45 M 138 3 220 705Grizzly G7211 1,895 24 1534 10, 45 BB 114 5 220 725 712 hp avail.Grizzly G7212 1,895 24 1534 10, 45 BB 114 712 220 750Laguna LT24 2,995 24 1514 10, 45 ES 112 5 220 725North State WBS24 1,900 24 11 10, 45 BB 112 5 230 800

    stats

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  • Whether you consider themcheating, or just taking ad-vantage of technology, its hard toargue that the biscuit joiner hasntmade a dramatic impact on wood-working joinery.

    Offering quick, simple and gen-erally reliable joints for a wide rangeof applications, this descendant ofan angle grinder has made it possi-ble for a woodworker of almost anyskill level to build strong furniturewith one simple joinery machine.

    The FenceThe basic machine is a modifiedangle grinder with a blade and a

    fence. The fence is the key featureto evaluate. Its complexity can varyfrom the simple plastic job on theCraftsman17501, to the sophisticat-ed highly refined fence on the PorterCable 557. Fences on the basic mod-els will let you cut a joint at 0 and45. Move up the feature scale andyou get continuous adjustment from0 to 45 to 135. Look for a fencethats easy to adjust and accurate. Itshould stay put when locked down.The fence should lock parallel to theblade, otherwise the parts beingjoined will not align across the joint.

    The ease of adjusting the fenceand the depth stop is also a major

    consideration. Check the knobs tosee if theyre easy to turn. Make surethey stay set when tightened. If youcant get the fence and depth stop toadjust correctly, the tool might aswell be a paperweight. Also checkout the size of the fence. Large fencesmake it easy to make an accurate cut.

    The last thing to consider on thefence is the way the blade openingis held firm against your work as youplunge. Here are your options: twotiny pins that make small holes inyour work, which are covered upwhen the joint is glued together. Orthere are rubber nibs or a materiallike sandpaper to accomplish thesame goal. Were partial to the rub-ber and abrasive faces.

    BladesMost biscuit joiners are equippedwith an anti-kickback blade. Theseare desirable, though biscuit joinersrarely kick.

    Also critical is the blades runouton the arbor. The less runout, thebetter the fit of the biscuit and thestronger the joint. Check out ourchart on the next page for the mea-sured runout of all the major brands.

    Finally, check to see how easy it isto change the blade. This can varyfrom simple to major surgery. Wefound the blade on the Makita 3901the easiest to change.

    Biscuit SizesThe work you do determines thekind of biscuit you will use. If youbuild a lot of face-frame cabinets,there is a special biscuit for you. Ifyou do picture frames, you need atool that cuts slots for mini biscuits.For joining flat surfaces like table

    Make sure you buy a machine with an accurate and versatile fence. Otherwise, saveyour money until you can afford to buy a better machine.

    Dont sweat the motor. Weve used all these machines, and the motors work well. We prefer anti-kickback technology on the blades. Kickbacks are rare; lets keep

    them that way. Buy some decent biscuits. We tested all the major brands and prefer Porter-Cable,

    Lamello and Kaiser.1

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200128

    biscuitjoinersLove em or leave em, biscuit joiners are here to stay. Its hard not to sell the heck out of something thats so fast.

    The Freud JS100 (left) is a few-frills tool that hasremained popular for decades.The Craftsman biscuit joiner(right) is an in-line machine, withthe motor directly over the blade.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor biscuit joiners

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  • tops, almost any tool will do (exceptthe mini-biscuit joiners).

    There are only three original sizedbiscuits: #0, #10, and #20. Theserange in size from 134" for the #0 to214" for the #20, and they are all thesame thickness. The face-frame bis-cuits currently sold by Porter-Cableare smaller than the #0 at 114".Craftsman sells mini-biscuits for itssmall joiner. They are numbered #1,#2, and #3. Their sizes are 58", 34"and 1", and are thinner.

    Lamello also makes a wide vari-ety of specialty biscuits, everythingfrom biscuit hinges, biscuits forknock-down joints and translucentbiscuits for use in solid-surface ma-terial, such as Corian.

    In general, big biscuits are greatfor large, edge-to-edge applications,such as tabletops. Porter-Cables mid-sized biscuit is made for face frames.Craftsmans small-sized joiner is greatfor craft projects or special applica-tions.

    The quality of your biscuits is alsoimportant. We tested every majorbrand of biscuit to see how consis-tent their sizes were, how much theyswelled and how many broken oneswe encountered in a box.

    The three best brands, accord-ing to our test, are Porter-Cable(whose biscuits are made of birch),Lamello and Kaiser (both of whichare made from beech). Better bis-cuits make for better joints, so dont

    skimp on the biscuits.

    Other FeaturesMake sure you try the switch beforeyou buy. Some switches are holdoversfrom the angle grinder. Located onthe side of the barrel, they take a lit-tle bit of getting used to.

    The other type of switch is a trig-ger on the back of the barrel. Theseare easier to use, though theyre morelikely to be pressed accidentally ifyou drop the tool.

    Most of the tools feature a switchthat allows you to lock the motor on a handy feature for large jobs.Some of the lock-on buttons are apain to use, so check those out, too.

    The next feature to look at is dustcollection. Most joiners have a bagto collect the chips flying out the sideof the machine. Take a fitting fromyour shop vacuum and see if it fitsthe model youre looking at. Its bestto use a vacuum when cutting morethan a few biscuit slots because thebags fill quickly and the ports clogeasily.

    Dont get too worked up aboutthe motors amperage. Theres lessthan a 3-amp difference among allthe major brands.

    Lastly, noise is a consideration.The motors can be loud, and all ofthem operate in a decibel level wherehearing protection is required. PW

    occasional user Freud JS100, This tool made biscuit

    joinery affordable for the masses,and its still a workshop favorite. Forthe money, you cant buy a betterentry-level tool.

    serious home woodworker Freud JS102, This updated model

    includes a more versatile fence, ablade thats easier to change and aprice that still beats many of its com-petitors.

    Makita 3901, Weve been using thistool for years in our shop and havefound it to be accurate and totallyreliable, as you would expect with aMakita tool. Its also lighter in weightthan some newer tools, which makesa difference if youve got a lot ofslots to cut.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Porter-Cable 557, Without a doubt,

    this is the most versatile tool avail-able on the market today. The fenceis capable of almost any sort of gym-nastics you can dream up. It alsocomes with a smaller cutter for face-frame biscuits. The only downside isthat you need to shim the facearound the cutter slightly. Porter-Cable had to change this because ofpatent concerns.

    Lamello Classic C2, Lamello inventedbiscuit joinery, and the companysEuropean-made tools are precisionmachines. The price of the tool ishigh, but many professionals areglad to pay it.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200130

    CRAFTSMAN CRAFTSMAN DEWALT FREUD FREUD LAMELLO LAMELLO MAKITA PORTER-CABLE RYOBI17501 27730 DW682K JS100 JS102 CLASSIC C2 TOP 20S 3901 557 JM81K

    Street price $100 180 150 100 125 329 629 160 200 115

    FENCE# of Detents 6 2 2 3 3 5 5 3 3 4Material Plastic Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum SteelAngle Capacity 0-135 0-90 0-90 0-135 0-135 0-90 0-90 0-90 0-135 0-135Size in inches 334 x 514 212 x 434 212 x 458 2 x 434 2 x 434 212 x 5 212 x 5 238 x 5 334 x 514 334 x 514

    MOTORAmps/No Load 3.5 2.8 2.7 2.8 2.7 2.64 4.0 2.47 3.08 3.55Amps/Load 6.7 6.75 5.89 3.89 4.49 4.07 5.89 4.93 5.29 6.08Amps Variance 3.2 3.95 3.19 1.09 1.79 1.43 1.89 2.46 2.21 2.53dB/No Load 102 104 103 103 104 105 101 102 98 101

    BLADE# of Teeth 8 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 8Anti-Kickback Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No YesBlade Kerf 0.159 0.155 0.150 0.155 0.154 0.154 0.133 0.153 0.159 0.191Hole Kerf 0.165 0.166 0.154 0.164 0.157 0.159 0.159 0.156 0.159 0.191Variance 0.006 0.011 0.004 0.009 0.003 0.005 0.026** 0.003 0.000 0.003

    OTHER STATSCord Length 10' 8' 8' 7'8" 7'8" 10' 10' 9' 7' 10'Weight in lbs. 6.5 6.7 6.9 6.14 7 7.3 7.11 6.15 7.7 6.8Body Style In-line Right Angle Right Angle Right Angle Right Angle Right Angle Right Angle Right Angle Right Angle In-lineSize Biscuits 0,10,20 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20, 0,10,20

    max max A,B,max A,B,max S,D, max S,D, max S,D, max S,D, max,FFNon-Skid Material R/face Pins Pins R/pads R/pads R/pads R/pads R/face Grit face R/faceDust Collection Box Bag/VP Bag/VP Bag/VP Bag/VP VP VP Bag/VP Bag/VP Bag/VP

    PW RATINGSBlade Change 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 4 2Ergonomics 2 3 4 3 3.5 4 4 4 4 2Overall Performance 2 4 4 3 4 5 5 4 5 2

    Where do Biscuits Come From?As important as the tool itself is the lowly biscuit.But justwhere do these little suckers come from? KathleenOberleiter, the dealer sales manager for Lamello, says hercompany has one plant in Switzerland that produces bis-cuits for Europe and the United States. In addition to pro-ducing biscuits under its own name,Lamello also makes thesame quality biscuits for Makita and Black & Decker (andBlack & Deckers sister company,DeWalt).

    Lamello (800-252-6355) brags that its beech biscuits arecompressed and within one-tenth of a millimeter in thick-ness with a moisture content between 8 and 10 percent.

    Here in the United States,Porter-Cable (800-487-8665)started making its own biscuits in Jackson,Tenn., in the mid-1980s.Then the company concluded it would be better tohave another company make the biscuits.Now Hill WoodProducts of Cook,Minnesota,makes all of Porter-Cablesbiscuits. In fact,Hill Woods plant is the only major producerof biscuits in this country and makes between 60 percentand 70 percent of the biscuits sold in the United States, saysHill Wood President Steve Hill. Instead of beech,Hill Wood makes biscuits using Northern white birch.

    Interestingly,Hill says Hill Wood does not compress thewood for its biscuits and relies on the moisture in the glueto swell the biscuit and lock the joint tight.The companysequipment is capable of compressing the biscuits,but Hillsays hes found that wood can compress unevenly, resultingin biscuits of different thicknesses.Hill Wood cuts its bis-cuits to the same thickness within 5-thousandths of an inch.

    So how does birch compare to the European beech? Hillsays beech is actually a little harder and the grain is a bittighter than in birch,but that its real close.The glue or thewood is more likely to fail than the biscuit, he says.

    Freud (800-334-4107),a major player in the biscuit mar-ket,has its biscuits made by a Spanish firm that makesbiscuits for many other firms,according to Jim Brewer,vicepresident of operations.Freuds biscuits are made of beechand are compressed,he says.

    Kaiser biscuits,which are made in Austria from beech,are distributed in the United States by Practical ProductsCo. (800-847-8839) of Cincinnati,Ohio,according to DonaldBaltzer,company president.Kaisers are well thought of inEurope and are compressed during manufacturing.

    * Angles past 90 (including 135) can easily be achieved by attaching the 90 fence and adjusting the angle of the adjustable fence.** Blade geometry for the Top 20 is different than all the other blades.The teeth are offset.As a result, the variance is not a measure of runout.Pl. = plastic,Al. = aluminum, R=rubber, FF=face frame, Ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being outstanding and 1 being unacceptable, = PW Recommends

  • Most woodworkers can avoidowning a brad nailer for anawfully long time. Sure, there aretimes when it would cut your as-sembly time in half, keep from hav-ing to wait 30 minutes for the glueto dry and make any moulding job(either on furniture or in your house)a lot faster and simpler. But you canget by without. But with air gunscosting about $120, why should you?

    Of course its not just the bradnailer you need to buy. The com-pressor and hose will impact yourbottom line. Already have a com-pressor? Great. Nailers will operateon almost any size compressor. Dont

    have one yet? You can get a small-er compressor for around $200 andyoull find lots of uses for it (everblow up an air mattress?). You canalso buy a combination kit and geta brad nailer with a compressor forabout $250.

    Why Brad NailersAir fasteners can be roofing nailers,small staplers and dozens of sizes andapplications in between. For the av-erage woodworker, the 18-gauge(about 132" square) nail offers plen-ty of holding power and leaves a lessobvious hole in your wood. Brad nail-ers come in lengths from 34" to 218",

    which should provide for every jobshort of framing a house. Brad nail-ers tend to be grouped into two ca-pacity categories: those that startwith shorter lengths (38") and topout at 114" or so; and those that startat 58" and will fire up to 2" lengths.There are certainly variations avail-able, but in general, those are thestandards. While you may have spe-cific needs for shorter brads, in gen-eral woodworkers use the longerlengths.

    Depth of DriveOne feature to consider on a bradnailer is the method for adjustinghow deep the nail is set. When a bradsinks into wood, it can be set flush,above or below the woods surface.This depth can be controlled by mod-ulating the amount of air being fedto the gun at the compressor, or onsome nailers, by adjusting a me-chanical setting at the nose of thegun to adjust how close the nose isto the wood. Both work (with someadjustment) but the mechanical op-tion will keep you from running backand forth to your compressor.

    Oilless OperationMost brad nailers require a drop ofoil before each days use to keep thecylinder moving easily. Some toolson the market offer oilless operation,which can be handy and one lessthing to remember, but it will cost alittle extra. Oilless operation also re-moves the risk of oil spraying out thetools exhaust port and onto yourwork. Most brad nailers now offeran adjustable, or rear-mounted ex-haust to combat that problem.

    A brad nailer may be considered a luxury by some woodworkers, but they probably havent tried one yet. Its a handy tool that will speed up your work.

    Buy a nailer with the largest capacity range that best suits your needs. In general buying too affordable a nailer can mean less quality. Look for a mechanical depth-of-drive adjustment on the tool. If possible (and necessary) look for a combination kit to get started in air tools. Dont disregard a nailer requiring oil. Its not a big problem, and youll save money.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor brad nailers

    bradnailers

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200132

    The Porter-Cable BN200V12brad nailer is a switch hitter.Without a compressor, it ispowered by an on-boardcompressor fueled by a 12-volt battery. When a com-pressor is handy, you canhook it up to the fitting atthe rear. This tool is too new for us to test. Stay tuned.

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  • Safety FeaturesIn general, brad nailers are requiredto fire only at a moderate pace. Whilesome nailers offer what is referred toas bump firing (pull the trigger andfire repeatedly by depressing the nosesafety against the wood), this isntreally a necessary or recommendedfeature for woodworkers. Rather asequential firing tool with a restric-tive nose safety (requiring the nosebe lifted off the wood before the trig-ger will fire again) is the better wood-working choice.

    Another common safety lock-outis the use of double-triggers. A dou-ble trigger requires first one, then asecond trigger be pulled to fire thegun. These guns do not have a nosesafety.

    JammingOne last feature is a way to easily re-move jammed brads from the cham-ber. Many brad nailers offer a re-movable nose to quickly clear awaythe jammed brad. This nose-piecemay require an allen wrench to re-move, or use a simple flip-latch re-quiring no tools. While this is a fea-ture to consider, todays nailers areless prone to jamming and we would-nt base a purchase on this feature.

    Pneumatics for NewbiesAs mentioned earlier, one of the greatways to enter the pneumatic worldis to purchase one of the nailer/com-pressor combination kits. Availablein a number of different configura-tions, most include a 2hp compres-sor, gun, hose and fittings for between$250 and $300. If you piece out thecomponents, this is an economicalway to get started.

    One word of caution, though.While we recommend a 2" capacitybrad nailer for most woodworkers,its not that easy to find a starterkit with a 2" capacity brad nailer.Accuset offers one for around $300,but most brad nailer kits will includea 112" or 158" capacity nailer. If youplan on purchasing two brad nail-ers, or anticipate using a larger fin-ish nailer, then this is still an eco-nomical route. If not, you may wantto still consider piecing together yourset, starting with the larger capaci-ty brad nailer.

    Finally, some companies offer atool that will fire both brads and sta-ples. These are good in a pinch, justbe prepared to fiddle with the gun abit when you switch from firing bradsto staples. PW

    occasional user If youre an occasional woodworker,

    there are lots of other tools youshould buy before you get a bradnailer and compressor. When youstart building lots of cabinets withtrimwork, youll be ready for one.

    serious home woodworker Accuset A200BN, This 2" brad nailer

    has earned a permanent place in ourshop at the magazine. It feels goodin the hand and is amazingly reliable.

    Porter-Cable BN200A, Porter-Cables2" brad nailer is surprisingly light-weight and balanced. We also likethe fact that the safety is behind thenose of the gun so its easier to putthat brad right where you want it.

    Craftsman 18424, If moneys a littletight, this lightweight 2" gun willsave you a few dollars over the otherbrands.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Senco SLP20, For years, this has been

    the industry standard in professionalshops. Its reliability and versatilityare well-documented. With propercare, this tool will last you a lifetime.

    Senco FinishPro 25, This newer toolfires longer brads than any otherbrad nailer on the market, 218".

    Makita AF502, Though expensive, thistool has one of the most unique andconvenient safety devices, built intothe entire nose-piece. A separatelock-off makes the option of bumpor sequential fire safe. This is a quali-ty tool for the pro woodworker.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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    Safety - RN=restrictive nose,2T=two triggers,Y=yes, N=no,= PW Recommends

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200134

    accuset Micropinner: In a Class By ItselfFor those very fine pieces of woodworking or smaller intricate projects weve hadexcellent success with the 23-gauge A100MP micro-pinner from Accuset. This small toolallows you to apply mouldings and assemble small pieces with barely a hole showingfrom the nail. While the length capacity is limited to 1", this should be sufficient for thetype of applications this tool was designed for. At around $130 its not a tool to buy justfor the heck of it, but weve found more uses for this finesse tool than expected.

    BRAND & MODEL STREET NAIL SAFETY BUMP RUBBER QUICK DRIVE AIR WEIGHT COMMENTS PRICE LENGTH SYSTEM FIRING TIP CLEAR DEPTH PRESSURE (LB)

    (IN) NOSE? ADJ. (PSI)

    18-GAUGE BRAD NAILERSAccuset A125BN $90 58-114 RN N Y Y N 70 - 100 2.3Accuset AN125 129 58-1 RN N Y Y N 70 - 100 2.4 Nailer/staplerAccuset A200BN 129 58-2 RN Y Y Y Y 70 - 100 3.4Airy ADA 0251CFE 119 58-2 RN Y Y Y Y 70 - 100 2.9 Performance/value:4.5Bostitch BT-35-KIT 130 58-138 RN N N Y N 70 - 100 2.4Bostitch BT-50-KIT 160 1316-2 RN N N Y N 70 - 100 2.6Bostitch SB-1850BN 100 58-2 RN N N Y N 70 - 100 NA Bostitch SB-1842BN 90 58-158 RN N N Y N 70 - 100 NA Campbell Hausfeld NB003099 70 38-114 RN N N N N 50 - 100 2.6Campbell Hausfeld NB004099 100 58-2 RN Y N Y N 70-110 2.8Craftsman 18409 80 38-114 RN Y N N N 60 - 100 2.2 Oilless Craftsman 18424 120 58-2 RN Y N N N 60 - 100 2.6Craftsman 18454 120 58-112 RN Y Y N N 60 - 100 2.6 Nailer/staplerDeVilbiss NB1252X4 89 38-114 2T Y N Y N 70 - 125 NA DeVilbiss NB2002X4 129 38-2 2T Y N Y N 70 - 125 NA DeVilbiss NBSNC2X4 129 38-138 2T Y N Y N 70 - 125 NA Nailer/stapler DeWalt D51238 150 58-2 RN Y Y Y Y 70 - 120 2.8 Trigger lockDuo-Fast DBN-4450 299 58-158 2T N N N N 70 - 120 2Duo-Fast DBN-4440 260 12-114 2T N N N N 70 - 120 2Grizzly G6045 70 38-114 RN Y N Y N 60 - 100 2.6Grizzly G6046 80 38-1916 RN Y N N N 60 - 100 2.9Grizzly G6047 100 58-2 RN Y N Y N 70 - 110 3Grizzly G8126 100 38-114 RN Y Y N N 60 - 100 2.6Hitachi NT32AE 85 58-114 RN Y N N N 70 - 120 2.6Hitachi NT50AE 120 34-2 RN Y N N N 70 - 120 3.2Jamerco JTBN1832 70 58-114 RN Y N N N 52 - 100 2.5Jamerco JTBN1832A 90 58-114 RN Y N N N 70 - 100 2Jamerco JTBN1850A 130 58-2 RN Y N N N 70 - 100 2.7Jamerco JT1838SB42 130 58-158 RN Y N N N 60 - 100 2.5 Nailer/staplerMakita AF502 309 58-2 RN Y Y N Y 65 - 120 2.5Makita AF503 169 58-2 RN Y Y N N 65 - 120 2.4Paslode IM200-F18 429 58-2 RN N Y Y Y 4.9 Cordless Finish NailerPaslode T200-F18 119 58-2 2T Y Y Y Y 70 - 100 2.1 Finish nailerPaslode T125-F18 99 58-114 2T Y Y Y Y 70 - 100 1.75 Finish nailerPorter-Cable BN200V12 259 34-2 RN N Y Y Y 70-120 NA 12v batt or compressorPorter-Cable BN125A 95 58-114 RN N Y Y Y 70 - 120 2.3 Performance/value:4.5Porter-Cable BN200A 138 34-2 RN N Y Y Y 70 - 120 2.5 Performance/value:4.5Senco SLP20 169 58-158 RN N N Y N 70 - 120 2.3 OillessSenco FinishPro 25 200 58-218 RN N Y Y Y 70 - 120 2.7 Turbo optionSpotnails CB1820 90 316 -114 RN Y N N N 85 - 100 2.6Spotnails DB1825 175 12-1916 RN Y N N N 85 - 100 3.1Spotnails GB1832 199 78-2 RN Y N N N 85 - 100 3.3Woodtek 832-371 120 58-112 2T Y N N Y 80 - 100 2.3Woodtek 832-378 147 34-2 2T Y N N Y 80 - 100 3.5Woodtek 882-371 80 58 2T Y N N Y 80 - 100 2.3 Nailer/stapler Woodtek 914-547 140 58-1316 2T Y N N Y 55 - 95 3 Nailer/stapler

  • For most woodworkers, the drillpress isnt the most importanttool in your shop. But its a tool youllmiss if you try to go without it. Drillpresses excel at drilling consistentholes into your work with very lit-tle effort. For many people, drill press-es may sit idle for long stretches be-fore being put to use. But with ad-ditional attachments, the drill pressbecomes a mortiser or a spindle sander,increasing its usefulness.

