This new scraping plane from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is ideally suited to many finishing jobs. It will take off a shaving of infinitesimal thickness, and produce a smooth surface. It's patterned after the very rare Stanley #212 plane. The scraping plane's adjustable blade is '/* in.
thick and beveled at 60°. The body is made of manganese-bronze alloy, and the tool has a cherrv wood han-die. Toothing blades for preparing surfaces for veneering and for working exceptionally difficult grains are available in 18 and 25 teeth per inch. (Price: $115)
■ Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Inc., Dept. AWT, Rt. I, Warren, ME 04864, (207) 273-25201
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The Matchmaker is a multi-purpose woodworking machine for cutting mortises, tenons, dovetails and box joints easily and quickly. The machine works like a slot mortiser or boring machine, but it has the added ability to duplicate shapes from templates, making it more versatile. It's powered by a big, 3-HP plunge router, which you buy separately. The entire unit can be mounted on the end of a bench or stand and fitted with dust collection.
The Matchmaker has a beefv alu-minum frame, which holds the router, and a horizontal aluminum table.which holds the workpiece. The table can move in two horizontal directions on precision linear-motion bearings. The router is mounted horizontally on a part of the frame that moves up and down on two posts. Depth-of-eut can be adjusted with the router's own plung ing mechanism or stops on the table. All these parts working together allow the bit to make accurate, eas-ilv controlled movements in three planes—up and down, left or right, and in and out.
For template work, the operator guides a stylus around a template while the cutter duplicates that shape on the workpiece. Plastic templates are available for making tenons. mortises for shutter louvers, dovetails and box joints in a variety of shapes. You can also make your own templates for custom shapes.
There are different models of the Matchmaker designed to fit the major brands of routers. The model we tested was designed for a Freud FT 2000 plunge router. To mount the router, I had to remove its base and the plunge guide posts, then slide it onto the guide posts of the Matchmaker. With a little practice, it took onlv a minute to mount the router. Other than that, the Matchmaker came practically ready to use and was quite simple to set up. Be sure to get the router oriented correctly so its switch is easy to reach.
Mortises are very simple to set up and cut, and the ergonomic design of the Matchmaker makes it easy to use. The table moves smoothlv and m the adjustable stops make repetitive cuts a breeze. A joystick allows you to move the table in both directions with one-hand control. I discovered that the clamping pad lacks sufficient purchase on narrow stock to hold the workpiece tight when making aggressive cuts. This is easily remedied with an auxiliary C-clamp on the free end of the stock.
Tenons are equally easy to set up and cut, but you must pay attention to feed direction to avoid tear-out. At first. I wasn't able to get as tight a fit with the tenons as I'd like, but shimming the stylus with Scotch Tape fixed that. As with any woodworking procedure, I'd recommend doing test cuts first. I found that I got the cleanest cuts from high-speed steel spiral-flute router bits.
All in all, I believe the Matchmaker is a worthwhile tool in any workshop, and I especially appreciated iLs versatility. I'd recommend it lor any woodworker who cuts a lot of mortises or does limited production runs. The machine is sturdily built with rugged moving paits, and a nice finish on the metal frame and table—it looks like it came out of a custom machine shop. (Price: $549.00; router and templates not included)
■ Woodworker's Supply, Dept. AWT. 5604 Alameda Place, N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87113. (505) 821-0500.
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