Popular Woodworking 2000-11 No. 118

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Popular Woodworking 2000-11 No. 118




    HOW TO

    Shop SmartOnline and By Phone

    Fall 2000 #118

    Horsepower or HorsepuckyHOW TO

    JUDGE Motors

    Air Tools PG 18CompressorsBrad Nailers

    Band Saws PG 26

    Biscuit Joiners PG 32

    Cordless Drills PG 34

    Drill Presses PG 42Radial

    Dust Collectors PG 48Air cleaners

    Jig Saws PG 54

    Jointers PG 58

    Lathes PG 64Mini-lathes

    Miter Saws PG 70Straight

    CompoundSliding Compound

    Routers PG 74Trimmers

    Fixed BasePlunge

    Sanders PG 82

    Scroll Saws PG 86

    Table Saws PG 90Benchtop


    Thickness Planers PG 98


    6 What You Must Know About Motors

    14 Where to Buy Your Tools

    18 Air ToolsCompressorsBrad nailers

    26 Band Saws

    32 Biscuit Joiners

    34 Cordless Drills

    42 Drill PressesBenchtopFloorRadial

    48 Dust CollectorsSingle stageAir cleaners

    54 Jigsaws

    58 Jointers

    64 LathesBenchtopFloorMini-lathes

    70 Miter SawsStraightCompoundSliding Compound

    74 RoutersTrimmersFixed basePlunge

    82 Random Orbit Sanders

    86 Scroll Saws

    90 Table SawsBenchtopContractorCabinet

    98 Thickness Planers


    Chances are you wouldnt be a wood-worker if not for the amazing prolif-eration of machines and power hand toolsavailable today. Before power tools, theemphasis in woodwork was work. Sawingout lumber by hand, flattening it withplanes then gluing it up with foul smellinghide glue is definitely not the kind of ac-tivity many would choose for fun and re-laxation, or even a job for that matter.

    But our good fortune in having so manytools also presents a problem. All this af-fordable equipment can make your choic-es staggering.

    Its against this backdrop that weveundertaken this, our first Tool BuyingGuide.Weve set out to make it a lot morethan a reference filled with page after pageof charts. Our goal was to make you an in-formed tool buyer who can, in the absenceof a knowledgeable salesman or trustedfriend, make the right decision whenplunking down your cash for a new tool.

    Weve taken several steps to make youa savvy tool buyer. In each of the 15 toolcategories, we walk you through the keyfeatures. And just as important, we tell youwhat features to, in a word, ignore. Sometool features have more to do with mar-keting hype than performance.

    Next, we give you solid recommenda-tions of tools to buy. Importantly, our rec-ommendations are given for threecategories of woodworker the occa-sional woodworker/hobbyist; the serioushome woodworker; and the advancedwoodworker or professional. It seemed log-ical that each group would make differentdemands on their tools and have differentprice expectations as well.

    We often make more than one recom-mendation. We concluded that within acategory, a consumer could often expectmore than one tool to provide good valuerelative to performance and price.

    We also give you real, everyday streetprices. The prices shown are an amalgamof prices taken from catalogs, internet re-tailing sites and retail stores, when they

    were available.In addition to the 15 tool categories,

    weve included three other important ar-ticles. Because the motor is the heart ofall power tools and a key component toevaluate, we give you the straight dope soyou can make the call in our What YouMust Know About Motors article. Its amust read for any power tool user. We alsogive you the dos and donts about shop-ping via catalogs or with on-line tool sell-ing sites. After reading Where to BuyYour Tools, youll be much betterequipped to shop long distance where realsavings can be found.

    The last thing you should know aboutour Tool Buying Guide is just whos be-hind it. With two exceptions where wefelt our depth of knowledge was not suffi-cient, (scroll saws and lathes) this entireissue was researched by the editorial staffof Popular Woodworking.

    So who are we? Most of the staff mem-bers of this magazine have been profes-sional woodworkers far longer than theyvebeen magazine editors. Three of us havea combined total of over 50 years profes-sional experience. All of us build projectsfor the magazine in the 2,000-square-footshop adjacent to our offices using many ofthe tools and machines weve recom-mended in this issue. Since joining themagazine we have logged thousands ofmiles (including journeys to Asia and Eu-rope) to visit dozens of tool and machinemanufacturing plants.

