Ridgid R2600 Sander
The Corded Hatchet
Routers and Accessories
Ridgid R2600 Sander
As a cabinetmaker, I use sanders almost every day. I was
recently checking out the random-orbit sanders at the local
home center when the 5-inch Ridgid R2600 caught my attention.
Ridgid is new to the hand-held power tool market, so I looked
it over carefully and decided it deserved further
The R2600 has cushioned grips that felt great in my hand
immediately, which is important in a tool that you might use
for hours at a time. It also has a good bit of weight, which
for many tools might be a minus but for a sander makes it more
comfortable and easier to use. The only potential problem was
the eight-hole sanding pad. I've always used machines with
five-hole pads, so I had a boat load of five-hole paper. I
decided that I could adapt my leftover paper for use on the
eight-hole machine, and based on the tool's good ergonomics and
the fact that Ridgid was (at the time) offering a "lifetime
guarantee," I decided to buy one.
The sander comes with two backing pads, one for PSA discs and
one for hook-and-loop. It has a 12-foot cord with a velcro
strap for storage and a light-up plug that tells you the tool
is ready to go. It also has a side-mounted dust collection port
that works with either a 1 1/4-inch or a 2 1/2-inch vacuum
hose. I had to make an adaptor to fit my Porter-Cable
dust-collecting vacuum, but that didn't surprise me because,
oddly enough, I had to make one for my Porter-Cable sanders,
Included on all of the new Ridgid power
tools, a light-up plug shows that you're plugged into a working
receptacle. It also tells you what tool you're plugging in when
you're dealing with a tangle of black cords.
A little wheel on top of the housing
adjusts speed from 7,000 to 12,000 rpm. The sander also has a
pad brake to prevent the sanding disc from free spinning when
you remove it from your work.
The first time I unpacked the sander, I noticed that
everything fit easily inside the carrying case — a
welcome change from most of my recent purchases. The 2600 has
variable-speed control from 7,000 to 12,000 rpm and a pad brake
— both important features. The tool is quiet, has very
little vibration, and is easy to control. It also has enough
power to sand dried Bondo without a hitch. The dust collection
system works well, too, especially considering that I'm still
using my modified five-hole paper.
It's always a little scary going with a new brand of power
tool, but this purchase seems like a good decision so far. For
the $69 I paid, my only regret is that I didn't buy two.
Joseph Fuscois a cabinetmaker in Staten Island,
The Corded Hatchetby Victor Rasilla
Working as an apprentice in Los Angeles, I got a lot of
experience with reciprocating saws early in my career. I often
worked cutting down walls in downtown high-rise buildings for
eight hours straight.
Given my experience, when Milwaukee introduced the Hatchet
cordless reciprocating saw about three years ago, I wasn't
interested. I couldn't imagine a cordless tool that could stand
up to the abuse I'd seen electric tools take on a daily basis.
I'll concede that the Hatchet's folding handle looked useful,
but I never really considered buying one. When Milwaukee
recently released a corded version of the Hatchet, model
6524-21, however, I was happy to give it a test.
The Hatchet's folding handle is its most notable feature,
promising greater comfort for the user and easier access to
tough cuts. When the handle is folded all the way down, you can
fit the saw in a 14 1/2-inch stud bay, though there's virtually
no room to spare. Still, making the saw short in a hurry proved
convenient over the course of the kitchen and bath remodel
where I used it.
The variable-speed switch operates smoothly, taking the saw
from 0 to 3,000 strokes per minute, and, unlike other saws I've
used, you can reach the switch easily from different cutting
positions. The blade stroke is short — only 3/4 inch
— but that reduces the potential for kickback and
makes plunge-cutting easier. The 7.5-amp motor and orbital
cutting action make for fast cuts and ample power. Despite the
short stroke, I was able to cut through Douglas fir 2x4s in
about six seconds. A switch on top of the housing turns off the
orbital action for cutting metal. I really like the tool-less
blade clamp and adjustable shoe. The 6524-21 weighs 6.7 pounds,
about half a pound less than a standard Sawzall.
Although it probably wouldn't stand up to the kind of work I
did as an apprentice, the corded Hatchet is plenty tough for
everyday use, and it has earned a place in my tool arsenal.
When my standard recip saw won't fit, I fold the Hatchet's
handle, reverse the blade, and make the cut. Initially, I had
some doubts about its utility, but after a few weeks on the job
it proved to be a great tool for a remodeling carpenter.
