Vegas is the place to be, baby. At least it’s the place to be every May to attend the National Hardware Show. This trade show attracts buyers from all kinds of retail outlets to peruse the latest in tools, fasteners, gear, and lawn and garden equipment. At least that’s the part Pro Tool Reviews pays attention to. The show also features a lot of décor items and countless whatzits. If it’s sold at a hardware store, chances are there are a dozen or more vendors at the 2016 National Hardware Show selling it. We didn’t expect our 2016 National Hardware Show coverage to have many new or innovative products, but we were pleasantly surprised this year.
Most of the major power tool brands don’t attend this show, so it gave us a rare chance to seek out inventor-types and less celebrated tool brands. Following are some of the standout products we found.
Cuz-D Straight Flush Worm Drive Saw
The single-most talked about tool at the show among tool journalists was the Cuz-D Straight Flush Saw. It’s a 9-inch worm drive circular saw configured with a plastic dust-shield surrounding the top of the blade in place of a traditional metal upper guard.
The position of the blade along with its recessed arbor attachment allows the saw to make flush cuts with the dust shield removed. The rotating rear handle can be positioned upright in either cutting position.
The saw’s shoe in front of the blade can flip up 90 degrees to enable cutting with the saw held straight down (perpendicular to its normal orientation).
A thumb-operated lever above the handle allows the user to retract the lower guard remotely without reaching down near the blade. The saw tilts to a huge 65-degree bevel angle. Another nicely executed feature is the saw’s generous fence that can guide along an outside edge like typical fences or along an inside edge with the fence inverted.
It’s difficult to fully grasp the utility or necessity of some of this saw’s features, but basically it’s being marketed as a saw that does it all without having to change tools. The saw is heavy and expensive ($575), and the amount of blade exposure in some uses seems excessive, but the company assures that the saw meets applicable safety requirements for power tools. It will be interesting to see if this complex new saw is sought out by pro users for all of its claimed benefits.
Fiskars Shears, Cutters and Hammers
Fiskars was hidden away from competitors in a private sales room, but we were offered an invitation to peek behind the curtain. On the lawn and garden side, the brand’s reach extends into the professional arborist and forestry fields. Besides the new PowerGear2 line of loppers and shears with improved gearing, Fiskars is also “branching” out into traditional wood handling tools like log tongs and hookaroons.
The big reveal on the hand tool side was a new line of snips and cutters with the brand’s PowerGear mechanism which adds leverage at the beginning of the cut when the user’s hand is wide open and at its weakest.
Fiskars 1-inch pex/pvc shears with the same gearing for added power at the beginning of the cut.
Fiskars new PowerGear bolt cutters come in four lengths.
Fiskars PowerArc shears have curved blades to optimize a user’s hand strength. The abrupt curve at the end of the shears really does make it easier to finish a cut in tough materials versus straight bladed shears.
Fiskars offers a line of hammers with a unique multi-piece construction designed to minimize vibration.
The brand’s sledge hammers share a similar composite design. The asymmetrical heads are designed with a wide flat face for pounding and a convex wedge face for breaking. The tapered sides of the wedge face are designed to force debris out to the sides and away from the user during demolition work.
Fiskars also makes a shorty sledge hammer with a full size head so you don’t have to cut the handle off a long one to make a comfortable stake pounder.
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