Watch this video to find out about these tools and building products for your home from the 2012 National Hardware Show:

  • Panel Express wheeled sheet good cart from Saw Trax
  • Apex OddJob multipurpose tool
  • Lufkin easy control measuring tape
  • GearWrench pass through socket wrench from Apex Tools
  • Tivoly water cooled ceramic tile drilling jig
  • Franklin ProSensor 710 Professional stud finder
  • Cordless Drill Nail Puller attachment
  • Bucket Buddy angled roof support for tools and buckets
  • Kreg Rip-Cut circular saw ripping guide
  • Bambooee paper towels made from bamboo fibers
  • Gnombre whimsical Hispanic garden gnome
  • Duck Brand NFL theme duct tape
  • Wagner DeckJet deck staining applicator
  • Swanson Savage straight edge
  • Coast LED aluminum flashlight
  • Encore textured plastic laminate finish
  • DIYSTONE peel and stick synthetic stone from Airostone
  • Seber quick release bench vise
  • Turbo Driver self adjusting, ratcheting wrench
  • Turbopro utility knife
  • GutterStuff permeable foam gutter guard insert
  • Big Balls string trimmer support
  • Leaf Reaper leaf bagger
  • Flex-Drain plastic landscape drainage pipe
  • Racor Ladder Lift for ladder storage
  • Racor Bike Lift pulley storage system

Danny Lipford: This week, Today’s Homeowner is on the road in Las Vegas at the National Hardware Show to explore cool new tools and gadgets. So, the next half hour is full of great stuff you can use. So don’t miss it. Joe, you know, it’s kind of funny we’ve been going to dozens of these shows over the years, but never really gone to one together.

Joe Truini: Many, many years. We’ve never gone to one together. And I’ve been going to the Hardware Show since about 1984.

Danny Lipford: ’84, let’s see. I was in the third grade.

Joe Truini: You were. But you were 27 years old.

Danny Lipford: One of the great things about this show is that there’s something for everyone. For example, the Panel Express from Saw Trax is ideal for the contractor who has to move sheet goods like plywood and drywall but doesn’t want to do it by hand.

Apex Tools Spokesman: This tool allows you to do everything that’s needed.

Danny Lipford: While this new tool from Apex Tools, called the OddJob, is a great little “all in one” problem solving addition to any kitchen drawer.

Joe Truini: Lufkin has been making measuring tools for over 140 years, and during that time, they’ve learned a thing or two about how people use tools, even something as simple as a measuring tape. You wouldn’t think there’d be a way to improve something as simple as a retractable tape, but they have. What they did, is they made a very easy way to control the tape by simply cutting a little window on the bottom. And now the tape is exposed, you can easily grip it. I mean, how great is that? How simple. So you’d put out the tape, this is a 25-foot tape, has a 10-foot standout, and then when you want to retract it, it simply takes a little bit of finger pressure right at the bottom. That’s all you need to do.

Now, there’s another tool I thought was just as interesting, and it’s right here, next door. If you’ve ever used a socket wrench, you might be familiar with this problem, bottoming out. It’s when you can’t reach the nut because the bolt is longer than the socket. Well, here’s the solution. It’s a pass through socket wrench. It has a hole that goes through it, so the bolt can pass right through it. This could be a threaded rod, a foot or two long, it wouldn’t matter, you could still go right over it and tighten up the nut. And like any ratchet, you can take this out and exchange it for various sizes.

Danny Lipford: Over at the Tivoly booth, they’re making some great accessories that solve everyday problems. Well, Graham, I was walking by here earlier, and I saw this and I have to ask you, what exactly is this thing?

Graham Rae: Well, Danny, it’s really cool. It’s a specialized jig for helping you drill into ceramic tile. And you know, you end up with a little bit warping. We can get you here, you get the perfect spot, you clip it down, we have water in here, and the water comes through to cool it down and provide a lubricant.

Danny Lipford: Wow.

Graham Rae: So when you take it off, you got your hole at its perfect place, and it’s nice and neat.

Danny Lipford: Looks like a free sample here.

Graham Rae: Well, for you, Danny, it is.

