17 Odd and Unusual Tools from NHS

Ready Max Eyewear. These are safety glasses with earplugs attached to cords that extend and retract from the temple pieces. When the cords are out the plugs can be used in the normal manner. When the cords are retracted the plugs are pulled tight against the ends of the temple pieces. The goal is to insure that you always have both pieces of safety equipment. The product retails for about $10 and is available in multiple configurations. There’s also a version of the plugs that retract into the back of a hardhat.


KP Support . This accessory turns any kneepads you own into a poor man's ProKnee (an expensive brand popular with flooring installers). A polycarbonate and metal piece rests on the wearer’s boot, straps to his ankle, and clamps to the bottom edge of the kneepad (which you supply). It supports the kneepad vertically so it can be more loosely strapped than normal. The kneepad won’t creep or creep and is just more comfortable to wear.

KP Support . Here’s what the KP Support looks like without the pad. It comes in two sizes and is adjustable for height. The product was invented by a welder and Gilroy, Calif. and is made in that town. The inventor is looking for vendors to distribute the product—currently in limited production and available for purchase directly from the maker. The KP Support goes for about $50 a pair.

9 1/4-inch Triton Circ Saw. Triton is best known in this country for a distinctive orange plunge router but it makes more tools than that. Founded in Australia, the company is now owned by UK investors who hope to bring the full product line to the U.S. This is one of several Triton circular saws. The 9 1/4-inch blade seems unusual to us, but it’s the standard in Australia, where framing lumber is a full 2 inches thick.

Triton Power Planer. This unusual configuration, a one-handed grip with no handle, will be familiar to those who have seen a 909 brand planer—a model that Tools of the Trade blogger Brian Way swears by. Triton bought the design from 909 (more on them later).

Triton Power Planer. Here’s a look at the business end of the tool. It’s a corded tool but the cord was cut off to make it easier to display at a tradeshow.

Triton Table Saw. This is a prototype of a saw Triton hopes to import to the U.S. It’s a folding stand with a rectangular opening in the top. A saw or a router (attached to a panel) can be dropped into the opening. That you can use the same stand for two tools is kind of cool, but the fence is ridiculous because it needs to be locked separately at the front and back of the table. I’ll be surprised if this saw is ever sold in the U.S.

Pulley-Man. This is one of the coolest things I saw at NHS, a drill-powered (you supply the drill) hoist with models capable of lifting 660 or 1,240 pounds. Made in Korea, it is not yet available in the U.S.; the manufacturer is trying to find vendors willing to pick it up. I hope they do because I’d like to have one of these things. The smaller model will sell for about $100. Click here to see a video of the hoist in action.

Arrow Brand Pneumatic Tools. Arrow, the stapler company, is expanding into pneumatic staplers and nail guns. These low cost tools are aimed at people who want something better than no-name guns but can’t afford pro brands like Hitachi and Bostitch. There will be a 15-gauge nailer, 18-gauge pinner, 23-gauge pinner, and a T-50 pneumatic stapler. According to the manufacturer they will launch in June 2014.

Mahew Nail Remover. This $49 attachment drives nails out of boards. Shown here on a Husky pneumatic chisel, it can be attached to almost any brand. The nose fits over the fastener and drives it out with multiple blows. It doesn’t drive them all the way out—just flush to the back of the board. Unlike the better-known Nail Kicker ($399) this does not drive fasteners all the way out; it drives them flush to the back of the board. It takes a pry bar or hammer to get them the rest of the way out. Click here to see it in action.

Sure Can. This new gas can allows you to dispense fuel without tipping the can. The spout swings down from the bottom and fuel will flow when a valve is pressed on top of the can. This product is currently undergoing testing for CARB compliance. A 2-gallon model will come out this summer and is expected to sell for $28. A 5-gallon model is planned for 2015.

909 20-volt Max Drill/Driver. You’ve probably never heard of the 909 brand. I hadn’t until a carpenter I know mentioned how much he liked a power planer the company no longer makes. Once known for inexpensive blue OEM tools the company appears to be retooling to go upscale (brushless motors, high Ah batteries, etc.). The new models are red and pricier than before. This is a prototype of a 20-volt max brushless drill/driver scheduled for release this summer. Its most distinctive is a pressure sensitive touch switch (more on that in the following slide).

