Launch Slideshow

Odd and Unusual Tools from NHS

Odd and Unusual Tools from NHS

  • Morakniv

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    David Frane_ToTT

    These Swedish-made craftsman knives would be familiar to any European tradesman. I know a finish carpenter who has a few Moraknivs and he really likes them. The knives come in hard plastic sheaths that be clipped onto a tool belt or belt, or snapped onto the button-like fittings on the legs of European-style work pants (think Blaklader, Bjornklader, and Mascot). The yellow-handled knife on the left is for electrical work. The fellow is holding a double-edged chisel, which is sharp on the edge and the end. These are just a few of the products the company makes – they also make outdoor knives and axes.

  • Orange Track Saw

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Hmm… whose saw could this be?

  • Track Saw

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    David Frane_ToTT

    It’s the Triton TTS 1400, which is scheduled to come out later this year and will sell for $399 with a 59-inch rail ($319 without a rail). Features include a 12-amp VS soft-start motor, anti-kickback mechanism, and a tab that prevents the saw from falling off the rail when set to bevel (like Makita’s track saw does). Interestingly, it does not have a riving knife. I saw this tool at the Kreg booth – Kreg (the pocket screw company) is the U.S. distributor for Triton. You may remember Triton as the Australian company that introduced an unusual-looking line of plunge routers about a decade ago. The company went under several years back and is now owned by a company in the U.K.

  • Rhino Tuff Collapsible Cart

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This made in the USA (Idaho) cart is one of my favorite tools from the show. It folds flat as shown for transport.

  • Rhino Tuff Collapsible Cart

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Opening the cart is a matter of lifting one side at a time to the upright position and engaging the legs with spring-loaded locks.

  • Rhino Tuff Collapsible Cart

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Once open, it’s a very solid cart that can be used to roll tools and supplies around the jobsite or facility. The red cross-piece between the wheels is a foot-operated latch that allows you to release the legs when it’s time to fold the cart. There is a second such latch on the other end. According to the manufacturer, this sub 50-pound cart can hold up to 400 pounds. It’s 22” wide x 44” long x 32 1/2” high when open. The manufacture is selling the tool directly (for about $500) but was at the show to connect with vendors that could distribute it for them. I noticed a card on the table from Costco (which like Amazon and other big retailers was at the show to find new products) so maybe we’ll see the cart there at some point in the future. The Rhino Tuff Collapsible Cart is a very cool product and if it went into mass production the price would probably fall to the point where they’d sell a lot of them.

  • Proxxon PX-7070 Table Saw

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This is definitely an odd machine. If you check out the cord and plug you will realize how small the saw is – the table is only 12” x 12”. The PX-7070 takes up to 3 3/8-inch blade and can cut stock up to 7/8” thick. I have no idea what the rip capacity is, but with a saw this small – who cares? What grabbed me about it is that it exists at all. I can’t imagine using such a tiny machine, but then I’m not a model maker. I wouldn’t have given it a second look if it hadn’t been made by Proxxon (I bought one of their rotary tools a couple of years back). The company is based in Luxembourg and does most of its manufacturing there – though some of their tools are made in China. Proxxon tools can be purchased directly from the US distributor in Wisconsin or from vendors such as McFeely’s, Woodcraft Supply, and Amazon. This particular saw retails for about $400.

  • Proxxon Micro Chop Saw

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    David Frane_ToTT

    If the previous photo made you run out and buy a tiny table saw, now you know where to get an equally small chop saw to go with it. The KGS80 takes 3 1/8-inch carbide tipped blades and cut-off wheels. As with the table saw, this is a machine that would be used by someone who makes jewelry or models. This saw retails for about $240.

  • The Perfect Bungee

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    David Frane_ToTT

    I didn’t say it’s perfect; that’s the name of the product line. The item shown here is the Adjust-a-Strap 6-in-1 Adjustable Bungee. It’s made by Bihlerflex, a New Jersey company that produces all sorts of polyurethane items. The 6-in-1 bungee clips into itself so you can shorten it or wrap it a number of different ways. According to the manufacturer the polyurethane material in this product won’t break down in the sun the way rubber and latex in other bungees will. The ends of this bungee are made from a stiff nylon material so they won’t rust or scratch your vehicle. The 6-in-1 model is 36” long and retails for $8 or $9.

  • An Odd Coincidence

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    David Frane_ToTT

    If you are one of those people who believe in fate, then here’s your proof that it exists. The fellow holding the bungees is the product manager for bungees (and other items) at Bihlerflex. His name is Tom Bunge. How weird is that?

