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Top Ten Tools of 2006
What NewWoodworker.com Viewers Liked Most
Text & photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 11-29-2006
The first NewWoodworker.com LLC Top Ten Tools of the Year, released in early December of 2005 was a huge hit with our viewers in general and gift shoppers in particular. More surprising was how popular the first Top Ten Tools of 2005 remained throughout the year.
#1. JET Wet Sharpener
New this year from JET, their sharpening system instantly drew a huge amount of interest from NewWoodworker.com LLC viewers that continues to this day at a slightly less frantic pace. While the basic configuration is similar to the TORMEK SuperGrind, JET added a variable speed motor, rpm control, torque control, a proprietary grinding wheel compound and more grabbed the interest of woodworkers in a big way. Saving $100 when compared to the competition didn’t hurt anything either.
#2. Woodpeckers Quick-Lift
Woodpeckers is a favorite manufacturer with woodworkers and is known for high-end quality and innovative design. The release of their Quick-Lift router lift plate made access for above-table bit changes nearly instant while retaining their highly regarded ultra fine bit height adjustment system. Combining the new instant-up technology with Woodpeckers legendary high-end materials, CNC machining and a price tag of $199 has drawn a year-long, steady stream of email from satisfied users.
#3. Bosch PS-20 Pocket Driver
Just when I thought cordless driver technology had leveled out, along comes Bosch with an entirely new concept teamed with cutting edge Lithium Ion battery technology. Though I had some initial doubts regarding the utility of the hand-sized PS-20, it quickly became my favorite driver in the shop – and around the house. The amount of email focused on the Bosch PS-20 made it third in viewer popularity, narrowly missing the second spot. The street price of $129, which includes a charger, extra battery and carry case strengthened that interest even more.
#4. JET Mini Lathe
Reviewing the Jet Mini Lathe surprised me in three ways. First was how smoothly it runs, even during the initial rounding stages. Second was the capacity. Like many, I regarded the Jet Mini Lathe as a “small project” tool only but found its capabilities go well beyond pens. The third surprise was in the volume of viewer response.
The street price of $288 and the many package deals retailers offer made the Jet Mini Lathe a viable way to get into or to expand the woodturning portion of many NewWoodworker.com LLC viewers workshops.
#5. Rockler Dovetail Jig Combo
The ability to make dovetails has long been regarded as a major right of passage for woodworkers. Learning this time-honored joinery has been complicated by finding an easy to use jig for nearly as long. Rockler’s Dovetail Jig Combo was an instant hit with NewWoodworker.com LLC viewers because it is easy to use, handles both through and half-blind dovetails plus includes all necessary templates, bits and even the guide collar! All that for $139 made this too good of a deal to pass up.
#6. Bosch 1295DVS ROS
Random orbital sanders have become very popular with woodworkers so it was no surprise that the Bosch 1295DVS, that adds variable speed to caught the attention of many NewWoodworker.com LLC viewers. I had doubts about the usefulness of variable speed in a ROS but quickly saw the light when in-shop testing began.
#7. Beall Treen Mandrel
This tool intrigued me from the start and it quickly became obvious the NewWoodworker.com LLC turning crowd were just as enamored. Turning small lidded boxes is a very popular project but one that can be frustrating to do. The Beall Treen Mandrel simplifies the process and allows turners to focus on being creative.
#8. Ridgid TP1300LS 13” Thickness Planer
The Ridgid TP1300LS 13” Thickness Planer shows that a “big box” tool can bring innovative features and solid performance to the shop that gives a large number of woodworkers that warm fuzzy feeling. That attraction is no doubt enhanced by the $349 price tag that puts it on the “can-do” side of many tool-shopping lists.
#9. Hitachi C 12RSH, 12” Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Woodworkers love the capacity and angle-cutting capabilities of the sliding compound miter saw. However, the space-eatting clearance required behind them to accommodate the sliding mechanism made the SCMS impractical in many small shops. When Hitachi announced their zero-clearance (to the rear) SCMS, lots of woodworkers took note.
#10. Accurate Guide
Cutting perfect width dados can be a challenge, particularly for new woodworkers. When we showed how the Accurate Guide makes cutting a snap-in-tight dado all but automatic, the email and visits to this review started flowing in a big way. That interest was no doubt heightened by the $59.99 price tag that made perfection unusually affordable.
This category was intended to recognize tools that received significant traffic and email responses but not enough to make the Top Ten list. Both the Bosch Router Table and Oneway Termite Hollowing Tool nearly tied for the #10 spot on the list, making their selection for Honorable Mention a no-brainer!
Bosch RA1171 Benchtop Router Table
The numbers of small-shop woodworkers continues to balloon, as does their need for compact but full-featured router tables. The Bosch RA1171 piqued the interest of this group as well as a surprising number of veteran woodworkers. The rigid aluminum mounting late, surprisingly larger table surface and fully adjustable fence grouped in a space-saving package made the Bosch RA1171 very popular with NewWoodworker.com LLC viewers.
Oneway Termite End Grain Hollowing Tool
Oneway’s Termite tool was surprising on two counts. First, it worked better than the corporate claims. Second, the traffic and email numbers this lathe-specific review drew exceeded the percentage of turners within the overall NewWoodworker.com LLC traffic. No doubt the versatility of the Termite End Grain Hollowing Tool and Oneway’s reputation with turners put this review near the top.
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