Shop Tested - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Shop Tested


Shop Tested

Ryobi 25 Piece Master Router Bit Set
$ pricing unavailable
Source: Home Depot
If you are new to woodworking, it's sometimes difficult to know what tools and accessories to purchase. Too many choices and too little money. When it comes to router bits, the choices are myriad and the cost can very quickly hit the stratosphere. The new Ryobi 25 piece Master Router Bit offers a conveniently packaged set of ¼" shanked bits in a variety of styles, including straight, round over, rabbeting, trim, dovetail, cove, and chamfer. The bits come in a handy pine box that you can hang on the wall, and there is even storage space for extra bits. I quickly tallied the price I would have paid for similar sized bits from one supplier, and came to a whopping $450, for an average cost of $18. The US price on this set is $99.97 (Canadian pricing will be announced in July when the bits become available at Home Depot), which works out to about $5 CDN per bit. That's a significant savings. No, make that a hugh savings. These bits are not micrograin carbide, so they won't last as long as premium bits, and the shanks are all ¼". The bits are all on the small side, for example the cutting edge on the ⅜" straight bit is only 25/32" long. But hey, I tried a number of the bits on some oak and cherry, and was quite satisfied with the results. The cuts were surprisingly clean and crisp. While I would hesitate to recommend these bits for a professional shop, they offer excellent value for the DIYer. If you are new to routing and want a basic collection of bits, this is definitely the way to go. Ryobi will also be introducing 18, 12, and 8 bit sets (the 18 piece set with ½" shanks).

Trade Secret Furniture Restoration Kit
Source: Home Hardware, Wal-Mart, Réno Dépot
Let's face it, furniture gets scratched, scuffed and scarred. For serious surface damage you'll likely have to refinish the surface - a lot of work (or expensive if you hire someone else to do the work). Minor blemishes are easier to deal with. If you don't have a lot of re-finishing experience, then you owe it to yourself to check out Dover Finishing Products' Trade Secret Furniture Restoration Kit.

This kit contains a scratch remover for dark woods (like mahogany or cherry), one for light woods (such as maple or pine), a furniture polish and cleaner, and four wax sticks. The scratch removers and polish are mineral oil based products compatible with just about any finish. I found that for hairline scratches the scratch removers worked well. There was no waxy build up and it left a rather nice sheen on the surface. I tried the polish/cleaner on an old dresser that had seen better days, and was pleased with the results. It did a good job of removing a thin wax build-up along with its accumulated grime build-up. The wax sticks are blended from high grade wax, and won't shrink. You can apply the polish/cleaner or varnish, poly or lacquer over the wax without worrying about softening or bleeding colours. They worked nicely on filling thin gaps on some rather less than perfect joints that I had cut. The Trade Secret Restoration Kit is good value, particularly for someone who doesn't know a lot about re-finishing or if you simply want a quick and easy fix.