Featherboards may seem unnecessary for surfacing, but think of how handy another set of hands would be when you have to face-joint a board that’s 8 or 10 ft. long. It can be challenging to keep a face pressed down flat to the jointer tables when you’re also contending with a really long board, especially if it’s also heavy. Magswitch’s Universal Featherboards ($49.99 ea. in 2010) could be just the shop helper you need. The base has a narrow profile and features a pair of 20mm magnets that lock securely to a short jointer fence. Once they are switched on, you can back up from the jointer as needed and still keep the stock face pressed down over the cutters. While these are fairly spendy items, they have both left- and right-facing rows of feathers. So you can use them on your band saw, table saw, shaper and other metal-topped machine applications, too.