Danny Lipford: Awesome. Thanks Graham. I appreciate it. Thanks a lot. Often it’s the little improvement to tools we already use that make the most difference. Like this new Stud Finder from Franklin, it maps out both edges of the stud at once. There are also some completely different approaches to old chores, like this cordless drill powered nail puller. We’ve even seen mass produced versions of ideas, that we’ve shared with you in our Simple Solution segment like the bucket buddy for holding tools and paint cans on steep slope roofs or this jig for making rip cuts with a circular saw from the folks at Kreg.

Joe Truini: Well, Matt, I understand that Kreg’s got a new product called the Rip Cut Circular Saw Guide that provides a quick easy way to cut up plywood.

Matthew Oakley: Sure, we recognize that there are a lot of DIY individuals out there and woodworkers that were having trouble with large sheets, plywood, twelve by eights, so we created the Kreg Rip Cut, to help cut those sheets down in an accurate way.

Joe Truini: Okay.

Matthew Oakley: Basically, it’s a circular saw guide, that once you zero it out, to the blade and to the top and lock it down.

Joe Truini: Okay. So, you can just adjust that indicator…

Matthew Oakley: Once it’s to zero.

Joe Truini: Okay.

Matthew Oakley: And once it’s there, I’ll make a nice cut.

Joe Truini: All right. All clear. Well, that is pretty slick. That works really well. I’ll tell you a thing I’d notice I liked a lot about this, is that when you got to the end of your cut, the guide was still against the edge, so you weren’t free handing the last inch or so which is often the case.

Matthew Oakley: Yup, we made that guide rail a little bit longer, so it’s going to hit the middle of the blade.

Joe Truini: And what’s this going to retail for?

Matthew Oakley: $34.99.

Joe Truini: Is it available now?

Matthew Oakley: Yes, it is.

Joe Truini: Great. Hey, thanks a lot, Matt, I appreciate it, have a good show.

Danny Lipford: While we keep checking out the show, why don’t you check out another one of Joe’s Simple Solutions.

Joe Truini: There are several home improvement products that come with twist off lids. Now, if you’ve had to use pliers to remove them, here’s the reason why. Often, the product itself, in this case, it’s a wood finish teak oil, will spill out onto the threads. Then when you replace the lid, the material actually acts as an adhesive and seals it on here and makes the lid almost impossible to remove. And that’s not only true of teak oil and polyurethanes but also several kinds of sealers as well that you might use around the house.

Look, here’s the trick. Get a piece of wax paper, about three or four inches wide and then cut off a little square of it. And next time you get ready to replace the lid, just put the wax paper over it and that will protect the threads from that finish, and even if this sits on the shelf for a while you’ll be able to twist it right off without having to use pliers or anything else which can actually damage the lid.

Now, I’ve seen this works really well on all kinds of sealers, but also wood glue, even though it has a dispenser cap, if you put wax paper underneath it, it will seal off air and last a lot longer under your shelf.

Danny Lipford: So, Joe, I wanted to ask you, how many of these do you have in your yard?

Joe Truini: You’re supposed to put those outside?

Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah.

Joe Truini: I got them inside.

Danny Lipford: This week, Joe Truini and I are checking out some great new products at the National Hardware Show, in Las Vegas. Look at this, check this out. There are few green ideas, like these long lasting paper towels made from bamboo fibers.

Bambooee Spokesman: Say no to paper towels!

Danny Lipford: And then there are some things that are just for fun. Like this culturally influenced garden gnome called the Gnombre. Or this NFL themed duck tape from the folks at Duck brand. But lots of these new tools are real problem solvers. Every year, our friends at Wagner show off some great tools to make painting chores just a little easier. Now, they’re doing the same for those deck refinishing projects you might be considering. It’s called the DeckJet.

Basically, it uses the vacuum technology that you’re probably familiar with that allows you to put this fitting right over a paint can, or in this case a stain can, and pull that stain into this reservoir. In this case, it will hold enough stain for 70 square foot of deck, it makes it a lot easier. Then you apply it with just a little handle here that forces the stain out of this pad, which is perfect to apply the stain to a deck.

