A Surprising Weight

It has been quite a while since I mentioned the latest releases from MagSwitch were on their way, and finally, the wait is over.

Found an interesting package on the doorstep full of interesting yellow things, plus a couple of long thin boxes.  They came down from Maxis Tools, the Australian importers of MagSwitch products for woodworkers, and are retailed through Carbatec.

It was these that were significantly larger, and heavier than anything I’ve seen from MagSwitch before.  They were the Universal Fences.  One is 18″, the other 36″.  When I first saw the images of the items back in August, they seemed like they would be an average thickness, and it would not have surprised me (or bothered me) if they turned out to be a type of plastic.

However, the boxes were something else – a surprising weight and the contents seemed even heavier when they were out of the box!

Universal Fence Track

The fence was not the plastic I was expecting.  It is a heavy-grade anodised aluminium extrusion.  Heavy, strong.  The 36″ is an amazing chunk of metal.  Both take 1/4″ hardware on one side, 5/16″ hardware on the other, and T bolts on both, making it a flexible system to work with the jigs and accessories you already have.  It connects to the Universal Base on the back, and uses the same system of a diagonal member to ensure squareness of the fence to the base.

Shown here on a drill press, it can be used on all sorts of tools.  The 36″ one takes two Universal bases, which means it has 4 MagJigs holding it down, which is a lot of magnetic strength.  A fence also needs to resist horizontal slippage, and although this isn’t the strongest direction for a magnet to resist, having 4 strong magnets working together to resist is still a significant amount.

These are $49 and $85 for the 18″ and 36″ respectively.

Reversible Featherboard

There is also the new reversible featherboard, which again goes with the Universal Base.  It can be flipped over so works whichever side of the fence, or tool you want to use it on (so long as it has a ferrous base for the magnet to attach to!)  One thing I found interesting is it has been improved in function since the original featherboards.  There is now a variable thickness of the featherboard fingers – the first couple are thinner as the stock initially encounters the featherboard, being properly secured against the fence before the stronger fingers ensure it stays put.

The universal featherboard is only $19, and can be used on the base, or as the vertical attachment on the Universal Fence Track.

Now this is some pretty significant news: there is what they are calling a “Starter Kit” which consists of everything you see in the photo above.  The base, the featherboard, and the two MagJigs.  That isn’t the significant news.  What is, is it is priced for retail at $99.  That is only $1 more than buying 2 MagJigs on their own.  And if you have been following this site for a while, you’ll have an idea what else you can do with the MagJigs, so getting a base and reversible featherboard effectively for free will mean these things will sell like hot cakes! (And quite frankly, it is something I’ve been suggesting for years!)

Thin Stock Holddown

Finally, the Thin Stock Holddown, which again attaches to the Universal Base.  Has a stepped side as well as a diagonal side, whichever is your preference.  And the bearing in the middle is a roller guide when that is the best solution.  Again, the price is only $29.  Surprisingly reasonable prices (to my mind), which is seemingly more and more uncommon these days when prices are so often set as high as the market will bear.  At these prices it is more to my way of thinking – more money can be made by maximising the number of sales, not by trying to get every single dollar out of every single sale.

So whether you already have a growing collection of MagSwitch, or have yet to start a collection of your own, these new products, combined with those already out there will make the additional products very tempting!

And if you want a chance to check them out – I am at Carbatec (Melbourne) tomorrow morning (Saturday 19/3/11) demonstrating them along with a few other products and brands as part of the current Carbatec sale weekend.

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