Seven holiday gifts for woodworkers in 2021
Holiday gift Shaper Origin

Shaper Origin is a hand-held CNC that could be a great gift for the woodworker who has everything.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if I really want something for Christmas, I have to be VERY specific about the request. Especially if someone wants to give me something related to any of my special interests. Take woodworking.

How many ways are there to give the wrong woodworking gift? There’s the gift of a cordless power tool that is not compatible with any of the recipient’s current cordless tools. There’s the high-end jewelry-grade measuring tool that is way too pretty to ever be allowed to bang around in the shop. And there’s the woodworking equivalent of the ugly Christmas sweater: a fancy apron for the guy or gal who NEVER wears an apron in the shop.

Well, I can’t fix those gifts, but I can offer a few suggestions. Here are some new items that should make most woodworkers happy and maybe even make their shop time safer, more comfortable, and more prosperous. Another suggestion: if you like any of the items on this list for yourself, make sure you are specific in your requests (size, color, brand, model, etc.) And if you plan to give any of these, make doubly sure you know the preferences of the recipient.

HellyHansen Chelsea Evolution pants

Helly Hansen Chelsea Evolution Construction Pant 
I’ve said it before: I love European-style work pants. The built-in pouch pockets, the concealed knee pad pockets, and the durability, all make for great pants. Helly Hansen’s Chelsea Evolution Construction Pant features a 4-way stretch fabric in polyamide combined with Helly Hansen's legendary Chelsea cotton rich fabric for ease of motion and durability. Buy the knee pads, too, to include with the gift. There’s no comparison to strap-on knee pads,

Hytest Annex Nano shoe

Hytest Annex Nano Toe Leather Athletic Shoe
Now that we’ve protected our knees, what about our toes? Safety shoes and boots don’t have to be clunky and ugly. Check out the Hytest Annex Nano Toe Leather Athletic Shoe. It has a premium TecTuff and leather upper, moisture-wicking mesh lining, Comforssage massaging foam footbed, Xergy anti-fatigue foam midsole to absorbs shock, oil and slip-resistant rubber outsole, and Nano toe protection that meets the ASTM F2413-18 M/ I/ C EH standards,

ISOtunes LITE earbuds

ISOtunes LITE earbuds
We’ve reported on a number of offerings from ISOtunes for Bluetooth compatible hearing protection in muffs or earbuds that allow you to listen to music or hear your phone while protecting your ears from dangerous shop noise. Their latest offering is the LITE earbuds model, which is a bit more affordable than their other models but still offers 26 dB noise protection in Bluetooth earbuds with custom fit,

Milwaukee M12 Toughshell

Milwaukee M12 heated Toughshell Jacket
It’s snowing outside my Maine office as I write this, so I’m thinking warm gifts for the holidays. How about a heated jacket? In September, Milwaukee Tool introduced a new generation in their lineup of Heated Gear with the redesigned M12™ Heated Toughshell jacket. It features an advanced heat technology system, designed to outlast and exceed the wearer’s experience in cold climate conditions. It features a stretch polyester designed to last five times longer than previous models. It reaches full heat-up in 2.5 minutes powered by a 12-volt Milwaukee M12 RedLithium 3.0 battery,

Duramark ChalkShot

Duramark ChalkShot
What about a tool that most woodworkers don’t have but is really clever, and they’ll want as soon as they see it? Try the Duramark ChalkShot from U.S. Tape, an ingenious non-permanent marking tool. It shoots chalk with high-visibility green nonpermanent pigment to mark on drywall, concrete, metal, wood, and dirty surfaces. The marking dye is environmentally friendly and can wipe off easily if a mark needs to be moved, yet it is also long lasting,

Shaper Origin in use

Shaper Origin hand-held CNC
Shaper Origin is an easy-to-use, intuitive handheld CNC router that is the gift that keeps on giving! Shaper Origin brings digital precision to woodworking without a giant CNC machine. Shaper Origin and its companion the Shaper Workstation, make precision cutting, joinery and fine woodworking so easy and intuitive that anyone can use it, according to the company. I’ve tried it, and it is a fascinating entry into digital woodworking. Learn more or order at:

Festool Cooltainer

Festool Cooltainer
Festool tumblerYou want a really cool holiday gift? How about the Cooltainer launched in November by Festool. They took one of their Systainer system travel boxes and turned it into a cooler to keep your drinks, lunch, and snacks cool on the job site or in the shop. It’s like having one of those high-performance coolers, but it mates with the rest of your Festool Systainer boxes. Watch a video about it below or go to


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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.