Source: TOOLS OF THE TRADE Magazine
Publication date: October 13, 2011

By Doug Mahoney

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3M

CONFORMABLE DROP CLOTH

StoryID
1714485
ToolNumber
1
ComponentId
tcm:78-1630104

Regular drop cloths are hard to use on stairs – they don't want to stay put or follow the shape of the treads. 3M's new Flex & Form Staircase Runner is an interesting solution to this age-old problem. It's a canvas drop cloth with a conformable material sewn into pockets along the two longest edges. The edges can be formed by hand to follow the contours of stairs and other irregular objects so that the runner will hold its shape and remain in place while you paint. When you're done, you remove the runner, flatten the edges by hand, and fold it like any other drop cloth.
¦ Price: $23 for a 4x7 runner; $34 for a 4x15 runner. 888-364-3577. www.3m.com.

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Blaklader

UBER WORK PANTS

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1714485
ToolNumber
2
ComponentId
tcm:78-1630104

If you feel like your old work pants aren't cutting it, check out Blaklader Brawny Pants. Designed specifically for tradespeople, they have a pair of utility pockets up top that can be used as nail pouches. These pockets have angled corners so fasteners won't get stuck, and they can be tucked into the regular pockets when not in use. The pants also have kneepad pockets in the legs, a hammer loop, and special pockets for phones, pencils, and other tools. All seams are triple-stitched, and wear areas are reinforced with Cordura.
¦ Price: $70. 800-948-6452. www.blakladerusa.com.

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MultiTaskers

HEAVY-DUTY POLES

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1714485
ToolNumber
3
ComponentId
tcm:78-1630104

Now that the RRP lead laws are in effect, proper dust protection is an essential part of any renovation. The nice thing about MultiTaskers is that they can be used to set up a temporary plastic wall, yet they're also durable enough for a host of other tasks. The steel telescoping poles – which have a weight capacity of 170 pounds – can prop up drywall, a piece of crown molding, or even a cabinet. They come in three sizes, from 2-1/2 to 13 feet long.
¦ Price: $90/pair. 877-345-6832. www.filmtechonline.com.

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Gecko Gauges

FIBER-CEMENT GAUGES

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1714485
ToolNumber
4
ComponentId
tcm:78-1630104

It's unprofessional to install clapboard siding with anything other than even reveals. Gecko Gauges ensure nice even spacing between courses and make fiber-cement lap-siding installation 30 to 50 percent faster, says the maker. Used in pairs, the units clamp by friction to the top course of siding, providing a temporary shelf for the piece above. They can be adjusted to vary the coursing in 1/4-inch increments and are designed not to mar the face of the siding. Models exist for a number of James Hardie and LP SmartSide lap and drip-edge siding products.
¦ Price: $65 per pair. 800-297-7487. www.pactool.us.

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Hat Grabber

HARDHAT HOLDER

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1714485
ToolNumber
5
ComponentId
tcm:78-1630104

Hardhats are uncomfortable and tend to fall off when you bend over. The Hat Grabber promises to solve both of these problems. It's a small rubber piece that attaches to the rear strap of the hardhat, providing a nubby surface at the back of the head. According to the manufacturer, this accessory increases comfort while gripping your noggin so that the hat stays on when you tie your shoes.
¦ Price: $11. 877-391-9282. www.hatgrabber.com.