JET and Powermatic hosted web and print editors for an event in Nashville Tennessee. After grabbing breakfast at the hotel we piled onto a shuttle bus and headed out of downtown and made our way to the Wedgewood Houston District, which is an up and coming neighborhood that has a growing artistic, craftsman and entrepreneurial culture.
We got off the bus at an unassuming small industrial building which houses Fort Houston which is a recent addition to the neighborhood; an artist’s collective that provides a photo studio, motorcycle shop and woodshop to area residents.
Fort Houston’s goals are to offer art and crafts classes to Nashville and provide a work space for younger local artists and craftspeople who don’t have the capital to outfit their own shops.
A truly fantastic resource for the community which JET sponsors with a complete shop worth of tools. We thought this was an innovative and very cool sponsor and partnership.
We’ll go into more detail on Fort Houston and a similar organization, near our shop, that’s in the eastern MA region in the near future.
What To Expect From JET and Powermatic in 2014
JET and Powermatic are investing heavily in product development and will be consistently bringing new tools to the market. JET is positioned to maintain quality and reliability for a good price point while Powermatic will continue to develop new tools to stay on top of the woodworking stationary tool market, in terms of quality, reliability, and accuracy.
The big news with Jet is the release of a new 14″ band saw on the day of the conference. The JWBS SF band saw has a steel frame that is very stiff and nearly every adjustment is tool free; Including guide bearings, blade tension, belt tension, fence, and table tilt.
The dual position fence has a very nice tool free micro-adjust feature and the table tilts 45 degrees right and 10 degrees left.
The fence, table, and wheels are all stiff and solid, adjustments are straight forward and easy.
This saw is just solid all around with very little flex in the frame, fences, table, and wheels. Very impressed with with this tool. It had very few plastic levers and knobs as compared to past models and competitors. JET promises to eliminate cheap plastic knobs and levers in the future and is opting to go with high quality metal and aluminum knobs.
14 – Inch Band Saw Features:
- 13-1/2″ resaw capacity
- 1-3/4 horsepower
- Dual port dust collection
- Poly wheels and windows for blade tension and tracking adjustments
- 4 sided blade guard
- Laser etched fence scale
At a street price of about $1899.99 this saw looks like a really solid tool for the money. Were excited about it and hope to put one to the test in the shop!
Powermatic PM1000 Video Features: [1 minute]
Powermatic released the PM1000 in late July, it is slated as the little brother of the PM2000.
This is a fantastic mid-size option that runs on 115v power but has a nice full size 54″ table [with an extension table].
The riving knife is mounted to the blade housing which keeps the blade guard at a constant height relative to the blade. The blade guard and anti-kickback pawls are well thought out, however the riving knife won’t allow for a blind through cut.
Unfortunately they don’t currently offer an optional low profile riving knife, I think this would be a smart item to add to this tool or at least as an option.
The compact footprint of the PM1000 is great for smaller shops that still call for a high quality saw with a fully enclosed case, dust collection and a high quality trunnion.
A poly V drive belt makes for quiet operation, less vibration and longer belt service. The dust shroud below table makes for more effective dust collection. The dust port is standard 4″ so no adapters are needed.
7″ adjustment wheels make for easy changes to blade height and bevel angle. We liked the miter gauge with a built in sliding auxiliary fence. It even has a gear driven miter adjustment to 60º left or right, with positive stops at 30º and 45º in both directions. Pretty slick!
The Accu-Fence table saw fence has a solid [rear] lock and is easy to adjust in all directions.
To change the blade all you need is one wrench. A push button arbor lock allows you to loch the arbor and use only one wrench. No that is a nice feature!
The power switch has also been redesigned for quick and easy shutoff with hands, knees or hips. A plastic safety lockout [looked more like a mini plastic knife] for the power switch is provided. I was not a fan of this as these parts tend to fall out or get lost.
JET is also releasing updated mini lathes and a new low speed grinder in mid-September. The 15″ lathes come in a 5 AMP model with belt speed changes and 4 AMP variable speed model with electronic speed control. They both feature a 24 index positions for fluting and veining. They both feature many tool-less adjustments, and locks. These tools are a great way to get into turning with a limited budget and limited space! Especially with the 21″ bed extension.
The optional cast iron stand was impressive.
The low speed grinder is designed for sharpening and shaping woodworking tools without generating enough friction and heat to overheat the tool and ruin the tempering.
The guards include spark arrestors for safety and longevity. The tool rests are a smart new patent pending design that feature visual bevel scale that is laser etched to accurately set bevel angles on your tools, they also feature in-line machined reference lines to assist with registration and alignment. Jet even includes high quality Norton grinding wheels.
We loved the features on this grinder and I think it could be an excellent solution for maintaining edged tools around the shop without the risk of resharpening.
What’s Next From JET And Powermatic?
We saw some exciting new tools from JET and Powermatic and much more to come.
JET is looking to completely re-vamp their line over the next few years with an unprecedented attention to detail and design in the stationary tool industry.
The little things like the quality of a metal knob vs. a plastic knob. But they’re going even further than this and trying to integrate great looking design with great quality, and technology.
We can’t show you pictures because this stuff is that new but the designs are clean and pleasing to the eye, reminiscent of art deco industrial design. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the result of this vision at Jet!
Powermatic is looking to maintain it’s position as a drool-worthy brand with premium quality and features. They were quiet about details but the impression I got was that they will be pushing the limit on the high end of shop power tools.
The common theme from the Product Managers and Engineer folks was to expect to see new tools come to market yearly, to look to JET and Powermatic to take a leadership role in the marketplace, they also plan on doubling their investment in new product and development.
The engineering approach to these new designs is based on tapping into the human subconscious thoughts on design. This is very similar to theory discussed in Malcom Gladwell’s award winning book “Blink,” which talks about “thin slicing.”
The engineering team is trying to unlock the secrets of psychology in the details of their tool designs and how to positively impress on a persons first impression. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, right?
This current thought is to pay attention to the finest details like gentle sweeps, variable champers, high quality handles and knobs, quality coatings and logos as well as eliminating visible fasteners are among the few. The old saying “I liked it the moment I saw it” is their ultimate goal.
I’m a fan of making heirloom tools that are good looking so good luck on your designs Barry and get ready to play poker! The Concord Carpenter team looks forward to seeing JET and Powermatic keeping the quality up, building in great industrial design and tapping into the subconscious / subliminal messages of quality, even furniture like quality tools. AMEN Brother!