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New toys

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As a woodworking writer, reviewing familiar types of tools is part of what I do for a living, but a new assignment couldn’t excite me more. It’s a tool I’ve never really used before.

They’re called a number of things – plunge saws, track saws, rail saws – but they’re all the same type tool: a portable fine-cut circular saw with a spring-loaded mounting that rides on a flat metal guide track, ensuring superior, perfectly straight cuts. They can be used for any kind of rip or crosscut, as can any circular saw, but these excel at taking the place of a table saw when breaking down larger stock, especially for cabinetry.

I’ve tried these saws out briefly on occasion at woodworking shows over the years, but because I’ve never owned one or known someone who has, I’ve never really been able to put one through its paces. That’s about to change when a sampling over models from DeWalt, Festool, and Makita arrive at my shop door.

Woodworkers love new tools, especially tools that are unique and interesting, which is something I’ve written about here several times. But being able to devote extensive playtime to not one but a number of these tools is a woodworker’s dream come true. It’s especially timely, too, since I’ve just completed a shop redo that gives me more elbowroom.

The key element in all of this, in case you haven’t noticed, is that it blurs the line between work and play. Yeah, I’ll run these tools to their limits to give them a thorough testing and then write about the experience for a tool review (for which I get paid), so this falls clearly into the “work” category. But as I anticipate the arrival of these tools and the testing process, it feels a lot more like looking forward to a trip to Disney World. As you might imagine, I can’t wait to get to work on this project.

And isn’t that, in a perfect world, how work should really be?

Till next time,


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