909 12-volt Max Brushless Drill/Driver. This tool has been out for a year but this is the first time I’d seen one in person. Like the tool in the previous slide, this one has a pressure sensitive touch switch; the upper portion is forward and the lower portion reverse. There isn’t a separate forward/reverse switch. Unlike standard switches the touch switch doesn’t move when you touch it; it senses how hard you are pushing (similar tech to the screen of a smartphone or tablet). The harder you push the faster the motor goes.

Wiha Terminator Bit. This impact driver bit is designed not to break. As with others of its type it is thinner in the middle, which allows it to flex at that location. What’s different is that after hardening the entire piece, the manufacturer annealed (slightly softened) the middle section so there is more give there than usual. The red plastic sleeve is there to distinguish the Terminator from Wiha’s standard bits. These bits are made in Germany and have been out for about a year.

Super Stackers. This painting accessory has been around for 15 years but was never heavily marketed. It was invented by a GC who saw painters struggling to finish multiple doors in limited space. Sold in pairs, these plastic pieces are temporarily screwed to the tops and bottoms of doors. Once painted, the doors can be stacked to dry. The Super Stackers space them apart and keep them from touching each other. This product is made in Montana and can be purchased directly from the manufacturer ($179 for 10 pairs; $100 for 5 pairs)


Gorilla Self Standing Bags. A trash bag is not really a tool but I had to show these because they are so unusual. Gorilla’s Self-Standing Bags just came out. The bottom is more or less flat and has some pleats formed into it. If you open the bag, flatten the bottom, and roll the open edge back over itself correctly the bag will stand on its own. The bag you are seeing is empty; there is no internal support. You don’t need me to tell you why this is a cool thing. The bags, though, are expensive—a box of 12 goes for about $13.

M1 Tapes. This brand of tape has been out for several years and is currently distributed by high-end retailers such as Woodcraft Supply. It was developed by a finish carpenter who suffers from dyslexia and has trouble dealing with numbers but is fine dealing with lengths. His solution was to give the tool a very strong lock and put a scribe piece on the bottom of the housing. When the dimension is set he can hook the end of a piece and mark the dimension with the scribe, or use the tape as if it were a tic stick and copy a length from one piece to another. I frequently use tic sticks because it’s fast and accurate—and I’m not dyslexic.

M1 Tapes. This is the bottom side of the tape shown in the previous slide. The pointy yellow thing is a stainless steel scribe that aligns with the edge of the case above. If you set the tape to 12 inches there will be 12 inches between the hook and the point of the scribe. The 26’ model goes for about $35.

Big Hose Clamp. Okay, so a hose clamp is not a tool. But would you be able to walk by this thing and NOT take a picture?

Pirit Heated Hose. Designed to be left outside and used in cold weather, this hose has three wires extruded into its walls. The wires function as heating elements. At one end they connect to an AC power plug and at the other to a thermostat that cycles on at 45 degrees and off at 50 degrees. The product has been tested to -42 degrees and has received multiple safety approvals—from UL, CSA, and others.

Pirit Heated Hose. This is a section through a Pirit Heated Hose. The wires you see are installed during the extrusion process. The hose was invented 5 or 6 years ago by a man in Vermont to water his wife’s horses. Before the invention of this hose they had to carry water in buckets because their regular hoses would freeze.

Pirit Heated Hose Reel. This is a new product—a hose reel with a heated housing to prevent the hose from freezing. The hose itself is not heated and could not be left out for long periods of time in subfreezing weather. The hose into the real is not heated and would have to be protected. Unlike the heated hose, which can be used wherever power is present; this is designed for use at a single location.

Cardboard Man. This cardboard cut-out was at the booth for Bully Tools, a brand of long handled shovels, digging bars, and garden tools made in Steubenville, Ohio. The owner, whose picture Cardboard Man is holding, was making the point that his company’s tools are 100% U.S. made. I’m not quite sure whose face that is on Cardboard Man; he reminds me of a villain I once saw in a Bruce Lee (or was it James Bond?) movie.

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