Victor Rasillais a lead carpenter for Sattler's
Construction in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Butt Hinge Template.
adjustable hinge template is among the best ways to save time
when hanging doors, and the Bosch 83038 Door and Jamb Hinge
Template Kit has been the industry standard for nearly 50
years. What makes the template better than competitive products
is that you can easily reproduce settings, switch between
right- and left-hand doors, and use it to hang new doors in an
old jamb. It comes in a rugged steel case and sells for about
announced it was replacing its 690 router with a new model,
legions of woodworkers, trim carpenters, and cabinetmakers were
concerned. After all, the 690 and its predecessors have been
around so long that most users have accumulated perhaps several
hundred dollars in accessories. Fortunately, the new 890 series
routers not only work with 690 bases and accessories, they
offer easier table mounting and increased power, according to
the manufacturer. The new soft-start motor has been bumped to 2
1/4 horsepower, and depth adjustments can now be made from
above a router table. The 890 is offered in several versions
with fixed, plunge, and D-handle bases. The 895 PK includes
fixed and plunge bases and an intelligently designed case for
Power Hinge Prep.
$500 on a router that only preps door hinges may seem a little
crazy to some carpenters, but when you add up the cost of a
good router ($200) and a hinge template ($230), you're almost
there anyway. The Virutex Door Hinge Router FR29M uses the
router base as the template, and integral base clamps hold the
unit on the jamb or the door. The jaws open to 8 inches, so you
can clamp the tool on most jambs that have the casing already
installed. A metal rod is used to transfer the hinge locations
to the jamb and vice versa. You can use this router with 1/4-
and 5/8-inch-radius hinges, or you can square the corners with
an optional corner chisel. It works with hinge leaves up to 3
3/8 inches wide and 5 11/16 inches long. According to the
maker, door hangers can cut their hinge-prep time by at least a
third. It sells for $490.
plywood can present a challenge for conventional flush-trim
bits — both down-cutting and up-cutting versions can
damage one side of the material. The unique Woodhaven
Up/Down-Cut Flush Trim Bit uses up-cut and down-cut flutes on
the same bit, so you can cut the material without chipping
either face. According to the manufacturer, the bit leaves a
slight line where the flutes meet, but it won't affect gluing
or edge banding. Model 21460, suitable for 3/4-inch material
sells for $41.
Two in One.
versatility is your aim, you might consider the Rotex
Random-Orbit Sander from Festool. This heavy-duty 6-inch
machine features two sanding modes, rotary random orbit for
fast stock removal, and true random orbit for a fine finish.
The high- efficiency dust collection system uses a rear-mounted
dust port that keeps the hose out of your way while you work
and a unique eight-hole pad that makes abrasives last up to 30%
longer, according to the manufacturer. Festool says the Rotex
is especially favored by solid-surface fabricators because of
its efficient, low-vibration operation, fast stock removal, and
unusual versatility. The company suggests treating the sticker
shock induced by the $400 price tag with the comforting thought
that "it's actually two sanders in one tool."
Attention to Detail.
sanders that were all the rage only a few years ago saw their
popularity plummet shortly after their heyday. Their usefulness
was easy to question, especially among professionals, who
complained that the sanding action was slow and that the tools
lacked versatility. The Fein Multi-Master, however, is one
detail sander that's consistently cited by pros as worth
buying. Not only does the triangle sanding head get into tight
spaces, it can be swapped out with a number of other useful
attachments. You can use it for scraping away gummy adhesive,
undercutting door jambs, and cutting away grout, among other
things. The tool features a variable-speed motor and
rear-mounted dust port. The MSXE-636-2 Multi-Master kit
includes a steel case, and it sells for $200 at
Baby Belt Sander.
Hand sanding in
tight spaces can really slow you down, but with a Compact Belt
Sander from Bosch you can give up the aluminum-oxide origami
and plug in the power tool. The 1 1/2 x 12-inch belt rides on a
1 5/16-inch front roller that allows the little sander to get
into places other sanders won't fit. In addition, the belt is
flush to the housing on one side, so you can get into corners
and close to obstructions. Flipping the tool over allows flush
sanding on the other side. The unit also features a
variable-speed motor, a rear-mounted dust collection port, and
a blow-molded case. The 1278VSK Compact Belt Sander includes
ten assorted belts and sells for about $130.
If awards were given
for coolest-looking tools, I think the DeWalt DW433 Belt Sander
would be in the running. But according to the manufacturer, the
new sander's not just for show. The three-roller design lowers
the tool's center of gravity for more comfortable and efficient
sanding, and it provides additional space for the longest
platen available on a 3x21-inch machine. Feedback circuitry
helps the 8-amp motor maintain a consistent sanding speed from
850 to 1,400 surface-feet per minute. The 11-pound machine also
has a removable dust bag, automatic belt tracking, and an
8-foot rubber cord. The DW433K includes a blow-molded case and
sells for $190.