    Capacities on drill presses are de-termined by measuring the distancefrom the center of the chuck to thepost. An 8" benchtop drill press hasa 4" throat capacity from the post tothe chuck.

    Sold as benchtop and floor mod-els, expect a 4" to 812" capacity onstandard benchtop models (whichare priced from $80 to almost $1,000,with most around the $180 mark).Standard floor models will rangefrom 612" to 11" capacity and costbetween $195 and $3,700 and av-erage around $400. Both benchtop

    and floor model radial drill presseshave a much larger capacity.

    Choosing between a benchtopor floor model drill press is likelyto come down to price and throatcapacity. Many of the other featuresare similar among the models. Thoughbenchtop units limit the possibleheight of the piece being drilled, theheight limitation can be workedaround by mounting it to a work sur-face and swinging the head so it ex-tends over the edge of the work sur-face.

    One feature that is standard onmost drill presses is the ability to op-erate at variable speeds by changingthe orientation of the drive belts onstepped pulleys. Some models allowspeeds to be changed without stop-ping the machine or moving thebelts. This feature is more importantthan most users realize, as specificspeeds will provide better perfor-mance from bits. Larger bits performbetter at slower speeds, while small-er bits work well at higher speeds.

    See the chart below to make sureyoure getting the most from yourdrill press tooling.

    Closely related to speed is themotor size. Its not important to havea large motor on a drill press. Inessence, a drill press does the sametype of work an electric drill does,but it is more accurate. A 16 hp to34 hp is the normal range for bench-tops, while floor models will run from12 hp to 2 hp.

    One of the features that allowsdrill presses to be more accurate thanan electric drill is an adjustable depthstop. Employing either a threadedshaft with stop-nuts attached to thequill, or an internal limiter that keepsthe handle from turning past a cer-tain spot, the depth stop allows youto drill hole after hole to exactly thesame depth. Some drill press mod-els offer both types of depth adjust-ment. Either will work, though youmay find that you have a personalpreference.

    Now that weve got the bit spin-ning at the proper speed and to theproper depth, lets take a look atwhats holding the wood. The tablesthat most drill presses are outfittedwith are holdovers from when drillpresses were crossover tools from themetalworking shops. The tables maybe square or round, and if youre luckytheyll offer slots you can use to mounta plywood sub-table. The critical fea-ture on the table is the way it adjusts.Tables move up and down using asimple friction sleeve (mostly foundon benchtop units) or a rack-and-pinion system operated by a crank.In either case, if you get the chanceto try the machine, make sure the

    Making holes that are all the same depth and all straight into your work might not sound like a big deal until you try to do that without a drill press. Trust us, you need one.

    drillpresses

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    BIT SPEEDSBIT TYPE SOFTWOOD HARDWOOD

    twist116" - 316" 3,000 3,00014" - 38" 3,000 1,500716" - 58" 1,500 7501116" - 1" 750 500

    bradpoint18" 1,800 1,20014" 1,800 1,00038" 1,800 75012" 1,800 75058" 1,800 50034" 1,400 25078" 1,200 2501" 1,000 250

    BIT TYPE SOFTWOOD HARDWOOD

    pilot-point18" - 316" 3,000 3,00014" - 38" 3,000 3,00012" 3,000 1,500

    spade14" - 12" 2,000 1,50058" - 1" 1,750 1,500118" - 112" 1,500 1,000

    forstner14" - 38" 2,400 70012" - 58" 2,400 50034" - 1" 1,500 500118" - 114" 1,000 250138" - 2" 500 250

  • table is easy to use and moves smooth-ly. We recommend a rack-and-pin-ion system whenever available.

    A few words about radial drillpresses. By having the drill press headmounted on a sliding post, the throatcapacity can reach a maximum of18", almost twice that of many stan-dard floor models. The adjustablehead also allows the press to be usedat a number of different angles, addinga variety of applications. Thoughweve heard deflection concerns withthe radial design, our testing hasnt

    shown any significant problem. Wewould suggest, though, you makesure the bit is square to the table afterrotating the head. Though a littlefussier to deal with, a radial drill presscan significantly increase your toolscapacity without a lot more expense.

    Some available attachments toincrease your drill press abilities in-clude: a drum sander (to use the ma-chine as a spindle sander); or a mor-tising attachment, which wont beas efficient as a dedicated mortiser,but itll cost only about $75. PW

    Post to quill capacity is the most important feature. Decide between a floor or benchtop model based on your

    available space and the capacity you need. The easier it is to change the quill speed, the better. How easy is it to move and adjust the table? How easy is it

    to mount a sub-table? It might sound like a throwaway feature, but a good light mounted on the

    machine helps a lot.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor drill presses

    occasional user Grizzly G7945, Grizzly Industrial got

    its start selling drill presses, and itshard to beat them on value. Thisbenchtop radial press has impressivestats and a great price.

    Grizzly G7946, The floor model radialmachine costs just a few dollars moreand, like its little brother, will occa-sionally save your bacon when youhave a tricky hole to make.

    Grizzly G7943, If space is a concernand you dont need the capacity of aradial press, check out this small butheavy unit.

    serious home woodworker Grizzly G7944, Its almost impossible

    to find a new 14" drill press for thisprice anywhere but at Grizzly. Agood machine at an incredible price.

    Delta 17-965, This 1612" unit is wellmade and is found in many proshops. The price is competitive, too.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Grizzly G7948, This monster 20" drill

    press has a table-saw-sized motor onback and an enormous table. For thisprice, you just cannot beat it any-where.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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  • PW recommends

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    MODEL STREET THROAT CHUCK QUILL SPINDLE RACK & HP WEIGHT COMMENTSPRICE CAP. (IN.) CAP. (IN.) TRAVEL (IN.) SPEED RPMS PINION TABLE LBS.

    BENCHTOPCraftsman 21908 $115 4 12 2 620 - 3,100 N 13 48 5 speedsDelta 11-950 100 4 12 2 620 - 3,100 N 14 49 5 speedsGrizzly G7942 80 4 12 2 620 - 3,100 Y 13 50Jet JDP-8 180 4 12 2 620 - 3,100 N 16 42 5 speedsTradesman 8050S 100 4 12 2 620 - 3,100 N 14 50 5 speedsWoodtek 829785 100 4 12 2 620 - 3,100 N 14 40Shop Fox H2271 110 414 12 158 620 - 3,100 N 13 49 oscillatingDelta 11-980 155 5 12 214 620 - 3,100 Y 14 70 5 speedsJet JDP-10 210 5 12 212 540 - 3,600 N 13 70 5 speedsRyobi DP101 100 5 12 214 570 - 3,050 Y 14 68 5 speedsTradesman 8062S 120 5 12 2 620 - 3,100 N 14 59Craftsman 21912 180 6 12 238 540 - 3,600 Y 23 83 fence;5 speedsDelta 11-990 170 6 12 238 620 - 3,100 Y 13 78 5 speedsFisch DP2000 230 6 12 212 500 - 3,100 Y 12 80 6 speedsStar S4016 195 612 58 3 195 - 3,500 Y 12 95Shop Fox H0626 220 658 58 314 250 - 3,050 Y 34 115 oscillatingGrizzly G7943 180 7 58 314 140 - 3,050 Y 34 160 12 speedsJet JDP-14J 305 7 12 314 195 - 3,630 Y 12 132 5 speedsJet JDP-14M 360 7 58 338 460 - 2,500 Y 12 132 16 speedsGeneral 34-02 760 712 12 412 460 - 4,910 N NA 174General 34-02-M1 990 712 12 412 460 - 4,910 N 34 174General Int'l 75-100 470 812 58 314 340 - 2,800 Y 34 180

    FLOORStar S4017 $255 612 58 3 195 - 3,500 Y 12 125 Tradesman 8080S 320 612 58 338 250 - 3,100 Y 12 156 12 speedsDelta 14-070 370 7 58 338 250 - 3,000 Y 12 157 12 speedsGrizzly G7944 200 7 58 314 140-3,050 Y 34 172 work lightJet JDP-14JF 370 7 12 338 200 - 3,630 Y 12 156 5 speedsJet JDP-14MF 380 7 58 314 460 - 2,500 Y 34 167 16 speedsYorkcraft YC-19FDP 259 7 58 3516 140 - 3,050 Y 34 176 work lightTranspower DP16 195 714 58 312 250 - 3,000 Y 34 130Craftsman 22915 300 712 58 318 250 - 3,100 Y 12 166 12 speedsCraftsman 22935 1,250 712 58 41316 300 - 3,300 Y 1 440General 34-01 880 712 12 412 460 - 4,910 N 34 196General 34-01-M1 760 712 12 412 460 - 4,910 N 34 196Powermatic 1150-A 1,650 712 12 6 400 - 5,300 Y 34 or 1 323Ridgid DP1550 300 712 58 334 250 - 3,100 Y 12 162 2-location handleLobo DP-016F 280 8 58 312 240 - 3,800 Y 12 135Delta 17-900 340 814 58 338 250 - 3,000 Y 34 194 12 speedsDelta 17-925 870 814 12 6 150 - 3,200 Y 34 230 variable speedsDelta 17-965 390 814 58 478 215 - 2,720 Y 34 195 16 speedsJet JDP-17MF 420 814 58 438 200 - 3,630 Y 34 178 16 speedsJet JDP-17FSE 310 814 58 338 200 - 3,000 Y 34 168 16 speedsWoodtek 816-805 379 814 58 314 250 - 3,000 Y 34 165Grizzly G7947 375 812 58 434 210 - 3,300 Y 1 275 work lightBridgewood BW1758F 300 812 58 3516 250 - 3,900 Y 34 150 work lightCraftsman 22917 400 812 58 314 200 - 3,630 Y 34 195 16 speedsGeneral 75-200 505 812 58 314 340 - 2,800 Y 34 200Lobo DP-186F 350 812 58 3516 190 - 2,640 Y 34 170Powermatic 1170 480 812 58 314 190 - 3,500 Y 1 180Shop Fox G9974 325 812 58 314 150 - 3,050 Y 1 200Tradesman 8106S 430 812 58 338 250 - 3,600 Y 1 183 16 speedsTranspower DP17 225 812 58 312 250 - 3,000 Y 1 178Grizzly G9749 1,550 958 58 6716 300 - 3,000 Y 112 750Craftsman 22920 600 10 34 41116 150 - 4,200 Y 1 282 work light

  • Radial drill presses, such as the G7945, give you immense throat capacity and the ability to easily make holes at compound angles. Whats the downside? Some people report problems with the head flexing something we haventencountered in our shop. Radial drill presses are a little fussier to set up because you need to check the head when yousquare it to the table to make sure its actually square.

    MODEL STREET THROAT CHUCK QUILL SPINDLE SPEED RACK & HP WEIGHT COMMENTSPRICE CAP. (IN.) CAP. (IN.) TRAVEL (IN.) RPMS PINION TABLE LBS.

    Grizzly G7948 425 10 58 434 210 - 3,300 Y 112 312 12 speeds/ lightGrizzly G7108 1,495 10 58 614 300 - 2,000 Y 2 717 variable speedPowermatic 2000 815 10 58 412 130 - 2,770 Y 112 328Bridgewood BW2501F 500 1014 58 458 150 - 4,200 Y 34 258 work lightGrizzly 9746 2,495 1014 58 518 60 - 1,500 Y 1 682Jet 20MF 845 1014 34 438 150 - 4,200 Y 112 288Woodtek 816-812 690 1012 58 41316 180 - 4,200 Y 1 346Grizzly G9747 3,695 1034 58 5 60 - 3,000 Y 112 682General Int'l 75-500 880 11 34 412 130 - 2,770 Y 1 340Lobo 222F 680 11 114 434 190 - 4,300 Y 1 360

    RADIALTradesman 8090S 180 13 12 4 620 - 3,100 N 14 62 Grizzly G7945 150 17 58 314 550 - 3,470 Y 12 100 benchtopGrizzly G7946 180 17 58 314 550 - 3,470 Y 12 150 5 speedsYorkcraft YC-16RDP 190 1714 58 458 550 - 3,470 Y 12 81 5 speeds

    www.popwood.com

  • I began my woodworking careerstanding in a pile of wood chipsat the back end of a 20" planer. So Iunderstand the benefit of dust col-lection. To keep the mess down, sure,but sucking dust into your lungs is anuisance and a health risk.

    Dust comes in many sizes in awood shop, and there are collectorsand air cleaners to keep your workplace safe from plain and toxic dust.

    Dust collectors come in a dizzy-ing array of sizes, from the portablesingle bag, 12 hp models to the com-mercial models that are larger thansome shops. While the smaller onesmay have an application in your shop,there are a number of modestly sizedunits that will fit comfortably intoyour shop and your budget.

    Collection units are of four vari-eties: the single-stage collector thatsucks in big and little chips and drops

    them in a bag for emptying later;two-stage collectors that suck thechips into a barrel and divert the finedust into a bag; cyclone collectorsthat generally do a better job of sep-arating the fine dust from the biggerchips than the other units; and aircleaners that extract fine particlesfrom the air in your shop by cyclingthe air through a series of filters.

    For the majority of woodwork-ers, a single-stage unit will provideadequate chip collection for a num-ber of machines and still not breakthe bank.

    It takes about 350 cfm (cubic feetper minute) to adequately pull chipsaway from a table saw. On the high-er end, a planer should be matchedwith between 400 and 500 cfm tokeep things clean. If used for onlyone of these machines, literally everydust collector made could handle

    the job. So why are some collec-tors better than others?

    Air movement measured in cfmis important, but there are other fac-tors as well. The collector is attachedto the machine by a hose. The lengthand diameter of the hose can reduceefficiency of the collector. If youchoose to hook your dust collectorto more than one machine and thesections of hose are not kept inde-pendent from each other (using blastgates to stop the air flow) the staticpressure drops. If you decide to haveyour dust collector positioned out-side of the main shop area, its qui-eter, but youve decreased the effec-tiveness with the extra pipe.

    While a great deal of math canbe applied to determine the best ma-chine for you, as a rule of thumb, acollector rated for 600 or 700 cfmwill be adequate for use on multiplemachines when the machines areused independently and with blastgates. If you need to run two ma-chines at the same time or will beusing a central collection system,look for at least 1,200 cfm.

    The other key statistic in choos-ing the right collector for you hasnothing to do with the machine it-self, its the bags. Bag efficiency israted by the size of dust particletrapped in the bag. The least effi-cient bags trap dust up to 30 micronsin size. The best will trap as small as1 micron. Buy the best you can af-ford, or plan to buy better bags later.

    While were on the topic of bags,one of the most frustrating experi-ences in a wood shop is changing thebags on a dust collector. First, itsmessy (wear a mask!) and can be

    CFM and static pressure are the two most important statistics. If you want one collector to roll around from machine to machine, 600 to 700 cfm

    is more than adequate. For two machines, 1,200 cfm is the best choice. The smaller the micron rating on the bags, the less fine dust will escape collection. Check the port sizes on your machines before you shop. Reducers and enlargers for

    ductwork can easily add $50 to your system.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor dust collectors

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    Air cleaners are designed to remove fine dust made by hand-held power tools or dust thats missed by the chip collectors. Some models are designed to hang from the ceiling, such as this JDS unit; others sit on the floor or on a bench.

    Nothing keeps a shop tidy and healthy like an effective dustcollection system. Dust collection can be simple or complicated;heres how to get started in your shop.

    dustcollectors

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

  • quite awkward. Two-stage units areeasier to empty as the barrels effec-tively function as a self-containedgarbage can. But if a single-stage bagis your lot, check out the clamp orrestraining system that holds the bagto the collector. Whether a lever,straps or a long screw, take it intoconsideration or you might curseyour decision. Our moneys on thequick-release clamp.

    I recently added a dust collec-tor to my garage shop. While Iveused the units for years, it wasnt untilI turned one on in my smaller garagethat the importance of ear protec-tion hit home. Check the decibelratings on the machines. Some dustcollectors are less noisy than others,but theyre all within the painfuldecibel range, so plan on wearing earprotection.

    Air CleanersIf youre interested in keeping yourlungs as clean as possible, look into

    an air cleaner. These machines arenot connected to tools, but work in-dependently, filtering the smallerdust particles that escape from a dustcollector, or from power hand toolsthat might not be connected to yourdust collection system. Air cleanersare also rated by cfm, but some mathis required to find the correct unit.

    Start with the square footage ofyour shop. Multiply the square footageby the ceiling height to get the totalvolume of the room. Then dividethat volume by six (an air cleanershould re-circulate the air in yourshop every six minutes) and youllhave the proper cfm rating for yourshop. PW

    occasional user Grizzly G8027, This is about the least

    expensive single-stage dust collectoryoull ever find. Weve been using itin our shop for a couple years with itconnected to a table saw and havebeen quite impressed. The G8027won a Best New Tool of 1999 awardfrom Popular Woodworking.

    serious home woodworker Penn State DCIB-XL, Penn State pro-

    duces an excellent line of dust collec-tors with nice bags and easy-to-re-lease clamps. When you do the num-bers, the DCIB-XL is a great value forthe money and a champ in the shop.

    Grizzly G1029, This unit costs a littlemore than the Penn State, but ittakes up a lot more space and canhandle a lot more chips. Check it outif you run more than one machine ata time.

    Delta 50-860, This air cleaner is morerugged than its competitors, in ouropinion, and is perfect for the serioushome shop.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Powermatic 75, This unit is a common

    sight in cabinet shops.

    RBI 869-0014, Similar to thePowermatic, but it costs a bit less.

    JDS Air-Tech 750, We have three ofthese units in our shop and havebeen pleased with their reliabilityand performance.

    Cyclones, You also should be lookingat cyclone systems from Oneida andPenn State. We havent tried them inour shop, but plan to this year.

    PWRecommends

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    BookshelfFor further education on dust collection,read Controlling Dust in the Workshop(Sterling Publishing) by Rick Peters.Atjust $15, its a must-read for woodwork-ers who want to stay healthy.

