Top Picks from the 2009 International Builders’ Show
By: Allen Lyle
Road trips always have the possibility of being stressful and hectic, and this year’s trip to the International Builders’ Show was no exception. But, when you’re at a trade show of this magnitude in the city of Las Vegas . . . well, you really can’t complain. Truth be known, this was a great trip, and I’ve put together my list of favorite products from the show. Of course, this is really an unfair list, because I know I didn’t see half of what was there, but what I did see was pretty impressive and these items all stood out as top-notch to me.
Admittedly, there’s nothing new about a hidden fastener for decks, but Tiger Claw has one-upped the competition with a fastener that can be put down with ballistic nail screws shot in place by an air gun! Now I ask you, how cool is that?! When you compare using the gun with manual installation, you’ll cut your work time by about 50%. And did I mention you get to use a nail gun?
This was one of the best visuals at the show. Bark from poplar trees is harvested, kiln-dried and made into siding shingles. The result is one of the most stunning, natural, rustic looks I’ve seen. They even have lichen still visible on the face. It’s extremely durable, low maintenance and just looks downright good! Of course, it’s not something you would typically see in a posh neighborhood, but I think you could start a new trend by doing that!
You have to wonder why someone hadn’t already thought of this. Put a high-quality wireless speaker in the ceiling fan! I mean, think about it. You’ve got a speaker right in the center of the room showering you with sound! This isn’t a cheap, tinny-sounding speaker either. The guys at the Hunter booth cranked up the volume and it was near concert-level perfect! Believe me, when this hits the shelves, I’m buying one.
I’ve never been a fan of drop ceilings. They take up too much head space…the grids are too institutional-looking…and, frankly, they look ugly. These folks came up with a product that tackled all those problems and did it with class! The unique design drops the ceiling in only two inches, uses no grids, won’t mold or mildew and keeps water out, so it looks great under a deck. It’s also a good option for covering up the ceiling in a basement.
I love this tool. Actually, it’s an attachment that you can use with any reciprocating saw to remove everything from paint to wallpaper to linoleum and more. I got to participate in a demonstration of the Spyder Scraper pitted against dried mastic on a sheet of plywood. I tried removing it with a 6” putty knife and couldn’t get it to budge while the saw equipped with the Spyder attachment knocked out a 4-inch wide row in less than two seconds! In addition, the blade didn’t scar or knick the plywood at all. This is a definite tool box favorite.
This is one of those “ain’t no way” items. No kidding, Buck Rogers must have brought this one back from the 25th century. You supply Metaltec Innovations with plans for the design of an object – any object, and they will “print” out a three-dimensional metal prototype. Tiles, hardware, sculptures, artwork – if you can draw it, they can make it. I’ll stop and let you go back and read that again……yes….they’re PRINTED. Think about the layers of a CAD design being printed out, layer after layer, until you have a solid piece of art in patinas like gold, nickel, copper or chrome. It’s really hard to explain. You need to visit their site and look at all the amazing pieces and just remember that no liquid metal was poured into a mold. All those things were printed!!!!
Never….let me emphasize this…NEVER have I used a hammer like this one before. Lightweight, 14 ounces of titanium steel that has the striking power of a 24 ounce hammer. It has a magnetic nail starter along with a replaceable face. On the side is a nail puller. Listen to this…I drove a 16-penny nail down into a piece of treated 6×6, leaving less than a ¼-inch of the nail protruding. In one single, smooth motion – using my left hand, by the way – the nail was pulled out. This is, no question about it, the best hammer I have ever had in my hands.
Since these are new products, some of them may not be available in stores yet, but keep your eyes open for them in the future! For more cool products from the International Builder’s Show, check out our episode (682) New Products for Your Home from the International Builders’ Show 2009.