|Buyer interest remained high at 2008 IWF|
Most of the major machine manufacturers used IWF to showcase their newest offerings and, in many cases, display machines that are in production and will be introduced before the end of the year.
General International surprised many with its entrance into the CNC market in partnership with Guerilla CNC, which will provide all of the software packages for General’s five CNC machines. Two Junior models (20" x 20" and 20" x 36") will be available by the end of the year, followed shortly by three Pro Series machines with capacities ranging up to 48" x 96". For a closer look, please see the story on page 23.
Grizzly International’s German-made 25" combination planer/sander caught the eye of many professionals. The three-phase 15-hp machine features digital table positioning and a micro-adjustable cutterhead. The company also unveiled 10" and 16" jointer/planer combination machines, which can change over from a jointer to a planer in less than a minute. The 16" model features a Leitz cutterhead. Grizzly’s Ultimate 8" jointer with digital-height readout was another new offering.
Weinig introduced its Variomat molder to the U.S. market, which is capable of four-sided planing and profiling, including end profiling. Attendees watched a five-minute demonstration where a raised panel door was built from raw stock by the single machine. The Powermat 2000 Vertical Sawing Unit designed for veneer slats was another new Weinig product introduced at the show.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Laguna Tools unveiled nearly two dozen machines, including a five-function 5' sliding combination machine for professionals. The versatile European-style combo unit consists of a 10" table saw, 12" planer, 12" x 54" jointer, 3-hp shaper with spindle, and 3-hp mortiser. Other machines included 16" and 18" band saws, a dovetail table saw, mortisers, 26" production shop planer, 16" jointer/planer, raised panel door machine, shaping and sanding machine, three glue pot edgebanders, and several sliding panel saws.
DeWalt continues to produce tools for its expanding contractor lines. IWF debuts included a 10" dual bevel sliding miter saw, heavy-duty 15-gauge and 16-gauge finish nailers, and corded and cordless TrackSaws for finish carpenters, woodworkers and contractors.
Freud featured a number of new products, including a thin-kerf ripping blade, a French door router bit set and an expansion of its Quadra-Cut router bits from five to 50, while the JET booth featured an oscillating drum sander.
Steel City Tool Works may want to change its name to Granite City Tool Works with the large line of granite machines it put on display at IWF. Among the newest granite items were jointer beds to go with the previously available granite fences, a granite lower wheel for its 14" band saw, a 16" portable planer with granite tables, and two mid-range granite lathes, 47" center-to-center with a 12" swing. The company also released a mammoth cast iron lathe that measures 52" center-to-center and has a 20" swing (10" bed to spindle) and the capability to get a 40" swing from the upper bed to lower bed.
Woodstock International displayed nine Shop Fox additions at IWF highlighted by its 5-hp 10" sliding table saw and 3-hp 18" open-end wide belt sander, which has the capability of sanding 36" wide stock despite a small 25" x 17-1/2" footprint. The other items consisted of three jointers, two planers and a 5-hp 21" band saw with foot brake.
Many companies decided to display machines shortly before IWF at regional woodworking shows. The Martin T12 fixed-spindle shaper and Hoffman face-frame combination system were among those products seen by many for the first time at IWF. Several companies had machines in the production pipeline, but weren’t ready to release information on the record.
Festool offered a sneak peek at several new tools that are slated to be available in early 2009, including a lithium-ion cordless drill, jig saw, hand-held planer, and the MFT/3 multi-function work table.