March 25, 2007

JLC Live – Rhode Island 2007

jlclive.jpgWe took Friday off from the website and headed to R.I. for the annual JLC Live trade show. As always, the show is a madhouse, this year with booths even spilling out into the entrance hallway. The place has a great carnival atmosphere, with everyone jostling around, promoting products, doing demonstrations, and handing out product literature.

It’s quite a scene and there’s a lot going on. All of the big guys of the construction world are there; Bosch, Hitachi, DeWalt, Anderson, etc. But it’s the smaller booths where the really cool stuff is going on. This is where you find the little companies that rest their reputations on one or two innovative products. These are the guys we really went to go see.

Chief among these companies was Artillery Tools, the makers of the Artillery Pry Bar, an amazing looking weapon of mass destruction. Joe Skach, the president of the company and inventor of the tool, talked about his pry bar with such enthusiasm that it was tough to resist the urge to grab the thing and start ripping the floor up right on the spot. Also at the show was Scott Rivers, the president of Quick Angle, makers of, oddly enough, the Quick Angle. This little tool is capable of finding every measurement from roof angle to the center of a circle and it also doubles as a scribing tool. It’s like a bevel gauge on BALCO. It looks like it can also locate the angle of the sun during the winter solstice, but we didn’t get confirmation on that. Handi-Shim, makers of these cool little reusable shims, was another small company that impressed us. They let us take a sampler bag with us, so we’ll have a full review up soon.

artillery_bar.jpg handi-shim.jpg

We also got a kick out of Metabo and their line of hammer-drills (including the BHE20 Compact). Jay, their sales manager, told us they recently teamed up with Porsche and created a designer hammer-drill that should be out in the US sometime this year (it’s already in Europe).


Mike from Anderson Windows (pictured), spent a lot of time showing us their new line of TruScene window screens, made from stainless steel and virtually see-through, as well as their now-standard E4 glass, which is not only energy efficient, but greatly reduces water spots. He was also nice enough to introduce us to his friends at the Grace exhibit where they were showcasing the Tri-Flex Xtreme, their new non-slip roofing membrane.

anderson.jpg grace.jpg

There were a number of demonstration areas set up and Bosch even had a place where you could stand on this platform and drop one of their drills down on the concrete floor, a fall of about 10'. The excitement of this wore off after watching it exactly once and we couldn’t imagine actually waiting in line just to drop a drill. But sure enough, the line was never less than five or six people long. We figured these are the same people who get excited about a Viva La Bam marathon on MTV.

Bosch_drill_drop.jpgA quick list of other companies and tools that we liked include:

JLC Live has three more shows this year. If there is one near you we definitely recommend making the trip.

Long Beach, CA - May 15th through 18th
Minneapolis, MN - September 11th through 14th
Seattle, WA - October 30th through November 2nd

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at March 25, 2007 9:32 AM
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