Popular Woodworking 2005-02 № 146, страница 30

Popular Woodworking 2005-02 № 146, страница 30

Tool Test

High-speed Steel Chisels are Beyond Tough

Most chisels designed for carpentry jobs have little value to the fine furniture-maker (think: cold chisels).

So I wasn't expecting to be impressed when I tested a Japanese chisel designed to be used by carpenters in man-made materials and with knotty construction lumber.

These chisels are made by layering a hard steel cutting edge with a soft steel back. For those in the know, this is how the Japanese traditionally make all their chisels. What's different about this tool is that the cutting edge is an alloy similar to high-speed steel. This alloy allows the steel to be even harder than a traditional Japanese chisel, which is already very hard. The downside is the tool isn't supposed to take as fine an edge.

In my testing, however, I found these chisels to be excellent in many ways for Western-style woodworking. The tool took a keen edge without too much trouble on my waterstones. And it held onto that edge as I administered

an abuse test we run all chisels through.

Essentially, we pound the snot out of the tool in a controlled manner in redheart, a nasty exotic. Then we examine the edge under a 30x loupe and use it for end-grain paring.

This chisel can really take it. It performed as well as Japanese chisels I've tested and as well as the Lie-Nielsens and Barr chisels, we've recently tested.

What I don't like about the tool is what I don't like about Japanese chisels in general. I find the handles uncomfortable. Plus the hoops on the ends add to my discomfort. However, if you like the feel of Japanese chisels, you'll like these. Also, these aren't suited for dovetailing. The side bevels are chunkier than on the Lie-Nielsens, Barrs and many Japanese chisels. But if you need a tough bench chisel at a fair price, this is it.

— Christopher Schwarz For more information, circle #175 on Free information Card.


Alloyed Laminated Steel

Carpenters' Chisels

Street price: $170 for five, $350 for 10

Handle: Japanese red oak

Sizes (set of 5): 9, 15, 24, 30 & 36mm

Extras in set of 10: 3, 6, 12, 18, 42mm

Performance: ••••O

Price range: $$$$

Tools for Working Wood:

800-426-4613 or toolsforworkingwood.com

Hitachi Two-base Router Set

For all you Star Trek fans out there, Hitachi has a couple of new routers built and designed using Romulan technology ... OK, not really. But that's what they look like. And while they're decent routers, the technology is unfortunately still standard earth fare.

Available in either single speed (KM12SC, as tested) or variable speed (KM12VC) models, these routers are the newest in the growing line of single motor, two-base kits offering versatile routing options at lower costs.

The nickel-plated 11-amp motor offers soft start (no jerky start) and a very pleasant noise level (for a router). Hitachi calls out an 80 dB rating, but we registered an 84 dB in our shop - still, a comfortable level.

Power was good during reasonable cuts in white oak (V2" roundovers and V2" x


dado cuts). The motor design includes a flat top to make it easier to change your bits, but the company opted to require two wrenches to change a bit rather than the more common (and more user-friendly) spindle lock/ one-wrench arrangement. Both V2" and V4" collets are included in the kits.

The two bases (fixed and plunge) are standard, with the motor held in place with a good

cam-lever clamp. On the fixed-base model, height adjustment is accomplished by engaging the locking clamp halfway and rotating the motor. It's simple and efficient.

The plunge base operated smoothly and had a reasonable spring tension for normal use.

Hitachi also added removable template mounting plates in each base and seven template guides and a template guide-centering adjuster. What is missing is through-the-table height adjustment for use in router tables, integral dust collection and a more convenient fine height-adjustment in plunge mode.

In the balance, Hitachi has provided two nice router kits priced below the competition. Though lacking in some extra features that might have made these kits the hands-down selection, the two router kits do offer generally good performance and features at


Hitachi KM12SC Two-base Router

Street price: $189 (variable-speed model)

Motor: 11 amp, 24,000 rpm

Weight: 7.3 lbs

Performance: •••OO

Price range: $

Hitachi: 800-829-4752 or


aggressively competitive prices. Therefore, it might be worth it to take a look.

— David Thiel For more information, circle #176 on Free Information Card.

continued on page 30


Popular Woodworking February 2005

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