    Its our sincere hope that you can ben-efit from our experience in not only mak-ing wise woodworking tool investmentsas a result of this special issue, but fromthe accumulated practical knowledge ofour staff and highly respected contributorsin our regular issues as well. PW

    Its a Tool WorldThis issue can save you hundreds of dollars and headaches.

    POPULAR WOODWORKING November 20002

  • November 2000, Vol. 20, No. 6 www.popwood.com

    Editor & Publisher Steve ShanesyArt Director Tricia BarlowSenior Editors David Thiel,

    Christopher SchwarzAssociate Editor Jim Stuard

    Editorial Intern John TateEditorial Assistant Brandale Scott

    Contributing EditorsNick EnglerBob FlexnerGlen Huey

    Troy SextonTechnical Advisers:

    General Manager Jeffry M.LapinEditorial Director David Fryxell

    Senior Art Director Amy Schneider

    CIRCULATIONDavid Lee, Director

    Lynn Kruetzkamp, Single Copy Sales Mgr.Terry Webster-Isgro, Direct Sales Mgr.

    PRODUCTIONBarbara Schmitz,

    Director of ManufacturingMartha Wallace, Magazine Production Dir.

    Matt Walker, Production AssistantRuth Preston, Studio Manager

    ADVERTISINGNational Sales Representative

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

    Advertising SalesJoe Wood, Tel. (513) 336-9760

    Fax (513) 336-9761

    Classified Advertising SalesJoan Wright,Tel. (800) 388-1820Advertising Production Coordinator

    Debbie Thomas, Tel. (513) 531-2690, ext. 219

    SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Subscription inquiries,orders and address changes can be made at www.pop-wood.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.

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    Popular Woodworking (ISSN 0884-8823, USPS 752-250) ispublished seven times a year in February, April, June, August,

    October, November and December by F&W Publications, Inc.Editorial and advertising offices are located at 1507 Dana Ave.,

    Cincinnati, OH 45207; tel.: (513) 531-2222. Unsolicitedmanuscripts, photographs and artwork should include ample

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    subscription (7 issues) is $19.97; outside of U.S add $7/year.

    Canada Publications Mail Agreement No. 0546232. Canadianreturn address: 2744 Edna St., Windsor, ON N8Y 1V2

    Copyright 2000 by Popular Woodworking. Periodicals postage paidat Cincinnati, Ohio, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster:

    Send all address changes to Popular Woodworking, P.O. Box 5369,Harlan, IA 51593 Canada GST Reg. # R122594716

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    Audit Bureau of Circulation membership applied for.

    POPULAR WOODWORKING November 20004

    Bill AustinScott Box

    Chris CarlsonDale Zimmerman

    Makita USA. Inc. Delta International S-B Power Tool Franklin International

    eagle america

    Circle #102 on Resource Directory Coupon

    liebel & co

    Circle #142 on Resource Directory Coupon

  • If youre an electrical engineer, you can stopreading this article right now. This storyisnt for the gear heads its for the restof you woodworkers who use power tools everyday but are occasionally stupefied by amps,volts, watts and horsepower. Ill warn you,theres just the tiniest bit of math to learn here.But if you can multiply and divide two num-bers, you will open up a whole new world ofunderstanding when it comes to the subjectof motors.

    The first thing to understand is that thereare two kinds of motors that power almost allof the machinery in a home workshop: in-duction motors and universal motors. Eachtype has its strengths and weaknesses. The rea-son that you need to know the differencebetween the two is that some tools (table saws,planers and jointers, for example) can be pow-ered by either type of motor. So you need toeducate yourself so youll choose the rightmotor for the kind of work you do.

    In general, induction motors power sta-tionary machinery that must run for hours onend, such as big table saws, planers, band sawsand jointers. Universal motors power mostlyhand-held stuff: routers, jigsaws and sanders.However, this is changing. These days youllfind more and more universal motors in bench-top table saws, small jointers, spindle sandersand portable planers.

    I like to think of the two motors as the tor-toise and the hare. Induction motors are thetortoise of the pair. Theyre rugged, quiet, large,heavy, turn more slowly and can be stalledunder heavy use. They are great for the longhaul. Universal motors, on the other hand,have a shorter life span, theyre smaller, theymake more noise, they operat