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My old dovetail saw gave up the ghost in the middle of building a toolbox for the side of my bench. The saw was one of those reversible types with a spring-loaded pin; the pin no longer held and was releasing in the middle of cuts. So I headed to the store to try to find a replacement. Rather than buy the same type of saw, I wanted to find a saw that was made for finer work. I spotted Irwin’s dovetail pull saw and figured I could hardly go wrong for $10.

Even thought Irwin uses the word dovetail in the name, they don’t include cutting dovetails in their product description. What they do say is they designed it primarily for flush cutting dowels and “any detail cut.” Then they give examples of people who would use the saw: an interior trim contractor or a fine woodworker. While the saw works well, there are a few reasons why this probably isn’t your go-to saw for fine woodworking.

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There comes a time when you realize that using your regular chisels on large timbers is a fruitless endeavor. While a 1″ blade might cut a notch in 4×8 timber in a few hours, you might as well try to cut down a redwood with a dovetail saw — although you probably wouldn’t get very far before the park rangers detained you anyway.

Slicks, on the other hand, are made for the task of framing with large wood. One of the largest types of chisel, the slick’s wide blade with the long flat back makes quicker work of large notches. Not meant to be struck, the slick’s long handle gives you the leverage to shear curls of wood with just the motion of your body and arms.

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Don’t get me wrong — I like my old Porter Cable 690 series router, but if I was a first-time router buyer today, there are so many more choices. Electronic speed control, built-in dust collection, and height adjustment are all key features my router is missing. But one of the coolest new features has to be Bosch’s router table base.

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Most consumers can get away with using a 6″ or 8″ dado blade because they hardly ever need to make dadoes or grooves deeper than 1″. Still, last month Freud introduced their 10″ and 12″ dado sets. Imagine a giant 12″ dado stack — you’d be able to cut a 5″ deep dado!

Besides having more teeth and using 1″ arbors, the 10″ and 12″ dado sets share the same characteristics of the 6″ and 8″ dado sets in Freud’s SD500 line. The blades have negative hook angles and the chippers have four wings instead of two — Freud claims both features make for cleaner cuts. They coat the blades with their Silver I.C.E. coating which reduces pitch buildup and corrosion and they manufacture the teeth out of their TiCo high-density carbide.

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We just covered the Sidewinder router lift from Woodpeckers which moved the height adjustment from the table top to the side for easier access, but how about going one step further and motorizing the lift so you can adjust the height on the fly? The MLCS PowerLift does just that.

Controlled with a foot pedal, you can make adjustments to the height in increments as small as .005″. You can watch the speed, direction, and height of the lift right on the digital control panel. The lift also has a depth stop so it will stop when you reach the desired cutting depth and can lift the router motor high enough so you can change bits above the table. To eliminate backlash when raising and lowering the router, MLCS connects the DC motor to the lifts screw by cogged pulleys and belts.

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M-Power, the company that brought us such products as the Perfect Butt, the Tri-Scribe, and the Precision Sharpening System, now brings us chisels with replaceable tips from Sheffield, UK. This isn’t the first time these chisels have been covered — The Woodworking Magazine blog actually covered them several weeks ago, but now you can actually purchase them online.

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Take a look at Irwin’s new Universal Handsaw. If you’re like me, the first thing you’ll wonder is, “what the heck is with that hump on the blade?” It turns out Irwin is riding the multi-tool wave. The hump provides clearance from the handle so you can use the top of the blade as a straight-edge. Also, if you butt the handle up to the edge of a board, the slot and top of the blade are perpendicular to the edge and the other side of the hump is 45° to the edge.

Irwin touts several other improvements in this saw. The triple-ground teeth supposedly eliminate binding, and they’ll cut through most materials three times faster then “traditional” hand saws while giving the finished-looking cut of a fine-cutting saw. They mold the handle from lighter-than-wood high density resin, and the 0.85mm thick blade is coated with a water-based lacquer.

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Rather than setting calipers to a different diameter for each cut, Galbert calipers allow you to read the diameter in real time while you’re turning. The spring-loaded mechanism pushes against the work piece and moves an indicator on a large, easy-to-read scale.

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MLCS sells a simple fix for a problem I didn’t know existed — evidently some router guide bushings can vibrate loose under use. Their solution is to sell you a spring washer that keeps pressure on the bushing nut so it won’t turn during use.

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We’ve covered cheap mortising attachments here before, but this Orion mortising attachment at Woodcraft looks like it’s a much higher grade tool.

The Orion supposedly fits most drill presses with 2-5/8″, 2″, 1-7/8″, 1-1/2″ (think DP350) diameter quills. It features a micro adjustable fence which can hold work pieces up to 4-1/2″ thick. The mortising attachment also comes with hold down rods, a setup block, and 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ chisels.

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