During the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference I frequented the vendors' rooms and investigated new tools on the market. I fell in love with some of these and thought that you might too.
Knew Concept Saw or the "red saw" from Rio Grande
I was told by a friend, who uses a lot of piercing in her work, that this "red" saw was the best she ever used. I tried it out for myself at the Rio Grande booth and I was very impressed. You may ask, why is this different from other saws on the market? First of all it is a lot lighter. You feel as if you are barely holding on to anything. But the most important part is how firmly it holds onto the blade. This saw features a fine tuning adjustment at the top of the saw frame that allows to tighten further once the blade is in place. What this means to you is that the blade is very tight and has less drag (caused by the loosening of the blade as you cut) giving you more accuracy in your cutting. I am ordering one or two of these!
Bill Fretz Hammers and Stakes
I got to meet Bill Fretz and ask many questions about his line of hammers and stakes. I am interested in looking into the ring doming set of bench stakes. I was thrilled to see how each one of these stakes is used by Bill Fretz himself. I regret that I didn't get a picture. It was beautiful to see all the hammers and stakes lined up.
Swanstrom Disc Cutter
Mark Nelson is the Rio employee who is in this youtube instruction video, recommended some tools for me to add to my "want" list. He suggested a hammer handpiece 15-D for setting cabs and a Bench Mate kit. The folks at Rio were helpful, easy going and nice to talk to, and they are truly committed to service.
After reading the Susan Kingsly book on Hydraulic Die Forming, I am saving up for a 20-ton Potter hydraulic press from Otto Frei. I got to meet the maker, Kevin Potter, who makes his own presses and die plates at his house.
Kevin Potter with his "Potter" Press at the Otto Frei Booth
Kevin Potter and his 20 ton hydraulic press
Handmade Stakes and Forming tools by Potter
Custom Dies for the Potter Press
Otto Frei Electric Sparker
I already have one and I love it! This is a must have for all benches!