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    BRAND & MODEL STREET HP MAX. MAX. STATIC SAWDUST NO. OF PORTS, VOLTS WEIGHT DECIBEL BAGPRICE CFM PRESSURE CAPACITY PORT DIA. (LB.) LEVEL EFFICIENCY

    (IN. OF WATER) (CU. FT.) (IN.) (MICRONS)

    SINGLE STAGERBI 869-0010 295 12 680 4.4 7.4 1, 4 115 75 NA NAShopsmith DC3300 500 12 330 NA 4 3, 212 115 64 NA NAWoodmaster 820 295 12 680 4.4 NA 1, 4 115/230 50 NA NAJet DC-610 175 34 610 6.9 1.8 1, 4 115 64 55-60 30Tradesman 9992 200 34 453 6.5 1.5 1, 4 120 62 NA NAWoodtek 911-047 160 34 250 NA 20 gal. 1, 4 115 18 70-80 10Belsaw MC-CT-50S 150 1 700 5.5 2 1, 4 115 46 62-82 30Belsaw MC-CT-80A 150 1 700 5 2.2 1, 4 115/230 70 52-74 30Belsaw MC-CT-90C 180 1 700 5.5 2.2 1, 4 115/230 73 62-80 30Bridgewood BW-015A 160 1 700 5.5 2.4 1, 4 110/220 75 NA 1Craftsman 29978 300 1 650 8.5 1.5 1, 4 120 72 55-65 30Delta 50-840 240 1 650 8.5 2.1 1, 4 115/230 57 63-73 30Grizzly G1028 240 1 1,150 10.3 5.4 1, 4 110/220 115 60-80 30Grizzly G1163 150 1 450 2.8 2 1, 4 110/220 70 NA 30Grizzly G8027 130 1 500 2.8 2 1, 4 110 79 NA 30General 10-010 435 1 750 5.5 20 gal. 1, 4 120 76 52-62 NAJet DC-650 210 1 650 7.8 2.7 1, 4 115 84 60-70 30Jet DC-650 SB 190 1 650 7.8 3.1 1, 4 115 58 55-65 30Jet DC-TS650 2 Stage 295 1 650 7.8 44 gal. 1, 4 115 38 NA NALobo DC-1190 200 1 730 8.5 2.5 1, 4 115/230 78 60-70 NANorth State CT-50S 200 1 700 5.5 3.5 2, 4 115/230 80 55-66 15Penn State DC1B-XL 220 1 850 6.5 3.5 2, 4;1,5 110/220 66 62-82 5Ridgid DC2000 200 1 650 8.5 2.9 1, 4 120 97 NA 30Seco UFO-40 200 1 500 5.5 1.5 1, 4 115/230 44 55-65 20Seco UFO-70 265 1 655 5.5 2.5 1, 4 115/230 66 60-70 20Seco UFO-70F 280 1 655 5.5 2.5 1, 4 115/230 66 60-70 20Seco UFO-80 285 1 655 5.5 2.5 1, 4 115/230 66 60-70 20Seco UFO-90 220 1 655 5.5 2.5 1, 4 110 61 60-70 20Star S3810 185 1 700 4.5 2.2 1, 4 115/230 70 70-80 35Star S3811 185 1 700 4.5 1.5 1, 4 115/230 70 70-80 35Sunhill UFO-90 195 1 610 5.5 2.5 1, 4 110/220 70 55 20Transpower DC747 175 1 700 6.5 2 1, 4 115 65 NA NAWoodtek 802-124 230 1 400 5.5 2.5 2, 4 115 85 74 5Woodtek 864-367 210 1 380 5.5 3.5 2, 4 115 47 64 5Delta 50-850 300 112 1,200 11.4 6 2, 4 115/230 100 69-79 30Jet DC-1100 300 112 1,100 11.5 7.4 1, 6; 2, 4 115/230 103 70-80 30Jet DC-1200FS 425 112 1,200 10.5 3.5 2,4 115/230 125 70-80 30Penn State DC2-5 300 112 1,100 8.5 5.8 2, 4; 1,6 110/220 130 67-87 5Penn State DC3-5XL 210 112 850 8.5 1.5 1, 4 110/220 46 62-82 5Belsaw MC-1DC 280 2 1,059 8.3 5.2 1,5; 2, 4 230 123 67-87 30Bridgewood BW-002A 270 2 1,059 9.1 5.8 1, 5; 2, 4 110/220 117 NA 1Delta 50-851 475 2 1,500 13.7 6.5 3, 4 230 175 62-82 30General 10-110 695 2 1,600 8.3 42 gal. 1,5; 2, 4 240 132 66-77 NAGrizzly G1029 250 2 1,550 12.3 5.4 2, 4 220 130 65-85 30Jet DC-1200-1 400 2 1,200 10.5 3.5 1,6; 2, 4 230 143 65-80 30Jet DC-1200-3 400 2 1,200 11 7.4 1, 6; 2, 4 230 153 65-80 30Lobo DC-101 360 2 1,290 9.5 5.2 2, 4 115/230 155 65-80 NANorth State UFO-101 295 2 1,182 9.5 5.4 3, 4 & 5 115/230 140 NA 15Seco UFO-101 290 2 1,182 7.5 5.2 2, 4; 1,5 115/230/460 134 65-80 20Shop Fox G9975 275 2 1,550 12.3 5.4 2,4 110/220 130 30Star S3820 275 2 1,182 8.3 5.2 1, 5; 2, 4 230 135 67-87 35Sunhill UFO-101 325 2 1,182 7.5 5.2 2, 4 110/220 143 69 20Transpower DC2000 285 2 1,200 6.5 4 2, 4 115/230 143 NA NAWoodtek 805-930 400 2 790 8.3 4.4 2, 5 230 123 76 5Penn State DC250 335 212 1,350 9.5 5.8 2, 4;1,6 220 145 65-90 5Belsaw MC-2DC 450 3 1,836 8.7 10 1,6; 3,4 230 150 75-95 30

    stats

  • POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    BRAND & MODEL PRICE HP MAX. MAX. STATIC SAWDUST NO. OF PORTS, VOLTS WEIGHT DECIBEL BAGCFM PRESSURE CAPACITY PORT DIA. (LB.) LEVEL EFFICIENCY

    (IN. OF WATER) (CU. FT.) (IN.) (MICRONS)

    Belsaw MC-CT-201H 450 3 1,836 8.7 10 1,6; 3,4 230 156 75-95 30Bridgewood BW-003A 495 3 1,836 5.8 13.5 1, 7; 4, 4 220 184 NA 1Delta 50-852 650 3 2,100 18.1 12.5 4, 4 200/220 200 77-91 30General 10-210 1,200 3 2,300 8.7 83 gal. 1,6; 3, 4 240 165 75-85 NAGrizzly G1030 450 3 2,300 16.7 10.8 3, 4 220 170 75-90 30Jet DC 1900-1 640 3 1,900 10.2 10.7 1,6; 2,4 230 198 NA NAJet DC 1900-3 660 3 1,900 10.2 10.7 1,6; 2,4 230/460 208 NA NALobo DC-102 540 3 2,600 11.5 10.5 1,6; 3,4 115/230 178 75-90 NALobo DC-103 400 3 1,700 10.5 8.2 1,5; 2, 4 115/230 145 70-85 NANorth State UFO-102B 485 3 1,883 9.5 5.4 4, 5 & 6 230 181 75 15Penn State DC4-5 500 3 2,300 10.2 11.6 3, 4;1,7 220 200 75-95 5Powermatic 75 650 3 1,900 8 10.68 1, 8 or 6; 3, 4 230 215 75-90 5RBI 869-0014 500 3 1,900 9.2 7.4 1, 6 230 110 NA 20Seco UFO-102B 600 3 1,883 9.1 10.4 1,6; 3, 4 115/230/460 170 70-80 20Star S3830 475 3 1,850 5.8 10.4 1, 6; 3, 4 230 165 75-95 35Sunhill UFO-102B 460 3 1,883 9.1 10.5 3, 4 230 181 78 20Sunhill UFO-103 795 3 2,683 10.4 17.7 4, 4 230 363 NA 20Transpower DC3000 335 3 1,850 5.6 5.3 3, 4 115/230 178 NA NATranspower DC4000 445 3 1,968 5.8 6.7 4, 4 115/230 250 NA NAWoodmaster 1033 500 3 2,688 9.2 * 1, 7 220 140 NA NAWoodtek 864-381 490 3 1,180 8.6 8.8 2, 6 230 194 78 5Grizzly 9958 900 4 3,560 16.8 26 4,4 220 320 30Bridgewood BW-005A 995 5 3,500 9.7 NA 1, 9; 4,4 220/440 227 NA NAGeneral 10-510 1,630 5 5,100 16 144 gal. 4, 4 240 370 78-85 NAGrizzly G5954 1,000 5 4,820 17 26 4, 4 230 403 NA 1Lobo DC805 1,490 5 3,800 13 18.7 4, 4 220/440 310 NA NANorth State 995 5 4,850 17 1,8; 4,4 220/440 380 75 NA

    AIR CLEANERSBRAND & MODEL PRICE CFM # FILTERS DUST REMOVAL WEIGHT DECIBELS

    EFFICIENCY (LB.)

    Craftsman 16995 100 200 2 93% @ 5 micron 14 NACraftsman 29972 260 300 2 95% @ 5 mic. 45 NADelta 50-860 250 850 2 98% @ 5 mic. 50 45Delta 50-868 300 1,000 2 98% @ 5 mic. 55 45Delta 50-870 450 1,900 2 98% @ 5 mic. 85 50General 10-600 M1 275 1,400 3 98% @ 0.5 mic. 50 64Grizzly G9954 100 220 1 99.7% @ 5 mic. 15.5 NAGrizzly G9955 130 400 2 99.7% @ 5 mic. 18.75 NAGrizzly G5955 180 510 2 98% @ 3 mic. 40 NAGrizzly G9956 325 1,400 3 99.7% @ 5 mic. 79 NAJDS Air-Tech 10-16 695 1,000 or 1,600 3 99% @ 5 mic. 92 NAJDS Air-Tech 750 260 200 to 750 3 99% @ 5 mic. 62 NAJDS Air-Tech 8-12 495 800 or 1,250 3 99% @ 5 mic. 86 NAJDS Air-Tech 2400 1,095 2,410 3 99% @ 5 mic. 203 NAJet AFS-1000 230 500; 700; 1,044 2 99% @ 5 mic. 54 NAJet AFS-1500 330 750; 900; 1,300 3 99% @ 5 mic. 75 NAJet AFS-2000 500 800; 1,200; 1,700 3 99% @ 5 mic. 110 NAPenn State AC465 200 465 2 98% @ 3 mic. 40 65Penn State AC930 280 930 2 98% @ 3 mic. 51 67Penn State AC2500-S 1,000 2,500 2 98% @ 3 mic. 130 67Ridgid AF2000 100 200 2 93% @ 5 mic. 14.5 61Ridgid AF3000 200 300 2 97% @ 5 mic. 45 63Woodtek 923-838 200 340 2 98% @ 0.5 mic. 35 55Woodtek 923-859 250 510 2 98% @ 0.5 mic. 30 55

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    PW recommendsNA=not available

    key

    stats

  • Hand tools can be difficult toshop for. For some types oftools, particularly chisels, its easy tospend way too much money and getmediocre performance. But for othertools (combination squares come tomind) buying cheap can come backto haunt you in the form of ill-fit-ting joints or cockeyed assemblies.So read on.

    Weve tested every major brandof chisel, low-angle block plane anddecent combination square on themarket. We tested the durability ofthe chisels edges, the amount ofsetup needed with a block plane andthe accuracy of all the major squares.If you want to buy a set of tools thatwill last a lifetime no matter whatyour budget youve come to theright place.

    Beware the Chisel SnobYour garden-variety bevel-edge chis-el generally bats cleanup in the mod-ern shop. They square the cornersof hinge mortises cut with a router,clear out the waste in dovetail pinsand pare a tenon for a perfect fit.They can be lightly struck with amallet, but save the heavy stuff fora mortising or firmer chisel.

    Whats surprising about bevel-edge chisels is you dont have to spenda lot of money to get a tool with a

    durable edge. Some of the least ex-pensive chisels, when properly setup, are the most hardy.

    The first thing to check is thehandle. Find one that feels good andknow this: round-handled chiselswill roll off your bench.

    Next, you want to choose a chis-el with a decent blade. The face (theside opposite the cutting bevel) ofall chisels must be lapped reasonablyflat, especially at the cutting edge.The face can bow one of two ways.If the face bows out in the middle,it is said to be bellied. Personally,Id return a chisel that had more thana little belly to it. These take a lot ofwork to fix, sometimes with a beltsander. If the face bows at the ends,the chisel is said to be hollow. Ahollow face certainly makes it easi-er to lap the face at the cutting edge.However, too much hollow and yourein trouble; your chisel will want todig into your work.

    Another thing to consider is howhard the blade is. Western chiselsare typically hardened to a Rockwellhardness between 58 and 62. This isharder than a scraper or a hand saw,but softer than carbide on a saw bladeor router bit.

    You would think that harder isalways better, but consider this: theharder the blade the more brittle it

    is. Or, put another way, the blade ona chisel is a trade-off between tough-ness and sharpness. Softer blades aretougher and withstand abuse with-out breaking. Harder blades are sharp-er and more likely to retain an edgeduring normal use, but they are brit-tle and more likely to fail under stress.

    Our testing examined the chis-els for how well they felt in our hands,how easy they were to lap flat andhow well the edge endured after chop-ping dovetail pins in white oak, anadmittedly brutal test. The resultsof the test can be found on the fol-lowing pages.

    Combination Squares:Slightly Expensive is BetterCombination squares were invent-ed in 1877 by Laroy Starrett. Thecompany that bears his name stillproduces this important tool, and itsmodern version is the best that moneycan buy. The combination squarecan assist you in almost every work-shop operation and help you set upevery machine. It is a ruler, a trysquare, a miter square, a scribe (withthe scribe tip), a depth gauge andeven a level in a pinch. Purchasea combination square with a pro-tractor and center-finding head andtheres little you cannot lay out.

    The two most important thingsto look for in a combination squareare the markings on the blade andthe accuracy of the head. On cheapoplastic or aluminum models (whichwe dont recommend) the gradua-tion marks can be as thick as 116"and stenciled on or stamped. Thismakes accurate measurements nighimpossible. Better squares have ma-chine-milled fine graduation marks

    Its easy to spend too much on a chisel. How it feels and how it cuts is whats important. Dont be taken in by a pretty birch handle with a shiny blade.

    For combination squares, accuracy is paramount. Buy a nice square. Even inexpensive block planes can be set up well. But they can take a lot of effort

    to get that way. If you buy an inexpensive plane, buy a nice aftermarket blade some day.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor hand tools

    Even if your shop is a burden on the local power grid, you still need chisels, a combination square and a block plane.

    handtools

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

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  • and often include etched gradationsfor better readability.

    We tested each tool to determineif it was square with the standardhead, and again with the protrac-tor head set to 90. To determine thesmoothness of operation and relia-bility, we moved the blade 100 timesthrough the head. We then checkedthe tool again for squareness.

    Low-Angle Block PlanesThe type of block plane we prefer inthe Popular Woodworking shop is alow-angle block plane. With theblade set at 12 to the sole ratherthan 20, these planes slice cleanlythrough figured and dense woods.Though low-angle block planes weredesigned originally for cutting endgrain, theyre capable of much more.

    Heres what you need to know: Sole flatness: When you buy

    any plane, you should flatten the soleso your cuts are more smooth andprecise. In general, the more ex-pensive the plane, the less flatten-ing you will have to do.

    Adjustable throat: All theplanes in our test have an adjustablethroat the throat is the space be-tween the blade and the shoe in frontof the blade. This feature is criticalto low-angle block planes because a

    small throat opening can preventtear-out in tricky woods, and a largethroat opening can help you hog offmaterial in a hurry.

    Lateral adjustment: This leverallows you to twist the blade left orright a bit to square it up to the throat.Is this a good thing? That dependson you. If you are a meticulous sharp-ener, and you can grind the edge ofthe blade square to the sides, thenlateral adjustment isnt for you. Ifyoure a little sloppy, lateral adjust-ment will help you compensate foryour less-than-perfect edge.

    Blade adjustment: Note howmuch you have to turn the blade-adjustment knob before the blademoves. Less idle spinning is better.Also, see how much the blade moveswith each turn of the knob. We pre-fer finer adjustment because the dif-ference between a perfect shavingand a torn up piece of wood is a tinymovement of the blade.

    Blade thickness: The thickerthe blade, the less chatter youll get.Inexpensive planes have irons thatare just over 564" thick (.08"). Moreexpensive planes have blades thatare about 1 8" (.125") thick.Aftermarket blades, such as thosefrom Hock and Lee Valley, weigh inat a beefy 332" (.094") thick. PW

    occasional user Starrett combination square, When

    youre just starting out, buy just thestandard head and the blade.

    Record 6012 low-angle block plane,This reasonably priced English-madetool is a good first plane.

    Stanley 16-180 chisels, An inexpen-sive set thats good for small hands.

    Craftsman 36857 chisels, These toughchisels feel good in larger hands.

    Marples Blue Chip chisels,Inexpensive, tough and versatilechisels that are great for everyone.These are a shop favorite here.

    serious home woodworker Starrett C434-12-R, The center-find-

    ing head and protractor head in thisset are useful and dead-on accurate.

    Veritas 05P22.01 block plane, This is awell-made plane and an excellentdesign. Perfect for end-grain jobs.

    Marples Blue Chip chisels, See ourcomments above.

    Ashley Isles chisels, One of the mostcomfortable and durable chisels outthere today.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Starrett C434-12-R

    Lie-Nielsen 6012 plane, Quite simplythe best that money can buy, andwell worth it.

    Two Cherries/Hirsch chisels

    ECE chisels

    Marples Blue Chip chisels

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

  • The Lie-Nielsen 6012 block plane (right) has allthe hallmarks of a quality tool that will last alifetime. The Starrett combination square isone of our favorite tools in our shop here atPopular Woodworking.

    A TOOL IN THE HAND

    * All hardnessnumbers are on theRockwell C scale.The first number is the hardness of the metal measured 34" up from the cutting edge.The second number is the hardness 112" up from the cutting edge.** Chisels not sold as set. Price is for6mm, 12mm, 20mmand 24mm chisels. Ratings are on abasis of 1 to 5 withone being unacceptable andfive being outstanding;W=wood; P=plastic

    NOTE: Turns tomove 116" indicateshow many full turnsof the heightadjustment knobwere necessary tomove the bladeforward 116".Height knob slopindicates how muchwe needed to turnthe height knobbefore the bladewould move either inor out.Andthroat/bladevariance indicateshow much wider theplanes throat iscompared to theblade.

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    SET NO. OF FIT AND INITIAL EASE OF TYPE OF ERGONOMICS HARDNESS NEED TO BEPRICE CHISELS FINISH FLATNESS SETUP HANDLE OF BLADE* REHONED?

    BEVEL-EDGE CHISEL SETSAshley Isles $80 6 4.25 4 3 W 4.75 59/58 NoBuck Brothers 15 3 3.5 3 2 P 2.5 59/58 YesCraftsman 36857 20 3 2.5 2 2 P 3 56/55 NoCrown/Woodworkers Supply 55 4 4 5 3 W 4 51/48 YesE.C.E.** 80 4 3.75 3 3 W 3.25 59/60 NoFootprint 30 4 2.5 4 2 P 3.25 58/59 SoonFreud WC-104 55 4 3.25 5 3 W 3 59/57 YesGarrett Wade 10T15.01 70 6 3.25 2 3 W 3 60/60 SoonGrizzly G5836 30 4 2.75 4 3 W 3.25 61/60 YesLee Valley Butyrate 40 5 3.75 3 2 P 2.5 59/60 YesLee Valley Wood Handle 40 5 2.75 4 1 W 3.25 61/59 YesMarples Butyrate Handle 100 6 3.75 3 4 P 4.25 60/59 YesMarples Blue Chip 35 5 3.25 3 4 P 4 60/61 NoPfeil Swiss Made 150 8 2.5 4 3 W 3.25 60/60 YesSandvik 95 6 4 3 3 W 4 59/60 YesSorby Boxwood 115 4 4.5 2 2 W 3.5 58/59 SoonSorby Gilt Edge 160 5 4 4 4 W 4 57/58 YesStanley 16-180 15 3 2.75 4 2 P 2.5 59/59 NoTwo Cherries/Hirsch 80 4 3.75 2 2 W 4.25 56/56 NoWoodworker's Supply Hornbeam 35 4 3 4 3 W 2.75 61/59 No

    STREET BLADE FIT & SMOOTH- ACCURACY SCALE HEAD BLADE PRICE READABILITY FINISH NESS MATERIAL

    COMBINATION SQUARESBridge City CS-12 $150 3.5 5 4 5 132, .5mm brass, steel NA

    friction padsGeneral MG-S281-4R $120 4.25 4.25 4.75 5 18, 116, 132, 164 cast iron hardened

    & temperedGrizzly G5726 $30 4.5 3.5 4 4 18, 116, 132, 164 cast iron temperedStarrett C434-12-R $140 4.75 5 5 5 18, 116, 132, 164 hardened steel hardened

    or cast iron & temperedWoodcraft 14L90 $120 4.5 4.25 4 5 18, 116, 132, 164 cast iron hardened

    & temperedWoodworkers Supply $50 3 2.5 3 4 .5mm, 1mm, cast iron tempered

    132, 164

    STREET SETUP FIT & PERFOR- LATERAL HEIGHT WEIGHT TURNS BLADE PRICE REQUIRED FINISH MANCE ADJ. KNOB SLOP (OZ.) TO MOVE 116" WIDTH/THICK

    BLOCK PLANESBridge City CT-7 $600 4.75 5 4 no 12 turn 25.1 212 1316"/.115"Lie-Nielsen 6012 $150 4.5 4.75 5 no 14 turn 25.4 214 138"/.120"Record 6012 $45 3 3 3 no 1 turn 22.2 2 158"/.080"Stanley 6012 $40 2 3 2 yes 23 turn 23.2 214 138"/.081"Veritas $85 3.5 4 4 yes 116 turn 28.4 1 11932"/.120"

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  • If you wanted to start woodwork-ing but you had money for onlyone power hand tool, Id make it ajigsaw. With a little care, jigsaws cancrosscut, rip and cut curves in anysize material. No other portable sawcan make this claim.

