National Hardware Show 2003
We recently made our annual pilgrimage to the “show of shows” – when it comes to tools and hardware – the 2003 National Hardware Show. We joined 30,000 hardware store owners, hardware and home center buyers and industry professionals for a look at the latest and greatest in hardware, tools and building products showcased in nearly one half million square feet of exhibit space.
As has been the case is prior years, there was an abundance of hand and power tools, hardware, nuts and bolts, fasteners, paint, stain, garden equipment and supplies, storage solutions and pet products — to name only a few. However, it was clear at this year’s event that, in general, tools are more powerful, they perform multiple tasks, and they are lighter and more ergonomically-friendly.For example, new-fangled paint brushes with ergonomically-designed handles make gripping a paint brush more comfortable and can get into tight spots where brush with a traditional handle can’t venture.
Wood and plastic handled putty knives, paint scrapers, wire brushes and sanding blocks are being replaced by ergonomically-designed, cushion-grip-handles that reduce injury and improve comfort. And as the do-it-yourself craze continues, manufacturers are turning out tools that can take a beating without breaking the bank. Plus, with an array of bright colors and sleek designs, today’s tools look as cool as the projects they are used on.
Improved ergonomics, sleek design and colorful finishes are not limited to hand and power tools. Lawn and garden tools and cleaning equipment have followed suit as is the case with Delta Ergo, a division of Delta Industries. They have created “The Smart Handle;” a new line of mops, brooms, rakes and snow pushers that work with the body’s natural range of motion, allowing repetitive movements involved in cleaning and gardening to be carried out more effectively. The tools have a unique strain-reducing handle that places one’s wrist in a neutral working position and uses the strongest muscles; a strong pliable grip and even swivel and adjustable height handles to reduce back stress. And yes, they are colorful too.
Love that “new car smell”, but hate the smell of fresh paint? Scentco™ (www.scentco.net) has developed “Paint Pourri,” an air freshening paint additive that provides a pleasant, long lasting fragrance and helps neutralize odors – including that of fresh paint. It’s even simpler than it sounds. Just empty a one once pouch into a gallon of paint, mix and, voila, your freshly painted, pet purveyed space will smell like a bed of wildflowers – or one of the other seven fragrances offered. They also manufacture “Wiper Breeze,” a fluid additive that refreshes the interior of your car every time you spray your windshield. Amazing!
Are you storage challenged? Running out of room to store fertilizers, insecticides, tools and garden equipment? Tired of carrying them from the garage or storage shed to the back forty where you use them most often? Here’s one that will cause you to say; “Why didn’t I think of that?” Smallrock Designs, LLC has come up with the READI-StorageRock, a large faux garden boulder (like you would see at a theme park) that doubles as a weatherproof storage container. At approximately five feet wide, four feet deep and two feet high, the container has plenty of room (13 cubic feet) for lots of tools and garden materials. The gas spring hinges make for easy access and no one will ever know that your shovel, rake and peat moss are stored neatly in the shade of that old pine tree at one end of your lawn.
If you’ve ever painted you know that the biggest part of a painting project is the preparation and cleanup. Rinsing out brushes, rollers and trays can take lots of time and degrade the brush or roller cover. With this in mind, Golden Harvest Home Décor just introduced the “Close-N-Go Covered Paint Tray.” This unique paint tray actually consists of two side-by-side trays that are hinged at the center — sort of like a clamshell. When in the open position, one tray is used conventionally for loading a roller while the other side can be used to hold paint cans and brushes to prevent drips and spills. When closed, the greenhouse effect reduces air flow and keeps rollers, brushes and paint fresh for days, thus, eliminating the need for daily clean-up. Why didn’t we think of that?
Whether you’re a pro or do-it-yourselfer, if you like tools and nifty gadgets you’ll like the Carpenter’s Pal. What really makes the Carpenter’s Pal special is that it is really a combination of several tools in one. It’s a level, a square, a squangle, a ruler and it even has a pencil holder. It’s great for measuring pitches and slopes, determining angles for miter cuts, horizontal leveling and vertical plumbing, squaring up corners and framing layout. You can find the right pitch, angle and level in any home improvement project using just this one tool.
Not all of the products at the National Hardware Show are tools. Many of the products are novelty items that evolve around gardening, the outdoors and pets. If you love the outdoors (camping, hunting, etc.), you’ll love the “Head-Lite” cap. As the name implies, the Head-Lite cap looks and feels like a standard ball cap with one exception – positioned front and center is an 80,000 candle power halogen light bulb that acts as a flashlight. The light, which illuminates up to 40 feet can be adjusted to four positions. Plus the cap comes in various colors and patterns and can be custom monogrammed. We’ve seen many adaptations of this contraption and none comes close to the sleek construction and powerful operation of the Heat-Lite.
Do you have a home, cabin or business that is located where the mercury dips so low that frozen pipes are a concern? If so, you will be especially interested in the “Freeze Alarm” from Control Products, Inc. Introduced at this year’s National Hardware Show, the Freeze Alarm monitors the temperature of an unoccupied home, cabin or business. If the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the devise will automatically dial up to three preprogrammed telephone numbers to alert you of a potential disaster. In addition all of the features of the basic model, the deluxe model will warm up your home, cabin or business by telephone. Plus, it will monitor other alarms such as a flood sensor or motion detector. This could take a lot of worry out of having a vacation home in the snow.
The National Hardware Show always proves to be an exciting and information packed event and this year was no exception. We can hardly wait until next year. Bet you can’t too!