The seventh annual Solid Surface International Expo, held this
past March in Las Vegas, featured a number of innovative new
products of interest to fabricators working with both solid surface
and engineered stone materials. As I walked around the exhibit
hall, a number of clever ideas caught my eye.
Lumicor is a translucent sheet product that embeds textiles,
papers, metals, natural foliage and wood veneers for a distinctive
and innovative look. High performance resins including acrylics and
PETG are used, and the product is available in nine thicknesses
ranging from 1/16″ to 1″. Many architectural applications including
countertops are possible. Contact Lumicor at 425-255-4000 or go to
www.lumicor.com for more information.
Formica Solid Surfacing is offering the V075 vanity bowl in the
Nickel color option. Although made of solid surface material, the
bowl appears to be made of metal, resulting in a look comparable to
an undermounted stainless steel sink, but with a seamless, sanitary
connection to the countertop. Formica describes the material as “a
unique combination of real metal and solid surface polymers that
provides an authentic metal aesthetic with all the benefits of
solid surface.” Contact Formica at 1-800-FORMICA or go to
Tower Industries has introduced Lumistone, an acrylic solid
surface material that glows in the dark. Under normal lighting, the
product is neutral white in color. In darkness, the product glows,
either in a vibrant blue color or in an optional yellow-green
color. The product is available in sheets, in three different
vanity bowl shapes, and in seam adhesive form, which can be used
for glowing inlays. Contact Tower Industries at 800-807-8889.
Red Devil offers the Create-A-Color system, which allows anyone
to mix custom colors by blending in ordinary latex paint with its
special caulk base. The result is high-performance caulk in any
color. The caulk can be dispensed with a standard caulking gun.
Contact Red Devil at 800-423-3845 or go to www.reddevil.com.
For years, I have been wary of
attempts to retrofit coved splashes onto solid surface countertops
after they have already been installed. Ramiro Martinez of Formline
Solid Surfacing has been trying to convince me that my concerns
were unfounded, and has now succeeded.
At the Las Vegas show, he demonstrated his Romy Coving Shaper
& Sander and Romy Coving Clamps designed for that purpose. The
Coving Shaper & Sander is billed as the first electric sander
made specifically for sanding coved corners, and features a special
foam pad that conforms to the shape of the cove. The Romy product
line is marketed through Specialtytools.com. Visit the Web site or
Specialtytools.com has another interesting product called
Templast, which is a transparent corrugated plastic sheet intended
to be used for templates. You can write on this product with a
marking pen, and it cuts easily with a razor knife, making it
possible to scribe to wall irregularities. It can be bonded with
hot melt adhesive. Once a template is completed, it can be scored
and folded up for transport. Visit the Specialty tools.com Web site
or call 800-669-5519 for more information.
When I visited the Betterley Industries booth, I was saddened to
hear that Art Betterley, a true industry pioneer, passed away last
year. However, the company continues under the leadership of its
new owner, Tom Stoffel.
Production shops will be interested in the firm’s latest
product, the Air Glide Router Base, which uses compressed air to
float a router smoothly and effortlessly over the surface of a
countertop. Intended to speed routing operations and eliminate
scratches caused by grit between the router base and the countertop
surface, the base is available to fit various models of routers
offered by Porter-Cable, Bosch and Makita. Contact Betterley
Enterprises at 800-871-3425, and look for its new Web site
Wesley Tools is offering a new type of decorative router bit
that does two things in a single pass: It flush trims a solid
surface undermount sink installation, and also puts a decorative
edge profile around the sink cutout. The bits are available in four
decorative profiles and are paired with matching edge profile bits
so that you can offer a coordinated look from the sink edge to the
countertop edge. Call Wesley Tools at 800-397-6867, or order online
Three years ago, I learned
about a product called ZipWall, and started using it in my own
business. ZipWall is a set of telescoping, twist-lock,
spring-loaded poles that enable installers to set up a dust barrier
around a work area in less than five minutes. Using transparent
drop cloth material, this enclosure will contain the vast majority
of construction dust.
The company has now introduced a new line of Tight-Seal
accessories to provide the very highest level of jobsite dust
control. The innovation is based on the Foam Rail, a five-foot
aluminum bar with a soft, spongy edge. A ZipWall pole is used to
press the Foam Rail and the plastic drop cloth against the ceiling.
The Side Clamp accessory attaches to a pole, and in conjunction
with a Foam Rail, presses the drop cloth to the wall surfaces.
at 800-718-2255 or go to www.zipwall.com for more information.
Turn The Corner, LLC has developed and patented a clever
variation on the “lazy susan” turntable, called the Crazy Suzy
shelf. Using hypocycloid technology, the three-cornered shelf
rotates in an eccentric fashion that allows the shelf corners to
project out of a corner cabinet, but pass by the back walls without
touching. Usable storage area is increased by 44″ as compared to a
round shelf. The units are available with laminate shelves.
However, solid surface fabricators can purchase the hardware at a
significant savings, with a license to fabricate their own solid
surface shelf. Contact Turn The Corner, LLC at 800-890-7812 or go