We see lots of new products that are full of sophisticated new technology, but sometimes really simple things can have just as big an impact on the work. The Winbag is just such a product. When I saw it at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta in August, I couldn’t help thinking, “What a great idea!” Now, after having used it in a wide variety of tasks, I just keep thinking of more uses.

So, what is it?

The Winbag is a heavy-duty vinyl air bag with a short hose, a valve and an inflator bulb. It looks very much like part of a blood pressure testing cuff. You pump it up with the bulb and release the pressure with the push-button valve. The idea is to use the Winbag any place you need controlled moving pressure. Think of it as a substitute for pry bars, wedges, extra helpers, you name it.

Manufactured in Denmark, the Winbag is rated to lift up to 220 pounds. If you are installing kitchen cabinets, for example, put a Winbag under the cabinet, pump it up to level the box, then adjust leg levelers or add shims as necessary. No damage from prying or hammering. The same principle applies for almost anything that needs to be shifted into position for level or plumb, such as windows, appliances, workbenches, whatever.

Does it really work?

The heavy-duty bag works in spaces from 3/32 inch to 2 inches, but other than that, I found few limitations for the device. One of first things I lifted with the Winbag to test it was the 125-pound blacksmith anvil in my shop. No problem. I was installing T1-11 siding on a cabin and needed help to shift notched panels in place around timberframed beams. No problem. I was even able to lift a corner leg of my upright grand piano. No problem.

This is the kind of tool that once you have it, you’ll think of lots more uses for it. Prices for the Winbag range from $20 to $30 each depending on source and quantity. You can learn more at www.winbagusa.com.

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