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Portable power tools built for comfort built for speed.


In the past, woodworkers were forced to struggle with portable power tools that were heavy, difficult to control and forced the operators to breathe the wood dust and oil emitted by the tools. Lifting and controlling these bulky portable power tools for hours also caused workers to suffer fatigue and strain-related injuries.

Times have changed, and portable power tool manufacturers have "taken a load off" woodworkers by offering tools that not only are lighter in weight, but also feature ergonomic designs, improved performance for increased productivity and sealed oil or dust collection systems for better environment control.

Getting a grip on productivity

Receptive to the needs of their customers, portable power tool manufacturers are recognizing the demands of their users. A tool that is easier to hold is usually easier to work with. "The movement lately with tool manufacturers has been toward ergonomics and quality tools," said Philip Crown, marketing manager at Desoutter Inc. "Proper balancing of the tool is also important."

Power tool manufacturers are also trying to add more power to their tools to get jobs done faster with professional results. Larry Carter, production manager of abrasive tools for The Aro Corp., said, "With air-powered tools, horsepower is related to speed. With orbital sanders, 8,000 to 9,000 rpms are good for finishing, while 1,500 to 3,500 rpms are good for buffing."

Clearing the air

Many portable power tool manufacturers are adding features such as vacuum systems to their sanders to reduce wood dust, lubricant-free motors to air-powered tools to eliminate tool oil emission and noise mufflers for quieter operation. Dust emissions are an enemy to finishing areas, and manufacturers of power sanders saw a need for dust extraction. Tom Garvey, marketing administrator for Sioux Tools Inc., said vacuum systems on portable sanders have been added to satisfy the user and OSHA's standards on sander dust emissions will "be hard to put requirements on, but OSHA will do it."

Pneumatic portable tools have also been designed to be oil-free because oil can have a chain reaction on employees and finishing areas. "Oil in a power tool must exhaust and operators will breathe it in," said Crown, "Oil also stains wood in the finishing area and must be removed."

Price vs. quality

All manufacturers interviewed thought price was important when purchasing portable power tool equipment, but suggestions of durability and quality also received high marks. Tool manufacturers advise customers to shop around and find tools that specifically meet their needs and budgets.

WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS contacted number of portable power tool manufacturers in researching this guide. The following are some of the products offered.


National-Detroit's EZQ orbital pneumatic sander has a newly designed power shaft configuration, easy to handle motor cover and the company says the smooth action of the sander works well for fine finishing, forming and shaping work.

A 1/2 sheet Elu finishing sander by Black & Decker features a cast aluminum body, 3.0-amp motor, no-tool paper changes and can accept pressure sensitive adhesive sandpaper.

The 600 series model orbital pneumatic sanders from Sioux Tools Inc. are said to follow the contour of the palm. Throttle and shut-off valves are reported to be within easy reach.

Pneumatic portable touch-up drum sanders from Ekstrom, Carlson & Co. feature fully inflated drums that provide a cushion that conforms to contoured shapes. The sanders are available in 1 3/16 in., 1 3/4 in., 2 1/4 in. and 3 1/4 in., and the speeds are variable from 0 to 2,500 rpm.

Aro Corp.'s pneumatic random orbital sanders feature lube-free operation and dust evacuation. Reported to remove 85% of particulate matter, the company says the sander's dust evacuation is performed through the periphery and through the pad construction.

The RS 115 randomo orbital sander from Ryobi America International has a 220 Watt motor and is said to be excellent for sanding flat or contoured surfaces. The tool also has a dust collection system that draws dust through the sanding pad.

Dryline motors fitted into Desoutter Inc.'s random orbital and orbital pneumatic sanders are said to run without any lubrication. Random orbital sanders are available in either 3/16-in. or 3/8-in. orbits and all tools can be supplied with built-in dust extraction.

The 6-in. dust-free electric random orbit sander from Fein Power Tools Inc. sucks away dust through the sander's pad so clean-up is unnecessary. It is also reported that velcro backing on the sandpaper makes paper changing easy.

Makita's 7.7-lb electric belt sander has a 6.7-amp double insulated motor and the company says features include easy belt changes, large dust bag, a non-conductive, corrosion resistant polycarbonate housing and front grip for better control.

The tracking control systems on the model 360 electric belt sanders from Porter-Cable Corp. has been improved, according to the company, and all sanders feature top quality sander/ gear and belt drive, and ball and needle bearing construction.

The woodworking fabricator kit from Dynabrade Inc. includes a 3,200 rpm straight-line air-tool and two arbors: one for sanding wooden parts, raised panels, mouldings and intricate profiles while the other can be used for drum sanding of bowl cut-outs. A side handle for greater operator comfort is also included.


Senco/Carlson offers eight SKS pneumatic staplers that accurately place up to 1 1/2 in.-long narrow-crown staples to produce a desk pedestal quickly through a simple, easy-to-learn operation.

The DCN-225/60 pneumatic coil-fed nailer from Duo-Fast Corp. drives a variety of nails from 1 3/4 in. to 2 1/2 in. The company also says the magazine holds 300 nails and is shorter than other strip-loading models.

