January 18, 2011 AsktheBuilder Tips And Newsletter
What's in This Newsletter?
Remember, Do it Right, Not Over!
I do product reviews frequently. Please read my Disclosure Policy to understand the relationship between me and the companies that make the products or offer the services I review.
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There's a light snow falling here in New Hampshire as I write this newsletter. It's a gorgeous winter's day. I'm absolutely going skiing tomorrow. No doubt about it. Come with me tomorrow afternoon over at Ragged Mountain.
I hung and filled all of Kathy's bird feeders out on the deck a couple of weeks ago. The hungry birds have a convention of their own outside each day gorging themselves on the food since the snow cover has cut them off from easy pickings.
Yesterday in the trees closest to the house, I saw a giant pileated woodpecker. Wow, those birds have a brilliant red head and are enormous. I thought a pterodactyl had landed in the tree at first!
I believe I've been going to the annual Builders Show for almost 16 years. The first one I attended was in Houston at the Astrodome. I'll never forget how confused I was and how out of place I felt. The size of the show made me feel very insignificant.
Go back about seven years ago when the real estate and building bubble was growing larger and larger, the show was expanding faster than Oprah's waistline when her personal trainer goes on vacation.
Five years ago, the show was in Orlando, Florida as it was last week. If you've ever been to the Orange County Convention Center, then you know how big the show can be when both the West and South Buildings are packed with booths. It's enormous.
However, for the past four years the show has been shrinking. This year, I estimate, the show was just 35 percent the size it was five years ago. The entire South building was shuttered and vacant. In the West building, there had to be at least 100,000 square feet of show floor that was void of booths.
On opening day, the aisles were not overflowing with attendees. It was eerily quiet and subdued. Many manufacturers of products had no presence at the show. In years past, the aisles were so crowded with people, you were constantly bumping into one another and it was very difficult to make your way through the crush of people.
I don't see this changing anytime soon. The show is just a ghost of what it once was. It's so bad that you can't even find a bottle of water in the Press Lounge. What a way to treat those who are there to advertise the show for FREE! It's a shame. I will be attending the Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas at the end of April. This show has, I believe, been growing in size. We'll see.
Even though the show was dismal from my perspective, I did see some products that may be of great interest to you.
At the Sears Craftsman display, I saw two fascinating products. One was their cordless tool Quikboost battery charger. Let's say your run out of power on a job. You take out your battery and pop it in the charger. Push the Quikboost button and in three minutes the charger gets you back up to 25 percent charge. That may be enough juice to allow you to complete the job.
Sears was also showcasing a riding lawn mower that had Turn Tight Technology. It's a special linkage in the front axle that turns one wheel more than the other. On most riding lawn mowers both front wheels stay parallel as you turn them. By making the inner wheel turn tighter, you get a much tighter turning radius. This large mower had, I believe, just an 8-inch turning radius. That's more than enough to get you around a small tree that's got some mulch around it.
At the Daltile booth, I saw all sorts of new or newer tile that looks like hardwood flooring, or textiles of all things! Yes, you can buy ceramic tile in 6-inch by 36-inch strips that have a hardwood design and color imprinted on them. You lay them randomly to look like strip hardwood flooring.
Do you want a log cabin? But not the maintenance associated with logs? I saw vinyl siding that resembled logs. Crazy. This is not necessarily a new product, just that it was at the show. You can Google "log vinyl siding" to see it.
Here's another product that's not new, but was on display. At the LE Johnson booth, they had their magnificent hardware that's made for bi-fold doors. If you're an old-time subscriber to this newsletter, you know that they make the best pocket door hardware.
But I'll bet you didn't know about their 1601 hardware for bi-fold doors. This hardware allows the doors to swing out completely from the frame giving you great access to the entire closet. Traditionally bi-fold doors have been a royal PIA as when folded up. They were in the way of you accessing things in the closet.
For well over six months, you may have been one of my great fans who's begged me to start a Facebook Fan Page. I was bogged down with the move and just had too many irons in the fire.
But now it's up and live. If you're a Facebook user, I'd love for you to become a fan and send the word out to your Facebook friends about the page. Here's a few reasons why it pays to be a fan of AsktheBuilder on Facebook.
First, I'm going to try to post late-breaking news and tips on the page frequently. You'll see these posts on your Facebook News Feed, and all posts will be archived on the Ask the Builder Facebook fan page.
For example, I could have used this tool last week while at the Builders Show to update you with great products I was seeing. I did this on my Twitter feed, and it showed up at the Facebook fan page because I have the two accounts connected.
Emergency messages, recall alerts, or other last-minute news will also be put on my fan page. This means you get these messages quickly if you're a Facebook user.
You also get to write on the Ask the Builder Wall at the Fan Page. I have that unlocked. This allows you to share tips so others can benefit. The intention is to create a community so that we can all discover new things that will save all of us time and money. Of course you can comment on posts of mine or add a comment to that of another fan. Ah, the complexity of Facebook!
The bottom line is this new Fan Page should be beneficial to you. I'm hoping you Like it, get it? You need to go to my fan page and click the Like button!
Moms, I need your help to introduce Stain Solver to the nation.
Fifteen years ago, I lugged the first 100-pound sack of oxygen bleach Stain Solver down the basement stairs at my home. We used to mix it back then a bucket at a time using a garden trowel. Ellen, Kathy and I would bottle it and carry the boxes ready to ship to you back up the steps. It was insane. As you might expect, the business has grown. Now, we regularly ship truckloads from our distribution center.
This year, Kathy and I have assembled a crack team to take Stain Solver to the next level. We're finally ready spread the good word and enlighten as many people as possible how to clean and save their stuff with Stain Solver.
With the help of a professional public relations firm, we've sent out invitations to the top lifestyle magazines to meet up with us in New York City for a little event we're putting together Tuesday, March 1st. You and your stories about Stain Solver are at the heart of this event.
If you're a mom and have used Stain Solver, we'd love for you to share your story with us. What has Stain Solver saved in your life and how can it help the lives of others? Would you consider sending your photos, videos, drawings, and stories of anything you'd like to share with us and the magazine editors? Your experiences will go a long way to prove to the magazine mavens that Stain Solver is really an amazing product.
Wait, there's more. If you're a mom who has saved something with Stain Solver and live in the city or within driving distance to New York City, we want to invite you to the event on March 1st. All you have to do is share your story, in person, with the magazine editors at the event. Just an honest conversation with me and the editors about Stain Solver. There will be good food, good conversations and lots of fun.
Afterwards, I'd love to say thank you by taking you out to dinner. We'll have a blast. Please email me soon if you can come to the event with your story and possibly the item you saved with Stain Solver!
When you go read all the latest columns at the AsktheBuilder website below, you'll see something new. Look just to the right of the headline above each column. See the Share button? We just installed it yesterday on every column. Take your mouse and hover over it. Look at all the options you have.
In seconds, you can share a helpful column with your friends, on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, email it to a relative or co-worker, etc.
I'd appreciate it if you would start to use that each time you're at the site. The increased exposure and traffic helps me to keep the content at AsktheBuilder for free. More traffic to the website also allows me to improve it and to add more features that will help you.
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