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The last two months of the year mark the season of giving. That’s why you have Thanksgiving Day in November and the Christmas season and the holidays in December. People buy gifts for loved ones to express their love and appreciation. For handymen, no gift is more gratifying than a tool gift. You can gift your woodworking dad, electrician mom, DIY sibling, auto mechanic spouse or your HVAC friend with a good tool and they will like it.
Unfortunately, most good tools are not cheap, and the inexpensive but good ones are not easy to find. So, it is not uncommon to be out of luck in finding a very good tool to gift someone. Also, if you do not belong to the same trade as your loved one, it might be quite difficult to find a tool they will like. That’s why I have started I have started this series of articles to share with you tool gift ideas for various trades.
In this article, I share 10 woodworking tools gift ideas for less than $50.
Woodworking tool gift ideas
1. Woodworking Clamps
A clamp tool is simply a brace or clasp for strengthening or holding things together while drilling, cutting, or gluing. They keep the workpiece intact and prevent it from moving. A woodworker will never have enough clamps in the workshop. There is a variety of clamps to choose from including C-clamps, locking grip coin, pipe clamps, face clamps, and quick-release clamps. Each type of clamp has its ideal application. For example, the quick-release clamp is good for glue-ups, the pipe clamp for holding large pieces, and the face clamp for gripping workpieces by the face such as when making pocket hole joinery.
The variety and demand for clamping tools should give you confidence when buying clamps as a gift to a woodworker. They are always a nice addition to a woodworking tool kit. It does not matter how many one already has. Woodworking clamps are also inexpensive, so you can buy a couple of them for less than $50. My favorite is the Jorgensen clamps. The clamps are very well made, very presentable, and there is a variety to choose from. Irwin clamps are also good and are available in sets.
2. Pocket hole jig
Pocket holes are common in woodworking joinery. They are made by drilling holes at an angle into a workpiece to form pockets through which to install fasteners. The pockets allow a woodworker to drive a screw at an angle into the wood grain of two workpieces to make a neat and strong butt joint. You can find pocket hole joinery on any kind of indoor and outdoor furniture including cabinets.
Therefore, a pocket hole jig is a tool that helps woodworkers make accurate pocket holes. The jig helps drill pocket holes of precise depth and angle every time. With this tool, a woodworker does not need to guess or worry about getting pocket holes wrong.
The Kreg pocket hole jig is the king in the world of pocket hole jigs. It is also a perfect gift for a woodworker or carpenter, especially those who specialize in indoor or outdoor furniture. The kreg pocket hole comes as a kit that includes the pocket-hole jig, a material thickness gauge, a drill bit, and a clamp adapter. All these components come packed nicely in a durable, compact carry case which is very presentable as a gift.
3. Wood glue
Wood glue is an adhesive for joining together wood temporarily before installing fasteners. It goes hand in hand with the clamps. The glue is also useful for holding together the end-grain when installing pocket screws that run through the end grain. There are different varieties and quantities of wood glue but any of them is good for a woodworker. You can combine a clamp tool, pocket hole jig, and wood glue as a gift hamper for your woodworking buddy.
4. Woodworking pencils
A woodworker is more likely to lose than use up a pencil. So, having enough supplies is never a bad idea and this is what makes buying a bunch of pencils a perfect woodworking tool gift idea.
Pencils in woodworking are useful for a variety of reasons including marking wood for cuts, calculating measurements, drawing sketches, and simply carrying one around as a woodworking signature. There is a ton of uses for pencils in woodworking, making them a perfect gift for a woodworker. My advice is that you buy different types of pencils including plenty of 2H, 3H, 4H, and a few HBs.
Also, since pencils are not expensive, you can try to be fancy and include a few mechanical pencils. Many woodworkers love them because they are easier to use than traditional wood ones. When the lead in a mechanical pencil breaks, you just push a button or twist the knob to expose more lead and continue working. No more wasting valuable time sharpening a pencil when you have the mechanical one. They are also available in packs.
