The second annual New Products Pavilion was a big hit at the 2005 Remodeling Show in Baltimore. A batch of new and innovative products — 37 in all — had a showcase all to itself on the show floor, where attendees could browse and vote on their favorites. First, second, and third place winners were unveiled at a mini-ceremony hosted by REMODELING editorial director Sal Alfano. It seems that voters had convenience in mind when they cast their ballots; the three winning products all make life easier for contractors.

First place went to Knee Blades, cleverly designed kneepads with attached wheels. In development since 1997, the idea for the unique equipment was born out of aggravation. Second-generation flooring installer Mark Legenstein started out as an apprentice in his father's carpet business. “After becoming frustrated by the repetitive work taking what seemed to me to be too long and going home with a sore back and legs too many days, I thought there had to be a better way.” So Legenstein bought some dollies and bolted them to his kneepads. He was amazed at how much easier his job became. He worked with various prototypes before settling on the design that became today's Knee Blades. The kneepads are shaped to fit the contour of the knee and evenly displace weight to lessen pressure on the knee. The one-strap, Velcro-fitted design also lessens tension on the back of the knee. Designed for maximum mobility, the three wheels allow the wearer to move 360 degrees in a flash. The wheels can also be detached so that the pads can be used on their own (

This year's New Products Pavilion featured several products that make life easier for remodelers, such as a ladder storage unit and rolling kneepads. The Jet Rack, winner of second prize for Best New Product, is a simple yet ingenious design that puts ladders up and away in truck caps, vans, open frame trucks, storage rooms, garages, and sheds without latches, ties, or buckles. The modular system consists of a tension-locking device that runs along a rail that is secured to the storage unit. This feature allows the system to accommodate multiple ladder sizes and various applications. The tool hole in the top of the ladder fits onto the receiving pin, and the user simply pushes the ladder back along the rail, raises the foot of the ladder, and places the ladder onto the adjustable catch. It unhooks and slides right out when needed (

Tiffin Metal Products' Sentinel Security in-wall cabinets captured third prize. The cabinets come in several sizes, as well as keyed, combination, and electronic lock styles, and mount securely between studs. In-floor models are also available. The beige color of the cabinets makes them attractively unobtrusive. The company also offers firerated cabinets that promise to withstand 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour (