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Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 7/27/00

Tool Review: Rockler Heavy-Duty Fliptop Roller Stand
By Pasi Vorimo

Some time ago I was fast to enough to respond one of Chuck's e-mails and received a Heavy-Duty Fliptop Roller Stand from Rockler. In the few weeks that I have had the product, I have had a chance to use the roller stand and have found it to be very useful accessory in the shop indeed. Based on my experiences thus far, I am pleased to share my evaluation of the product with you. I thought I would put my business school training to use and structure my evaluation using a SWOT analysis format, and look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the product. Here goes...

Strengths - What I liked about the stand
Solid feel. The first thing that impressed me about the stand was its overall feel of quality. The stand has been built using heavy gauge steel and gives the impression that it will not tip. During use, the stand stood its ground and did not shift around.

Ease of assembly. The stand is pretty much ready to go straight out of the box. One has to slip on the "fliptop" that houses the bearings, and the plastic leveling casters. (The leveling casters were a nice detail, but the floor would have to be pretty uneven before I would start adjusting them. Besides, the stand is seldom in one spot for the long term).

Folding legs. The legs unfold and fold-in smoothly for easy set up and storage. Having my shop in a small space, I appreciate the small footprint the stand occupies when it is not in use.

Roller flip-top. This feature seemed a little gimmicky, but I did like the flexibility of having the rollers support long boards that I was cross cutting on a sled on my table saw.

Weaknesses - Deficiencies with the stand
Height adjustment. The stand has two knobs to set the height and while this "twin lock knob" system provides some security, it is a pain to deal with. Never quite sure which knob to loosen to make the adjustment. (I will probably figure it out with more experience).

Roller flip-top. Switching from roller to bearings requires a height adjustment. If one is using both applications on the same tool, the height of stand will need to be adjusted accordingly. Now I am being a little picky here, but the component holding the bearings did not feel as solid as the rest of the stand. It is made out of plastic and the rollers or the bearings were small and did not spin as well as I would have liked.

Opportunities - How to make the stand even better
Height adjustment. Improve / simplify the height adjustment. Look into the feasibility of utilizing cam action levers, height adjustment wheel or something.

Roller. There are a couple of improvements I would like to see on the roller. Make the roller a couple of inches wider for extra support when handling sheet goods. Also, can you make the roller flip 90 degrees in a way that the height of the stand does not need to be adjusted when switching between the roller and the bearings?

Threats - What are the alternatives to Rockler's stand
Value. Priced at $70 the Rockler "fliptop" stand is one of the pricier roller-stand products on the market, albeit most stands do not share all of its features. When you compare Rockler's product against their competition, consider some of the following areas in addition to price:

  • Construction--what materials are used to build the stand?
  • Stability--how much weight does the stand support and stable/sturdy are the feet?
  • Convenience & ease of use--what is the height adjustment mechanism; how easy is it to set up; how much floor space does it require?
  • Features--What applications do you need a stand for and what features are you looking for; do you need bearings?

For my purposes, the Rockler stand is well suited. I have small shop and like the fact that a stand as versatile and solid as the stand by Rockler, folds easily into a small space. While there is room for improvement, the stand plays an invaluable role in the shop, replacing reluctant family members from their prior saw-aide duties.

Pasi Vorimo

Editor's Note: You can get more information at Rockler's Website.

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