    To be fair, the quality of the cutfrom a jigsaw isnt going to be as flaw-less as what youd get from a tablesaw. But new blade technology hasimproved cut quality greatly in thelast few years.

    In the woodshop, jigsaws excelat making cuts that would be im-possible on other tools such ascutting a curve in a large sheet ofplywood, or shaping the bracket feeton an assembled cabinet base. Ifyouve ever had to notch out a 1 x 4

    to make a window sill, then you knowthe value of a good jigsaw.

    So what makes a good jigsaw? Youcan spend as little as $50 for a toolthat youll get out once or twice dur-ing a project. But if youre a kitcheninstaller, you should spend at least$150 to get a tool designed for dailyuse.

    Stroke and AmpsMost 4- or 5-amp tools will handlethe everyday jobs you throw at it,but if your work includes a steadydiet of dense hardwoods, look for abeefier motor. Keep in mind that am-perage in itself is an imperfect mea-sure of the tools output. Some lower-amp tools manage to squeeze morepower out of fewer amps through ex-

    cellent motor design. So factor inthe manufacturers reputation forquality. Also critical to the equationis the tools stroke, which is howfar the blade moves up and down.The longer the stroke, the more ag-gressive the cut (and the cut will becleaner and chips will be removedfaster). Bargain jigsaws have a strokelength of 58" to 34". More expensivemodels have a stroke of 1" or more.

    Its also key to determine if thejigsaw has orbital action. Orbitalaction moves the blade slightly for-ward on the upstroke and slightlyback on the down stroke. This makesthe saw cut more aggressively, butproduces a rougher cut. On betterjigsaws, the orbital action is adjustableand can be turned off.

    The maximum cuts per minuteisnt terribly important. Just makesure the jigsaw has variable speed soyou can slow down in thin materialor in tight turns.

    The Business EndThe ease of changing the blade canvary wildly. In the past, jigsaws need-ed a long screwdriver to release theblade. While that system is still usedon some tools, many manufacturershave come up with some sort of quick-change system. Before you buy a tool,try changing the blade. Some ma-chines are quicker than others.

    Also pay attention to what sortof blade the jigsaw will accept. A fewwill take only special blades madeby the manufacturer a frustratingproposition when youre out of bladeson a Sunday afternoon.

    Others take T-style blades, whichare also called Bosch-style or bayo-net-style blades. These blades have

    If you dont have a scroll saw, band saw, circular saw or coping saw,the jigsaw is a great understudy in a pinch.

    The amperage on a jigsaw is not the only measure of its power. Check out the stroke length and how many orbital settings the tool has.

    We prefer barrel grip jigsaws in our shop. We find them more comfortable to hold and easier to steer.

    Many quality jigsaws have a chip blower, which is a big help during cuts. Once youve bought your saw, buy an assortment of high-quality blades to go with it.

    Blades that come with some tools are perfect for crosscutting 2 x 4s and not much else.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor jigsaws

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200154

    Barrel-grip jigsaws are more popular in Europe than in the United States, but they seem to be gaining ground here every year. We find these jigsawseasier to steer because your hand is lower on the tool.

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  • tangs on the edges that the blade visegrips.

    Universal-style blades are heldin place with friction or screws. Moreand more saws accept both types ofblades. But most of these saws holdthe blade in with just a friction clamp.It wont be as good a grip as youllget when the jigsaw clamps down ona T-style blade.

    Also key is whether or not thetool has a blade guide. The bladeguide can be anything from a groovedbearing to a notched bar of metalthat is positioned behind the blade.Its job is to prevent the blade fromdeflecting to one side in a tough cut.Blade guides are common on all butthe less expensive jigsaws, and a fewexpensive ones.

    Body FeaturesJigsaws come in three body styles:top handle, barrel grip and in-line.Top handle jigsaws are the norm inthis country, though the European-style barrel-grip tools are gettingmore popular every day, especiallyamong professionals. The in-line jig-saw is like a miniature reciprocatingsaw, which is great for getting intotight spaces. However, we do notcover these tools in this buying guide.

    Also check out the base of thesaw to see if it bevels. This allowsyou to make angle cuts. Make sure

    the beveling mechanism has detents(or stops) at 0 and 45. And checkout how easy it is to change the angle.Some need a screwdriver, others anallen wrench and the easiest needonly the flick of a lever.

    Also, some saws come with a pieceof plastic you can sleeve over themetal base. These are useful for del-icate situations when you dont wantto risk scratching the surface yourecutting.

    Finally, see if the saw has dust col-lection, or at least a blower that willclear dust away from your cuttingline. Some tools require you to buyan aftermarket accessory to connectthe jigsaw to your shop vacuum. Dustcollection is a real plus because eventhough these tools dont throw up alot of sawdust, theres enough to ob-scure your cutting line.

    Should You Buy Cordless?In the last few years, manufacturershave started building cordless jig-saws. The models weve tried havemore than enough power and fea-tures to handle the needs of a kitcheninstaller or deck builder. But if youuse your saw only in your shop, werecommend a corded saw with morefeatures or power. But if you need towork where the power supply is ques-tionable, these are great tools. PW

    occasional user Freud FJ85, Freuds top-of-the line

    jigsaw has a price that makes it agreat entry-level saw. The FJ85 haslots of features found on expensivesaws, such as dust collection, a good-sized stroke and orbital action.

    serious home woodworker Bosch 1584AVS, 1587AVS, These two

    tools are virtually identical exceptthe 1584AVS is a barrel-grip and the1587AVS is a top-handle tool. Theseare the tools youre going to find inthe toolbox of almost every kitcheninstaller. Bosch is considered thecategory leader, and its tools arewhat others are measured against.Buy one and youll find out why.

    Milwaukee 6266-21, 6276-6, Again,these are basically the same two sawswith different body styles.Milwaukees jigsaws have what weconsider to be the easiest blade-changing mechanism on the markettoday.

    advanced woodworker or professional userThe two tools above are also excellentchoices for the professional and arecommon sights in cabinet shops.

    Metabo STE105 Plus, STEB105 Plus,Metabos newer line of jigsaws arerock-solid performers that give Boscha real run for its money. This tool is ashop favorite.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

  • c=chip blower,VP=vacuum port* Toolless bladechanging.** Has orbital actionNA, not available = PW Recommends

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200156

    BRAND & MODEL STREET BODY BLADE BLADE STROKE CUTS AMPS DUST WEIGHTPRICE TYPE MOUNT TYPE GUIDE LENGTH (IN.) PER MINUTE CONTROL (LB.)

    Black & Decker JS200 $35 TH U Y 1 116 800 - 3,200 3.2 CB 4Black & Decker JS300K 45 TH U Y 1 116 800 - 3,200 3.5 CB 4Black & Decker JS350 50 TH U* Y 1 116 800 - 3,200 3.7 CB,VP 4Bosch 1581AVSK 150 TH T Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5 CB 5.5Bosch 1584AVS 155 BG T* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5 CB, Opt.VP 5.5Bosch 1584AVSK 160 BG T* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5 CB, Opt.VP 5.5Bosch 1587AVS 155 TH T* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5 CB, Opt.VP 5.5Bosch 1587AVSK 160 TH T* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5 CB, Opt.VP 5.5Bosch 1587 AVSP 160 TH T* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5 CB 5.5Craftsman 17228 80 TH U Y 34 0 - 3,000** 4 CB,VP 5Craftsman 17230 30 TH U N 58 2,600 - 3,000** 3 CB 4Craftsman 17231 50 TH U Y 58 0 - 3,000** 3.5 CB,VP 4Craftsman 17232 70 TH U N 58 0 - 3,000** 3.5 CB,VP 4.5DeWalt DW313 100 TH U Y 1 3,100** 4.5 - 6.2DeWalt DW318K 100 TH U Y 1 0 - 3,100** 4.5 - 6.2DeWalt DW321K 150 TH T, U* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5.8 CB 6.4DeWalt DW323K 165 BG T,U* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 5.8 CB 6.4DeWalt DW933K 210 TH T,U* Y 1 2,000** 18v cordless - 8.1Fein Aste 638 450 BG U N 1316 1,050 - 2,600 3.9 VP 4.8Festool PS2E 292 BG T Y 1 1,200 - 3,100** 4 CB,VP 4.9Freud FJ65 65 TH T, U Y 34 0 - 3,000** 3.2 VP 3.4Freud FJ85 110 TH T, U Y 1 0 - 3,000** 4.8 VP 5.4Grizzly G8994 60 TH U Y 1 0 - 3100** 5 CB 5.5Hitachi CJ65V2K 180 TH T,U Y 1 700 - 3,200** 5.2 CB 5.5Makita 4304 189 TH U Y 1 500 - 3,000** 5.5 - 5.1Makita 4304T 150 TH T, U* Y 1 500 - 3,000** 5.5 CB 5.1Makita 4305T 180 BG T, U* Y 1 500 - 3,000** 5.5 CB 5.1Makita 4323 60 TH U Y 1 116 500 - 3,100** 3.7 VP 4Makita 4324 109 TH U Y 1 116 500 - 3,100** 3.7 VP 4Makita 4300DW 70 TH Special Y 916 2,700 9.6v cordless NA 3.3Makita 4331DWD 280 TH T, U Y 1 0-2,800 12v cordless NA 5.7Makita 4333DWD 290 TH T, U Y 1 0 - 2,800 14v cordless NA 5.7Makita 4334DWD 290 TH T, U Y 1 500 - 2,800 18v cordless NA 7.3Metabo STE70 135 TH T, U Y 34 1,000 - 3,000** 4.8 CB 4.9Metabo STE105Plus 190 BG T, U* Y 1 1,000 - 3,000** 6 CB,VP 5.7Metabo STEB105Plus 190 TH T,U* Y 1 1,000 - 3,000** 6 CB,VP 6.2Milwaukee 6256-6 150 TH U Y 1 0 - 3,100 3.8 CB 5.8Milwaukee 6266-21 150 TH T* Y 1 450 - 3,100** 5.7 CB,VP 5.3Milwaukee 6267-21 300 BG T* Y 1 1,700** 12v cordless VP 5.8Milwaukee 6276-6 200 BG T* Y 1 450 - 3,100** 5.7 CB,VP 5.3Porter-Cable 548 295 TH U N 716 0 - 4,500** 3.5 - 6.5Porter-Cable 9543 160 TH T* Y 1 500 - 3,100** 6 CB,VP 6.5Porter-Cable 97549 145 TH U Y 1 500 - 3,200** 4.8 CB 6.5Porter-Cable 643 250 TH U Y 1 0 - 2,200 19.2v cordless CB,VP NASkil 4240 25 TH T, U Y 58 3,250 3.3 CB 3.6Skil 4280 30 TH T, U Y 58 800 - 3,250 3.5 CB 3.7Skil 4380 40 TH T, U Y 58 800 - 3,250 3.7 CB 3.7Skil 4340 45 TH U Y 58 800 - 3,200 4 CB,VP 4Skil 4445 45 TH U* Y 58 800 - 3,200** 4 CB,VP 4Skil 4470 60 TH U* N 58 800 - 3,200** 4 CB,VP 4.1Skil 4470-44 60 TH U* N 58 800 - 3,200** 4 CB,VP 4.1

    stats

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  • I f your woodworking involves solidlumber, you need a jointer. Dontlet anyone tell you different. As lum-ber becomes harder to find in widthsgreater than 6", your woodworkingwill continue to require more glued-up panels. To make these correctlyyou need a jointer.

    Need more proof? A jointer willpay for itself because youll be ableto buy rough-sawn lumber at a dis-count and surface it yourself. Evenif you do buy expensive surfaced lum-ber you still need a jointer. Surfacedlumber can be as cupped, twisted orbowed as rough stuff. Add to all thisthe fact that the jointer can cut rab-bets, tapers, bevels and chamfers anda jointer becomes a necessity.

    Jointers can be divided into threecategories: benchtop models, 6" and8" floor models and floor models thatare 12" and wider. The size is thewidth of the cutterhead. We con-sider benchtop models to be too lim-ited in performance, and 12" mod-els are a luxury. Anything wider than8" is for commercial shops.

    Benchtop JointersBenchtop jointers frequently use uni-versal motors, making them some-what underpowered for the task. Thefences and tables are shorter than

    on floor models, making accuracymore difficult. In short, we find themlimited in application. If space is dri-ving you to a benchtop, buy a 6"model and build outfeed and infeedtables. If its a money thing, save yourpennies to buy a floor model.

    There are situations where a small-er benchtop jointer is appropriate.If your woodworking involves small-er pieces such as jewelry boxes, hu-midors or intarsia, a benchtop join-ter can adequately do the job forunder $300.

    Floor Model Jointers For the great majority of woodworkerswe recommend a floor model joint-er. Six-inch-width jointers are themost popular machine, providingreasonable capacity and price. If youhave the means to purchase an 8"machine, we highly recommend it.The greater width can be a real ad-vantage, allowing you to use widerlumber. Plus the bigger machineshave longer tables.

    Six-inch jointers are availablewith either an open-frame base oran enclosed cabinet. The open framewill usually save you a few bucks, butthe enclosed base offers superior dustcollection and a more stable ma-chine. Costing between $325 and

    $750, the 6" models offer 34 or 1 hpmotors and bed lengths ranging from42" to 66".

    Eight-inch jointers all includeenclosed bases and cost between $675and $2,400. Bed lengths range from64" to 86", while motor sizes fall be-tween 112 and 2 hp.

    The Case for HandwheelsOne critical feature on jointers ishow you adjust the infeed table,which determines the depth of cut.Most every jointer uses either leversor hand wheels. Hand wheels are amore precise method, allowing theuser to expect that a half-turn on thewheel will increase the depth of cutby 164". Levers are more subjectivebut are faster and can providesmoother adjustment on heavier in-feed tables. Some personal prefer-ence is involved in choosing an ad-justment mechanism. Many wood-workers dont consider the accura-cy of depth of cut on a jointer veryimportant. The idea is to put a straightedge or flat face on the board. Sizingthe board is the responsibility of aplaner or table saw.

    Knives:More is BetterJointer cutterheads have two, threeor four knives, depending primarilyon the width of the machine.Generally, the more knives, thesmoother the cut. Having more knivesincreases the life span between sharp-enings and pretty much makes it eas-ier to put a nice surface on the board.The rpms involved will also affectthe smoothness of cut (the higherthe rpms, the smoother the cut).

    Benchtop models are the only

    Some people say you dont need a jointer. Dont believe them. A jointer will ensure all your stock is square and true, the first step to tight joints and square projects.

    jointers

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    Buy at least a 6" machine; an 8" is the better choice. Longer beds handle longer boards. Get the longest you can afford. Make sure the fence is true. If its not, return it. Look for jackscrew adjustments for the knives. This will save time and effort. The more knives, the better the cut.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor jointers

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  • machines with two knives in thecutterhead. All 6" jointers have threeknives, while 8" and 12" jointersmay have three or four knives. Exceptin rare situations, all jointers areshipped with high speed steel knives.Many woodworkers think theseknives provide the best edge, butmany commercial shops replace theknives with more expensive carbideknives, increasing the time betweensharpenings and the ability to jointplywood edges.

    Knife Setting a PainSetting jointer knives is one of theleast loved woodworking tasks second only to setting longer plan-er knives. The way those knives areset can make the job easier or hard-er. Setting can be done with eithera magnetic knife-setting jig (usinga magnet to lift the knife out of thecutterhead to the proper height), orjackscrew adjustment (lifting theknives to proper height by adjust-ing a set of jackscrews under theblade).We find both methods to beaccurate.

    Fence:Check for TwistIn addition to the tables on a join-ter, the fence is another place whereaccuracy comes into play. The longerthe fence, the better. More impor-tantly, the flatter the better. Weveseen a variety of jointer fences thateither bow, dip or twist. This canthrow off every joint you make.Whenever possible, check the fencefor flatness before buying, but if thatsnot possible, make it the first thingyou check when it arrives. If its notflat, send it back.

    Make sure its easy to move thefence, either to adjust the amountof blade thats exposed, or to changethe angle of the fence. Fences canbe adjusted by loosening the lock-ing handle and sliding the fence backand forth, or by adjusting a rack-and-pinion mechanism. The rack-and-pinion system is fairly new, but itsworth looking for. It makes it easierto adjust the fence accurately andwith less effort. PW

    occasional user Grizzly G1182 or 1182HW, Do yourself a

    favor and forget about buying a benchtopjointer. For a couple dollars more you canhave a real cast-iron machine from Grizzly.We prefer the 1182HW, which uses hand-wheels instead of a lever to adjust theinfeed bed, but both are outstanding ma-chines.

    serious home woodworker Jet JJ-6CSX, This 6 jointer has proven itself

    a worker with its beefy 1 hp motor.

    Delta 37-195, The rack-and-pinion fenceand easily accessible switch make this 6"jointer a pleasure to use.

    Delta 37-380, This 8 jointer also has a rack-and-pinion fence. The switch is also conve-niently located above the infeed bed.

    Jet JJ-8CS, Jets 8 jointer has a magneticswitch, handwheel adjustment and nicelong cast iron tables.

    Grizzly G1018, You can save several hun-dred dollars by taking a look at the GrizzlyG1018 8 jointer. It has a lot of featuresyoull find on the big boys machines.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Powermatic 60, This 8" jointer is the ma-

    chine to beat and is a common sight inprofessional cabinet shops. Sure, its ex-pensive, but the reliability and accuracy ofthis machine prevents anyone from com-plaining.

    Bridgewood BW-12JD, This cast-iron 12"monster has been in use in our shop for acouple years now and has proven itself anaccurate and durable machine. Once youuse a 12" machine, youll never want to goback.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

  • Type of height adjustment: K=knob,W=wheel, L=lever,L/W=both lever andwheel; NA=not available

    =PW Recommends

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    MODEL PRICE WIDTH X # OF KNIVES HP VOLTS TYPE OF DUST WEIGHT COMMENTS &LENGTH (IN.) X RPM HEIGHT ADJ. PORT (LB) FEATURES

    BENCHTOPStar S3100 $250 5 x 3114 3 x 5,000 12 115/220 K Y 110Craftsman 21768 250 618 x 2812 2 x 8,000 112 115 K Y 52Delta 37-070 260 6316 x 30 2 x 6k-11k 10 amp 120 K Y 35

    MODEL PRICE WIDTH X #/KNIVES HP VOLTS TYPE OF DUST JACK WEIGHT COMMENTSLENGTH (IN.) X RPM HEIGHT ADJ. PORT SCREWS (LB) & FEATURES

    FLOORBridgewood BW-6R $400 6 x 4512 3 x 4,500 1 110/220 W Y Y 210 enclosed standDelta 37-190 450 6 x 46 3 x 4,800 34 115/230 L Y Y 210 open standGeneral 80-100 LM 1 620 6 x 56 3 x 4,800 1 115/230 W Y Y 275Grizzly G1182 325 6 x 47 3 x 5,000 1 110/220 L OPT Y 215Grizzly G1182HW 325 6 x 47 3 x 5,000 1 110/220 W OPT Y 215Grizzly G1182Z 395 6 x 47 3 x 5,000 1 110/220 L Y Y 225Grizzly G1182ZX 475 6 x 47 3 x 5,000 1 110/220 L Y Y 235 R&P fence, top switchJet JJ-6CSX 500 6 x 46 3 x 4,800 1 115/230 W Y Y 258Jet JJ-60S 410 6 x 46 3 x 4,850 34 115/230 W Y Y 192Lobo JT-2206 370 6 x 4212 3 x 5,000 1 115/230 W Y NA 194North State 395 6 x 42 3 x 5,000 1 110/220 W Y N 250Powermatic 54A 750 6 x 66 3 x 4,500 1 115/230 L/W Y Y 287 quick & fine adjustStar WJ6 395 6 x 43 3 x 4,600 34 115 NA NA NA 218 open standTradesman 8202A 350 6 x 42 3 x 4,000 1 115/230 W OPT Y 169Woodtek 924-028 400 6 x 46 3 x 3,450 34 115/230 L Y Y 210Craftsman 21706 380 618 x 46 3 x 5,000 1 115/230 W/L Y Y 230Delta 37-195 550 618 x 46 3 x 4,800 1 115/230 L Y Y 225 R & P fenceRidgid JP0610 450 618 x 45 3 x 5,000 1 115/230 W Y Y 208 dual bevel fenceSunhill CT-60L 425 7 x 52 3 x 4,500 1 110/220 W Y NA 220Transpower JT700 325 7 x 46 3 x 4,500 1 115 W Y NA 170Seco SK-0006JT 495 714 x 45 3 x 5,000 1 220 W Y NA 185Bridgewood BW-8J 895 8 x 66 4 x 4,500 112 110/220 W Y Y 412 USA motorCraftsman 20651N 1,350 8 x 86 3 x 3,450 112 230 W Y NA 476Delta 37-380 1,100 8 x 72 3 x 5,600 112 115/230 L Y Y 414 R & P fenceDelta DJ-20 37-350A 1,500 8 x 7612 3 x 5,500 112 115/230 L Y Y 480General 80-200 M1 1,305 8 x 6612 3 x 5,000 112 230 W Y Y 515General 480-1-MI 2,420 8 x 64 3 x 4,500 112 230 W Y Y 440General 80-200 HC M1 2,035 8 x 6612 hel. x 4,500 112 230 W Y Y 515 Helical cutterheadGrizzly G1018 695 8 x 65 3 x 5,000 112 230 L Y Y 450Jet JJ-8CS 1,250 8 x 6612 3 x 5,500 2 230 W Y Y 398North State CT 200 795 8 x 68 3 x 4,500 2 115/230 NA Y NA 500 magnetic controlsPowermatic 60 1,900 8 x 72 3 x 7,000 112 115/230 L/W Y Y 584 quick & fine adjustSeco SK-0008JT 1,000 8 x 66 4 x 4,500 2 220 W Y NA 400Star WJ8 650 8 x 66 3 x 4,500 112 220 NA Y Y 430Sunhill CT-204L 885 8 x 72 4 x 4,500 2 220 NA NA NA 510Transpower JT980 735 8 x 67 4 x 4,500 2 220 W Y NA 430Woodtek 907-064 760 8 x 67 3 x 4,500 112 115/230 W Y NA 445Grizzly G9859 1,895 812 x 7338 3 x 5,900 3 220 W Y Y 900 single phaseLobo JT-1008 770 812 x 66 3 x 5,200 2 230 W OPT NA 400Bridgewood BW-12JD 2,995 12 x 79 4 x 5,000 3 or 5 220 W Y Y 980 jackscrews, USA motorDelta DJ-30 37-360 3,800 12 x 84 3 x 5,000 3 230/460 L Y Y 706General 80-300 3,700 12 x 80 3 x 5,000 3 230 W Y Y 1,080Grizzly G4178 1,995 12 x 76 3 x 5,200 2 220 W OPT Y 840 Rack & pinion fence.Lobo JT-0012 2,490 12 x 72 3 x 5,250 3 230 W Y NA 836North State CCA512 2,475 12 x 87 3 x 5,200 3 230 W Y NA 1,450Powermatic 1285 4,900 12 x 84 3 x 5,000 3 230 W Y Y 880Seco SK-512JT 2,494 12 x 74 3 x 5,200 3 220 W Y NA 1,060Sunhill J-127L 2,950 12 x 84 3 x 4,500 3 230 L Y NA 900Grizzly G9860 2,495 1212 x 80 3 x 5,900 3 220 W Y Y 1,080 single phase

    stats

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

  • Unlike many kinds of tools, youcan find the same miter saw ina carpenters truck, a trim carpen-ters van and the assembly area of ahigh-end cabinetshop. Miter sawsare capable of everything from roughcrosscutting to shaving airtight miters.Its all in how you set up and use thetool.

