16. Manual Demo Hammer
Judging by the booth demonstration I saw, Goldblatt’s new spring-loaded Ram Rod impact tool can break hard materials with minimal effort. You just insert the spike, chisel, or scraper bit of your choice into the quick-change chuck, place the bit where you want it, and push the spring-loaded handle so the “ram sledge” on the shaft delivers a blow to the bit. The tool locks in the closed position for storage and transport. According to Goldblatt, you can use this tool for removing floor tiles, chipping concrete, breaking bricks, and much more. It ships with a 1-inch chisel bit and costs about $150. The other bits cost about $14 to $20. For about $40, you can buy a collar that adds extra weight to the sledge.
Goldblatt Tool Co., 877/876-7562, goldblatttool.com.
17. Dual-Battery Rotary Hammer
Makita’s new model HRH01ZX2 36-volt 1-inch SDS-plus rotary hammer is powered by two batteries from the company’s flagship 18-volt LXT lithium-ion platform. If you’ve already bought into that platform, which now includes more than 60 tools, you can add a 36-volt tool that performs like its corded counterparts. The kit costs about $350 and includes a side handle, a depth gauge, a tool bag, and an adapter that has a separate fuel gauge for each of the two batteries (Makita assumes you already have the batteries and charger). If you remove the adapter, you can power the tool with Makita’s 36-volt pack instead to reduce the weight of the tool from 11.3 pounds to 9.9 pounds.
Makita, 800/462-5482, makita.com.
18. Portable Dump Truck
The Hopper Dump Cart (model C27-10A) displayed by Granite Industries costs $1,825, but my back tells me I want one. Made in Ohio, it’s powered by a lead-acid battery that’s supposed to deliver about four to six hours of runtime per charge and recharge in about six to eight hours using a built-in charger. It has a 10-cubic-foot high-density polyethylene hopper that can haul 750 pounds on flat ground or 500 pounds up a 1:3 slope; a forward/reverse switch and emergency stop; and airless tires. The hopper tilts manually. Granite also offers an extended-range battery that delivers about five to seven hours of runtime, and other carts are available.
Granite Industries, 877/447-2648, graniteind.com.
19. Raising the Bar
Two new Crescent Code Red adjustable pry bars appear to make common demolition chores much less awkward, not to mention more fun. The indexing flat pry bar has a long handle and a pivoting head that locks into 14 positions so you can get the best angle and leverage on your work. It comes in lengths of 18 and 30 inches, and costs about $20 to $25. The adjustable pry bar and nail puller has a crow’s foot on one end for pulling nails and prying, plus one fixed and one sliding jaw on the other so you can twist and pull lumber, club drywall, yank long nails more easily, and so on. It comes in lengths of 16 and 24 inches, and also costs about $20 to $25.
Crescent, 800/688-8949, apexhandtools.com.
20. High-Capacity Siding Shear
According to Bullet Tools, its new manual cam-actuated EZ Shear SST 26 is the only tool that can cut a 4-in-12 pitch on 8-inch fiber-cement siding while producing a clean edge and no airborne dust. That’s possible because the tool has a super-sharp 26-inch-long steel blade coupled with an infinitely adjustable fence. The blade is made of a high chromium-vanadium tool steel alloy, and you keep it sharp by honing it in place with the included stone. Besides fiber-cement siding and trim, the tool also cuts vinyl siding (including foam-backed vinyl), cedar siding, and other materials. At the recent JLC Live show in Portland, Ore., held a month after the STAFDA show, James Hardie used the SST 26 to demonstrate an efficient way to cut its fiber-cement siding products. The tool costs about $800.
Bullet Tools, 800/406-8998, bullettools.com.
21. Power Caulking
I remember a union carpenter from Iowa raving several years ago about how Milwaukee cordless caulk guns had been terrific for caulking a 10-story exterior rehab. After seeing Milwaukee’s new model 2441-21 12-volt lithium-ion cordless caulk and adhesive gun at the show, I’m anxious to try one. This tool allegedly weighs 40% less than competing models, has the power to dispense all common construction sealants and adhesives, and can empty up to 150 10-ounce cartridges per charge. It has a speed dial and variable speed for applying a consistent bead at a rate of up to 28 inches per minute, and it automatically backs up the plunger to prevent dripping when you release the trigger. It also has a built-in spike for puncturing cartridge seals and a hang hook. The kit costs about $150 and includes one M12 battery and a 30-minute charger. You can also buy conversion kits for dispensing quart cartridges or 20-ounce sausage packs. Other kit options and the bare tool are available as well.
