Hammers, Saws, and Laser Levels - The National Hardware Show
by Michael J. Bordenaro
Most people's architecture is not on the pages of web sites or magazines. It is three dimensional, it deteriorates, it has problematic wiring, it needs repair, and it's usually undergoing some kind of improvement.
Knowing that many people enjoy a hands-on approach to architecture, ArchitectureWeek went looking for well designed tools and products that can help people improve their own architectural surroundings. This mission took me to the National Hardware Show held in Chicago, this August 13-16.
Based on what was displayed in more than 1.3 million square feet (121,000 square meters) of exhibit space at the McCormick Place Convention Center, we Americans are ready to hang out in our manicured backyards holding big, contractor-grade, squishy-handled, electronic tools, then cook out on stainless steel barbecue grills.
These trends--improved yard products, ergonomic handles, electronic tools, and professional-level items with quality finishes--reflect the combination of aging baby boomers puttering around at home and their enjoyment of economic growth.
With literally thousands of manufacturers, it is impossible to warn you about all the products that will be jumping off the shelf at you during your next shopping excursion for a box of nails. Go to the National Hardware Show Web site and check out the new products page. Just watch out for all of the barbecue grills they will download at you.
Traditional Tools ó Bold New Looks
To get us to buy more stuff as we parade through big-box home improvement centers, tool manufacturers are applying ergonomics and pretty colors to standard items. It is not that anybody really needs yet another hammer or measuring tape. But these days, anything that costs less than a steak dinner can be justified as an impulse item.
Ergonomically designed with the professional and high-end user in mind, Stanley's AntiVibe hammer absorbs a significant proportion of hammer vibration before it reaches the user's forearm and elbow, greatly reducing fatigue and stress.
This lawnmower from Friendly Robotics automatically and quietly cuts your lawnówith style.
Photo: Friendly Robotics
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