    For woodworking, you can tuneup the saws fence and equip yoursaw with extra wings and adjustablestops and youll have a tool thats ca-pable of great accuracy and re-peatability.

    If youre in the market for a mitersaw, theres a lot to consider. Thesetools are priced anywhere from about

    $100 to $700 about the price ofa decent table saw. Its easy to buytoo little or too much tool in thiscategory. To make sure you dont buythe wrong saw, youve got match thetool to the task. The first step is tochoose from the three major typesof saws.

    Standard miter saws. Thesesaws make crosscuts and miters any-where between 45 (or more) and0 to the left and right. These sawsare available with a blade between814" and 15" in diameter. Most wood-workers need to bevel the blade forcompound miters occasionally, sothese saws are usually not versatileenough for woodworking.

    Compound miter saws. For afew bucks more, buy a saw that makescrosscuts and miters plus the headbevels to 45 or more to the left, rightor in both directions. The bevel fea-ture is great for cutting compoundmiters, like those needed for crownmoulding or undercutting miters fora super-tight fit. These saws are avail-able with a blade between 814" and12" in diameter. The 10" saws willcut 6 x material (a little less than6"). The 12" saws cut 8 x stock (orusually about 8").

    Sliding compound miter saws.At the top of the heap is this saw,which has the saw head mounted ona sliding carriage. This allows you tocrosscut and miter boards up to 12"wide on many models. These sawsare available with a blade between712" and 12" in diameter. All of thesliding models cut both miters andbevels.

    The key here is to buy as muchcutting capacity as you possibly can.If you purchase a 10" compound saw,you are probably going to be a lit-tle miffed the first time you want tocrosscut a 7"-wide board. And if youbuy a 10" saw first, then upgrade laterto a 12", you will have spent enoughmoney to buy a sliding compoundmiter saw.

    Miter and Bevel RangeAll miter saws swing 45 to the leftand right, but some go a couple de-grees further. We like these machinesbecause they help you fine-tune yourmiters especially when youreworking in a corner or on a case thatisnt square.

    You also want your saw to lock inat common miter settings, such as0, 2212 and 45. These stops, called

    Buy the saw in your price range that can cut the widest board. Are you a woodworker? Then dont buy a saw without a carbide blade. Saws that can miter past 45 are preferable to those that dont.

    Also, saws that bevel past 45 are better, too. Dont sweat the motor; all the saws weve tested are powerful enough. Compound saws are preferable to straight miter saws.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor miter saws

    Contractors call them chop saws an unfair name for this accurate and versatile tool.

    mitersaws

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    Sliding compoundmiter saws (far left)offer amazing cutcapacities in a smallpackage but at abig price. Straightmiter saws are abare-bones bargain,but their headscannot bevel.

  • detents, make life a lot easier. Whenyou buy a compound miter saw, it willtilt right at least 45. Some bettersaws also tilt to the left. Make sureits easy to lock and unlock the beveland that theres a stop at 0.

    Motor is Mostly a Non-issueWe have yet to run into a univer-sal motor on a miter saw that wassignificantly underpowered. Someare particularly noisy, and some makeit easy to change the brushes. Butother than that, dont be too con-cerned about the amperage or horse-power. The longevity of the motoris important, of course, but also isimpossible to judge in the store. Whenin doubt, stick with a name you trust.

    You Need a Carbide BladeSome entry-level saws come equippedwith high-speed steel blades. Theseare OK for framing a house, but notfor framing a picture. If the saw does-nt come with a carbide blade, fac-tor in how much youre going to have

    to spend to buy one. We recommenda crosscut blade with either a 0 or-5 hook to the teeth. This will makea cleaner cut.

    Dust Collection orDispersionWith a few exceptions, these toolsseem designed to spray dust every-where except in the dust bag. Hookyours to a portable vacuum.

    Extras Add UpSometimes the details make onebrand more favorable than another.Extension wings are useful, as is amovable accessory fence for crownmoulding cuts. (Always move thisout of the way when bevel cutting.)Also check out the handle you pullto make the cut. A horizontal han-dle is more comfortable than a ver-tical one. And does the tool havemotor brushes that are easily acces-sible from the outside of the tool?Thats a sign the tool is designed forlong life. PW

    occasional user Delta 36-225, A great beginner saw

    with enough power and features formost woodworking.

    Hitachi C10FC2 and CB, Another solidchoice for beginners. Hitachi has anexcellent reputation for makingaccurate miter saws.

    Craftsman 24315, Uses a laser to helpguide your cut that works quite well.

    serious home woodworker Bosch 3912, This 12" tool is accurate,

    durable and is great for cuttingcrown moulding.

    DeWalt 705s, This is a favorite sawamong trim carpenters, but its also agreat choice for woodworkers.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Makita LS1013, We cant recommend

    this tool enough. Its won everyaward this magazine gives out andhas earned a permanent place in ourshop because its tough and accurate.

    Hitachi C8FB2, Among trim carpen-ters, this is considered the saw tobeat. We really like it, but the smallerblade is an occasional annoyancewhen you want to cut thicker stuff.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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  • N/A= not applicable.DB = dust bag,VP = vacuum port,DB/VP = both.=PW Recommends

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    statsMODEL PRICE BLADE MAX CROSSCUT MITER BEVEL DEPTH AMPS DUST WEIGHT COMMENTS

    DIA. T X W RANGE RANGE STOP COLLECTION (LBS)(IN.) (IN.) (L, R) (R, L)

    STRAIGHT MITERTradesman 8325 170 814 218 x 514 45, 60 N/A Y 9 DB/VP 28Black & Decker BT1000 150 10 2 x 6 47, 47 N/A N 15 VP 28Craftsman 21240 140 10 258 x 534 45, 45 N/A Y 13 DB/VP 31Delta 36-070 115 10 214 x 534 48, 50 N/A N 13 DB/VP 28 5 miter stopsHitachi C10FM 170 10 318 x 414 47, 47 N/A Y 13 DB/VP 27 9 miter stopsMakita LS1030N 180 10 234 x 518 45, 52 N/A N 15 DB/VP 24 9 miter stopsMilwaukee 6490-6 285 10 212 x 5916 51, 59 N/A Y 15 DB/VP 32 steel bladeRyobi TS1301DX 100 10 3916 x 5916 46, 46 N/A Y 14 DB/VP 34 electric brakeMakita LS1440 750 14 434 x 6 45, 45 N/A N 12 DB/VP 66Hitachi C15FB 645 15 434 x 7932 52, 52 N/A Y 15 DB/VP 55 table extensionsCOMPOUNDCraftsman 21218 $300 814 2 x 6 45, 45 0,45 N - DB/VP 21 18v cordlessDelta 36-040 140 814 218 x 518 47, 47 N/A N 9 DB/VP 16 9 miter stopsBlack & Decker BT1500 200 10 2 x 6 47,47 -2, 47 N 15 DB/VP 30Craftsman 21211 200 10 258 x 512 45, 45 0,45 Y 15 VP 37 mlti-pos. handleCraftsman 21213 220 10 258 x 534 45, 45 45, 0 Y 15 VP 34 sliding fenceCraftsman 24315 200 10 258 x 534 45, 45 45, 0 Y 15 VP 34 laser guidedDelta 36-075 180 10 238 x 534 47, 47 48, -3 N 13 DB/VP 28 5 miter stopsDelta 36-225 185 10 234 x 558 47, 47 48, 3 N 15 DB/VP 33 table extensionsDeWalt DW703 230 10 212 x 6 50,50 0,48 N 15 DB/VP 33 11 miter stopsHitachi C10FC2 240 10 258 x 534 60, 45 45, 0 Y 15 DB/VP 32 10 miter stopsHitachi C10FCB 240 10 258 x 534 60, 45 45, 0 Y 15 DB/VP 32 pivoting fenceHitachi C10FCD 285 10 22732 x 558 45, 45 45, 45 Y 13 DB 33 10 miter stopsMakita LS1040 250 10 234 x 518 45, 52 45, 0 N 15 DB/VP 24 pivoting fenceMakita LS1045 320 10 234 x 518 45,52 45,0 N 15 DB/VP 42Milwaukee 6494-6 330 10 212 x 5916 51, 59 50, 3 Y 15 DB/VP 38 tall flip fenceRidgid MS1050 190 10 258 x 558 48, 48 -3,48 Y 15 DB/VP 34 "D" handleTradesman 8328 215 10 258 x 534 45, 45 45, 0 Y 12 DB 34Bosch 3912 300 12 378 x 758 52, 50 47, -3 Y 15 DB/VP 43 sliding fenceCraftsman 21222 360 12 578 x 778 45, 45 45, 0 Y 15 DB/VP 51 table extensionsDelta 36-225 300 12 378 x 6 48, 48 48, 3 N 15 DB/VP 50 sliding fenceDeWalt DW705S 300 12 212 x 778 48, 48 0, 48 N 15 DB/VP 40 tall sliding fenceDeWalt DW706 450 12 212 x 778 50, 50 48, 48 N 15 DB/VP 44 double bevelMakita LS1220 330 12 378 x 6 48, 48 45, 0 N 15 DB/VP 38 soft startPorter-Cable 3802 300 12 212 x 8 48, 48 47, 2 N 15 DB/VP 63Ridgid MS1250 300 12 2 x 8 48, 48 0, 48 Y 15 DB/VP 57Tradesman 8338 340 12 378 x 578 45, 45 34, 45 Y 15 DB/VP 58SLIDING COMPOUNDMakita LS0711Z 420 712 2 x 718 47, 57 45, 0 Y 10 DB/VP 23Makita LS711DWBEK 370 712 2 x 718 47, 57 45, 0 Y 18V DB/VP 23 cordlessCraftsman 21294 450 812 258 x 12 45, 60 45, 0 Y 10 DB/VP 44 2 dust portsFreud TR215 270 812 234 x 1134 45, 45 45, 0 N 9.7 DB/VP 37 dual poleHitachi C8FB2 530 812 2916 x 12 45, 57 47, 0 Y 9.5 DB/VP 39 3 bevel stopsTradesman 8336 380 812 2916 x 12 45, 60 45, 0 Y 10 DB/VP 50Bosch 3915 505 10 312 x 12 52, 62 47, -2 Y 13 DB/VP 47 table extensionDelta 36-240 430 10 358 x 1112 57, 47 45, 0 Y 15 DB/VP 51 work clampDelta 36-250 480 10 358 x 1112 57, 47 45, 0 Y 15 DB/VP 56 folding standHitachi C10FS 620 10 31732 x 12932 45, 57 45, 45 Y 12 DB/VP 44 soft startMakita LS1011 450 10 2516 x 12 45, 57 45, 0 Y 12 DB/VP 35 single poleMakita LS1013 530 10 358 x 12 47, 52 45, 45 Y 13 DB/VP 47 dual poleMilwaukee 6496-6K 590 10 3716 x 1238 51, 59 48, 3 Y 15 DB/VP 52 dual poleMilwaukee 6497-6 605 10 3716 x 1238 51, 59 48, 3 Y 15 DB/VP 56 table extensions;Porter-Cable 3807 480 10 358 x 1112 57, 47 45, 0 Y 15 DB/VP 57 dual poleDeWalt DW708 600 12 212 x 12 50, 60 48, 48 Y 13 VP 57 tall sliding fencesCraftsman 21292 590 12 4 x 1258 Y 15 DB/VP 92 2 dust portsMakita LS1212 800 12 378 x 1214 47, 60 45, 45 Y 15 DB/VP 48 dual pole

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

  • It just makes sense that as Arts &Crafts furniture has become apopular style again, mortisers havebecome a hot tool. In the last 12months, five manufacturers have in-troduced new benchtop mortisersdesigned for the home woodworker.

    And while that sounds like goodnews if youre thinking of buying amachine, its not entirely. Some ofthese new machines have more fea-tures but arent as gutsy as the onesthat have been on the market foryears. The bottom line is youve gotto do your homework when you buya mortiser, or you might end up witha machine thats frustrating to usein tough woods, such as oak andmaple.

    Motor Speed:The Big DifferenceIn the last few years, manufacturershave been introducing mortisers thatspin at 1,720 rpm, which is half thespeed of the older machines, whichturn at 3,450 rpm. Slow-speed ma-chines are supposed to keep the chis-el and bit cooler, reduce smokingand run quieter. Weve tested everybenchtop machine on the marketand what we found is surprising.

    Smoking: Slower-speed ma-chines are supposed to smoke less as

    the chisel and bit plunge into thewood. In tough woods especially thetremendous friction caused by thecombination of the cutting and thechips passing up the flutes of theauger bit inside the hollow chiselcauses the chips to scorch. We foundthat slow-speed machines reduce,but do not eliminate, smoking.

    Stalling: Heres the big differ-ence: slow-speed machines were like-ly to stall in tough cuts. With theslow-speed machines, some performedbetter than others. We stalled theJet only once during our test. But theCraftsman machine stalled morethan a dozen times in each 114"-deepby 10"-long mortise we cut duringtesting. We couldnt stall a fast ma-chine, even when we tried our darn-dest.

    Slow-speed machines are morelikely to stall for a variety of reasons.For one, slow machines cut biggerchips because they arent turning asfast. Bigger chips are more likely toget caught between the chisel andbit. There also are other explana-tions that engineers could give you.

    One important note: not all slow-speed motors are weak. The burly1 hp motor on the Powermatic floormodel mortiser 719A turns at a slowspeed. But because the motor is so

    much bigger, it does not stall. It wassome of the 12 hp motors on thebenchtop machines that gave us trou-ble.

    Temperature: Slow-speed ma-chines are supposed to reduce theamount of heat in the chisels com-pared to fast-speed machines, so yourtooling will stay sharp longer. Fast-speed mortisers heated up the chis-el to an average of 237 after one10"-long mortise. The slow-speedmachines chisels averaged 209 afterthe same amount of work. Heat isthe enemy of a sharp edge, so youprobably will be caring more for yourchisels or replacing them if you owna fast-speed machine.

    Working time: Fast-speed ma-chines will speed your work. It tookus about a minute and 15 seconds tocut a 10"-long mortise using a fast-speed machine. When using the slow-speed Jet, the beefiest slow-speedmachine, that same mortise took 2minutes and 9 seconds. Other slowspeed-machines that would occa-sionally stall in a cut took more than3 minutes to complete the cut.

    It should be obvious that we pre-fer the fast machines. The slow ma-chines run cooler and generally havemore features than the fast-speedmortisers. But the fast-speed machinesare simply less frustrating to use.

    Check the HolddownOne of the big gripes with benchtopmortisers is the holddown. After youplunge the bit into your board, theholddown is supposed to keep thework in place as you pull the chiseland bit out of the work. It doesnt al-ways work this way. The holddownon the Multico PM 12 is the best,hands down. It rides on the same

    We know were in the minority, but we recommend fast-speed machines. Just be careful and use a 18" clearance between the chisel and bit.

    If you work with big parts, check the maximum depth under the holddown. You can spend a lot of money on chisels. Learn on the cheap ones and move up

    if you must. Many pros use inexpensive chisels that are properly sharpened. Make sure the chisel is at 90 to your table. Shim the underside of the table

    with tape to square everything up.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor mortisers

    Take great care when buying this machine; its easy to get stuck with a tool that cant hack it.

    mortisers

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

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  • dovetailed ways that the motor movesup and down on. You tighten a leveror screw to set the holddown and thething stays put. End of story.

    Other manufacturers use a hold-down that has a steel post that comesup off the back of the fence. The two-pronged holddown rides on that postand is held in place by a small screwtightened against the post. Sometimesthese screws work loose after use,which will force you to stop whatyou are doing and tighten everythingdown again.

    Tools to Adjust Your ToolSome mortisers require you to usedifferent tools to adjust different set-tings. Some need a hex key to tight-en the holddown, set the depth stopor tighten the chisel bit in its bush-ing. The Multico even requires a hexkey to access the chuck.

    The fewer tools you need, the bet-ter. The Jet JBM-5 has only one placeyou need a hex key, and thats for at-taching the steel holddown post to

    the fence.

    Other DetailsAll of these machines are noisy, andthey get noisier as they heat up. Werecorded decibel levels between 70dB and 93 dB during use. Always usehearing protection when operat-ing a mortiser.

    Check out the arm of the ma-chine that makes the head plunge.You need to be able to adjust thisarm easily for different mortising sit-uations. On some machines, you canquickly adjust the arm without tools.Others require you to loosen a boltor screw first.

    Machines also vary in how muchgap there is between the fence andthe table. On the Fisch and General,the fence is flush to the table. Othermachines have a gap between 18" and516". This gap is supposed to help clearout chips that build up around yourwork during mortising. The gap helps,but there are so many chips that evena big 516" gap is not enough. PW

    occasional userWe dont recommend the occasionaluser buy a mortising machine. You canget by with an inexpensive mortisingattachment to your drill press, chaindrilling or using your router to cutmortises.

    serious home woodworker Bridgewood HM-11, This tough ma-

    chine is low on frills, but its motorgrinds through anything you canthrow at it.

    Grizzly G3183, Virtually the samemachine as the Bridgewood, theG3183 is inexpensive and powerful.

    Shop Fox W1671, Shop Fox has justupgraded this machine with a 34 hpfast-speed motor. Plus this machinehas the capacity of many floor-modelmortisers. This machine is hard tobeat.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Multico PM-12, If you need a bench-

    top machine, this is the top of theline. The hold-down is the best of allthe benchtops and the motor isgutsy.

