The holidays are right around the corner and sometimes it is a challenge to find great gifts for your favorite DIY'er. I came up with a list of some of my favorite and most useful tools around the shop. These are all brands and products I use, which are built to last. The tools I am recommending are backed by brands with solid reputations. Remember to slowly build up your library of tools over the years. You do not need to buy everything right away. Watch the special racks at the stores, search craigslist, and borrow from friends or family while you are getting started. I hope this list helps with some gift giving ideas!
I bought my own Kreg Jig less then a year ago, and it has allowed me to build functional furniture so easily. The Kreg Jig is a pocket hole system that makes it super easy to create dining tables, coffee tables, shelves, bed frames, and any type of furniture. The real beauty is that you can connect pieces quickly and without glue. Once a pocket hole is drilled, simply put in a Kreg screw and you are done!
Having a nice drill will make wood-working much more enjoyable. The newer drills have light lithium batteries with long battery life. I recommend this kit because both drills make DIY projects easier. A compact drill is important for drilling pocket holes and using drill bits to create pilot holes. Impact drills come in very handy when attaching boards without using pocket holes and when you are having trouble with bits stripping. Impact wrenches essentially eliminate the problem of stripping bits.
Miter saws make it a breeze to make all of your cuts. If you plan on getting into woodworking you will want to invest in a good miter saw.
Clamps are a handy tool to have around the shop and for DIY projects. I've used a lot of clamps in my day, and the Jack Clamps are the most versatile and durable clamp I've ever used. In addition to the clamping action, Jack Clamps have a jack function which helps hold up boards when you don't have an extra hand. They also help straighten warped boards when working on decking. If you decide to get a pair, please use my exclusive coupon to save $25.00 during checkout. Use code: 25OFFPS
Orbital sanders work quickly and help give your DIY projects a nice smooth finish. I use mine for wood, concrete, and metal projects. This particular DeWalt orbital sander has 5 inch pads that go on and off easily because they attach using velcro.
The circular saw works well when needing to cut plywood boards and when making longer cuts. It can be used to cut any type of board. Before I had my own miter saw this is what I used to make all my cuts.
Jig saws allow you to mike intricate cuts and notches. You will also be able to cut curves and circles.
Having the tools to get any job done is a lifesaver. Here is a great set that is full of many of the tools that will complete home improvement projects. This set includes good quality sockets, wrenches, screw drivers, allen wrenches, and a number of bits.
Once you have an air compressor and nail guns you'll wonder how you ever got by without them. This kit has three nailers. The smallest is perfect for putting up trim in your home, building picture frames, and trimming out furniture projects. The larger nail guns have the ability to shoot larger nails so you can side a house, nail 2×4's together, and build just about any project imaginable. The small and compact size of the compressor makes it easy to move around. On the same token, it doesn't take up a whole lot of room in the garage to store.
A table saw will make it possible to rip boards nice and straight. This particular table saw has a stand that collapses for easy storage and transport. The blade depth and angle are adjustable.
If you are serious about building concrete tables and counters, you will want to invest in a concrete polisher. These use 5 inch industrial diamond polishing pads that allow you to create a polished concrete counter or table with ease. Simply hook up to a water supply and start polishing! To learn more about concrete table and counter finishes check out my concrete table post!
Metal work is a blast and allows you to be creative. When I bought my welder, I had no idea how to even get started. So, I watched a few Youtube videos and before I knew it I could build table bases, fix tools, and make all sorts of artwork. This welder will plug into any normal outlet and does not require gas (MIG) to work. Simply buy Flux Core wire and you are ready to weld.
Not long after investing in a welder I decided to learn how to plasma cut. The main reason I bought the plasma cutter was because I wanted to create artwork and be able to cut metal easily. You can see some of the cool projects this tool has helped me create. This is a great plasma cutter because it plugs into any normal outlet and will cut metal up to a 1/4 inch easily.
Chop saws are a metal working tool that are necessary for cutting pipe, square tubing, angle iron, and flat iron. You'll be able to get a nice square cut. I use mine when building table bases and racks.
Routers give you the ability to give wood projects rounded edges or pieces with a little more detail. In addition to using the router on furniture, I use it when making picture frames. It allows you to cut the “rabbet” to place a piece of glass in the frame from behind.
I was gifted with a tenon cutter about 5 years ago and absolutely love it. The tenon cutter opened my eyes to the world of log furniture which is very popular out in Montana where I live. You'll put this on a heavy duty 1/2 inch drill and then place it over a small log that is 3″ or less. It will cut a tenon (or peg) that you can use to join together with another log. I use spade bits to drill the hole the peg fits into.
A level is important for just about any project you will build. This 24″ level is a good size and will work well for ensuring all the boards lined up correctly. Use it to level frames and pictures in your house as well.
Make sure your favorite DIY'er has a good hammer. This ergonomic design is comfortable to hold and makes swinging the hammer a cinch. The anti-vibe technology makes the pounding a little more comforting as well.
You can never have enough work gloves in the shop. They'll keep your hands clean and prevent slivers. This three pack will be convenient to own and there will be gloves to share with helpers.
For some reason I never have enough tape measures because they always get misplaced. I'd recommend tape measure that are 25 feet or so long with a wide tape. These are durable and plenty long for measuring any DIY project.
Working in the shop will take a toll on your ears if you are not careful. Wear ear protection when making your cuts. You'll be happy you did.
These are the perfect safety glasses to sport as a DIY'er. They look cool and protect your eyes at the same time. The clear lenses make it easy to see what you are working on and keep the sawdust out of your eyes.
These are my favorite pencils for making cut marks and lines for DIY projects. Normal woodworking pencils have to be sharpened, but this has strong lead that can simply be pumped down like a pumper pencil.
Don't forget to use a speed square when making cuts to make sure you are spot on. This 12″ square will also make sure all the table legs are straight and square to each other.
Tool belts will keep you organized and hold your tape, pencils, hammer, and screws. They are easy to put on and will help keep all your projects essentials in one place.
This Shop Vac/wet vac is made to suck up dust or water. In addition to helping keep your shop clean, you'll be able to use it to clean out the vehicle, drawers in the house, and hard to reach places.
I have a small online business that makes really neat personalized metal signs. If you know a DIY'er that needs a cool sign for their shop just let me know! For Example: John's Wood Shop. My company also makes vinyl stencils that can be used for all sorts of DIY projects as well as all sorts of ski and trail signs!
If you aren't quite sure what tools your DIY'er would like, get them a gift certificate to do some of their own shopping.
I hope this gives you some good ideas on what to get your favorite DIY'er this year or that it will help give ideas of what to ask for yourself. Remember, you don't need to buy or have every tool. Slowly build your library of tools over the years and you'll be just fine.
Cheers! – DIY PETE