The Artillery Pry Bar is an interesting concept, a modular system that makes use of interchangeable blades, handles, and fulcrums. Pieces can be mixed and matched to suit the job at hand—with longer or shorter handles and varying combinations of fulcrums and blades. These high-end tools are sold individually and in kits, with kits going for between $205 and $549.
Festool Syslite Uni Worklamp. I didn’t even know this tool was out until I stumbled across it on the tradeshow floor. The Uni Worklamp, model 500639 is a lower cost alternative to the original Syslite (which I own and is still being made). Unlike the original, it has a pivoting head and requires an external battery (one of Festool’s Li-ion or Nickel based packs). The lamp has three LEDs, a battery gauge, and high-low settings—and is priced at $55.
Bill Robinson demonstrates the proper way to install windows in a clinic on weatherization and moisture management. I’ve known Bill for years; he was a JLC editor when I first read the magazine. After he left and I came on board we worked together on stories about making sill pans and replacing doors in existing stucco walls.
Bjornklader Work Wear. When I was a carpenter the choices were Carhartt, Dickies, or regular jeans. I’d have given anything to be able to buy this kind of work wear—with its high-tech fabric, functional pockets, and places to install kneepads. The booth at the show was rented by Faceline Inc., one of a handful of companies that distribute Bjornklader in the U.S. I don’t own any of their clothes but have gotten a good look at the Ace Carpenter Pants and am very impressed.
SawStop Jobsite Table Saw. I knew this product was in the works but didn’t realize it would be at the show. For years I’ve heard people say the company wouldn’t be able to put their safety system into a saw light enough to haul to the jobsite. And if they did, the saw would be ruined by the force of activation. Those folks were wrong on both counts. For more on this tool, including video, see SawStop Jobsite Table Saw.
Stinger RT3 Cap Nailer. Odds are neither you nor I will ever use one of these gizmos. But someone will and it will save them a whole bunch of labor. What exactly is it? It’s a pneumatic accessory that allows you to nail steel caps at the spacing of your choice as fast as you can walk across the roof. I asked the exhibitor where a tool such a tool would be used and he pointed towards the ceiling and said “you’d use it to fasten base sheet material to the roof sheathing of a large commercial building.” Cost: approximately $2,200.
Gary Katz presented at a number of clinics, including this one on the finer points of hanging exterior doors. In a world overrun with blow-hard reality show carpenters, Gary is one of the few famous carpenters I know of—Norm Abram is another—who deserves his rock star status. And like Norm, he’s one of the most humble guys you’ll ever meet.
Skilsaw 10 1/4-inch Wormdrive. Not everyone needs a saw this size but some folks will: framers, landscapers, and other trades that need to cut big timbers. I photographed this saw because I like the idea of it and because I have a soft spot for the brand (my first circular saw was a Skil sidewinder from the days when the only part of the saw that wasn’t metal was the cord—and it wasn’t grounded).
Camo Marksman. Camo was at the show with their Camo Marksman tools—which are used to guide proprietary deck screws at such an angle that they hold deck boards down but can’t be seen from above. For more on this system see page 4 of the ToTT story A Deck Builder’s Tool Kit.
The mother of all nailers—seen at the Fasco America booth. This particular gun drives 4- to 6 3/8-inch plastic collated stick nails and is so large it requires a side handle. It’s designed for fastening the kind of large timbers found in docks, pole barns, retaining walls, and log cabins. You don’t want to know how much this gun weighs. If you have to ask you’re too weak to lift it.
Myron Ferguson demonstrates the application of acoustical soundproof sealant at one of the many drywall clinics he performed at the show. His clinics are popular, because even if contractors want to sub out all of their drywall work, there will be times when they have to do the work in-house.
Stiletto Tools was there with a full complement of pry bars and hammers. Most of their hammers are titanium but a few are stainless steel. Handle options include hickory, titanium, and fiberglass. This is another popular booth because they let you bang away with the hammers on a timber attached to some sawhorses.
Graco brought a selection of their paint spraying equipment. Their small, hand-held equipment seemed to be getting the most attention.
SawStop Cartridge. This is a shot of the cartridge for SawStop’s table saw safety system. The one on the left is new; the one on the right has been slammed against a spinning blade to prevent it from cutting “forbidden” material, such as hot dogs (or fingers). Note the extended spring and the deformed metal of the cartridge that has been activated. For more on this system see SawStop Jobsite Table Saw.
During a clinic on metal connectors, Mike Sloggatt shows the audience a special self-drilling self-reaming fastener used to attach a particular connector.
The Stabila booth is a popular destination because they offer discounted prices at the show. I was having a cup of coffee (which they do well in the NW) outside of the hall and it seems like every 20th person coming out the door was carrying a yellow level.
At the Bjornklader Booth. These two look like they’re ready for anything up to and including the Polar Vortex, torrential rain, or standing all day in a department store window.
A Screw Display. I took this photo at the Screw Products Inc. booth because I like keeping an assortment of fasteners on hand and these guys seem to have many to choose from. Their booth was close to where deck building demos were being performed and I’m guessing they were there to connect with deck builders. But their product line spans multiple trades so there was something there for everyone. I saw zinc coated steel, stainless steel, bronze, and exterior coated fasteners. Most were self-drilling, many were self-reaming, and nearly all had star-drive heads. I can’t tell you anything about the quality or price of these screws. I just like fasteners—so here they are.
DAP was displaying all kinds of product, including their SmartBond construction adhesive. The adhesive comes in a 20-ounce can that contains the equivalent of 8 28-ounce caulk gun cartridges of adhesive. It’s a polyurethane foam and is dispensed through a reusable applicator gun that goes for about $50.
My friend Bruce, a builder in Southern Oregon, is checking out Blueskin VP100, a Self-Adhered Water Resistive Air Barrier Membrane from Henry.
Kim Katwijk, a deck builder in Washington, discusses the use of hole plugs with an attendee who stayed to talk after a workshop on installing deck boards. I’ve known Kim for years; he and I once worked together on a JLC story, Rot-Resistant Deck Details.