Welcome to the 2010 International Builder’s Show Blog!
Look for video or photo updates every day during the show.
The most recent will be right up top but you can scroll down for the latest from the show!
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Wrapping Up and Heading Out

January 22nd, 2010 by
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It’s been an interesting few days here at the International Builder’s Show. Despite the slow economy, I’m happy to see more attendees than last year, a slew of added booths filling the floorspace again and some signs of optimism among all. Although IBS isn’t woodworking-focused, we were still able to have a look at some products that are close to your shop and DIY needs. And, many tool vendors are promising great new products in the pipeline for 2010. So, again, reason for brighter days to come—and downright excitement for our next woodworking show this summer!

Well, the show is clearing out, winding down and soon to end. Time to double-check those airline times—especially given all the rain and cold we’ve had here—and head to the airport. Thanks for clicking through and viewing our video and text blogs. Be on the lookout for more IBS product coverage to come in the regular eZine and future print issues of the Journal!

Catch you back in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

Rustic Furniture Made Easier with Lumberjack Tenon Cutters

January 22nd, 2010 by
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More Joinery, Mongo Cuts from Prazi USA

January 22nd, 2010 by
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I stopped by to see Bob Cummings at Prazi USA and, although he wasn’t showing brand-new product at IBS, there are a couple of current Prazi items worthy of note. Recently, Prazi expanded the joinery options for its ChestMate Dovetail Jig—a product I really like. Now, the same ChestMate jig is capable of cutting mortises of any length and width, as well as four sizes of box joints (3/8, 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4 in.) and even dowel joints with any spacing on any length board. The expanded capability is possible because Prazi includes several more inserts with the standard jig. The ChestMate and all of the new inserts sell for $129. Try getting that degree of versatility out of any other dovetail jig!

Another unsual Prazi product that could come in real handy for timber framing or cutting other oversized stock is the Beam Cutter. It uses a bolt on chainsaw-style bar and integral splitter to convert your worm drive or 7 1/4-in. circular saw into a tool capable of cutting 12-in.-thick material. Although the Beam Cutter looks a little intimidating, Bob says the chain cuts on the upstroke, which pulls the saw tight to the workpiece and eliminates kickback hazards. The Beam Cutter has a street price of around $159.

You can learn more about both products, or even place an on-line order, by visiting the company’s website: www.praziusa.com

RIDGID’s New Palm Router Offers Improved Precision, Quick Release Motor

January 22nd, 2010 by
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I’ve been a fan of RIDGID’s compact trim router for years, but its depth adjustment feature and finicky motor release were two aspects that left room for improvement for me. But, my little gripes have been nicely remedied in RIDGID’s new R2401 Trim Router. This 3.8-lb. tool offers a micro-adjust dial for precise depth-of-cut control, and a quick-release latch disengages the motor for easy removal from the base.

The R2401 develops 5.5 amps, with a variable speed range of 20,000 to 30,000 rpm. A spindle lock makes bit changing a one-wrench operation, and soft start eliminates torque-twisting at start-up.

RIDGID builds other creature comforts into this pint-sized router, such as a flat top that will make bit swapping more stable, overmolds on the gripping surface and an LED light to brighten the cutting area. An edge guide, clear round or square subbases, a 1/4-in.-shank laminate-trimming bit and heavy-duty contractor’s carry case round out this package, for $99.97.

The R2401 Trim Router is available in Home Depot stores now.

Know Your Juice Use with Ryobi Power Usage Meter

January 22nd, 2010 by
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While this item certainly isn’t a woodworking power tool, Ryobi’s Power Usage Meter, released late in 2009, can help you become a wiser electricity consumer in your home or shop. The meter simply plugs into an outlet, and its onboard grounded plug will then accept the plug of most 15-amp home appliances, including televisions, stereos, computers, microwaves, cell phone chargers and other household or consumer electronics. It can evaluate the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly power usage and cost of whatever you have plugged into it. Ryobi estimates the meter to be accurate to within +/- 3%.

Finally, here’s a way to know exactly where your utility dollars are being spent—quickly and easily. The Ryobi Power Usage Meter has a street price of $24.97, and you can purchase it at your local Home Depot store.

RIDGID Unveils Two-headed Multi-tool in JobMax Combo

January 22nd, 2010 by
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The category of multi-tools, which accept a variety of cutting and sanding attachments, continues to grow. Now RIDGID is joining this versatile tool group with a twist: its new 12-volt multi-tool consists of a power base that accepts two different quick-connect heads. One is an oscillating head, which resembles a more typical multi-tool. RIDGID says this head will accept most multi-tool attachments for plunge-cutting, sanding, scraping and more. A second AutoHammer Head, which also installs without tools, enables the same power base to drive nails at 3600 beats per minute. Its right-angle configuration will be helpful for tight-quarter nailing applications.

RIDGID packages the multi-tool with a two-speed drill, featuring a 3/8-in. single-sleeve chuck. An overmolded grip and LED light should make this a handy little cordless drill to keep around the shop or home. A charger and single Lithium-ion battery power either of the R92234 JobMax Combo Kit tools.

Unveiled for the first time at IBS, RIDGID anticipates that this all-new kit should reach Home Depot stores this March, with a suggested retail price of $199.

