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New Tools From The Builders' Show

Our picks of the saws, nailers, and accessories to look for in 2001

by Dave Crosby As usual, this year's International Builders' Show — held in Atlanta February 9-12 — racked up some impressive numbers. Some 72,000 visitors viewed the offerings of 1,000 exhibitors distributed across 1 million square feet of floor space. In addition to more building products than you might have ever dreamed of, several major tool manufacturers introduced their new lines at this show, rather than at the National Hardware Show in Chicago this past August. Here's a selection of what's new and interesting.

Cordless Roofing Nailer

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If you went anywhere near the Stanley-Bostitch booth, you'd hear the sound of genuinely innovative technology in action. The CRN38K Cordless Roofing Nailer made its debut at the show, with hundreds of attendees driving thousands of roofing nails, and not a hose or cord to be seen. This 8.1-pound, 20.4-volt tool uses a multi-blow action to drive 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch collated polymer-coated roofing nails, which come in disposable canisters of 120 nails. The tool is said to be suitable for installing shingles, felt, drip edge, and metal flashing. During an early field review, a torch-down roofing contractor also found this tool particularly useful for nailing down "shiners." The new roofing nailer comes with two batteries, a charger, two canisters of nails, a demonstration video, and a case at a suggested retail of $500.

Redesigned Framing Nailer

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Senco brought a new line of redesigned full round-head nailers, advertised as having 14% to 20% more power than the manufacturer's current models. The FramePro Model 600/650FRH and 700XL/750XL FRH nailers will handle nails up to 3 1/2 by 0.162 inch. Other features included an aggressive sawtooth nose for easy toe-nailing and an inline magazine for balance and line of sight. Both have suggested retail prices of $380 or less.

Balanced Flooring Nailer

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New from Porter-Cable is the Model FCN200 Flooring Cleat Nailer. For 3/4-inch solid-strip hardwood flooring installation, the pneumatic nailer uses 1 1/2- to 2-inch L-shaped cleat nails. Designed to stand by itself without falling over, the nailer distinguishes itself with "power, ergonomics, and balance" according to the manufacturer. Expected retail price is $500.

Collated Trim Nails for Steel Studs

If you are one of the many carpenters who has been wondering how to fasten trim to steel studs, you'll be happy to know that Senco has just come out with a Hardened Collated Finish Nail. Available in 1 1/2- and 1 3/4-inch lengths, the 15-gauge nails are galvanized to resist corrosion at the steel-to-steel contact point, and can be driven into concrete, also. A box of 4,000 nails, depending on the size of the nails, costs between $38 and $46.