But here’s where it’s a little bit different. You see the two little brushes? Just like it shows here, it allows you to stain in between the boards, which can be a real challenge when you’re refinishing your deck. Hmm, I think I’ll take this one home. Over at Swanson, I found another tool I’d like to take home. It’s a new straight edge with a non-slip surface and a thumb guard to keep you safe during cutting chores.

Swanson Spokesman: We created a new extrusion that has a thumb guard so that if you jump, you’re protecting your hand from injury.

Danny Lipford: Speaking of safety, Joe’s checking out, the latest and greatest in flashlights.

Joe Truini: The next flashlight you buy should have LED technology and here’s why. LED’s produce a bright white light, they’re 10 times more energy efficient than an incandescent bulb, in fact, they don’t even have a bulb, so they’re unbreakable. Here’s my favorite LED flashlight by Coast. It’s made out of, milled out of aluminum, takes only four AA batteries, and has a recessed water resistant switch. There’s that nice bright white light.

But what I really like about it is this feature that allows you to adjust the beam. You can go from a 6-inch spot to a 6-foot wide flood, by simply sliding it with one hand. How cool is that? Now with all those features, this might be the last flashlight you ever need to buy.

Danny Lipford: This show was really more than a great collection of products. It also gives you some insight into the creativity, and current health of business today. Well, Joe, we spent a little time out here on the floor, what do you think so far?

Joe Truini: Well, I’ve only seen about half of the show, but I’ve been surprised by how many great new products I’ve seen. You’d think year after year, they’d run out of ideas, but they don’t seem to and that’s great, I love seeing these products.

Danny Lipford: Well, I think, maybe over the last couple of years of the economy, they’ve kind of held off on a lot of that research development. Glad to see them back on.

Joe Truini: Yeah, maybe that’s a sign that things are improving.

Danny Lipford: I hope so. In addition to some innovative tools for homeowners, we’re also seeing some great new materials and surfaces like Encore. It’s a system that allows you to transform laminate counter tops, giving them a textured look much like stone or concrete. And speaking of stone, this stone called Airostone, isn’t really stone at all. Hey, Gareth, I got to say, man, I love the synthetic stone work and everything. Tell me a little bit about it.

Gareth Katz: Basically it’s a PVC tin based material and, we apply 100% natural stone coating on the product. It’s applied with a double sided adhesive tape, acrylic based, so the same family of plastics form that chemical key bond. And it gives a great long lasting feel, and look, and it’s exactly what the consumers are looking for. I can give you a quick demo, if you’d like to see.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, great.

Gareth Katz: Here’s my box.

Danny Lipford: Okay.

Gareth Katz: Inside, it comes with different colors, you can see they’re just being…

Danny Lipford: Oh, I see, yeah.

Gareth Katz: Basically, this is your 100%. It’s easy as one, two, three. I mean, all you basically need is a level in the house.

Danny Lipford: Uh-huh.

Gareth Katz: The basic tools. You peel it off, as easy as that. You apply your level, you get your level right, and basically, it can go on to any wall.

Danny Lipford: Wow, and then you just continue going down till you offset it?

Gareth Katz: You actually get your first row level.

Danny Lipford: Oh, I got you.

Gareth Katz: And once it’s level…

Danny Lipford: Oh, man.

Gareth Katz: You can keep building, it’s as easy as that.

Danny Lipford: Man, I tell you, I could see this being used for back splash in the kitchen, accent wall here and there.

Gareth Katz: Accent walls are fantastic. You can even, once it’s applied, change it, so if you buy your condo, two years, three years, or when moving you can take your product with you.

Danny Lipford: Oh, I didn’t think about that.

Gareth Katz: Absolutely, so it lends itself to that sort of flexibility.

Danny Lipford: Man.

Gareth Katz: There’s no masonry, no mortar, it’s a DIY effortless application. And it’s doing very, very well.

Danny Lipford: Oh, man, I love it.

Gareth Katz: Yeah, thank you.

Danny Lipford: While we keep scouting here for great new products that are soon to be released, why don’t you check in with Jodi at the home center, for some that are already on the shelves.