    Powermatic 719A, This floor-modelmortiser has sliding tables and afront-mounted clamp to hold yourwork securely. We use this machinein our shop, and its now popping upin other professional shops. Alsoworth mentioning is Fischs newfloor-model mortiser. It has many ofthe same features as the Powermatic,but it is too new for us to test.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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  • POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    MOTOR FENCE HOLDDOWNMODEL STREET HORSE AMPS/ AMPS/ SPEED/ LENGTH HEIGHT MAX. MAX DEPTH MIN. DEPTH

    PRICE POWER NO-LOAD LOAD RPM FENCE TO UNDER UNDERCHISEL* HOLDDOWN HOLDDOWN

    Bridgewood HM-11 $220 12 3.8 6.62 3,400 1334" 1916" 258" 314" 158"Craftsman 21906 200 12 3.06 5.7 1,725 1358 158 238 434 134Delta 14-650 240 12 4.68 6.43 1,725 1334 1916 218 334*** 11516Fisch BTM99-44252 250 12 3.96 5.25 1,725 13916 158 2916 314 158General 75-050 M1 300 12 2.2 4.25 1,720 11116 2 318 514 1Grizzly G3183 225 12 3.75 6.6 3,400 1334 1916 258 314 158Jet JBM-5 240 12 3.05 5.6 1,720 14 158 258 358 134Multico PM12 450 12 4.44 6.88 3,470 1334 1916 312 338 112Record RPM75 290 12 NA NA 3,400 NA NA 334 6 NAShop Fox W1671 235 34 3.9 4.75 3,400 16 218 218 734 214Woodtek 876-775 240 12 3.75 5.89 3,450** 1334 1916 258 314 158Powermatic 719A 770 1 NA NA 1,720 20 414 378 NA NAFisch FM99-66252 830 1 NA NA 1,140 26 358 278 6 358

    stats

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  • www.popwood.com

    CHISEL TOOLS NEEDED TO ...MAX MAX CHISEL CHISELS ...ACCESS CHUCK ...ADJUST ...CHANGE ...REMOVE

    SPINDLE CHISEL BUSHINGS INCLUDED HOLDDOWN DEPTH STOP CHISELTRAVEL* ACCEPTED INCLUDED

    4516" 12" 58", 34" none none hex key hex key screw378 34 58 38 none hex key hex key screw358 12 58 14", 516", 38", 12" none hex key hex key hex key334 12 58 none none hex key none hex514 58 58, 34 14", 516", 38", 12" none none none none4516 58 58, 34 none none hex key hex key screw4516 12 58, 34 14, 38, 12 none none none screw

    4 12 58 38 hex key none hex key hex keyNA 916 NA NA none none NA NA412 34 58, 34 none none hex key none hex key4516 12 58, 34 none none hex key hex key screw 714 1 58, 34, 118 none none none none screw712 1 14,58, 34, 1 14, 516, 38, 12 none hex key none allen

    * All measurementswere taken with a 38" chisel and bitinstalled, which is whythese measurementswill sometimesdisagree with thosesupplied by themanufacturer.** Woodtek willswitch to a slow-speedmotor in the comingmonths.*** Add Deltas 14-611 height adjuster($14) to this machineand it will increase thecapacity to 534". in softwood. NA =not applicable or notavailable = PW recommends

    key

  • Talk about a multi-tool. Theres very little a router cannot do.

    Every woodworker needs a router.Its just too versatile a machinenot to have one. Able to accomplishbasic joinery tasks such as dadoes,rabbets, dovetails and mortises, therouter also lets you make compli-cated edge details, do inlay work andmake raised-panel doors a cinch. Thereal question is which one to buy, orfor that matter, how many do youneed?

    Routers are positioned in threebroad categories: trimmers, fixed-base and plunge. Within the fixed-base and plunge categories there arerouters with both big and small mo-tors. Starting this year we have theopportunity to offer a new and grow-ing category the multi-base cate-gory where you buy a kit that hasone motor with interchangeableplunge and fixed bases.

    Trim RoutersDesigned originally for working withlaminates (such as Formica) these

    small routers excel when workingwith intricate details and for justhaving a router that fits comfortablyin one hand. Equipped with 14" col-lets, trim routers can be purchasedwith a standard height-adjustableflat base, or in kits with multiplebases such as tilting (for angled cuts),offset (for reaching into corners),and underscribe bases for veneer andlaminate work.

    Fixed-Base RoutersA fixed-base router is what most peo-ple think of when talking aboutrouters. Sporting a larger motor thana trim router (usually theyre ei-ther about 6.5 or 15 amps, formingthe two size divisions within this cat-egory), these tools offer a simple, ad-justable-height flat base that themotor slips into. Some offer variable-speed control and most will use in-terchangeable 14" and 12" collets.Able to be used hand-held or in arouter table, these routers are capa-

    ble of the great majority of routingapplications.

    The bases themselves can be ei-ther a two-knob design or a D-han-dle base. The D-handle also has twohandles, but one of them is a full-grip handle, usually with a built-intrigger. The D-handle design lets youoperate the router more safely be-cause you dont have to remove yourhands from the handle to turn themachine on. Choosing a D-handleor standard base is also a feel thing.Put both in your hands to decidewhich you prefer.

    Plunge RoutersUsing essentially the same motor op-tions as fixed-base routers (includ-ing the two size divisions) plungerouters mount the motor on a spring-loaded base that lets you easily raiseand lower the bit with the motorrunning kind of like a pogo stick.Great for stopped grooves, mortis-ing or template work, plunge routersoffer more precise methods of set-ting depth control than most fixed-base models.

    Multi-Base KitsPorter-Cable has offered its 690 motorin a kit with interchangeable fixedand plunge bases for a couple of years.With a price tag around $200, itsstill a great bargain, especially for afirst router. Now Makita and Boschare offering similar kits with the addedbenefit of variable speed and easybase changes. The prices are a littlehigher, but were pleased to see theidea grow and improve.

    Features to ConsiderCollets (the part that holds the bit)have an inner sleeve with dividedfingers on one end, and an outer nut

    If its your first router, buy one of the multi-base kits to get the best of both worlds. Dont buy cheap. A router can last for 20 years, and the newest features make these

    machines very user friendly and a pleasure to use. More horsepower doesnt mean a better tool. Unless you will be doing lots

    of large bit routing, a mid-sized router will handle the great majority of your routing requirements.

    Make sure you get the chance to hold the router and adjust it before buying. How it feels in your hand is almost as important as how it performs.

    Look for soft start, a spindle lock and an easily removable and adjustable base.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor routers

    routers

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    Fixed-base routers (left) excel in a router table or on cutting edge details.

    Router kits (right) such as this one from Bosch, allow you to get a plunge-

    and fixed-base router for one reasonable price.

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200170

  • that threads over the inner sleeve.As the nut is tightened, it compressesthe inner sleeve against the bit, hold-ing it tight. The collet can be tight-ened using either two wrenches orone wrench and a spindle lock tohold the spindle in place. Theresbeen some debate that a spindle lockplaces too much stress on the spin-dle; were also divided on this issue,so stay tuned. Also, the versatilityof interchangeable 14" and 12" col-lets on one router is preferable

    Variable Speed,Soft-Startand Electronic FeedbackThese three items offer improvedperformance and safety in a router.In any mid- to large-sized router (over8 amps), variable speed offers betterperformance with larger bits becauseyou can slow the motor down.

    As a safety benefit, some of theserouters also offer soft-start. Themotor starts at a slower speed andthen ramps up to full speed after asecond or two. Often a router canjerk when started at full speed. If itstouching the workpiece, the woodcan be damaged, or the router canwalk and be pulled from your grasp.

    Another newer feature thatsworth looking for is electronic feed-back. This computer-chip tech-nology continuously checks the torqueresistance on the spindle and will

    increase the amperage draw to main-tain constant torque.

    Depth ControlsWith both fixed-base and plungerouters, there are a variety of waysto control the depth of the bit. Somemodels use a tension buckle thatsfast and secure, others use a knobthat you turn. While we all have ourfavorites, we recommend you takethe time to visit a store and adjust afew of the bases to learn which methodyou prefer.

    Template GuidesOne of the versatile features of routersis their ability to use template guidesto accurately repeat patterns. Thereare a few types of guides, and youshould check the ease of fitting andremoving them in the router base.Even though this function of the routermight not be on your to-do list today,dont limit yourself down the road.

    Dust Collection While only a few routers are designedwith built-in dust collection (withvarying degrees of success) dust col-lection on a router is a great idea.Just make sure the benefit of dustcollection doesnt complicate anddistract from the way you use yourrouter. PW

    occasional user Porter-Cable 693PK, Many beginning

    woodworkers cant decide if theyshould first buy a plunge router or afixed-base unit. Thats why we rec-ommend the 693PK, which featuresthe venerable 690 motor, a fixedbase and a plunge base.

    Bosch 1617EVSPK, Bosch plans toenter the market with a similar routerpackage, this one with variable speed.It costs a bit more, but if you ever planon using a panel-raising bit, its worthit.

    serious home woodworker Makita RD1101, This 11-amp, variable

    speed D-handled router is a sweetie.Its quiet, powerful and easy to ad-just.

    DeWalt 621, As far as plunge routersgo, this one remains our favorite.The depth controls are intuitive, thedust collection is superb and its justthe right size for most operations.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Bosch 1608, You can buy this trim

    router in a variety of configurations.Its the trimmer of choice in our shop.

    Hitachi M12V, This large-scale plungerouter is a favorite among manycommercial shops.

    Porter-Cable 7529, Long consideredthe industry leader, this large routerhas earned its stripes in cabinetshopsall over the country.

    Fein RT1800, Like many Fein tools,this one costs a bit more, but it is apowerful tool and is built like a tank.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.continued on page 74

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  • Trigger Location:B = body,H = handle;BNT=Best New Toolrating; = PW Recommends

    key

    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200174

    BRAND & MODEL STREET AMPS SPEEDS SPINDLE DEPTH DECIBEL WEIGHT COMMENTSPRICE (RPM) LOCK ADJ. (IN) RATING (LB)

    TRIM ROUTERSBosch1608 $105 5.6 30,000 N 12 70 3.6 Four bases availableBosch1608LX 115 5.6 30,000 N 12 70 3.6 Std. base, dlxe. guideBosch1609 AKX 250 5.6 30,000 N 12 70 3.6 Installers kit, w/4 basesCraftsman 27512 100 3.8 23,000 N 118 68 2.7DeWalt DW670 110 5.6 30,000 Y 78 70 3.7 Hitachi TR6 120 4 30,000 N 1116 68 3.4 Beveling baseMakita 3700B 135 3.3 28,000 N 158 68 3.4Porter-Cable 309 117 3.8 28,000 N 1 70 3.3Porter-Cable 310 154 4 27,500 N 78 70 3.4Porter-Cable 7310 112 5.6 30,000 Y 1 72 3.4 Three bases availableRyobi TR31 80 3.8 23,000 N 118 68 3.0

    BRAND & MODEL STREET AMPS SPEEDS COLLET TRIGGER DEPTH DECIBEL WEIGHT COMMENTSPRICE (RPM/K) SIZES (IN) LOCATION ADJ. (IN) RATING (LB)

    FIXED ROUTERSBosch 1617 $165 11 25 14, 38, 12 B 178 95 7.5 BNT 98Bosch 1617EVS 185 12 8-25 14, 38, 12 B 178 95 7.7 Soft start, BNT 98Bosch 1618 175 11 25 14, 38, 12 H 178 95 8 D-handle, BNT 98Bosch 1618EVS 210 12 8-25 14, 38, 12 H 178 95 8.2 D-handle, soft start, BNT 98Craftsman 17506 100 9 15-25 14 H 112 98 9.1 Light, spindle lockCraftsman 27500 130 9 25 14, 12 H 112 NA 11 Light, spindle lockCraftsman 17505 80 7.5 15-25 14 H 112 NA 8.3 Light, spindle lockCraftsman 17504 70 8 25 14 H 112 98 8 Light, spindle lock.DeWalt DW610 160 9 25 14, 12 B 238 109 7.3 Rack & pinion depth adj.Makita 3606 129 7 30 14 B 3 81 5.5Makita RD1100 259 11 24 14, 12 H 238 81 7.9 D-handle;performance:5 starsMakita RF1000 239 11 24 14, 12 B 238 81 7.1 Performance: 5 starsMakita RD1101 289 11 8-24 14, 12 H 238 81 7.9 D-handle, soft startMakita RF1001 259 11 8-24 14, 12 B 238 81 7.1 Performance: 5 starsMilwaukee 5660 220 10 24.5 14, 38, 12 B 214 100 8.5 Depth-adj. ringMilwaukee 5680 367 12 26 14, 38, 12 B 214 104 8.8Milwaukee 5682 240 12 26 14, 38, 12 B 214 NA 8.8Porter-Cable 100 140 6.5 22 14 B 112 NA 6.8Porter-Cable 690 173 10 23 14, 38, 12 B 112 103 8 Optional bases avail.Porter-Cable 691 190 10 23 14, 38, 12 H 112 103 9.3 D-handlePorter-Cable 7518 315 15 10-21 14, 38,12 B 212 NA 14.5 Soft startPorter-Cable 7519 351 15 21 14, 38,12 B 212 NA 15 Soft startRyobi R161K 60 8 25 14 H 112 NA 7.5 Designed for BT3000 table saw

    BRAND & MODEL STREET AMPS SPEEDS COLLET TRIGGER DEPTH DECIBEL WEIGHT COMMENTSPRICE (RPM/K) SIZES (IN) LOCATION ADJ. (IN) RATING (LB)

    PLUNGE ROUTERSBlack & Decker RP200 $69 9.5 25 14 H 2 NA NA Soft startBlack & Decker RP400K 99 10 0-25 14 H 2 NA NA Soft start, dust collectionBosch 1613AEVS 209 12 11 -22 14, 38, 12 H 214 97 9.7 Soft start, precis. centeringCraftsman 17507 120 9 15-25 14 H 2 NA 8.4 Spindle lock Craftsman 27510 200 12 22 14, 12 H 212 105 11.5 Spindle lock Craftsman 27511 250 15 10-22 14, 12 H 212 NA 13 Soft start DeWalt DW621 220 10 8-24 14, 12 H 218 99 10 Dust collection, Endurance Tested DeWalt DW625 300 15 8-22 14, 12 H 2716 NA 11.3 Soft start, electronic feedbackFein RT1800 349 15 8-22 12 H 3 100 12 Soft start, 14" collet opt.Festool OF1000E 330 7.5 10-20 14 H 2316 78 6 Soft start Freud FT2000E 210 15 8-22 14, 12 B 234 NA 12.9 Soft start Hitachi M8V 206 7.3 10-25 14 B 178 NA 6.4 Soft startHitachi TR12 235 12.2 22 14, 38, 12 B 2716 104 11 Template guide includ.Hitachi M12V 245 15 8-20 14, 38, 12 B 2716 NA 11.7 Soft start, template guide includ.Makita 3621 160 7.8 24 14 B 138 81 5.3

    12

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    statscontinued from page 71

  • Get a

    FREEsneak peek

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    Log on to www.popularwoodworking.com and sign up for PopularWoodworking Update. This FREEemail newsletter briefs you on thelatest tips, tricks and tool tidbits wevegathered through the woodworkinggrapevine. The Update will come straight to your email boxevery couple weeks, so youll get allthe up-to-the-moment informationyou need. Sign up today!

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    statsBRAND & MODEL STREET AMPS SPEEDS COLLET TRIGGER DEPTH DECIBEL WEIGHT COMMENTS

    PRICE (RPM/K) SIZES (IN) LOCATION ADJ. (IN) RATING (LB)

    Makita 3612 $259 15 22 14, 12 B 238 102 13.2 Spindle lockMakita 3612 C 349 15 9-23 14, 12 B 238 102 13.2 Spindle lock, electric brakeMakita RP1101 240 11 8-24 14, 12 B 21932 81 9.3 Soft start, speed controlMakita RP1100 220 11 24 14, 12 B 21932 81 9.3 Soft start, speed controlPorter-Cable 7529 245 12 10-23 14, 38, 12 H & B 212 NA 11 BNT 98, Performance: 4.5 Porter-Cable 7538 315 15 21 14, 38, 12 H 3 NA 17.3 Soft startPorter-Cable 7539 351 15 10-21 14, 38, 12 H 3 NA 17.3 Soft start Ryobi RE175 100 9 15-25 14 H 2 106 9.4 Spindle lockRyobi RE601 250 13.6 10-22 14, 12 H 238 NA 13.6 Soft start Skil 1823 59 8.5 25 14 H 2 100 7Skil 1840 79 9 25 14 H 2 97 7Skil 1845-02 99 10 8-25 14 H 2 97 7.3 Soft start, fine adjustment

    BRAND & MODEL STREET AMPS SPEEDS COLLET TRIGGER DEPTH DECIBEL WEIGHT COMMENTSPRICE (RPM/K) SIZES (IN) LOCATION ADJ. (IN) RATING PLUNGE(LB)

    PLUNGE/FIXED BASE ROUTER KITSBosch 1617PK $220 11 25 14, 12 B 2 NA 9Bosch 1617EVSPK 240 12 8 - 25 14, 12 B 2 NA 9 Soft start, variable speedMakita RF1101KIT 299 11 8 - 24 14, 12 B 21932 81 9.3 W/dust collection, edge guidePorter-Cable 693 PK 200 10 23 14, 38, 12 B 212 103 11.5

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  • If you think sanding is a dreadfuljob now, just be glad you werentmy grandfather. After he died, I wasassigned the job of going through hisworkshop to separate the useful stufffrom the rubbish. In one cabinet Ifound three sleek-looking electricsanders that looked like they wereof a 1950s vintage. Intrigued, I triedthem out.

    All three had the sanding powerof an electric razor. The pad didnt

    move; instead the electric motormerely vibrated the pad. Essentially,these tools were big sanding blocksthat made your fingers tingle. Thankgoodness for random-orbit sanders.

    These high-tech marvels excel atsmoothing flat surfaces for finishingbecause the sanding pad both vi-brates and rotates in an orbital fash-ion. The result is that you removematerial quickly, and the scratches(or swirls) left behind are often small-

    er than those left by other types ofsanders and less noticeable becauseof the random scratch pattern.

    There are four types of random-orbit sanders:

    Palm Grip: These sanders aresmall, lightweight and inexpensive.The motor is mounted over the padand you grip the top of the motor.

    Inline: These sanders look likethe palm-grip models with extra han-dles on the front, back or both tomake them easier to grip.

    Right Angle: These resemblean angle grinder and are the mostpowerful random orbits on the mar-ket. They excel at flattening table-tops and leveling joints. Youll wearyourself out if you use these on a lotof vertical surfaces, however, becausethey are heavy.

    Pneumatic: These smallsanders are powerful. The only down-side is that you need a big compres-sor to run them and they arent madewith pad brakes, which slow downthe pad as it comes into contact withthe wood. Without a pad brake, youhave to be careful not to gouge or se-verely scratch the wood. These sandersare rarely found in home shops andarent covered in our charts.

    Power is ParamountThe most desirable random-orbitsanders will have lots of power andallow you to vary the speed of thepad, so you can slow things downwhen youre sanding veneer, for ex-ample. To determine how aggressivea tool is check three things: the am-perage, the offset (also called theorbit or the pad movement) andthe number of orbits per minute.

    Amperage is a rough measure of

    Variable-speed tools cost a bit more, but they are also more versatile when youneed a light touch.

    Pad brakes help prevent you from gouging the wood when you put a spinningsander on your work. You can do without, but it takes a light touch.

    If youre a home woodworker, buy a machine that takes hook-and-loop paper. Whichever tool you choose, be sure to pick up the attachment that allows you to

    attach your shop vacuum to your sander. Sanding dust is quite unhealthy.

    High-tech random-orbit sanders are the only way to go. They make a bad job almost bearable.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor random-orbit sanders

    sanders

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200178

    Inline sanders are basically palm-grip sanders that have a larger motor and an additionalhandle or two added that make it more comfortable to useduring long sanding sessions.

    Right-angle sanders look more like angle grinders than the other random-orbit models.These are the brutes of thebunch, packing more sandingpower (and weight). These excel at sanding flat,horizontal surfaces.

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  • how much juice the motor uses.Its a misleading statistic, however,because efficient high-power motorsdraw less amperage then less pow-erful, less efficient motors. So takethat number with a grain of salt.

    Check out the pads offset ororbit size. This is the measure ofthe size of the swirls made by thesander. Big offsets remove lots of ma-terial but leave a more visible scratch,sometimes called a pigtail. Smalleroffsets are less aggressive and leaveless visible scratches.

    The number of orbits per minuteis also a measure of the aggressive-ness of the sander.

    Pads:Go VelcroAnother critical choice is the waythe sanding pad attaches to the sand-paper. You have two choices: pres-sure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) orhook and loop. PSA is less expen-sive, but once you remove a sandingdisk from the pad, it wont ever stickto the pad again. Hook-and-loopdisks can be removed and replacedrepeatedly. We recommend hookand loop for all home woodwork-ers because youll waste far less sand-paper.

    Many sanders today have whatis called a pad brake. This fea-ture slows down the spinning pad asit comes in contact with the wood.

    It further prevents you from easilygouging the surface youre sanding.

    If the sander doesnt have a padbreak, its a good idea to place thesander on your project before youturn it on.

    Finally, check to see if there arereplacement pads available that aresofter and harder than your stockpad. These can be useful. Soft padslet you easily sand contours. Harderpads excel at things like tabletops,where flatness reigns.