  • Crescent Lighted Adjustable Wrench

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This not the first hand tool with a built-in LED light (Craftsman introduced lit pliers a couple of years back and an adjustable wrench last year) but it’s one of the more useful ones I have seen. Some may view it as a gimmick, but having recently replaced a kitchen faucet I can see how handy it would have been to have used a wrench with a light in it – instead of the headlamp that kept getting knocked off my head in the cabinet. The handle contains the electricals: a switch, watch-style battery, and an LED on either side of the jaws. You can’t accidentally drain the battery because the lights automatically turn off after three minutes. I can’t see this being someone’s everyday wrench but it would come in handy for certain kinds of maintenance work. The wrench retails for about $20.

  • Weller Soldering Irons

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    David Frane_ToTT

    These new soldering irons have built-in LEDs to light the work area. Weller is owned by the same company (Apex Tools) as Crescent. See a pattern here? It’s not just Weller and Crescent; any number of companies have added LED lights to tools that didn’t have them before. I saw a ton of these products at the show.

  • Pelican 9440 Cordless Work Light

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    David Frane_ToTT

    Pelican is best known for making heavy-duty storage cases. Who knew they also made LED lighting? Cops, fire fighters, and military folks – that’s who. The 9440 RALS (remote area lighting system) is their top-of-the-line folding model. Shown here in a lowered position (so I could fit in in a photo), it can be extended to a height of 85”. It produces up to 2400 lumens and runs for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Charging time is 8 hours. The 9440 lists for around $1,000 but I’ve seen it for a couple hundred bucks less on the web.

  • Pelican 9420 Cordless Work Light

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    David Frane_ToTT

    The 9420 is less expensive version of the light described in the previous slide. Shown here in the process of being folded, it extends to a height of 62”. It produces up to 1,000 lumens of light and will run for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. The battery is integrated into the base and takes 2 hours to charge. The kit version (light, charger, and case) retails for about $320.

  • Pelican 9420 Folded

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    David Frane_ToTT

    I wanted to show you how small the 9420 work light is when folded (just like a tripod). Now that you’ve seen that – check out the ice chest below and behind it. Yes, Pelican makes ice chests. This super heavy-duty model is part of the Elite Series and is said to be able to retain ice for 7-10 days. It has very thick walls, a gasketed lid, and is built like a tank. The brochure shows a fishing guide using it. I’d buy one for camping if I could figure out a way to explain to my wife why I spent $250-400 for an ice chest (I’m working on it).

  • RapidAir Compressed Air Piping System

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    David Frane_ToTT

    I couldn’t help stopping in at the RapidAir booth because their compressed air piping systems reminded me of what a mess the air hoses are in my shop (hung over rafters and strung from hooks). The company produces a variety of systems for home, pro shop, and industrial use. The FastPipe system (shown here) consists of powder coated aluminum pipe, nylon compression fittings, and a variety of valves, saddles, and outlets to which air fittings can be attached. It’s designed for industrial, farm, and woodworking shop applications and can be purchased in pieces or kits. The 100’ FastPipe kit lists for $599 and the 235’ Master kit for $999.

  • Max Line System

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    David Frane_ToTT

    The 1/2- and 3/4-inch coiled pipe shown here is aluminum clad inside and out with HDPE (a type of plastic). It’s joined with metal fittings and is used in industrial systems. RapidAir also makes systems for home shop use. Their 100’ garage system uses nylon tubing and lists for about $139. Components can be purchased separately for all of their systems so kits can be customized or adapted to where they’re installed.

  • Dual Saw

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    David Frane_ToTT

    If you haven’t seen a Dual Saw then you haven’t been paying attention. Popularized in a series of infomercials by the late Billy Mays, the Dual Saw concept has been around for years. The central feature is a pair of blades that spin in opposite directions. Similar tools are available from Craftsman and Ridgid. I’m not particularly interested in this saw but am showing it here to give you a sense of the pedigree of the following tools.

  • Dual Saw RS1200

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This recip saw has two blades instead of one. While one is on the forward stroke the other is on the backstroke – the idea being that this makes for better control and less vibration. I saw a guy cut with it and it looked pretty smooth. But I didn’t get to cut with it myself. This 12-amp saw takes proprietary blades and has a switch that allows you to change the stroke length at will (3/4” or 1 1/4”). The saw shown here is a prototype. According to the manufacturer, the saw will hit the market late this year and retail for $159.

  • Dual Saw RS1000

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    David Frane_ToTT

    This 10-amp 1 1/8-inch stroke recip saw is a smaller and less expensive version of the tool in the previous slide. It’s expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2014 and to sell for about $139.

NHS stands for the National Hardware Show, which is held each May in Las Vegas. It's where the people who run hardware stores, lumberyards, and big box stores go to see and make deals on the latest tools and products. At this year's show I saw number of odd and unusual tools – some of which will be useful to tradesmen.

A few of these tools are not yet out but most are currently available – though you may not have seen them because they are specialty items or items that are not widely distributed. This is just a portion of what I saw at the show. In future entries I'll cover mainstream tools and a group of bizarre tools that inventors hope to bring into production.