Jodi Marks: If you’re in the market for a versatile tool system, look no further than the tool aisle here. Take a look at all of the options that you have. But let me show you one of these that has just hit the market. This is by Dremel and this is called the Saw Max.

Now, why are they calling it the Saw Max? Because there’s a maximum amount of things that you can do with this saw. The kit actually comes with different blades, I’ve got the multi-purpose blade on here, with that I can cut wood, I can cut PVC, I can cut drywall, I can cut copper piping, I can cut metal. I pop on the tile blade, and I can cut tile, I can also pop on the masonry blade and I can cut concrete, masonry block. Again, the uses are just endless.

Another thing I like, it’s got a trigger release, if I want to make a quick cut, if I’ve got to make a rip on plywood, all I got to do is lock that down, hold it in place and I can make a long rip. This is a great tool to have on hand if you don’t want to pull out the big old circular saw, or if you’re just going to be making some really quick cuts. Uh, you know what? I have to say, Saw Max, that’s a pretty great name for this tool.

Danny Lipford: My buddy, Joe Truini and I are exploring the National Hardware Show, in Vegas, and there’s definitely no shortage of cool tools in this place. Every year at this show, we see where manufacturers have taken a little time, to make a traditional tool a little better.

Here’s a great example on a traditional bench vise. Now, what could you do to make this work any better than it does? Well, you know, usually you have to take this handle to open and close, but on this vise, push one button here and it opens right up, you put whatever you’re working on in there then with one hand you can push it back together, then you can always tighten it up a little bit in order to really get it nice and snug. Great improvement on that traditional tool.

Here’s another one. Now, this is kind of a unique driver here, it’s called a Turbo Driver and what this actually does, is because of the jaws that it has here in the front, it will fit six different size bolts by just simply pushing this, putting it down, you can adjust this forward or backwards, and you’re able to ratchet it right off of there. Just think how convenient this would be, to have in your boat, your car, motorcycle, almost anywhere. Very, very good idea.

Now, what could possibly improve on the traditional utility knife? Now this particular one has a great grip, ergonomically feels really good but what’s really cool is how easy it is to change a blade. Now this is a little small to show you, but maybe I can show you on the exact same type of knife, this one being the largest utility knife in the world as certified by Guinness Book of World Records. So, we could make it a little easier to show you how you can push the blade right out like that, then when you’re ready to change it, simply pulling this back, this pulls right out. Then, you return this back here. Reload, and there’s a nice sharp blade. Think how easy that would make it, if you’re doing a project, like, maybe drywall or any type of flooring that would require a lot of changes of blades, I hate having to break out that Phillips-head screwdriver to change the blades in my utility knife.

Another thing I hate is cleaning gutters. And this system from GutterStuff, looks like a surefire way to eliminate that problem by allowing water to drain through, but nothing else. This rolling support for string trimmers is also a great way to make a common outdoor chore a little easier. And apparently, Joe has taken taking it easy to heart.

Joe Truini: Hey, Danny.

Danny Lipford: Wait a minute. What are you doing?

Joe Truini: I’m trying out the equipment.

Danny Lipford: Come on now, we’ve got a lot to do around here. What do you think about all of this? This hall is awesome.

Joe Truini: Yeah, there’s lawn and garden. This is a sectional outdoor furniture, and lots of furniture and gas grills.

Danny Lipford: Well, it’s obvious, the trend to develop that outdoor living space at home is alive and well.

Joe Truini: Absolutely and it’s nice when you come to a hardware show, we have the real hardware, the tools and the nuts and bolts on one side and all those outdoor living equipment on this side.

Danny Lipford: And I’m seeing all kind of landscape lining, all kinds of lawnmowers, little bit of everything. Let’s get back to work.

Joe Truini: I’ll be right with you.

Danny Lipford: There’s a lot to see here in the way of lawn and garden solutions like the Leaf Reaper which is an incredibly simple idea, that’s been well executed and put into production to simplify bagging leaves. Some of the problems I hear all the time from home owners are a wet basement, drainage problems around the yard, that’s causing erosion or water settling next to their foundation that’s creating some foundation problems. All of those could be solved with proper drainage around your home.

