Popular Woodworking 2005-11 № 151, страница 88

Popular Woodworking 2005-11 № 151, страница 88

just a GIMMICK...

his is the side of the street where marketing has taken the driver's seat and reason has been bound with duct tape and tossed in the trunk. Just because you can put a laser on a tool doesn't mean you should.

Jigsaws

Don't get me wrong, I love a jigsaw. I don't know what I'd do without one. But I need one so that I can cut curved and circular patterns in wood. There's no portable power tool that can, as efficiently, cut out a reindeer for the front yard or the scrollwork for a hutch.

But these projects make my point for me; They're curved. Sure, you can try to cut a straight line with a jigsaw, but it's likely to look more like an undulation than an underline. So what good is shining a crease-straight laser line on the board if the saw isn't capable of following it anyway?

Chalk one up for the marketing team in this category. Sure they'll sell a bunch of them, but they're better off putting a light on the front of the jigsaw (which they have, thank you) than a laser.

Scrollsaws

Ack! If a jigsaw isn't an appropriate use for a laser, how in the world is a scrollsaw even conscionable ? A straight line is the opposite of what this saw is designed to cut! And unlike a jigsaw, scrollsaws use thin enough blades that you can actually track a decent straight line, even if it is only 1" long.

And even if you're a woodworker who uses your scrollsaw for straight work, why do you need a laser to follow the line? It's right there on the board in front of you where the blade is touching it.

Putting a laser on a scrollsaw is redundant at best and just silly in our opinion.

Band Saws

Putting a laser on a band saw is a debatable concept as to whether it's a useful idea, but I think I'll argue against it.

While band saws are capable of cutting a straight line, and they do get used for that purpose, there are physical forces involved that make it unlikely to be useful to add a laser.

Because band saw blades have a "drift" tendency (the blade pulls at an angle making it necessary to angle the board on the table to make a straight cut), it's hard to even orient a rip fence on a band saw to make a straight cut. Some fences adjust for the drift of the blade and any laser would have to have the same capability.

Even if you can adjust the laser for drift every time you change the blade, it sounds like a lot more work than it's worth. It's a nice try, but no, it's a gimmick.

Drills

I sat through a manufacturer's demonstration on adding a laser to a corded drill. The thing looked like a tumor stuck on the top of

DRILL

the drill and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out why this was a good thing to add to a drill. They spent more than a few minutes trying to convince me it was a good idea. I still don't get it.

The drill/laser essentially throws two perpendicular lines ending at the drill point. Company officials argued that it would allow you "square" projects, and assist in horizontal and vertical drilling.

It would be one thing if the laser would indicate if the drill is being held in a perpendicular attitude to the work surface. This would be quite helpful. Unfortunately that's not what the drill's laser did.

Nope, I'm not buying it. Figure out how to make the laser show perpendicular accuracy and I'll move it out of the gimmick column.

Conclusion

While I can't guess how many more tools will arrive on the market with lasers attached, I'm willing to predict that many of them won't last through the first sales season.

I'm also willing to predict that the tools that do make sense will stick around. It's your job to control those shopping urges until you consider the applications for a new laser tool. Ifyou need a laser just to own a laser, buy a laser pointer | ... they're cheaper. PW

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