Gift giving for woodworkers presents special challenges. Do they already have that tool or gadget? Do they need or want another? What’s truly new and useful?
We took a spin through recent releases and products we’ve had personal experience with to come up with a list of options that includes everything from woodworking themed outdoors products to jobsite appliances, tools that are almost too nice to use, shop safety accessories, and even the most over-the-top woodworking gadget we’ve seen. In no particular order, check out our list.
Festool not only wants to fill your shop with tools, but also, they want to go along for the ride when you take a break outdoors. They’ve launched a new outdoors accessories line that includes a camo colored hat, a travel mug, a winter beanie, an outdoor director’s chair, and a backpack cooler to hold up to 18 cans of your favorite beverage. And, of course, since it’s Festool, there is a coordinating Systainer travel case, too.
Learn more at festoolfanshop.com.
Just as one of MicroJig's earliest successful products was a reinvention of the lowly push block, the company has reinvented its own product to come up with the GRR-Ripper2GO. It at once is more versatile and simpler than previous versions. There are no parts to assemble or adjust. Narrow, rubber-coated fingers on the base are oriented in such a way that they provide different clearance for different width workpieces depending on which way you use the push block.
For the really fastidious, there are color codes on the block that coincide with an adhesive label you can stick on your rip fence gauge to tell you which direction to use the block. I find it’s just as easy to set the block down and eyeball it to choose the correct orientation. Either way, it’s a great safety device that’s easy to use and at less than $30 is way better than losing your fingers.
Learn more at microjig.com.
RZM3 Dust mask
Dust is the bane of most woodworkers, even with the best dust collection systems, you’re likely to have to deal with some airborne dust, and dust mask is essential. But let’s face it, most dusk masks are a pain. They are uncomfortable, fog your glasses, and restrict breathing while doing a mixed job of protection. The RZ M3 patented mask from RZ Industries LLC attacks all of those issues.
This mask offers three different strap configurations to help you find the fit that works for you. Additional foam in the nose bridge area is designed to stop fogging of your glasses, and the manufacturer boasts the mask offers 50 percent better breathability compared to other masks. I tried it and found that even with my big nose and generous beard, the mask worked well to keep me breathing clean air in a dusty environment.
It's not cheap at a about $50 for the initial mask and $17 for replacement filters, but the comfort and fit are worth it. Learn more at rzmask.com.
Oneida Dust Deputy Low-Pro Cyclonic Lid Separator
Oneida has long been a leader in made-in-the-USA dust collection for woodworking shops big and small, but they also offer a number of small-scale dust collection solutions that are great for any size operation. One of their newest offerings is the Dust Deputy Low-Pro Cyclonic Lid Separator. It allows you to add a cyclone separator to your shop vacuum and still fit everything under your workbench. The clear plastic construction gives you instant feedback about the dust levels. And if you think the Dust Deputy is a gimmick or toy, just try one on your shop vacuum and see what a great job it does keeping all but the finest dust particles out of your vacuum.
Learn more at oneida-air.com.
Makita microwave and blower-inflator
Makita offers a couple of innovative new products that you might want to ask Santa for. For hot lunches on the job site, there is a cordless microwave oven powered by Makita’s 40V max XGT battery system to deliver up to 500 watts of power to a 2.1 gallon interior capacity.
If the microwave’s $900+ price tag is too steep, check out the new Makita Outdoor Adventure 18V LXT brushless cordless blower-inflator. It delivers battery-powered compressed air at up to 447 mph and 39 CFM with five nozzles for a wide range of applications from inflating tires and sports equipment to just blowing the dust off something. It costs less than $200 without the battery or charger.
Learn more at makitatools.com.
Garrett Wade Japanese saw set
We talk a lot about CNC automation, and that’s a great thing for the modern shop, but sometimes you need to reach for a hand tool. Why not reach for a really nice one? I’m a big fan of Japanese saws that cut on the pull stroke. Garrett Wade, longtime purveyor of fine tools, offers a nice set of four quality Japanese saws, including a ryoba for most cross and rip cuts, a dozuki for dovetails, a flush-cutting saw, and a detail trim saw. The set normally sells for about $180 but Garrett Wade has been offering holiday specials to drop it down around $160.
Learn more at garrettwade.com.
Bridge City Tool Works chopstick maker
So, now that you’ve got some Japanese saws, let’s go all in. Bridge City Tool Works, known for their finely crafted tools that look more like jewelry than workaday tools, offers a whole system for making elegant chopsticks. Now you can take exotic wood scraps and turn them into spectacular eating utensils.
The set includes a precision crafted guide rail system and mating hand plane that makes it easy for anyone to craft beautiful chopsticks even if they aren’t a skilled woodworker. Yeah, it costs more than $250 but it’s so cool! You gotta have one!
Learn more at bridgecitytools.com.
Toughbuilt QuickSet portable workbench
You never have enough work surfaces whether it’s in the shop on on the job site. The Toughbuilt QuickSet work bench gives you a portable work surface with 1,000-pound capacity for fast setup and takedown. I keep one in my shop and can’t seem to put it away because it’s so convenient for that extra work surface we all always need. The slots in the top make it handy for clamping, and it’s not flimsy like setting up a couple of saw horses. Price tag is about $120 from Lowe's.
Learn more at toughbuilt.com.
ISOtunes ear protection
We’ve put ISOtunes ear protection products into several of our holiday gift guides in recent years and for good reason. ISOtunes’ patented Aware technology automatically senses loud, damaging noise and reacts quickly to protect the user’s hearing by lowering volume or blocking out sound completely until the damaging noise stops.
ISOtunes headphones equipped with Aware technology offer complete situational awareness, allowing users to hear the world around them while still protecting their hearing. The added Bluetooth technology allows users to listen to their favorite music or podcasts and take phone calls while working as well. There are the Pro Aware ear buds ($150) for construction sites and woodworking or the LINK Aware muffs ($130) for just woodworking.
Learn more at isotunes.com.
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