    Dust CollectionAlso critical is dust collection. Somesanders have great dust collection;on other sanders the bag or canisteris only for show. Find out how dif-ficult it is to hook up the sander toyour shop vacuum because thats thebest way to suck up the dust.

    Because your tool generates a lotof dust, it will last longer if you blowsome compressed air through thesanders vents occasionally to blowdust off the motors commutator.

    Beyond the health benefits of dustcollection, dust removal also great-ly increases the efficiency of yoursanding. A layer of dust can clog yoursandpaper and you end up sandinga pile of dust more than your project.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen,is one thing actually worse than sand-ing itself. PW

    occasional user Ryobi RS241, If money is tight, dont

    buy a sanding block. Check out theRyobi RS241. For about $40 you get amachine that is powerful and versa-tile.

    serious home woodworker Makita BO5010, Among all the palm-

    grip sanders we use, this one feelsthe most aggressive. As an addedbonus, the dust collection is superb.

    Makita BO5020, BO5021K, The inlineversions of the BO5010 make sand-ing a little more pleasant with addedfeatures, such as additional handlesand variable speed on the BO5021K.

    Porter-Cable 333, This line of sandersis hard-working and available in avariety of configurations.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Fein MSF 636-1, As far as were con-

    cerned, the Fein MSF 636-1 is aboutas good as a sander gets. This thing isas aggressive as anything out theretoday, and it is capable of great fi-nesse. Add a Fein vacuum to yourtool and you will keep your shop freeof sanding dust. All in all, its an ex-cellent system.

    If youre a pro, you also should take alook at pneumatic sanders. Youll needa big compressor, but they are capableof many hours of continual use.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

  • Safety - HL=hool and loop, PSA=pressure sensitiveadhesive,Y=yes,N=no,= PW Recommends

    key

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 200180

    BRAND & MODEL STREET PAD DIA. PAD PAD ORBITS PER DUST ORBIT/ AMPS WEIGHTPRICE (IN.) TYPE BRAKE MINUTE COLLECTION OFFSET (LB.)

    PALM GRIPBlack & Decker RO100 $39 5 HL Y 12,000 DB 332 2 3.5Bosch 1295DK 69 5 HL Y 12,000 DC 116 2.2 3.5Bosch 1295DVSK 89 5 HL Y 7,000 - 12,000 DV 116 2.2 3.5Craftsman 11621 40 5 PSA Y 12,500 DB 532 2.4 3Craftsman 27708 80 5 HL Y 7,000 - 12,000 DB,VP NA 2 4.1DeWalt DW420 65 5 PSA Y 12,000 - 332 2 3DeWalt DW421 70 5 HL Y 12,000 DB,VP 332 2 3DeWalt DW422 70 5 PSA Y 12,000 DB,VP 332 2 3DeWalt DW423 85 5 HL Y 7,000 - 12,000 DB,VP 332 2 3.2Makita B05010 70 5 HL Y 12,000 DB 18 2 2.6Makita BO5001 65 5 HL N 10,000 VP 532 1.7 2.9Makita BO5011 70 5 PSA Y 12,000 DB 18 2 2.6Milwaukee 6018-6 70 5 PSA N 12,000 DB,VP 332 1.8 2.9Milwaukee 6019-6 70 5 HL N 12,000 DB,VP 332 1.8 2.9Porter-Cable 332 60 5 PSA Y 12,000 - 332 1.7 3.2Porter-Cable 333 65 5 HL Y 12,000 DC,VP 332 2.4 3.5Porter-Cable 333VS 85 5 HL Y 5,000 -12,000 DC,VP 332 2.4 3.5Porter-Cable 334 65 5 PSA Y 12,000 DC,VP 332 2.4 3.5Porter-Cable 335 90 6 PSA/HL Y 9,000 DC,VP 332 1.7 3.5Ryobi RS241 40 5 HL/PSA Y 12,500 DB 532 2.4 3.6

    BRAND & MODEL STREET PAD DIA. PAD PAD ORBITS PER DUST ORBIT/ AMPS WEIGHTPRICE (IN.) TYPE BRAKE MINUTE COLLECTION OFFSET (LB.)

    INLINE SANDERSBlack & Decker RO600 60 5 HL Y 10,500 DB 332 1.4 5Bosch 3107DVS 95 5 HL Y 4,500 - 13,000 DB,VP 332 3.3 5Bosch 3107DVSK 120 5 HL Y 4,500 - 13,000 DB,VP 332 3.3 5Bosch 3725DVS 150 5 HL Y 4,500 - 12,000 DB,VP 332 3.3 5.1Bosch 3727DVS 160 6 HL Y 4,500 - 12,000 DB,VP 564 3.3 5.2Craftsman 27717 60 5 PSA Y 13,000 DC 532 3 3.5Craftsman 27877 40 4 PSA N 14,000 DB 116 2 2.8Festool ES125 E 214 5 HL Y 6,000 - 13,000 DB,VP 332 2 2.4Grizzly G9910 25 5 HL N 10,000 DB,VP 18 3 4.7Makita BO5020 80 5 HL Y 12,000 DB 18 2 3.1Makita BO5021K 110 5 HL Y 4,000 - 12,000 DB 18 2 3.1Metabo SXE425 145 5 PSA Y 5,000 - 12,000 DB 316 3.6 5.2Metabo SXE450 190 6 PSA Y 4,000 - 10,000 DB 18 or 14 3.8 8Ryobi RS280 60 5 HL/PSA Y 0 - 12,000 DB 532 2.8 3.3

    BRAND & MODEL STREET PAD DIA. PAD PAD ORBITS PER DUST ORBIT/ AMPS WEIGHTPRICE (IN.) TYPE BRAKE MINUTE COLLECTION OFFSET (LB.)

    RIGHT ANGLEDynabrade Dynorbital 330 5 PSA N 10,000 OPT 332 5.5 4.8Porter-Cable 7335 110 5 PSA N 2,500 - 6,000 OPT 1132 3.7 5.5Bosch 1370DEVS 275 6 HL Y 4,800 - 12,000 DB,VP 1164 5 5DeWalt DW443 150 6 HL Y 4,300 - 6,800 DB,VP 316 4.3 5.7Fein MSF 636-1 450 6 HL Y 7,500 VP 516 4.7 3.7Festool RO150E 512 6 HL, PSA Y 4,000 - 11,200 VP 316 4.2 5Makita BO6040 355 6 HL NA 1,600 - 5,800 VP 732 6.6 5.9Milwaukee 6125 230 6 PSA N 10,000 OPT 532 5.5 5Porter-Cable 7336 130 6 PSA N 2,500 - 6,000 OPT 1132 3.7 5.75

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  • Delta Manufacturing makes a$170 table saw, a $1,600 modeland dozens more in between. Whichone is best for woodworking? Thatsone of the most common questionswe field here at the magazine.

    Table saws come in basically threestyles. Benchtop models cost be-tween $100 and $530. Contractorsaws cost between $300 and $900.And cabinet saws cost $800 to $2,000or more. All cut wood. The biggerprice tag buys you more power, bet-ter accuracy and more weight (a goodthing for many table saw users). Wevetalked to hundreds of woodwork-ers over the years, and its fair to saythe No. 1 mistake they make whenbuying this machine is they skimpand quickly outgrow that saw. So tellyour spouse that we said, Plan forthe future.

    Benchtop SawsIts tempting when you start wood-

    working to buy a $200 benchtop sawand then plan to upgrade later. Forthe most people, this is a $200 mis-take.

    Basic benchtop saws just donthave the accuracy you need for mostwoodworking. Benchtops are de-signed for job-site carpenters whovalue portability. The saws rip fencesare less adjustable and accurate thanthose on even bare-bones contrac-tor saws, and theres almost no wayto later upgrade your fence. Plus,these saws have little resale value.

    All benchtop saws are poweredby universal motors, which are noisyand less reliable than the inductionmotors on contractor and cabinetsaws. Because the motors are boltedto the underside of the table sawstop, the motor and blade are morelikely to flex than in a contractor orcabinet saw, which has massive castiron trunnions instead.

    The only reason to buy a bench-

    top saw today is if you absolutelydont have the space for a contrac-tor or cabinet saw. And while thetop-of-the-line benchtop saws getbetter every year, they are as ex-pensive as entry-level contractorsaws.

    Contractor SawsWe recommend entry-level wood-workers buy a low-price contractorsaw when they begin their hobby.The fence is more accurate, the motoris quiet, reliable and powerful, andyou can upgrade your saw with dozensof accessories.

    Most contractor saws (priced be-tween $300 and $900) are poweredby a 112 hp induction motor thathangs outside the rear of the ma-chine on a belt and pulleys (a feware direct drive). Youll find thismotor is sufficient for most wood-working and should last longer thanyou do. Almost all of these motorscan easily be rewired to run on 220-volt power, which can improve theperformance and longevity of yourmotor. Check the information plateor spec sheet on the saw and makesure its TEFC, which means its atotally enclosed fan-cooled motor a good thing in a dusty shop.

    The first upgrade you should maketo your saw is to replace the standardbelt. Youll greatly reduce vibrationby switching to a link belt, some-times called a Powertwist belt. Thenreplace the standard throat insertwith a zero-clearance insert. You canbuy one or make it yourself. This willreduce tear-out, improve dust col-lection and increase safety.

    Another worthwhile improve-ment is to buy cast iron extension

    Almost every woodworker needs a table saw; heres how to choose the right one for your shop.

    tablesaws

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    The most common mistake is to buy a smaller or less powerful saw than you need.Youll save money in the long run if you choose correctly the first time.

    Front-locking fences are easier to adjust and generally more accurate than fencesthat lock at both the front and back.

    Make sure your saw can lock in the height of the blade especially in benchtops. Check how smoothly the controls work on several saws to see what works for you. Solid cast wings are preferable over stamped steel or open-style cast wings. More weight is a good thing in a contractor saw and cabinet saw. Weight

    reduces vibration.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor table saws

    captionThe contractor-style saw is the workhorse of many home workshops.

  • wings instead of the stamped steelones. The extra weight will makeyour saw vibrate less, and your topwill be flatter, which will allow yourjigs to ride more smoothly and in-crease the reliability of their cuts.

    Here are other things to look forwhile in the store:

    Which way does the blade tilt,left or right? This is a personal pref-erence, but people with left-tilt sawsswear they are safer because the bladetilts away from the fence.

    How long are the bars for thefence? Most brands let you choosebetween a 30" rip capacity or 50".Take the 50" if you have the spaceso you can crosscut to the center ofa full sheet of plywood.

    Is the switch easy to reach or apain? This is as much for safety asfor convenience.

    Is the miter gauge worthless, ordoes it feel heavy-duty and have pre-set stops at 0 and 45?

    Can you remove the guard eas-ily? If its a pain to take off, youlllikely leave it off all the time andcompromise your safety in the nameof convenience. Finally, check thefence. It is the most important (andsometimes most expensive) part onthe saw. Buy the best fence you can,but rest assured you can always up-grade for about $300.

    That aside, for the home wood-

    worker on a budget, the contractorsaw is the best combination of valueand performance.

    Cabinet SawsCabinet saws are a lot like contrac-tor saws, except everything is beefi-er and generally better. Most of thefeatures that are important on con-tractors saws are important on cab-inet saws as well.

    They are built to industrial stan-dards, which means they can be usedall day, everyday and provide yearsof service. Instead of an open stand,cabinet saws are mounted on a steelcabinet. This improves dust col-lection. The motor is bigger (usual-ly 3 hp or 5 hp) and is enclosed in-side the cabinet and turns the bladeusing three v-belts, so cabinet sawsactually can take up less space thana contractor saw. The trunnions arebeefier and mounted to the cabinetinstead of the underside of the top,as with contractor saws. Also, theblade adjustment wheels are biggerand easier to turn.

    All this comes at a price. An entry-level cabinet saw starts at $800, andyou could spend $2,000 in a heart-beat. However, this is a saw that willlast through a lifetime of wood-working, and youll probably be ableto pass it down to the next genera-tion. PW

    occasional user Grizzly 1022SM, Instead of a bench-

    top saw, consider this unit. Upgradeit with cast wings and a beefier fencelater on.

    Delta 36-444, This saw has stampedwings, a decent fence and the capaci-ty to upgrade later.

    Jet JWTS-10JF, Jets entry-level saw iscomparable to its competitors and iseasily upgraded and expanded.

    Bridgewood TCS-10CL, Bridgewoodsentry-level saw costs a bit more, butit comes with an excellent front-locking fence.

    serious home woodworker Delta Series 2000, The saw to beat

    for woodworking, and the reputa-tion is well-deserved.

    Jet JWTS-10-PF, Clearly a challenge toDeltas saws, this Jet features aworld-class rip fence.

    Powermatic 64A, Another seriouscontender, Powermatics left-tiltcontractor saw also sports an excel-lent front-locking fence.

    Grizzly 1023S, An excellent cabinetsaw at a contractor saw price. Weflat-out love this saw.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Powermatic 66, The Cadillac of 10"

    saws thats famous for its three-pointyoke and mirror finish. At this level,you might also want to eye the 12"saws, where everything is bigger.

    General S350-T50 cabinet saw

    Jet JWCS-10A-PFX cabinet saw

    Delta 36-821 & 821L Unisaw

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    BRAND PRICE BLADE MAX CUT MAX TABLE TABLE DRIVE VOLTS AMPS DUST WEIGHT DIAMETER DEPTH RIP SIZE MATERIAL TYPE PORT

    (IN.) (IN.) (IN.) (IN.)

    BENCHTOPMakita 2702 300 814 21116 12 27 x 22 AL D 115 15 Y 40Bosch 4000 $530 10 318 2412 29 x 2112 AL D 115 15 Y 60Craftsman 21878 180 10 3 1078 2612 x 1712 AL D 115 13 N 49Craftsman 21825 250 10 3 2412 26 x 171/8 AL D 115 15 N 77Craftsman 22801 370 10 3 2412 25 x 21 AL D 115 15 Y 77Craftsman 22811 450 10 3916 30 41 x 27 AL B 115 15 Y 125Delta 36-540 135 10 3 978 1714 x 26 AL D 115 13 N 40Delta 36-560 170 10 3 20 1712 x 34 AL D 115 15 N 60DeWalt DW744 500 10 318 2412 2612 x 1914 AL D 115 13 Y 64Hitachi C10RA2 360 10 3 1534 34 x 1958 AL D 115 15 Y 56Makita 2703 320 10 3916 12 27 x 22 AL D 115 15 Y 40Porter-Cable 3812 395 10 318 2412 26 x 20 AL D 115 15 60Ridgid TS2400 500 10 318 25 301/4 x 21 AL D 120 15 Y 75Ryobi BTS10 100 10 3 912 16 x 2534 AL D 115 13 N 40Ryobi BT3000SX 400 10 3916 30 41 x 27 AL B 115 15 Y 107Skil 3400 190 10 3 12 2658 x 1758 AL D 115 15 Y 38Skil 3400-08 195 10 3 12 2658 x 1758 AL D 115 15 Y 38Tradesman 8030B 140 10 318 978 26 x 17 AL D 115 13 Y 38Tradesman 8035B 190 10 318 978 26 x 17 AL D 115 13 Y 59

    BRAND PRICE BLADE MAX CUT MAX TABLE TABLE FENCE DRIVE VOLTS HP- DUST WEIGHT DIAMETER DEPTH RIP SIZE MATERIAL TYPE TYPE AMPS PORT

    (IN.) (IN.) (IN.) (IN.)

    CONTRACTORBridgewood TSC-10CL 530 10 314 30 40 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 16-8 N 297Bridgewood TSC-10C 620 10 314 26 40 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 16-8 N 287Craftsman 22839 500 10 3716 24 44 x 27 CI/S F & R B 120 1.5-13 OPT 218Craftsman 22849 600 10 338 24 44 x 27 CI F & R B 120/240 1.5-13 OPT 236Craftsman 22859 800 10 338 30 44 x 27 CI F & R B 120/240 1.5-13 Y 265Delta 36-444 600 10 318 30 40 x 27 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 220Delta 36-445 775 10 318 30 62 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 248Delta 36-460 830 10 318 28 52 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 267Delta 36-480 880 10 318 52 76 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 282Delta 36-426 850 10 318 30 54 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 295Delta 36-431 850 10 318 30 62 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 327Delta 36-600 300 10 318 27 2214 x 3838 CI F & R B 115 15 N 145Delta 36-650 500 10 318 30 4712 x 27 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-12.8/6.4 N 234DeWalt DW746 900 10 318 30 27 x 4034 CI F & R B 120/240 1.75-15/7.5 Y 254General 50-175 730 10 3 28 40 x 27 CI Front lock B 230 2-9 N 300General 50-185 730 10 3 28 40 x 27 CI Front lock B 230 2-9 N 300Grizzly G1022SM 325 10 318 24 4058 x 2718 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-16/8 OPT 220Grizzly G1022Z 425 10 318 24 4058 x 2718 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-16/8 OPT 250Grizzly G1022ZF 575 10 318 25 4058 x 2718 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-18/9 Y 290Grizzly G1022ZFX 625 10 318 25 4058 x 2718 CI F & R B 115 2-20/10 Y 290Jet JTS-10DD 405 10 318 27 2214 x 3812 CI or S F & R D 115 15 N 154Jet JWTS-10-PF* 810 10 318 30 40 x 27 CI or S Front lock B 115/230 1.5-18/9 Y 321Jet JWTS-10-PFX* 850 10 318 52 40 x 27 CI or S Front lock B 115/230 1.5-18/9 Y 337Jet JWTS-10JF* 525 10 318 30 40 x 27 CI or S F & R B 115/230 1.5-18/9 Y 279Lobo TS-0010 490 10 318 30 4014 x 27 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-20/10 OPT 245North State TSL-10L 485 10 314 30 27 x 4012 CI Front lock B 115/230 2/NA N 310Powermatic 64-A 750 10 318 50 40 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 1.5-18/9 Y 310Ridgid TS2412 470 10 338 24 44 x 27 CI F & R B 120 1.5-13 OPT 204Ridgid TS2424 600 10 338 24 44 x 27 CI F & R B 120/240 1.5-13/6.5 OPT 244

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    BRAND PRICE BLADE MAX CUT MAX TABLE TABLE FENCE DRIVE VOLTS HP- DUST WEIGHT DIAMETER DEPTH RIP SIZE MATERIAL TYPE TYPE AMPS PORT

    (IN.) (IN.) (IN.) (IN.)