Li-ion Powers Senco’s New Fusion Nailers

January 22nd, 2010 by
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Osborne Wood Products Offers Free CAD Renderings

January 21st, 2010 by
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Craftsman VersaTrack Organizes Shop or Garage Walls

January 21st, 2010 by
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Festool Brings Domino to Decks with Concealed Fastening System

January 21st, 2010 by
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Top Off Six Batteries in One Supercharger from Ryobi

January 21st, 2010 by
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If you’re tired of accumulating another battery charger for every new cordless tool you buy, Ryobi’s P125 Super Charger could offer a better solution. It can charge up to six of the company’s 18-volt ONE+ batteries at a time on demand, and it responds to each battery’s individual charging state.

The charger can replenish batteries in one hour or less, then it monitors charge levels and tops them up as necessary. Separate indicator lights show battery and port status as batteries are charged or maintained. An Energy Save Mode activates when all of the batteries are fully charged, and it shuts the charger down until it’s needed again. That protects the batteries’ cells and maximizes their overall service lives.

The Ryobi Super Charger includes a 6-ft. power cord and a quick-release wall-mount bracket to help conserve workbench space. Tool batteries are not included.

You can see the Super Charger now at your local Home Depot store, along with other ONE+ Ryobi tools. It sells for $79.

Rockwell’s New Li-ion Multi-tool and Drill/Driver Combo

January 21st, 2010 by
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Rockwell is rolling out a handy little RK1002K2 Combo Kit at IBS, featuring two 12-volt Lithium-ion tools: a drill/driver and an oscillating multitool for $199.99.

The drill/driver is a compact little tool with a two-speed gearbox that develops no-load speeds of 0-350 and 0-1300 rpm.  The drill/driver has 230 in. lbs. of torque, which should be plenty of power for drilling or driving screws in a variety of materials. Drilling capacity is 1-1/8 in. in wood and 3/8 in. in steel.  The drill/driver has a 3/8 in. keyless chuck, 15-torque settings plus a drill mode. An automatic spindle lock allows rapid bit changes.  The tool’s comfortable soft-grip handle and variable-speed trigger and brake make it handy to use for a variety of projects.  An LED light helps illuminate the work area.

On the heels of Rockwell’s corded SoniCrafter multi-tool, the new 12-volt lithium-ion model provides the versatility of cutting, sawing, scraping and sanding and the convenience of cord-free operation.  Its oscillation speed is 2000 to 5000 rpm with an oscillating angle of 3.2 degrees. The elongated, angle grinder-like body of the SoniCrafter has a soft grip handle, variable-speed trigger and an easy access on/off switch.  A built-in LED light helps illuminate the work area. The tool is also compatible with a broad range of other Rockwell SoniCrafter blades and accessories.

Rockwell’s two-piece 12-volt Lithium Combo with drill/driver and SoniCrafter are available online at rockwelltoolsdirect.com and other websites, including amazon.com. These products also are expected to be available through local retailers, such as Menards and independent hardware stores and lumber yards in early spring 2010.

Free-Hand Drilling Made Possible & Safe with Rover Bits

January 21st, 2010 by
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Simpler Conversions from Calculated Industries

January 21st, 2010 by
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We stopped by Calculated Industries at IBS today, and while their product line here at the show is geared more toward professional builders, a couple of calculator products could sure come in handy for around-the-house DIY and woodworking applications—especially if math was never your strongest suit.

The Construction Master 5 calculator, which has a street price of around $70 to $75, has key functions that enable you to figure pitch, rise and run for framing roofs. This model will also estimate board foot quantities with a touch of a button. Metric conversions will be easier, thanks to buttons for meters, centimeters and millimeters, and of course you can do any other typical mathematical calculation, too. You can purchase it through Rockler and other sources.

Or, choose the Material Estimator, which sells for between $30 and $40. This model will enable you to estimate quantities of concrete, block, gravel, decking, fencing, studs, flooring, tile and more—all using individual, dedicated buttons. It’s solar powered and ready to work when you are.

Both calculators allow you to enter fractional measurements just like you say them, without determining decimal equivalents first…shop math made easy.

Kolbalt Offers 10-inch Sliding Miter Saw for Under $200

January 21st, 2010 by
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New Fein Attachment Expands MultiMaster to Broad Sanding

January 21st, 2010 by
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Top-shelf Tool Storage from Gladiator GarageWorks

January 21st, 2010 by
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Lowe’s Pairs Portable CO2 with Pneumatic Nailing

January 21st, 2010 by
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Lower-Cost But Powerful Laser Level from Bosch

January 20th, 2010 by
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New SoniShear Attachment Cuts Metal, Carpet, and More

January 20th, 2010 by
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Shucking the Sorels and Heading to IBS!

January 19th, 2010 by
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Sure, it’s still January—cold, dark and snowy. Followed by more cold, dark and snowy. Nobody knows that better than us here in the Northland. But this week, editor-in-chief Rob Johnstone and I are shedding the parkas and mukluks and heading to sunny Las Vegas for the 2010 International Builder’s Show (IBS).

IBS is the largest annual building industry tradeshow in the country!  That’s where we’ll find all the big names in home improvement—and plenty of woodworking suppliers, too—showing their latest and greatest goodies for the new year. But, even though you probably won’t be there thawing out with us, you can grab hold of our cyber press passes and come along anyway!

Just as we did last year, we’ll hit Sin City’s convention center hard, with plenty of video interviews in the booths plus other blog coverage from the tradeshow floor.

Follow our IBS escapades on Twitter, Facebook and, of course, this blog! Check back often, as we’ll be uploading new content throughout each day.

Let’s take a break from winter and let IBS get us thinking about warmer weather and all of the woodworking that goes with it.

Time to get packed and get outta Dodge!

Catch you from IBS,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor