Popular Woodworking 2009-12 № 180, страница 43

Popular Woodworking 2009-12 № 180, страница 43


For years we've watched the quality of vise hardware decline as old-school factories closed. This year we've had a renaissance with some new vise makers coming onto the scene, including Lie-Nielsen Toolworks.

One of the most delightful newcomers has been Benchcrafted, a small Midwestern company that makes a simply awesome tail vise. I installed the tail vise onto my workbench and was blown away by how smoothly it moves and how firmly it grabs the work. Plus, unlike a traditional tail vise, this unit won't sag.

Everyone who visits our shop wants one. This is a lifetime vise.

BLUE SPRUCE Round Mallet

Few tools in our shop get universal acclaim, but the new resin-impregnated mallet from Blue Spruce Toolworks sure comes close.

Since I purchased one of these mallets from the Oregon-based company, two of the other woodworkers in our shop followed suit.

The mallet is almost impossible to resist. It's the perfect weight (1 lb.) and size (81^2" long). It's beautifully finished. It's perfectly balanced. But what is really astonishing about the mallet is how it can take a beating without getting beat up.

Most wooden mallets (round or square) become dogmeat in short order - no matter what sort of wood you use. The Blue Spruce sidesteps that problem by using an acrylic-infused head. Every pore is filled with plastic, yet the mallet feels like wood to your hands and responds like wood when you hit something. That is, it doesn't bounce like a rubber mallet.

It also has a lot of punch for a mallet of this size, though it's definitely not a wrist breaker like a cast-iron mallet can be.

I've had this Blue Spruce

mallet since February, have been using it just about every day and have yet to make a dent in it. It still looks as good as when I got it out of the box.

We think this plastic technology could be used in other woodworking tools. Blue Spruce already uses it in handles for bench chisels. It would be great for the handles of mortise chisels - those receive a whupping. It also could be used in the totes for saws and planes - these are notoriously fragile. How about a wooden try square made from it? (I assume the acrylic reduces or eliminates the expansion and contraction process.) Hammer handles? Stay tuned.

BLUE SPRUCE TOOLWORKS ■ bluesprucetoolworks.com

SAWSTOP Contractor Saw

By now everyone knows about the patented and effective sawblade-stopping technology that is the heart of every SawStop machine. But what everyone doesn't know isjust how good the contractor version of this saw is.

When equipped with the company's T-glide fence and solid cast iron wings, this is a serious woodworking saw. The fit and finish is outstanding and the guarding system is excellent (SawStop was among the first to embrace the new guards). And I don't think we've ever had a contractor saw in here that was as easy to assemble.

In working with the saw, we found it to be stable and powerful - it has a 13H-horsepower motor like many hybrid table saws.

If you spring for the saw, we also recommend the excellent mobile base, which lifts the saw with ease and is quite stable.

To be sure, the SawStop costs more than other contractor saws, but it's a no-compromise machine. Not on quality. And not on safety.

14 ■ Popular Woodworking December 2009

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