Air Force One may be the most famous "office in the sky" but, as most seasoned voyagers know, a surprising amount of work can be done by anyone travelling by air – while in the terminal, on the tarmac, or in between the almost constant in-flight interruptions. A long flight can clean up a correspondence backlog, provide an uninterrupted block of time to compose that inspirational memo or even yield the nugget of inspiration for a new product.
The roller stand on the facing page is partially the result of one such trip. Part of its lineage can be traced to watching handlers rapidly load containers of baggage, using flat-bed equipment with an omnidirectional pallet-drive system. Applied to woodworking, the inverted swivel casters elegantly solve the issue of feed bias inherent in freestanding roller systems, while providing more contact area than roller balls. Adding a tilting head, a fine height-adjust mechanism, a levelling foot, and an infeed ramp simply completed the solution.
This year's woodworking and gardening calendars have also undergone travel-inspired changes. The world has long needed a more rational calendar since, for many, January actually marks more of a mid-point than a start point. Our new extended calendars now span a full 16 months, from September 2004 to December 2005. Not only will they simplify vacation and travel planning, they cover a regular calendar year, an entire school year, a woodworking catalog cycle, or even a full hockey season (should there be one). Best of all, the design allows us to offer it for an extended period, which ensures that the benefiting charities* (who get 100% of all proceeds) will gather a greater windfall.
Of the more traditionally inspired new products there are numerous stand-outs – the Veritas router table insert system, the long-awaited large shoulder plane, the steel and aluminum straightedges, and our fourth new spokeshave – just a few of the dozens of new products waiting to be discovered in this catalog.
Robin C. Lee
* The Nature Conservancy and The United Way