Now, if you have gutters, that’s a good thing. You want to make sure they’re in really good shape and they don’t leak and they’re moving the water where it’s supposed to go. It should come down the downspout and have something that moves that water away from the house. Here’s a very simple way from this company FLEX-Drain, you have this little fitting at the end, you can stretch this out, bend it in any direction you want and wouldn’t that be perfect to have that buried right under your flower bed, then, you can have, another attachment onto that, like this. That will allow you to move that water to a place that won’t damage your house.

Now, if you have a prize tree, or any prize shrubs, you can bend this anyway you want so that you can minimize the amount of digging that you have to do. Plus, FLEX-Drain has all of the different fittings, that you might find that you can tie several different downspout drains, into one. Now, this isn’t the most glamorous home improvement project that you might do, but it’s one that will save you a lot of money. Apparently, Joe is back on the job and he’s found some pretty cool additions for the garage over at the Racor booth.

Joe Truini: All right, Craig, I’ve seen a lot of really cool home storage products here, I understand you have something new for keeping ladders out of the way.

Craig Zurko: We do, ladders are the number one problems of consumers.

Joe Truini: I’m not a bit surprised.

Craig Zurko: They’re large, they’re bulky.

Joe Truini: Yeah.

Craig Zurko: And really tough to store them. What we’ve got here today, is the Racor Ladder Lift.

Joe Truini: The Ladder Lift?

Craig Zurko: Yes.

Joe Truini: Well, my ladder is outside right now, so I think I might be interested in this product.

Craig Zurko: We’ll see if we can get your ladder inside.

Joe Truini: All right.

Craig Zurko: We got a rope and pulley on one side.

Joe Truini: Right.

Craig Zurko: And a fixed hook on the other side. And, we, uh, we just pull this rope to the side here. And we’re able to lower… Lower the ladder here. And if you accidentally let go of the rope, it automatically catches.

Joe Truini: Ah, very nice. Now, this is similar to the bike rack you have with the pulley system, only you have all the pulleys in one location.

Craig Zurko: That’s right.

Joe Truini: But it’s the same basic system where…

Craig Zurko: It is.

Joe Truini: …the pulleys, a lot of pulleys do much of the work.

Craig Zurko: Right. So in this particular case, there’s an eight-to-one mechanical advantage. So an 80-pound ladder would only feel like 10 pounds.

Joe Truini: Wow, that’s great.

Craig Zurko: Yeah. It’s tremendous.

Joe Truini: What’s the capacity of the Ladder Lift?

Craig Zurko: So you can put up to 150 pounds on this. Ladders aren’t going to be a challenge.

Joe Truini: Can I try cranking it up?

Craig Zurko: Absolutely.

Joe Truini: Oh, yeah, that’s like a breeze.

Craig Zurko: Yeah.

Joe Truini: And again, because you’re only lifting half the ladder.

Craig Zurko: Yup.

Joe Truini: And now when is this going to be available, and how much does it cost?

Craig Zurko: Sure, it’s June 2012, that’s this year, about $50.

Joe Truini: Hey, Craig, thanks a lot. I appreciate the information.

Althea asks: Should I use faced or unfaced insulation in my attic?

Danny Lipford: I’ve always said adding insulation to your attic is some of the best money you can spend to make your house more energy-efficient, but whether to use faced or unfaced insulation is a great question. Now here’s a situation where a homeowner, what looks like many years ago, added insulation, they added a three-inch layer, but it has facing on it, and that could create a moisture trap between the living area and the underside of the insulation.

So, when you’re adding insulation to an existing attic that has insulation, you’ll want to use an unfaced type of material. In that way, you won’t have to worry about that moisture trap. And all you have to do is get a few rolls of this, roll it out perpendicular over the ceiling joist that you have in your attic, and then you’ve created that insulation barrier that’s going to save you money, summer or winter.

Danny Lipford: Well, Joe, I have to say, it was maybe not as busy as it was 10 years ago, but absolutely a lot busier than a couple of years ago.

Joe Truini: And we still found tons of great products.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, no doubt about it.

Joe Truini: Lots of innovation.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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