Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Who Needs a Table Saw?

I’m in the market for a table saw, so I’ve been looking at all the different models that meet my requirements. If you’re going to look at the whole gamut of what’s available, you have to look at the Jointmaker Pro v2 from Bridge City Tool Works. I saw founder John Economaki demonstrate one to a wowed crowd of onlookers at the Woodworking in America conference I attended a couple years ago. The simplest way to describe the Jointmaker is that it is a hand-powered table saw that uses a Japanese saw blade mounted so that a table slides very precisely above it. The saw blade can be tilted in both directions and can be adjusted for depth. This simple flexibility allows it to make incredible things, from snug-fitting tenons to crazily precise miters.

As far as I can tell, it does everything a regular table saw does except for long rip cuts, which is why it is called the Jointmaker. Producing almost no noise and using no electrical power, it is quite a minimalist saw, but that’s the point. I like the way Economaki thinks. Instead of starting with the most advanced, feature-laden hulk of a table saw and working backward, he started with nothing and worked forward, creating a tool that handles the basics so well that you won't need all the bells and whistles and the overkill of most table saws. The result is a saw that gives you total control and exceptional accuracy. And it strikes me as being incredibly safe as well. First, there is no risk of kickback. And while there is always a risk of cutting yourself on any saw, there is no risk of doing anything catastrophic with this one.

For people who don’t want a noisy table saw and don’t have a lot of space, it would be a very cool thing to have. Unfortunately, the other part of the equation – the price of $1,250 – puts it out of my budget. Check out their promotional video on Youtube to see the Jointmaker’s capabilities.

I highly recommend checking out Bridge City Tool Works. They’ve got some of the most imaginative and cool-looking tools I’ve ever seen. Their blog is also worth reading for fascinating information about tool-making and for general woodworking inspiration.

1 Comment:

Rob said...

the price is bar NONE the deal breaker for this. At that price, i'd rather pony up a few extra hundred and buy a sawstop. Fact remains, i'd love to try it out someday if i see one. The next question is, how much is it to replace the blade?