The model T29-30P headless pinner from Stanley-Bostich is a lightweight pneumatic tool that is reported to hold a stick of 100 pins from 5/8 in. to 1 in. The narrow nose permits easy access into tight corners and the tool can drive 19-gauge galvanized pins.

A full line of self-feeding electric screw guns are available from Quick Drive Fastening Systems and can drive a variety of collated screws ranging from 5/8-in. to 3-in. lengths. The company says the Quick Drive holds 167 screws, is quick and easy to reload and has a variety of applications.


Featuring newly designed motors with better motor cooling, sealed ball bearings and less vibration, Porter-Cable's router has more bit holding strength, die-cast aluminum housing and double insulation. Models are available in 2 1/2-hp or 3 1/4-hp.

Freud's 3 1/4-hp plunge router comes with micro adjustment depth control, quick change bit lock, 15-amp motor and the company says the router is able to perform at 22,000 rpms.

A 3 1/4-hp plunge router from the Robert Bosch Tool Corp. is reported to cut up to 3 in. into the material. Variable speed control, 15-amp motor and collet capacities of 1/4-in., 3/8-in. and 1/2-in. are possible.



The 9903K model 3/8-in. 2-speed reversible cordless drill and screwdriver kit from Pro-Tech can drill up to 300 5/16-in. holes in 1 in. wood, according to the company. The drill/screwdriver's features include six setting adjustable torque dial, overload protector, ball and oil impregnated bearings, 9.6-volt battery pack and two-stage fast charger. The kit also includes a drill chuck, chuck key and #1 & #2 Phillips screwdriver bits.

The 3/8-in. cordless reversible driver/drill from Makita is lightweight because it weighs only 2.2 lbs and has variable speeds from 0 to 600 rpm for diverse drilling needs. The battery pack becomes fully charged in three hours on a 7.2-volt recharger and the built-in bubble level has been added for horizontal accuracy. Chuck key, charger and double-ended Phillips bit are also included.

The Milwaukee Industrial 1/2-in. variable speed reversible drill has a 5.4-amp motor that can operate at speeds from 0 to 850. The company also says the drill also features double gear drive and ball and roller bearing construction.


The air file from Beaver Tools Inc. can trim laminates without hand filing except inside corners more efficiently. The company also says labor costs will be reduced with the tool.

The flush trimmer router from Art Betterly Enterprises Inc. is reported to be used for trimming wood edges flush with a top after edge has been applied with glue. The company also says the trimmer can be used to trim edges flush on plastic or wood veneer tops. Available with a 1 1/2-in. bit, the tool is adjustable both vertically and horizontally.

The Robert Bosch Power Tool Corp.'s model 1608U underscribe laminate trimmer makes precise seams between adjacent laminate strips. With a 5.6-amp motor, the tool runs at speeds up to 30,000 rpm and will accept other company bases for angle and corner trimming.


Introducing a 6-amp 12,000 rpm plate joiner kit, Skil Corp.'s model 1605.02 features a double ball-bearing blade support and three position depth stop. The joiner reportedly reinforces flat or edge miters, butt or shelf joints and features a dust bag.

Tiresome hammer swinging is no longer necessary says Outwater Plastic/Industries Inc., with its lightweight handheld air hammer that can be adjusted from single hammer taps to heavy impact blows. Delivering 1,000 blows per minute, the tool can be regulated from 25 psi to 125 psi. Hammer tips can range from super soft to steel and a soft plastic tip that is ideal for tee-mouldings is included.

PHOTO : Pictured clockwise from upper right: Black & Decker/Elu's electric pad sander, Porter-Cable's variable speed plunge router, Robert Bosch's underscribe laminate trimmer and the Skil plate joiner.

PHOTO : Sioux's 600 series orbital sanders follow the contour of the palm.

PHOTO : Aro's random orbital sanders feature dust evacuation.

PHOTO : National-Detroit's EZQ is used for forming and shaping work.

PHOTO : Dynabrade's fabricator kit has a straight-line tool and two arbors.

PHOTO : Quik Drive's gun can drive 5/8 to 3-in. long screws.

PHOTO : The magazine on Duo-Fast's DCN-225/60 pneumatic coil-fed nailer holds 300 nails.

PHOTO : Porter-Cable's model 360 electric belt sander features improved belt tracking.

PHOTO : Senco/Carlson's SKS staplers place up to 1 1/2 in.-long narrow-crown staples.

PHOTO : Art Betterly's router is for trimming wood edges flush with a top.

PHOTO : Outwater Plastic's hand-held air hammer can perform single taps to heavy impact blows.

PHOTO : Stanley-Bostitch's T29-30P headless pinner holds 100 pins from 5/8 in. to 1 in.

PHOTO : Ryobi's RS115 random orbital sander draws dust up through the sanding pad.

PHOTO : Dryline motors in Desoutter's orbital sanders run without any lubrication.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Derning, Sean
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:May 1, 1991
Previous Article:Drilling machines: features, functions and future.
Next Article:Southern pine.

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