Laserjamb Red Caps
Sometimes the simplest things catch our eye and win our awards. This time it's Laserjamb's Red Caps: rolling rubber sleeves that seal open ends of caulk and adhesive tubes so you can reuse the stuff as if it was just snipped open. Sure, you can keep sticking nails in tubes or lopping off gooey tops, but that's not quite the same as the fresh contents these Red Caps provide. Laserjamb, 888-443-3750; www.laserjamb.com.
Louisiana-Pacific Visual Precision OSB Sheathing
This is the first time a building product won an Editors' Choice Award, but Louisiana-Pacific's Visual Precision OSB is so much like a tool we couldn't resist. Now we hope L-P shares the credit with the framer who came up with the idea. Like a giant piece of graph paper, Visual Precision 7/16-inch OSB sheathing comes with measurements printed on each sheet. Eighth-inch increments run along the edges, and the field is divided into 1-inch squares segmented by 1/2-inch cross-hatches. Factor in bold lines locating stud layout, and you'll see why our testers cut 20 percent off their usual sheathing time. The measurements are perfect reference lines for straightening rafters or trusses, and they're great guides for window and door cutouts. When time is money, the extra $1 per sheet over standard OSB is money in the bank. Louisiana-Pacific, 800-648-6893; www.lpcorp.com.
Makita USA Pneumatic Nailers' "Off" Position
When we selected this tool for an Editors' Choice Award, we wondered, what took pneumatic nailer companies so long? Makita recently added a safety "off" position to its pneumatic nailers. We hope this feature eventually will make its way onto all nailers. The 3-way switch allows you to go from bump to sequential firing modes, and lets you turn the tool off. Now you can bump through sheathing and avoid dangerous double taps if the tool's caught in an awkward nailing position. Shutting it off eliminates the risk of random or accidental discharge. Climb a ladder, rest the gun on the deck, reposition yourself and the work, flip the switch, and get the shot. The feature is available now on Makita's model AN 942 3 1/2-inch, 22-degree round-head and model AN 922 3 1/2-inch, 31-degree clipped-head nailers. Both models sell for around $460. Makita USA, 800-462-5482; www.makitatools.com.
Construction Systems Whalen-Jack Scaffolds
Thoughtful design, lightweight, rigid construction, and ease of use won Whalen-Jack wall jack systems an Editors' Choice Award. Available in two models, the deluxe version bolts onto wall plates, between studs, or projects from windows, and sets up easily as a safe, sturdy, highly mobile wall jack. The standard model serves double duty as a wall jack or ladder jack. Both models help you easily, safely, and efficiently climb up to your work area and get your work done. They accept three-board handrails and meet OSHA codes for load and fall protection. Deluxe scaffolds retail for approximately $275 a bracket; standard ones are about $225 a bracket. Construction Systems, 612-241-8871; www.whalen-jacks.com.
CST/Berger Lasermark Gizmo
CST/Berger brings simplicity and affordability to split-beam laser levels with its compact Lasermark Gizmo. The easy-to-use, self-leveling tool shoots level or vertical lines – or both simultaneously – from a tripod or wall-mounted bracket. The tool self-levels quickly, and has an automatic out-of-level shut-off. It's great for interior applications like hung ceilings, cabinet layout, flooring, and trim lines, and for close-in targets outdoors. It's accurate to within 1/16-inch at 10 feet for level and plumb. The Gizmo sells for around $250. CST/Berger, 800-435-1859; www.cstsurvey.com.
Spec out Rotating Laser Levels on ebuild, the Professional's Guide to Building Products (TM).