Milwaukee, 800/729-3878, milwaukeetool.com.
22. Rebuildable Chalk Boxes
A JLC forum thread awhile back discussed clever ways to replace a missing chalk-line hook (beer-can tabs apparently work). A visit to the Tajima booth reminded me that this company’s Chalk-Rite boxes can be completely rebuilt, from the hooks and handles to the nosepieces and gears. The Chalk-Rite II shown (model CR202B-P) has a 100-foot ultra-thin braided line that’s supposed to be ideal for precision work like finish carpentry and tile setting. It has 3x gearing for quick line retrieval, and its aluminum case is sealed with a gasket to prevent chalk leakage. It comes with a trial-size bottle of blue Micro Chalk and costs about $30. Other versions that snap bolder multiple lines are also available.
Tajima, 888/482-5462, tajimatool.com.
23. Fuel-Free Cordless Framing Nailer
DeWalt has yet to publish all the details about the new DCN690 20V Max cordless framing nailer displayed at the show. But I did learn that it’s the first cordless model powered by a battery only, with no fuel cells required. It has a brushless motor, drives paper-tape fasteners from 2 to 31/2 inches long, sinks up to about 650 3-inch nails per charge, can fire in the sequential mode or can bump-fire, and has dry-fire lockout. It also has a rafter/belt hook, is less than 13 3/4 inches tall so it fits between most framing members, and weighs 9 pounds (which is a bit heavier than the competition). The tool will roll out sometime this spring or early summer with a price tag of about $550.
DeWalt, 800/433-9258, dewalt.com.
24. A Lighter Wormdrive
Due to launch in April, the Skilsaw MAG77LT 15-amp, 71/4-inch wormdrive saw weighs just 13.2 pounds including the cord and blade. That’s 2 pounds less than the MAG77 and 4 pounds less than the SHD77. To eliminate weight, Skil says it reduced the length of the motor (by 3/8 inch), reshaped the motor housing, used more magnesium, and made other careful modifications without sacrificing performance. The maximum bevel cut has increased from 51 to 53 degrees, and a multi-function blade wrench stores conveniently in the base. The saw will cost about $220.
Skil, 877/754-5999, skiltools.com.
25. Mixing Machine
One way to mix powdered joint compounds with water is to use a heavy-duty 1/2-inch corded drill with a mixing paddle. But veteran drywall contractor Myron Ferguson, a regular presenter at JLC Live, prefers to use a Collomix hand-held paddle mixer. Made in Germany, the two-handled mixers are easier to control, and they have a motor and transmission designed to endure the rigors of mixing. Equipped with the appropriate quick-change paddle, they can mix joint compound, thin-bed mortar, grout, epoxy, paint, and much more. According to the new U.S. distributor, the new 10-amp Collomix model Xo1 is more comfortable to hold, is more powerful, vibrates less, and is quieter than the model it’s replacing. It comes with a universal paddle that handles the majority of applications and costs about $320. The KR120HF “bird-cage” paddle shown is ideal for mixing drywall compounds and costs about $50. More-powerful mixers and other paddles are also available.
Sola Collomix USA, 414/471-3883, collomix.us.
26. Fast and Strong Hot-Melt Glue
At the Pam Fastening Technology booth, marketing manager Bill Strother claimed that the company’s nontoxic, odorless, and waterproof PamTite hot-melt adhesive can bond carpet tack strips to concrete slabs so fast the carpet can be power-stretched in just five minutes. Strother demonstrated the bond strength by gluing a piece of crown molding to tile; within seconds, the bond was so strong the crown split when I tried to remove it. PamTite has a working time of one minute. It has instant tack and fully cures within five minutes. The new PamTite Plus resembles PamTite but has a working time of three minutes and is more resistant to heat and cold. If you make a mistake with either of these thermoplastic adhesives, you can simply melt them with a heat gun and reposition your work. The adhesives are recommended for use in controlled environments, bond to a wide variety of porous and nonporous materials, and appear to have plenty of applications for JLC readers. PamTite costs about $13 per pound and PamTite Plus about $17 per pound. The HB 220 hot-melt glue gun for these adhesives costs about $110.
Pam Fastening Technology, 800/699-2674, pamfast.com.