Looking for concrete finishing tools that can do tough jobs? Slip Industries has them or can make them for you.
Seeing a need for specialized concrete finishing tools that he could not provide to customers inspired equipment salesman Charles Herr to create them in his shop at home. Being present when events occur creates a sense of authenticity that has no equal, and daughter Charyl Dommel experienced it. Long before she started working with him or took over as company president, he invented most of the tools that Slip Industries makes.
Each device in the product line has a history of its own, usually originating from his days as a contractor equipment salesman. When he heard a contractor start to ask, “Why doesn’t someone make …,” he recognized it as a need that he could fill and decided to do just that, as Dommel recalls. “That’s how most of our tools came to be,” she said. By 1988, he had founded a company and invented tools that remain contractor favorites nearly 30 years later.
Efficiency experts define productivity as a measure of work performance, and tool quality can affect it. An adage holds that “a poor worker complains of his tools” as an excuse for not doing a good job. But the best worker has a right to complain about having to use a device that prevents desirable outcomes.
Herr’s designs make tough jobs easier. Productivity often depends on workers having the best tools, machinery, and equipment.
Under the ownership of Dommel since 2004, Slip Industries’ produces 15 original tool designs: nine for concrete, five for asphalt and one for masonry. Sam (Dommel’s son) supervises the welding operation and makes sure that each joint meets the highest specifications.
Setting a Company Standard
Herr’s design for a 1 ½” x 3 ½’ aluminum straightedge was the first of his inventions to hit the market. Kerfed edges and welded ends prevent concrete from entering and making a lightweight tool weigh too much. Before he invented it, “contractors were using an extruded piece of alum 2” x 4” with sharp edges,” Dommel said. “The old 2×4 was a piece of wood that measured 1 ½” x 3 ½” and had kerfed edges. So Dad thought why not have an extrusion die made to make that form.”
Slip Industries faced competition from companies that were “just selling extruded pieces of aluminum with wood or plastic end caps that fell out in short order,” she stated. “The straightedge would fill up with concrete, making it hard to use.” Contractors suffered from “using the sharp edges that were cutting their hands. They were complaining about always having cut or sore hands”, she recalled.
An alternative to the sharp edges of the device occurred to Herr, “so Dad talked with a local welder and figured out how to weld on end caps that never fall off. Problem solved.” Fashioning custom tools for the people who use them every day is a practice that the company continues to use today.
Finding a way to prevent the cuts to hands, Herr designed “kerfed edges and solved the problem.”
The tradition of recognizing a need and creating a solution continues in the company’s customization options. Concrete contractors are adept at fashioning makeshift tools from scraps if it helps get a job done, but an instrument that fits a purpose saves time and makes a tough job easier. The company honors the tradition of listening to the needs of contractors and develops custom tools on request.
Choosing Tools with a Concrete Purpose
The Concrete Spreader has a 19” blade that may incorporate a wire puller, and a tapered wooden handle makes gripping it easy. For follow-up finishing, the Stainless Finishing Tool provides a professional touch. For accurate leveling, the Straightedge with Hand Holes has tapered ends and has a level inserted.
The versatile tool comes in lengths from 6’ up to 12’. Removing high spots and filling in sunken ones makes the Bump Cutter with outriggers essential for removing imperfections.
For making a surface smooth after it is level, the Super Cutting Float in lengths up to 12’ helps achieve flat floors. The Rebar Wire Lifter brings efficiency and convenience to an awkward task with a 36” one-hand C handle.
Leading the Field in Innovation
A contractor favorite for cutting straight control joints with ease, the Torpedo Groover™ lives up to its name. Machine-tooled in high-grade aluminum, it can cut a straight control joint that is either 1 3/8” or 1 ¾” deep.
Describing the trademarked Torpedo Groover™, Dommel recommends it as the best way to “put control joints in your concrete. It gives you a straight control joint every time with minimal work. After the torpedo cuts the joint, you can use a finish groover to clean up the top of the joint. Job done. No need to go back later with a saw blade to cut joint and make all that dust and dirt. Our custom work sets us apart from the big boys who never do some of the custom stuff that we do,” she said.
Practical Tools for Asphalt
Our original t-lute, an early entry into the market, lets contractors “rake asphalt so the roller can level and compact” the material. The Depth gauge allows “guys on the paver to use them right off the back of the equipment to check and recheck depth that they are putting down” Making sure that a contractor doesn’t “put down more or less than contract,” the tool saves time and money.