Thanks a lot Todd, that's great advice for a beginner like me. I went
to Canadian Tire yesterday to have a look at it, and it seems to be
fairly basic, from what I could tell without trying it anyway. The
"feel" of it seemed a bit clunky or no-frills to me somehow. Made in
China, and no markings that I could see to indicate that it was made by
another company for Mastercraft. The one I looked at was 12", not 12.5".
I was also at Rona this weekend, and they have a Delta for about $500
that seems to be a much better design - less clunky, and it lists a
whole slew of benefits that the Mastercraft one didn't. May just be
that Delta has a better marketing department, but it did make me want to
research features and benefits further before I bought anything, and
probably save my pennies for the Delta or something of equivalent value.
I'll definitely look for one that doesn't take snipes out of both
ends, as you suggest. Thanks for the advice and good wishes!