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Bed Rest

If unloading your debris-laden pickup with gloves and a shovel isn't your idea of a good time, the Load Hog might be the labor saver you've been looking for. The Load Hog mounts invisibly under the bed and converts a standard full-size pickup truck into a pneumatically controlled dump truck, without changing its appearance. With a capacity of 4,500 pounds, it can unload a full bed of gravel, debris, or building materials in seconds. Available for 1/2- to 1-ton chassis, the dump bed can be ordered on new Ford and GM pickups for about $3,000. But if you don't need a new truck, or you're a Dodge fan, a retrofit kit sells for about $2,500. You can install it yourself or contract the work to an automotive accessory installer or body company.


Load Hog Industries


Versatile Blade

While the possibility of a tool that cuts through concrete and steel with the same blade might seem too good to be true, the Power Twister Diamond Blade is designed to do just that, with ease and efficiency. According to the manufacturer, the blade, which is available in 7-, 12-, and 14-inch sizes, cuts through reinforced concrete without damaging the blade, allowing demolition of mixed materials without time-wasting blade changes. Prices for the 7 1/4-inch blades start at $89, 12-inch blades at $129, and 14-inch blades at $159.


First Edition Products


Long-Lasting Chalk

If your chalk is fading fast, a new heavy-duty formula promises to stick around three times longer than the typical lumberyard variety. Available in 2.5-pound ($14.50) and 8-ounce ($3.20) bottles, Super Chalk comes in black, red, and blue, and the maker claims that the crisp, distinct lines will hold up even under foot traffic.


C.H. Hanson


Door and Window Foam

Expanding foam effectively air-seals windows and doors but can easily get out of hand, sealing the unit shut by bowing the jamb. Great Stuff Pro Window & Door Foam's low-pressure formula is specifically designed for sealing around windows and doors. Available in both straw-dispensed and gun-dispensed cans, the foam remains flexible even after curing, according to the manufacturer. A 20-ounce straw-dispensed can costs about $10.


Dow Chemical


Better Deck

Hidden-fastener decks may be all the rage, but installing the fasteners definitely adds time to the job. The Correct-Ty, coupled with a new fiber-composite, groove-and-groove CorrectDeck decking board achieves a fastener-free deck without having to cut a single slot. The Correct-Ty is inserted into the groove and pneumatically stapled to the joist. The next board is pushed against the fastened Correct-Ty and locked in place by inserting and stapling the next row. The fasteners cost about 35¢ each, and the decking goes for $4 to $4.50 per square foot



Correct Building Products


Affordable Stilts

The biggest obstacle preventing most builders from buying a pair of stilts hasn't been learning to walk all over again but the prohibitive price on most professional-quality products. With a street price of around $250, Warner's new Hi-Stride Adjustable Stilts can elevate your craft without breaking the bank. The aluminum stilts feature an adjustable heel plate and foam-padded calf braces for comfort and stability, according to the manufacturer. Available in two sizes, they weigh about seven pounds each.




Watch Your Back

Backing into a homeowner's Mercedes doesn't do much for customer relations; your insurance company probably wouldn't be pleased, either. Microwave technology now exists to prevent such a mishap, by alerting a driver to any approaching obstacle. With an effective range of up to 12 feet behind the vehicle, the Rostra Obstacle Sensing System uses an LED display and audible alerts to indicate the distance to the obstacle. According to the maker, the system is unaffected by dirt, snow, or dark of night and works well on unwieldy trailers, too. The ROSS can be installed on most vehicles for less than $500.


Rostra Precision Controls


Smooth Drywall Finish

It usually takes a skim coat of joint compound to achieve the smoothest drywall finish, but a recently introduced spray-on product approaches the same level of finish in a shorter time. Tuff-Hide, a high-build spray-on primer, provides a high-quality base for paint finishes while eliminating joint telegraphing. When applied to the manufacturer's recommended application thickness of 15 to 20 mils, a gallon will cover approximately 125 square feet. The primer dries to the touch in 60 to 90 minutes. At the recommended thickness, Tuff-Hide costs about 6¢ per square foot.




Ladder Lockdown

It doesn't matter whether it's gravity or a thief, losing a ladder off your truck's rack can be a real downer. The Hook-Um Dano ladder lock prevents equipment loss to either cause and installs in seconds without tools, according to the maker. The powder-coated steel lock secures one or two ladders and installs on almost any rack. It retails for $27.


Ventura/Deeter International


Better Moldings

Moldings have been going through a period of compromise for the last 100 years. Shrinking profiles and "value engineering" have resulted in modern moldings that don't measure up to the originals. But a "new" line of classic profiles promises to give your projects Parthenon appeal and stature. Duplicating the exact profiles of their respective periods, the four collections feature crown, base, and casing, making it easy to plan a coordinated style without a degree in architectural history. The four period styles -- classical Colonial, Greek revival, classical craftsman, and Colonial revival -- are all made of high-quality, finger-jointed pine with two coats of exterior-grade primer, according to the maker. The craftsman-style crown sells for about $2.63 per lineal foot.


Windsor Mill


Mold-Resistant Drywall

It's not surprising that mold loves drywall; the paper facing provides a nutritious and easily digestible food source. According to the manufacturer, DensArmor gypsum panels are faced with an inorganic fiberglass mat that won't support the growth of mold, reducing the chance of a serious problem. DensArmor Plus, with fiberglass on both sides, offers the best mold protection front and back, and reinforcing glass fibers in the gypsum core increase strength as well. Replacing standard drywall with DensArmor in a typical 2,300-square-foot home, with 10,000 square feet of drywall, adds $500 to $700 in material cost, while DensArmor Plus adds $1,200, according to the maker.


G-P Gypsum


Curve-Hugging Wall Angle

Support columns and curved walls make installing a dropped ceiling a lot tougher. It's especially difficult to apply conventional straight wall angle to those curves. However, Flex-Grid Angle goes around the curves without notching, piecing, or tape. Available in 7/8-inch and 9/16-inch widths, the PVC-based product includes a UV stabilizer that prevents yellowing. The 8-foot lengths are available in white only but can be painted any color. With a minimum 60-inch inside radius and a 5 1/2-inch minimum outside radius, the flexible angle can hug most curves without a problem. It retails for about $4 per length.




Premium Patio Doors

If a 6-foot patio door doesn't quite measure up to your client's taste, maybe an entire folding glass wall would be more appealing. Using high-quality adjustable European hardware, Opening Glass Walls are offered in both in-swing and out-swing models, in aluminum-clad or unclad panels. Standard offerings include units 8 to 18 feet wide, with larger custom units available, making them perfect for indoor pools or unobstructed patio views. Several glazing, sill, and hardware options make it possible to match existing millwork, and the units can be shipped anywhere in the country. Prices run from $1,000 to $2,500 per panel.



Nana Wall Systems


Luminescent Level

Torpedo levels are standard equipment for hvac techs, electricians, and plumbers and also work well for carpentry tasks like installing accessories and leveling shelves. For the low-light situations that mechanical trades are often faced with, the Lighted Torpedo Level has illuminated vials for better visibility and greater accuracy. The level features an easy-to-find, rubber-covered on/off switch and turns itself off after three minutes. A magnetized edge strip permits attachment to ferrous metals. The level costs $20.