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Hand Tool Picks from the #NationalHardwareShow

September 06, 2016

The continuing saga of a year's worth of tools reviewed in a weekend: demo, digging, door-setting, and deep-detection

David Frane went to the National Hardware Show this year so you didn't have to. The show is where buyers from hardware stores, lumber yards, and home centers go to see the latest and greatest tools and products being pitched by the companies that make them.

The 2016 show was particularly good, with more interesting new tools and products than I have seen in years past. Some recently came out, some are scheduled for release later this year, and some are concepts in search of buyers—years away from being produced or fated to never be produced at all.

In no particular order, here are some hand tool gotta-haves:


Designed for use as a temporary shim, the #Winbag is as thin as dime when deflated and up to 2 inches thick when pumped full of air. Slip it into a gap and then squeeze the bulb (the kind found on blood pressure cuffs) to fill it with air.

Using one or more of them you can lift or nudge heavy objects into position—items such as door and window units, cabinets, and appliances.

The bag can apply up to 300 pounds of pressure and through inflation and deflation can be used to make minute adjustments.

Winbags, from @AxminsterTools, sell for about $20.


This heavy-duty deck demolition tool removes deck boards without prying against joists, allowing you to work from above from a standing position. It grasps one edge of the board and pries against the other, peeling it off the joists with a great deal of force. The #DemoDek weighs 8.7 pounds and has a steel head and laminated bamboo handle.

Available from @AxminsterTools, it sells for about $110.


Bosse Shovels

Shovels have hardly changed in 100 years but this one from Bosse is different. Designed to be more ergonomic than traditional models, it has a forward grip that can be rotated to whatever angle feels the most comfortable. The grip is housed within an aluminum ring and released with the push of a button.

Digging shoves have steel heads and are available with round or square points; the grain scoop and snow shovel have polypropylene heads. All shovels have D-handles with fiberglass shafts.

#BosseShovels, available from @BosseTools, sell for between $80 and $100.


Roller Keeper

The Roller Keeper is an airtight container for storing paint rollers that haven’t been cleaned. By squeezing the sides you can pull the roller off the frame without getting paint on your hands—at which point you can snap on the cap. The roller will be ready to use the next time you need that color—saving you from having to clean good rollers or using cheap rollers and throwing them away.

The Roller Keeper is made by Obvious Solutions (@Roller_Squeegee); a three-pack of the product sells for about $21.


Franklin ProSensor 710+

The ProSensor is an easy-to-use stud finder. It contains 13 individual sensors that work together to locate wood and metal studs and beams in walls and ceilings. Unlike other stud sensors—which must be calibrated by sliding them back and forth across the wall—this one works without sliding.

Put it over a hidden object and it will indicate where the object is, and the location of its edges.

Powered by two AA batteries, it will scan up to 1 1/2 inches deep. This new model (710+) contains an added spirit level, which does little to improve an already good tool (710). Price: $59 w level; $49 w/o.


—David Frane is a freelance editor and a good buddy of ours. Formerly, he was editor of Tools of the Trade magazine and website. He lives in Northern California.


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