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Hammer Tacker plays the heavy

BY HBSDealer Staff

Gibsonia, Pa.-based Bon Tool's heavy duty BHTC hammer tacker is designed as an easy to use construction tool built to withstand rugged jobsites over multiple years, the company said. The professional quality tacker features all-steel construction and a non-slip, ergonomically styled and padded handle grip. A built-in buffer plate protects the work piece from damage. The tacker is ideal for roofing, insulation, carpet installation and stucco/lathe.

The tool’s light weight and single hand function makes it suitable for quick staple application. The tacker features a spring load staple feed for staples sized ¼-inch to 9/16-inches.

Bon also manufactures the B19, a light-duty hammer tacker that accommodates smaller staples sized ¼-inch to 3/8 inches. Both tools are made for construction projects.

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Sep. 1, 2017.

Western: regional species perimeter foundation
Southern: regional species slab construction

Crow's Market Recap: A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow's Weekly Market Report.

Lumber

Follow through from last week’s uptick in sales placed upward pressure on SPF mill prices in both the East and West. Buyers waiting for prices to decline in response to the CVD-gap period were forced back into the market to cover needs. In essence, the market performed exactly how buyers hoped it would not. 

  • A threat of diminished production entered the Southern Pine lumber market early, prompting buyers to participate more eagerly early. Record rainfall from Hurricane Harvey and subsequent reduction in large-log availability heightened wide width demand.
  • The resiliency of Coastal species pricing surprised traders. Producers both heard of and experienced repercussions from Oregon wildfires, which only firmed their resolve to maintain price levels.
  • Inland lumber producers report that Hem-Fir was on firmer footing This renewed demand in Hem-Fir, combined with a continuing strong demand in Fir-Larch, created a very solid week of activity.
  • The level of weakness across stud markets abated as buyers purchased greater volumes. Availability of several stud items grew tighter as the week progressed, prompting producers to firm quotes.
  • Demand for Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr has not been strong. Producers, however, have maintained a rigorous grip on prices and have not wavered.
  • Ponderosa Pine availability appears ample in both Mldg&Btr and Shop grades. Even so, reports indicate stability at current price levels for most Ponderosa industrial items. Ponderosa Pine 4/4 boards have been ground up in the rumor mill over the last couple of weeks. This pre-holiday week, however, shows Selects to be very stable. The Common boards have been subject to offers and counters, but most producers have promoted “some upward moves.”
  • Western Red Cedar buyers frequently inquired about how commerce’s decision to delay the final CVD determination and extend the duty-free gap period might influence prices. While buyers looked for lower prices, producers noted that supplies of most items were tight enough to maintain current price levels.

Panels

Between horrendous, unprecedented flooding in Texas and ongoing record forest fires in BC, OSB market players are puzzling over where markets may go in the near term. Production and transportation in the South are compromised. Pricing was a mixed bag. 

  • Southern Pine plywood prices moved strongly higher in response to elevated demand levels. Last week’s pre-Hurricane Harvey buying created momentum in the marketplace, prompting buyers to participate as close to a price floor as possible. Wholesaler participation was a large component to a firmer market, followed by distributors and dealers shoring up scant inventories.
  • Deep discounts present in the Western Fir plywood market in past weeks expired. Buyers took note of the marginal strengthening and stepped in to cover needs while prices firmed.
  • Activity was mostly subdued in the Canadian plywood market this week at all levels, though a few contacts reported busy warehouse sales. Buyers are increasingly uncertain that current record-high price levels will hold and are buying hand-to-mouth accordingly.
  • Particleboard producers reported little change in the week’s sales or shipments. Customers remained busy in some sectors while others lagged.
  • Slower MDF sales forced some cuts in production in the West.

For more on RISI, click here.

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Judge strikes down overtime rule

BY HBSDealer Staff

Declaring a “win for lumber dealers,” the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association applauded a court decision that struck down a rule that intended to expand overtime eligibility.

Currently, employees with salary levels under $455 per week qualify for overtime pay. Under the Obama-era rule set to take effect Dec. 1, employers would have been forced to pay overtime for salaried employees making up to $913 per week, or $47,476 annually.

The rule was put on hold last November by the same judge who struck down the rule on Aug. 31 — Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

The NLBMDA described the move as a clear victory for lumber dealers.

"The decision is a victory for lumber dealers allowing them to provide increased flexibility and career opportunities for their employees," said Jonathan Paine, NLBMDA President and CEO. "NLBMDA looks forward to working with DOL on a new rulemaking that updates the salary threshold for overtime eligibility."

In issuing his ruling, Judge Mazzant ruled that the Department of Labor (DOL) put too much emphasis on salaries in determining overtime pay and did not adequately consider an employee's regular duties. "The department creates a final rule that makes overtime status depend predominately on a minimum salary level, thereby supplanting an analysis of an employee's job duties," noted Judge Mazzant in his written opinion. "Because the final rule would exclude so many employees who perform exempt duties, the department fails to carry out Congress's unambiguous intent."

The rule would have expanded overtime eligibility to an estimated 4 million workers.

A broad coalition of business groups, and 21 states, had challenged the rule on the grounds that DOL exceeded its authority by raising the salary threshold too much and providing automatic updates to the threshold without stakeholder input. 

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