5. Drill Bit Set
Like pencils, a woodworker will never have enough drill bits in the woodworking tool kit. These are useful pieces of metal for drilling holes in a variety of materials to install fasteners. High-speed steel drill bits are the most popular sets for woodworkers. You can buy a set or two from Milwaukee or DeWalt. Be assured that the bits will not sit in the toolbox unused.
6. Work apron
A work apron not only keeps a woodworker’s clothes clean and free of dirt but also acts as a protective garment. It protects you from flying wood chips, debris, and sparks.
The best materials for a good, durable work apron are waxed canvas or leather. These aprons look professional, are durable, and have multiple pockets for on-body storage of essential tools. They are also versatile in that you can use them in different trades.
Another good thing about shop aprons is that most of them are giftable. In other words, most work aprons have attractive packaging that gives a strong premium impression worthy of a gift. Hence, a shop apron is a nice gift for a woodworker or any craftsman.
Check out my review of the best waxed canvas shop aprons for less than $50.
7. Piles of sand papers
Sandpaper is simply a type of paper with a layer of grit on one side. The rough surface acts as an abrasive for sanding down surfaces. Sandpapers are numbered based on the grit size. The smaller the number, the bigger the grains and the coarser the sandpaper. For example, a 200-grit sanding paper is good enough for woodworking while the 1200-grit sandpaper is great for repairing small dings on a car.
Sandpapers are very useful in woodworking for finishing wood. You use can also use them to erase pencil marks on wood instead of using an eraser. Therefore, a pile of sandpapers is a perfect gift idea that any woodworking professional would appreciate receiving. And since sandpapers wear out quickly, it is important to have enough supplies in the workshop.
8. Digital level gauge
A digital level gauge is a tool for measuring the angle of slant. Woodworkers use it mostly to set a precise angle of slant of the table saw blade or miter saw blade when making bevel cuts. It is also useful for calibrating the bevel gauges on both of these tools. A digital angle finder or level gauge is also a more accurate alternative to the classic spirit level tool.
If you buy a digital angle gauge and level as a gift for a woodworking enthusiast, he will use it to make more accurate angled cuts. This in turn improves the quality of woodworking projects significantly.
A digital angle finder is particularly useful for measuring arbitrary angles because a square can measure the common angles (90 and 45). When buying one, make sure it has a strong magnet to attach firmly to a magnetic surface and has an accuracy of 0.2 at most.
My favorite digital level gauge is the AccuMaster inclinometer. It has a strong magnet, the display is sharp with a backlight, has an accuracy of 0.1, and it comes with a pouch. This angle-measurement tool works both as a bevel gauge and a digital level for carpentry hence a good woodworking tool gift for someone you care about.
9. Tape measure
A tape measure is a useful tool for measuring length in woodworking. It measures longer than rulers and is very easy to carry around. There are different types of woodworking tape measures and here you choice depends on the purpose for which you are buying it. For example, if you are buying for someone who does construction work, a construction tape measure is the correct choice. On the other hand, if you are buying for use in the woodworking shop, the carpenter tape measure will do the job.
There are other factors you look at when buying a tape measure. The first one is the length of the tape. Ideally a carpenter’s tape measure should be about 15 ft long or thereabout while a construction type should have at least a 25 ft range.
The second factor is the standout length. This is how much a tape measure will extend out before it collapses. A good carpenter’s tape measure stands out about 8 to 9 feet whereas a construction tape measure should stretch about 12ft without collapsing.
The third important factor is the scale reading. A good tape measure should at least have both the metric and imperial scales. However, if you know the scale of choice of the woodworker you are gifting, you can choose the single scale, left-to-right reading tape measure. I prefer this type of tape measure because it allows measuring from the right or left edge. Moreover, the left-to-right reading tape measure allows reading upright numbers all the time from either side.