As an amateur woodworker and consummate tinkerer, I am painfully aware that having the basic stationary tools needed to produce quality pieces usually equates to big bucks and big spaces to work in. I do not have either, but compared to many I know, my cobbled together collection of saws and sanders squeezed into a shed out back is a luxury they will never know. I recently came across a tool, however, that is aimed squarely at people who are spatially and monetarily challenged. It looks so sleek and intriguing that I can picture it fitting nicely into any shop, including my own.
All-in-one tools that promise too much usually give me the willies, but when Fine Woodworking gives one high marks I tend to pay attention. The Blade Runner from Rockwell is a compact, multi-purpose cutting machine. Using readily available jigsaw blades, it will take on any material you throw at it, including wood, plastic, metal and tile. Curved cuts, rip cuts, cross cuts--bring it on, the Blade Runner is ready. Hook up a shop vacuum and you have a mess-free work area. The only thing I wonder about is how loud it is, always something to consider when working in small spaces with close neighbors. But at just $180, it's a steal for a tool that can serve as the centerpiece of any small shop.