I do the reviews for one primary reason: I want to have the best
products. I figure there's no better way to do this than buy the
competitive products and do the analysis. I've been doing it since the
first competitive products came out (some of which are no longer in
business). The things I have learned have been used to make my
I decided to publish these reviews on my web site several years ago
because of the lack of published information on alignment tools. There
were no comparative magazine reviews and the information on competitive
web sites was pretty minimal. I knew that people wanted this data
because they were calling me and asking for it. There has been one
comparative magazine review since then (Wood, 9/2003) but it was pretty
short on technical details and accuracy.
I recently updated the MasterGage review. I wouldn't say it was under
ideal circumstances! What can I say? You can really learn a lot about
your competitors when you give the public a detailed look at their
products. Sometimes knowing about the people who make a product is
just as important as knowing about the product itself. The interaction
with Mr. Reilly was quite an eye opener.
Bruce Barnett wrote:
I have the TS-Aligner Jr. and one of Ed's precision angle blocks. I
highly recommend the angle block as a companion to the TS-Aligner Jr.
Yes, it is a lot to spend for a tool that doesn't make any sawdust, and
you won't even use it every day. But it really did add a lot of
enjoyment to my use of my tablesaw and my miter saw.
My Unisaw would cut perfectly when the blade was straight, but burned
the edges of the wood when the blade was tilted. Ed's gadget showed me
that my TABLE was tilted about 60 thousandths front-to-back. A couple
of shims under the top, and my problem is solved. Not sure how I would
have ever uncovered the problem without it.
A while back I had a project that required a 16-sided barrel-shaped
figure (not sure what you call it - a hexadecagon maybe?). If you've
ever done this sort of thing you know that the need for accuracy in
mitered joints goes up with the number of pieces. I spent about 5
minutes setting the angle on my tablesaw to precisely 22.5 degrees,
then ripped all my pieces, confident that they would fit perfectly -
and they did. Before buying the TS-Aligner, I would have spent the
better part of an hour cutting scrap pieces and adjusting the tilt to
close the gaps. Now maybe you enjoy that process of cutting scraps and
tweaking the wheel. I did - the first few times I did it. But I'd
really rather spend my time on the real thing.
Is it worth the money? It is to me.
"Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas
If you're doing carpentry - probably not.
If you're a Cut To Size, Beat To Fit woodworker
- probably not.
If you're doing furniture and need to make accurate
cuts, join edges, plane faces, resaw for thick veneer,
etc., etc. - using power tools - yes. Accuracy errors
for some unknown reason tend to accumulate rather
than cancel each other out. Proper tool set up helps
reduce the problem to "just" the Loose Nut operating
the tools (me in my case).
If you want to KNOW that your saw blade is parallel
to the miter slot or if you want to KNOW your fence
is parallel to the miter slot - yes.
If you want to KNOW if there's run out on the saw arbor
or the saw blade, and how much - yes.
If you want to to KNOW if there's run out on your
drill press, or a bit in your drill press - yes.
If you want to KNOW if your router table router
or a bit in it has run out and how much - yes.
If you want to KNOW if your joiner tables are parallel
to the cutter head - yes.
If you want to KNOW if your joiner knives are all the
same distance from from the infeed or outfeed table
And if you're blessed (or cursed) with a sliding table
on your table saw and want to KNOW if it tracks
parallel to the miter slot - yes.
It's a good tool and for what it'll do - well worth the
price. And the customer support is up there with
Lee Valley - which is saying a lot.
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