Looking for the perfect gift for the woodworker in your life? With Father’s Day right around the corner, this is timely. But whatever the event, your favorite woodworker is certain to love these gift ideas.
Cool Hearing Protection – $90
You want your favorite woodworker to be able to hear you, right? Get them some hearing protection that also lets them listen to music and talk on the phone. Amazing technology!
ISOTunes Pro ear buds provide 27dB of noise reduction, enough to knock the noise from most woodworking tools down to a manageable level. (You want to get below 85 dB to be safe.) They Bluetooth connect to your phone, allowing you to make and receive calls, and listen to music or podcasts. One of the most incredible aspects of these babies is their noise cancelling feature. If you’re talking on the phone and running a shop vacuum at the same time (I do this ALL the time) they’ll knock down the sound of the vac so the person on the other end can only hear you, not the irritating background noise. Very cool.
You Can Never Have Too Many Clamps – $25-$34
As I thought about Father’s Day, or any gift giving day, I was reminded of three of my favorite universal truths:
1. The older you get, the faster time moves
2. There’s no such thing as too much bacon
3. It’s impossible to have too many clamps!
The BESSEY® DuoKlamp® makes for a great and well-appreciated gift. They come in four lengths, 6″ 12″, 18″, and 24″. If you plan on buying only one length, I suggest the 12″. That’s what I have, and they are handy. The real beauty of this clamp is the one-hand operation. I’m always selecting to use this style clamp over my other clamps just for that reason. The clamp also has the option of reversing and being used as a spreader. Just the turn of a knob quickly converts it. Sure, that’s not a need most of us often have, but the added functionality does come in handy on those rare occasions when it’s required. Prices per clamp range from about $25 for the 6” to $34 for the 24”.
A Great Square – $74
Every woodworker needs an accurate square. I have a few different ones, but my favorite is my Starrett 4″ double square.
Why a 4″ square? I have a 12″ combination square and I use it a lot, but I use the 4″ square even more. The 4″ is more convenient and it will fit into spaces where a larger square would be useless. Plus, it’s easier to hold a small square against a 3/4″ edge than it is to hold a big bulky square. I use this square for:
–A depth gauge
–To draw lines parallel to an edge
–To check machinery set ups
–And of course, I use it to ensure that my boards are square
Why Starrett? There are lots of squares on the market. Many of them are good, but most of those you see in big box stores are only suitable for rough work. An inaccurate square can be frustrating, and it will inevitably cost you time and possibly even ruin your project. I love the peace of mind I get from using one that I can trust. I inherited my Starrett 12″ combination square from my father. It’s at least 50 years old and it’s seen some hard use over that time. It’s been used outside, in the dirt, under cars, and dropped from ladders. But it is still as accurate today as it was when it was new. So, when I bought my 4″ square there was no question about which one to get! At $74 the 4″ Starrett is not the cheapest on the market, but you won’t find a better one at any price.
Handcut Dovetail Guides – $50-$150
I’d resigned myself to only cutting dovetail joints with a router fixture until I came across this nifty dovetail guide. The David Barron Magnetic Dovetail Guide and the 90-degree Magnetic Saw Guide make hand cutting dovetails as easy as self-driving cars; especially nice when you’re only making one box and don’t want to go through all the set-up time for your router dovetail fixture.
The guides are solid blocks of aluminum with powerful magnets on their guide faces. The magnets grab your saw and keep it directed in the correct path all through the cut. The blocks have faces for cutting both tails and pins. The dovetail blocks come in 5 common dovetail ratios from 1:4 up to 1:8. The Magnetic Saw Guides also come in both 90-degree and 45-degree.
If you can only afford one of these blocks, choose the ratio angle of the dovetail shape you like best and then definitely get a special Rip Dozuki handsaw to do the cutting. These saws are specially hardened and cut though end grain like a hot knife through butter (well, almost). You can get by without the 90-degree guide block, but I have to admit I’m glad I purchased that for super accurate cutting of the half-pin slots on the tail boards.
David Barron Magnetic Saw Guides
1:6 dovetail guide, item #135753 – $49.99
90-degree saw guide, item #135757 – $54.99
Gyokucho Rip Dozuki saw, item# 456468 – $49.99
Vise Helper – $15
Ever struggled to clamp a tapered workpiece in your vise? Me too. I found the perfect solution at Lee Valley & Veritas Tools, the GyroJaw. It’s a simple yet strong jig that does an outstanding job of holding your tapered or rounded objects secure in your vise or clamp.
The GyroJaw effectively adds an articulated face to any vise or clamp jaw. The zinc plated steel knob on one side lets the face pivot to match the taper of the workpiece and apply clamp pressure evenly to both simple or compound tapers.
The face of the GyroJaw has a crosshatched pattern for grip as well as a groove to center it on convex surfaces. The GyroJaw is made in the USA and measures 3-3/8″ x 1-7/8” x 1-5/8” deep.
GyroJaw #17F84.15 – $14.95