A Woodworker’s Wish List

Comments (0)

This article is from Issue 68 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Brighten the holidays with these great gifts

Having a woodworker on your gift list is both a blessing and a curse. While there is no shortage of new tools and accessories, the trick is selecting items that will get used, rather than sit on a shelf.

For inspiration, we collected gift-giving advice from fellow woodworkers and added our own insights about the tools and accessories we wish we had bought sooner. The result is a selection suitable for woodworkers of all skill levels. So if you’ve got family members or friends who are woodworkers, skip the ties, socks, scarves, and cologne. Give some gifts that keep on giving, now and for years to come.

Marking & Measuring

Go to the Buyer’s Guide on p. 66 for prices and ordering information for featured items.

Super-stable square $40

Compared to a combination square, the Veritas Sliding Square’s 3"-wide blade provides a more substantial reference face for transferring measurements. With the collar removed, the accurately machined blade is also useful as a flat square.

Make your mark $15

The name’s a curve ball, but the benefits go straight to the heart of precise layout. The Pica-Dry Pen is a mechanical pencil that works on most surfaces, including wet wood, glass, and tile. A built-in sharpener helps keep your markups on the money.

Never too many tapes $5-12

Woodcraft’s 16' tape is a bargain-priced stocking stuffer for kids who haven’t figured out fractions. FastCap’s tapes are problem-solvers: the Flatback excels at measuring curved surfaces; the Lefty/Righty can be easily read from either side. Both FastCaps include a pencil sharpener and erasable writing face for recording important dimensions.

Tighter tolerances $42 

The Wixey Dual Display Caliper simultaneously displays decimal and fractional measurements (to the nearest 64th of an inch). Adding a WoodRiver Depth Gauge ($20) turns any caliper into a super-accurate depth gauge.

Hand Saws

Honey I shrunk the saw $25

Olsen’s 24 TPI saw is great for making the exacting cuts required for inlay, toys, models, and musical instruments. The companion miter box ensures perfectly square or mitered ends.

Precision pull saw $50

For most woodworkers, a Japanese pull saw, like this Z-Saw Dozuki, is a major game-changer. The thin blade and razor-sharp teeth make it easy to develop line-splitting accuracy. The 26 TPI blade cuts fast and clean.

Dovetailer’s delight $60

Don’t let its space-age appearance fool you, the Veritas Standard Dovetail Saw is comfortable to use, and performs as well as saws costing twice as much.

Gem of a saw $25

An adjustable frame fretsaw is the tool for removing waste between pins and tails. It’s also great for cutting veneers, plastics, and thin metals.

Planes & Chisels

First in class $120

Patterned after the smallest bench plane in Stanley’s plane line, this WoodRiver No. 1 is akin to a block plane with a comfortable handle. For those who collect planes by the numbers, this tool can fill out the collection.

Side shaver $150

A shoulder plane is good for more than just shoulders. This open-sided plane is perfect for cleaning tenon cheeks, rabbets, and other joinery adjustment chores. It’s so useful, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one.

Perfect parer $21

The WoodRiver Bent Blade Paring Chisel shaves in spots that are beyond the reach of standard straight chisels. It’s a problem-solving tool that’s sure to come in handy on different projects.

Beautiful butts $60 (set)

This set of 6"-long butt chisels is easy to carry in a tool apron or toolbox. The compact size enables them to fit where longer chisels can’t, while offering excellent control. With good edge retention and palm-friendly bubinga handles, these toolbox chisels may become your shop favorites.

Sharpening Accessories

Straight and narrow $85

The challenge with sharpening narrow chisels is that there isn’t a lot of metal to hold on to. With top-clamp jigs, the chisels tend to spin as you sharpen, resulting in a skewed edge. Veritas’ Narrow Blade Holding Guide clamps on the sides for a skew-proof grip.

Sweet starter stone $40

The King 1000/6000 is a perfect waterstone for those who haven’t yet experienced the effectiveness of these traditional sharpening tools. After grinding, establish the bevel on the coarser side, then flip the stone for final honing.

Second skin $30

Most rust inhibitors fall into two camps: thick coatings that must be removed prior to use, or thin films that don’t last long. Bora Metalguard is a “barely there” coating that doesn’t affect tool usability, and defends tools as effectively as gummier coatings.

Honing helpers $30 (set)

DMT’s Dia-Sharp Honing paddles offer a speedy solution for knives, router bits, and other edge tools. The offset handle helps tackle touch-ups without getting fingers too close to sharp edges.

Router stuff

Terrific trimmer $120

More than just a laminate trimmer, the 1 HP Bosch Colt Palm Grip Router is perfect for tackling inlay, hinge mortises, edge work, and more. Partnering the fixed-base Colt with the full-featured Pro011 Plunge Base ($80) converts this trimmer into a precision plunge router for any jobs using 1⁄4" bits.

Sanding savers

Get super-smooth edge treatments that don’t require sanding. Thanks to an extra pair of carbide tips, Freud’s Quadra Cut bits produce glassy smooth edges without the tearout or burning common with regular bits.

Edge master $35

Beaded edges add elegance and tactile delight when used on cabinetry and furniture. Freud’s Quadra Cut 1⁄8" beading bit provides an attractive way to embellish edges and face frames.

2 bearings are better than 1 $36

Patterns can make perfect parts, provided that the grain goes your way. With bearings on both ends of the bit, Whiteside’s Over-Under Trim Bit allows you to flip your stock when the grain direction changes to create the cleanest cut.


For the woodworkers who have  been really good this year, go to woodcraftmagazine.com to see higher priced items and power tools.

Get a grip $22

Set the clamping pressure on KREG’s Automaxx Clamp, and it will apply the same pressure to anything that fits within its jaws. A perfect partner to all sorts of jigs and fixtures.

Power play $30

Plug the FastCap Remote Control’s receiver between the tool and outlet, and you’ll have power in the palm of your hand. This time- and step-saving device is most useful as a remote control for a shop vac, but it can be used to control an air cleaner, fan, or A/C unit.

Back saver $50

This Gorilla Gripper pinches onto panels as you lift upward on its handle, allowing you to single-handedly carry large sheets at your side without straining your back.

Super sander $21

Twenty bucks may seem like a lot for a sanding block, until you try a Preppin’ Weapon. This soft-faced sanding block clamps sandpaper quickly and allows use of nearly the entire sheet. The contoured grip is comfortable, too.

Related Products


Write Comment

Write Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In

Top of Page