    Star WTS10 385 10 3 30 40 x 27 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-16/8 Y 285Tradesman 8000T 450 10 314 24 4012 x 27 CI F & R B 115/230 1.5-18/9 N 262Transpower MS10 395 10 3 30 40 x 27 CI F & R B 115/230 2-24/12 N 260Belsaw MC-12CS-T 900 12 418 25 3912 x 27 CI B 115/230 2-20/10 N 260Lobo TS-0012 520 12 418 30 4014 x 27 CI Front lock B 115/230 2-24/12 OPT 250

    BRAND PRICE BLADE MAX CUT MAX TABLE TABLE DRIVE VOLTS HP- DUST WEIGHT FENCE COMM.DIAMETER DEPTH RIP SIZE MATERIAL TYPE AMPS PORT TYPE

    CABINETBridgewood BW-10TS 995 10 314 50 27 x 40 CI B 230 3-18 Y 409 Front lockCraftsman 22694 1,300 10 3 50 36 x 37 CI B 230 3-17 Y 537 Front lockDelta 36-820 1,600 10 318 52 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-17 Y 435 Front lock L or R tiltDelta 36-821 & 821L 1,600 10 318 50 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-12.4 Y 457 Front lock L or R tiltDelta 36-830 1,500 10 318 30 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-17 Y 419 Front lockGeneral 350-1-MI 2,245 10 318 25 36 x 28 CI B 230 3-12 OPT 415 Front lockGeneral S350-T50 1,995 10 318 50 28 x 72 CI,AL B 230 3-12 Y 495 Front lockGeneral 50-200 MI 1,220 10 318 30 27 x 40 CI B 230 2-24 Y 360General 50-200L MI 1,260 10 318 52 27 x 40 CI B 230 2-24 Y 375General 50-275 1,640 10 3 52 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-12 Y 450Grizzly G1023S 795 10 318 25 3614 x 27 CI B 230 3-18 OPT 360 Front lockGrizzly G1023S110 795 10 318 25 3614 x 2718 CI B 110 2-24 YGrizzly G1023Z 995 10 318 25 3614 x 27 CI B 230 3-18 Y 460 F & RGrizzly G1023ZX 1,095 10 318 25 3614 x 27 CI B 230 5-25 Y 475 F & RJet JWCS-10A-PF 1,000 10 318 30 30 x 27 CI B 115/230 134-22/11 Y 383 Front lockJet JWCS-10A-PFX 1,245 10 318 52 30 x 27 CI B 115/230 134-22/11 Y 399 Front lockJet JTAS-10X50-1** 1,400 10 318 50 40 x 27 CI B 230 3-17 Y 489 Front lock L or R tiltJet JTAS-10X50-3** 1,500 10 318 50 40 x 27 CI B 230/460 5-15/7.5 Y 562 Front lock L or R tiltJet JTAS-10X50-5/1** 1,800 10 318 50 40 x 27 CI B 230/460 5-15/7.5 Y 572 Front lock L or R tiltLobo TS-1010 1,290 10 3 49 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-36/18 Y 410 F & RMini Max SC-2 2,995 10 3 51 22 x 33 CI B 230 3-3/5-14 Y 616North State TSC-10HK 995 10 314 50 4012 x 27 CI B 230 3-16 Y 450 Front lockPowermatic 66 2,100 10 318 50 38 x 28 CI B 230 3-17 Y 605 Front lock left tiltPowermatic 66-5 2,200 10 318 50 38 x 28 CI B 230 5-17 Y 605 Front lock left tiltRobland XZ 2,695 10 314 50 36 x 48 CI B 230 3-25 Y 600 Front lockSeco SK-1010TS 1,460 10 3 49 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-NA Y 410 F & RStar S3202 1,095 10 3 36 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-15 Y 425Star S3204 1,295 10 3 36 36 x 27 CI B 230 5-35 Y 425Transpower TSC-10HK 845 10 3 48 27 x 40 CI B 220 3 Y 360 F & RTranspower MBS-250 1,175 10 3 30 36 x 27 CI B 230 3-18 Y 495Bridgewood BW-12CS 1,895 10 & 12 4 50 29 x 44 CI B 230 3-18 Y 485 Front lockCraftsman 22692 1,600 12 4 50 48 x 30 CI B 230 3-17 Y 717 Front lockGeneral 50-375 2,070 12 4 50 48 x 30 CI B 230 3-12 Y 690Grizzly G5959 1,495 12 4 50 48 x 30 CI B 230 5-27 Y 615 Front lockInca 2200 2,995 12 4 25 27 x 31 CI B 230 3-18 Y 385 Front lockLobo HTS-0012 930 12 418 30 27 x 37 CI B 230 3-36/18 Y 385 F & RLobo TS-1212 1,890 12 4 49 48 x 30 CI B 230 5-19.6 Y 572 F & RMini Max S300W 7,995 12 4 54 34 x 23 CI B 230 7.25-24 Y 1,280 F & RNorth State MBS-300 1,975 12 4 50 30 x 48 CI B 230 5-NA Y 750 Front lockSeco SK-1212TS 1,840 12 4 78 48 x 30 CI B 230 5-25 Y 570 F & RStar WTST10 1,650 12 4 36 40 x 29 CI B 230 5-35 Y 600Sunhill TAS-12 1,895 12 334 40 x 30 CI B 230 3/5-17/14 Y 570 F & RSunhill TAS-16 3,450 12 - 16 4 to 6 48 x 38 CI B 230 7.5-23 Y 1,150 F & RTranspower TSC-12HK 970 12 4 30 40 x 27 CI B 230 3-18 Y 410 Front lock

    * Also availablewith two castwings; **Alsoavailable in left tilt;CI = cast iron;S=steel; B=belt;D=direct drive; F &R=front and rearlocking=PW Recommends

    key

  • The biggest mistake people makewhen buying a thickness plan-er is that they dont buy the othermachine you need to make the plan-er work properly, and thats the join-ter. These two machines work to-gether to turn rough stock (or evendressed stock) into usable parts.

    You can get by with just a plan-er, but be advised that youll need toshim the high spots under each boardduring planing. Whys that? The feedrollers on a planer will press warpedwood flat during planing. Once theboard leaves the planer, it will springback to its original bow. The otherway to get by without a jointer isto use a hand plane to flatten oneside of each board before planing.

    You basically have two choices

    when buying a planer. Benchtopmodels are getting better and cheap-er all the time, but they arent forheavy-duty all-day use. Induction-motor stationary planers with cast-iron beds and serrated infeed rollersare built for that job, but youre goingto pay $800 or more for one of these.So check your wallet, think aboutyour woodworking and figure outwhich machine is for you.

    Benchtop PlanersWeve tested every benchtop plan-er on the market, and after using themfor several months we concluded theyare less reliable and less gutsy thanfloor-model planers. When it comesto the quality of the cut, however,benchtop models hold their own

    when compared to the big boys. Andthey are generally easier to set up andmaintain. Most woodworkers will dofine with one of these benchtop ma-chines as long as they dont asktoo much of them.

    For us, the most important fac-tor when buying a benchtop modelis the motor. We tested the efficiencyof the motors to see how much theywould bog down in a cut and howmuch more amperage they wouldneed to maintain their speed. Theresults are available on the chart onthe following pages.

    All planers have a tendency tosnipe a board. Snipe is when thefirst and last two or three inches ofa board gets cut deeper than the restof the board. You can adjust your ma-chine to remove most of the snipein normal planing operations, butyoull never be free of it entirely.Benchtop machines tend to snipemore than stationary ones.

    However, these portables do havesome real advantages. The bladesare generally easier to change thanthose in stationary machines. Themachines can be stored under a benchwhen not in use, and the price is rea-sonable for the home woodworker.

    When shopping, check out howeasy it is to adjust the infeed and out-feed tables. These reduce snipe. Checkhow easy it is to change the blades.This varies from unbelievably sim-ple to a task requiring three hands.Look for portable models that comewith two-sided disposable blades thatwill give you twice the life of single-edge blades. Also see if you can ad-just the blades side-to-side slightlyso you can cancel out any nicks inyour blades.

    Cutterhead locks are another fea-ture thatre appearing on portable

    If youre buying a benchtop model, get the beefiest motor you can afford. One critical difference with all planers is the ease of changing the knives. At theleast, buy a machine with springs or jackscrews. On stationary planers, insist on a machine with serrated metal infeed rollers, whichare more durable than rubber infeed rollers. Dont worry about the accuracy of the depth-of-cut indicator they are all de-signed to just get you in the ball park. Two-speed stationary machines are valuable when surfacing figured woods.

    You cant buy too much raw power when choosing a planer.

    SHOPPING GUIDELINESfor planers

    thicknessplaners

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    The Jet JPM-13 is a 13" planer that is capable of cut-ting all sorts of mouldings. If you want to make yourown trim that would be impossible to make (or nearlyso) using a router, look into buying a planer/moulder.

  • planers. These hold the cutterheadin place on your final pass. They re-duce, but do not eliminate, sniping.

    Stationary PlanersThese heavy-duty workhorses arepowered by an induction motor andbuilt using cast iron. As a result, theyare heavier, more reliable and needless coaxing than their smaller cousins.Stationary planers start at 12" wideand go up. Most home woodwork-ers buying a stationary planer willshop for a 15" model, which startsunder $1,000.

    When shopping for a 15" ma-chine, check out the horsepower(usually 2 or 3 hp) and cuts per minute(between 13,500 and 15,000). Onemeasure of the guts of the machineis the maximum cut the manufac-turer recommends you take in onepass most 15" planers can takebetween 18" and 14".

    Check out the feed rate, whichis how quickly boards move underthe cutterhead. Some floor modelshave variable feed rates that canbe changed with a lever or by ad-justing a chain inside the machine.

    Another important feature is theknife-changing method. Most usesprings or jackscrews to hold the knifein position as you lock it to the cut-terhead. If your planer doesnt havethese, buy a jig for setting your knives.

    Rollers are critical in stationaryplaners. Most quality models use ser-rated steel feed rollers to grab anddrive your wood under the cutter-head. Most have an adjustable chipbreaker that will improve the finalfinish of your board. And be sureyour stationary planer has adjustablebed rollers. These rollers are oppo-site the cutterhead and move roughstock more smoothly.

    Finally, dont forget to add up theniceties that come with some plan-ers. Youll probably want to buy in-feed and outfeed rollers for your plan-er. These come packaged with someplaners and are expensive accessorieson others. Some planers come withknife-setting jigs, some dont. Someplaners come with a dust hood, oth-ers dont. When factored in with thepurchase price, these accessories canquickly turn an expensive machineinto a reasonably priced one. PW

    occasional user Delta 22-560, This 1212" portable

    planer gives you a lot of high-endfeatures at a good price and youget the Delta name to boot. Knife-changing is a breeze. Keep your eyespeeled this year for the new 22-58013" planer from Delta that will offertwo speeds and some other niftyfeatures.

    DeWalt DW733, Rugged and power-ful, this 12" planer is an excellentmachine. Our only complaint is wewish the knives were two-sided.

    Ridgid TP1300, This well-made ma-chine offers a lot of refinements notfound on some others, such as on-board tool storage. Plus it has a life-time warranty.

    serious home woodworker Bridgewood BW-15P, This machine

    comes complete with a dust hoodand infeed/outfeed rollers. Themotor is mounted below the cutter-head, a configuration that we prefer.This makes the knives easier to adjustand reduces vibration.

    JET JPM-13 & 13CS, This 13" induc-tion-motor planer gives you many ofthe features of floor-model planersand the additional ability to cuthundreds of moulding profiles withextra knives you install on the cutter-head.

    advanced woodworker or professional user Grizzly 1033, You are going to be

    hard pressed to find another 20"planer for this price. It has many ofthe features found on its competitors except for the price.

    PWRecommends

    These tools have been tested or used by the editors of Popular Woodworkingand have earned their recommendation.

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  • P=plastic;R=rubber;2x D= two-sided,disposable;1x S=single-edged,sharpenable * On a scale of 1 to 5 with1 beingunaccept-able and 5being out-standing.** Peak dB ismeasured at 3'while makinga 116"-deepcut on a 6"-wide poplarboard.Alwayswear hearingprotectionwhen planing.

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    FLOORBRAND/MODEL PRICE MAX STOCK MAX CUT KNIVES BED BED FEED HP VOLTS WEIGHT COMMENTS

    (T X W IN.) DEPTH (IN.) # X RPM MATERIAL ROLLERS ROLLERS (LBS.)

    Williams & Hussey $1,970 8 x 7 14 2 x 3,450 CI N U 2 115/230 220 moulderShopsmith Pro Planer 1,200 4 x 12 18 3 x 5,750 CI N S, R 134 115 151 variable speedBelsaw 1120002 1,700 6 x 1212 316 3 x 4,500 CI N R 5 230 350 moulderWoodmaster 712 1,365 7 x 1212 316 3 x 4,200 CI N R;S OPT 5 230 300General 30-100 1,115 6 x 13 18 3 x 4,500 CI N R 112 115/230 275Grizzly G1037 695 6 x 13 18 3 x 5,000 CI N R 112 110/220 240 moulderJet JPM-13 800 6 x 13 116 3 x 4,500 CI N R 112 115/230 209 moulderJet JPM-13CS 830 6 x 13 116 3 x 4,500 CI N R 112 115/230 269 moulderGeneral 130-1 3,900 6 x 14 116 3 x 4,500 CI Y S 3 230 520 jackscrewsGeneral 130-1-M1 3,200 8 x 14 18 3 x 4,500 CI Y S 3 230 650Grizzly G1021 765 618 x 1478 18 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 2 220 440 roller extnsnsGrizzly G1021Z 995 618 x 1478 18 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 220 540Bridgewood BW-15P 895 6 x 15 18 3 x 4,500 CI Y S, R 3 230 446 jackscrewsCraftsman 22615 1,250 6 x 15 18 3 x 5,000 CI Y R 3 230 548 2 speedsJet JWP-15CS 1,200 6 x 15 18 3 x 4,500 CI Y S 3 230 502 closed standLobo WP-0015 1,000 6 x 15 316 3 x 4,500 CI Y S, R 3 230 480 2 speedsPowermatic 15 1,325 6 x 15 18 3 x 4,500 CI Y S 3 230 484Seco SK-0015WP 1,135 6 x 15 14 3 x 5,000 CI Y R 3 230 440Star WPL15 925 6 x 15 18 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 220 510Sunhill CT-38B 925 6 x 15 14 3 x 4,500 CI Y S 3 230 500Sunhill CT-400D 2,500 6 x 16 14 3 x 5,000 CI N S, R 3 230 700Transpower AP900 850 6 x 15 14 3 x 5,600 CI Y S 3 230 485Woodtek 875-001 1,000 6 x 15 18 3 x 3,450 CI Y S 2 230 470 knife tool inc.

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    POPULARWOODWORKING October 2001

    BENCHTOPCRAFTSMAN DELTA DELTA DELTA DEWALT GRIZZLY GRIZZLY JET MAKITA RIDGID

    21713 22-540 22-560 22-580 DW733 G1017 G8794 JWP12-DX 2012NB TP1300

    Street price $389 254 299 500 379 369 279 329 489 399

    MOTORAmp load/no load 15/8.3 15/8.8 14.3/8.6 15/NA 15/7.3 15.6/9.3 15/8.6 NA 11.8/5.7 15/9.0RPM load/no load 8K/9.5K 7.3K/8.4K 7.5K/8.4K NA 9K/20K 8.1K/9.4K 8K/9.2K NA 7K/8.4K 8K/9.4KdB level@3 ft. 97 92 94 NA 95 93 91 NA 88 94Peak dB @3 ft.** 102 99 102 NA 100 94 101 NA 98 102Overload switch Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes

    CUTTERHEADKnife change (1-5)* 2 2 5 NA 4 3 3 NA 5 4Knives/type 13"/2x D 12"/2x D 1212"/2x D 13"/2x D 1212"/1x S 12"/1x S 1212"/2x D 1212"/2x D 12"/2x D 13"/2x DLateral knife adj. No 14" 116" Yes No 14" 18" 14" 332" .040Blade thick/width .059" x 78" .07" x 34" .058" x 716" .058" x 716" .125" x 1116" .12" x 34" .063" x 34" NA .077" x 516" .071" x 34"Snipe @ 116"outfeed:/infeed: .001"/.009" .005"/.007" .000"/.000" NA .005"/.006" .005"/.007" .001"/.008" NA .001"/.002".005"/.008"Corrected Snipeoutfeed:/infeed: .001"/.009" .000"/.005" .000"/.000" NA .000"/.003" .000"/.003" .004"/.005" NA .001"/.002".001"/.002"Cutter shaft lock Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes

    FEATURESEase of adjusting height of head (1-5)* 4.2 3 3.4 NA 3.4 4.4 3 NA 4 3.4Table Adj.(1-5 )* 2.8 3.4 3.4 NA 2.6 3.2 3.2 NA 4.2 3.8Table W" x L" 1512 x 3712 1212 x 2312 1212 x 2334 13 x 35 1312 x 3318 15 x 2112 1278 x 25 15 x 2314 13 x 3038 14 x 34Fit and finish (1-5)* 4.4 2.8 4 NA 4.2 3.4 3.2 NA 4.4 4.4Ergonomics (1-5)* 3.8 2.2 3.4 NA 3.4 3 2.6 NA 3.8 3.8Scale readability (1-5)* 3 2.8 3 NA 2.6 4.6 2.8 NA 3.4 2.8Feed rollers? Yes No No No No Yes Yes Yes No NoCord length/type 8'6"/P 6'/P 6'/P 10'/R 10'/R 5'/P 6'/P NA 8'/R 10'/PWeight in lbs. 85 62 65 86 80 78 75 69 60 82Warranty 1 yr 2 yrs 2 yrs 2 yrs 1 yr 1 yr 1 yr 2 yrs 1 yr Lifetime

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  • KEY:A =aluminum. CI= cast iron. S= steel.Feed Rollers: R= rubbercoated. S =serrated steel,U=urethane.Y= yes. N = no.OPT =optional. NA =informationnot available.*=also hasjackscrews = PWRecommends,

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    BRAND/MODEL PRICE MAX STOCK MAX CUT KNIVES BED BED FEED HP VOLTS WEIGHT COMMENTS(T X W IN.) DEPTH (IN.) # X RPM MATERIAL ROLLERS ROLLERS (LBS.)

    Delta 22-680 1,545 612 x 15 18 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 340 jackscrewsNorth State 315 890 612 x 15 316 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 500 2 speedsGeneral 30-125 MI 1,600 7 x 15 18 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 539Lobo WP-1015 870 8 x 15 18 3 x 4,500 CI Y S, R 3 230 480Bridgewood BW-16PV* 2,795 7 x 16 14 3 x 5,600 CI Y S 3 230 748 var spd,Transpower AP800 750 8 x 16 14 3 x 5,600 CI Y S, R 3 220 485RBI 816 2,000 8 x 16-14 516 4 x 4,600 S N U 5 230 440Powermatic 180 6,300 6 x 18 14 3 x 4,800 CI Y S 5 230/460 1,523 jackscrewsWoodmaster 718 1,780 7 x 18-12 316 3 x 4,200 CI N R; S OPT 5 220 480Bridgewood BW-200P 2,495 6-12 x 20 14 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 5 230 780 jackscrewsGrizzly G5850 2,495 734 x 20 18 3 x 5,200 CI Y S 5 220 900 24 ft. per min.Bridgewood BW-20PV 3,195 7 x 20 14 3 x 5,600 CI Y S 5, 712 220 857 jackscrewsCraftsman 22622 2,050 8 x 20 18 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 792 2 speedsGrizzly G1033 1,295 858 x 20 18 4 x 4,833 CI Y S 3 220 785 2 speedsSeco SK-0020WP 1,740 7 x 20 14 4 x 5,000 CI Y R 3 230 770Woodtek 816-427 2,480 7 x 20 316 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 981Woodtek 816-434 2,480 7 x 20 316 3 x 6,000 CI Y S 5 230 981 3 phaseWoodtek 924-083 1,295 8 x 20 18 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 220 771 5" dust portPowermatic 208 2,860 8 x 20 332 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 640 opt. 5 hpLobo WP-0020 1,590 8 x 20 14 4 x 5,000 CI Y S, R 3 230 770Lobo WP-1120 2,490 8 x 20 14 3 x 5,000 CI Y S, R 3 230 770Lobo WP-2000 3,490 7 x 20 14 3 x 5,500 CI Y S, R 3 230 850North State CT-508 1,395 8 x 20 14 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 5 230 950General 30-300 MI 2,200 8 x 20 332 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 880Seco SK-824WP 4,495 6 x 20 14 3 x 5,400 CI N S 712 230 1,390Seco SK-720-WP 2,680 612 x 20 14 3 x 5,200 CI N S 5 230 770Star WPL20 1,295 8 x 20 18 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 220 885Sunhill CT-508 1,395 8 x 20 14 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 3 230 925Transpower AP200A 1,275 8 x 20 14 4 x 5,600 CI Y S, R 5 220 860Transpower AP720 2,100 8 x 20 14 3 x 5,200 CI Y S 7.5 230 970Delta 22-450 3,760 858 x 20 316 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 5 230/460 840 controls in frontBridgewood BW-508 4,195 9 x 20 14 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 712 220 1,370 jackscrews Grizzly G9740 4,750 9 x 20 516 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 712 220 1,678Grizzly G9967 4,850 9 x 20 516 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 5 220 1,678 1 phaseDelta 22-470 4,300 9 x 24 14 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 712 230/460 980 2 speedsBridgewood BW-240P 3,395 612 x 24 14 3 x 5,000 CI Y S 712 220 880 jackscrewsGeneral 330 8,500 9 x 20 18 4 x 4,000 CI Y S 5 230 2,100Lobo WP-508 5,790 1134 x 20 516 4 x 4,800 CI Y S 712 230 1,580Laguna P20 10,995 12 x 20 516 4 x 4,500 CI Y S 9 230 2,100Seco SK-20WP5 2,014 7 x 20 14 4 x 5,000 CI Y R 5 230 882Powermatic 201 4,135 912 x 22 1/8 4 x 4,800 CI Y S 5 230 1,279 3ph availableLaguna P24 14,995 12 x 24 516 4 x 4,500 CI Y S 12 230 2,000RBI 820 2,400 8 x 2014 516 4 x 4,600 S N U 5 230 500Mini Max SP-1 7,255 934 x 2012 516 4 x 4,500 CI Y S 9 230/460 1,496Delta 22-610 9,700 938 x 24 10 mm 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 10 220 1,675 3ph availableSeco SK-820-WP 3,520 6 x 24 14 3 x 5,400 CI N S 5 230 1,300Seco SK-724WP 3,280 612 x 24 14 3 x 5,200 CI N S 712 230 990Seco SK-724WP5 2,950 612 x 24 14 3 x 5,200 CI N S 5 230 990Grizzly G5851 3,395 814 x 24 18 3 x 5,200 CI Y S 5 220 1,030Grizzly G7213 3,295 814 x 24 18 3 x 5,200 CI Y S 712 230 1,030 3 phaseGrizzly G9741 5,550 9 x 24 516 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 10 220 2,030Grizzly G9961 6,995 9 x 24 516 4 x 5,000 CI Y S 10 220 2,030 spiral cttrhedStar WPL 24 NA 7 x 24 38 3 x 5,400 CI NA NA 712 230 NANorth State WJ-24 2,900 7 x 24 14 3 x 5,300 CI Y S 712 230 1,450 variable speedWoodmaster 725 2,900 634 x 25 316 3 x 4,200 CI N S 712 220 808

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