12 Gifts for the Do-It-Yourselfer
A new tool will warm the heart of any DIY enthusiast—as long as it's chosen carefully. These picks cover a broad range of pursuits, so you're sure to find at least one that'll bring a smile.
Bid farewell to sore arms: The internal polymer sleeve on the IsoCore line of Fiskars hammers reduces vibration from driving nails by a factor of four. The grippy handle is sculpted to fit your hand and textured to prevent blisters. Comes in three weights, three lengths, and with either a smooth or milled face.
IsoCore Finishing Hammer, from $45; Fiskars
This versatile, well-priced plastic stand weighs only 35 pounds, but it can support 1,000 pounds as a sawhorse. It's easily converted into a worktable that holds up to 300 pounds. Integrated pistol-grip bar clamps and bench dogs stand ready to hold your project securely during cutting, sanding, painting, or assembly. Plus, it folds down for easy storage.
Pegasus Folding Work Table & Sawhorse, $120; Worx
The secret to getting good cuts with a hacksaw? Make the blade as tight as possible. This steel-and-aluminum saw, part of Milwaukee's new line of high-quality hand tools, has a built-in tensioning knob that can apply a force of up to 60,000 psi to the blade—four times that of a typical hacksaw. You can mount blades at a 45° angle—good for work in tight spaces—and store up to six blades inside the frame.
12-inch High Tension Hacksaw, $20; Milwaukee
Changing a showerhead could well be the easiest and most gratifying way to upgrade your bath. This model, made by Speakman, offers both cleanliness and luxury. The internal copper-zinc filter removes up to 99 percent of chlorine, sulfur, and heavy metals in the water, impurities that can damage your hair and skin. Eight center massage jets and five adjustable nozzles with 50 sprays will leave you feeling squeaky clean and invigorated.
Hotel Pure Multi-Function Filtered Shower Head, from $76; Speakman
Stocking stuffers abound for DIYers. Almost anyone could find a thousand uses, both indoors and out, for these colorful, super-strong bungee cords. Made of a UV-, crack-, and chemical-resistant polyurethane, they'll stretch up to twice as long. Choose from eight colors and a variety of lengths and hooks.
Four-pack from $15; The Better Bungee
Another stocking stuffer—and don't laugh. Scotch's new Platinum painter's tape promises to revolutionize the painting experience! Well, maybe not quite, but this tape does have surprising talents: It tears at a perfect 90 degrees, stretches around curves, stops seepage in both latex and oil-based paint, and comes off cleanly in one pull—even two weeks later.
ScotchBlue Platinum Painter’s Tape, $12 for a 45-yard roll; 3M
Any room left in that stocking? Stuff in one of these as well. Fuze*It's amazing Liquid Nails is a construction adhesive that sticks to almost everything in any weather condition. It bonds wet or dry surfaces, is up to 50 percent stronger than similar glues, and cures in a mere 4 to 6 hours. Plus, it has almost no VOCs, and mistakes clean up with a rag, no solvents needed.
Liquid Nails Fuze*It All Surface, $7 for 9 oz.; Home Depot
File this under items-you-didn't-know-you-needed-till-you-got-one. The Walabot DIY is a handheld 3D-imaging sensor that looks inside your walls, whether they're concrete or drywall, to detect the studs, pipes, and electrical wires buried within. Your Android smartphone shows you exactly how far below the surface they are. Vayyar Imaging developed this futuristic gizmo, using RDF scanners originally meant for Israeli antimissile defense.
Walabot DIY, $199; Walabot
Broken plastic anything? Now there's no need to toss it. Bondic's awesome Liquid Plastic Welding Kit mends cracked tool housings, punctured boots, exposed charging cords, and so much more. Simply use the pen to spread on the special resin, then zap the goop with the UV light to harden it in 4 seconds flat—even underwater.
Liquid Plastic Welder Starter Kit, $20; Bondic
Let’s say your DIYer already has a cordless drill/screwdriver. But an impact driver takes it a step farther: These babies can drive screws into even the hardest, densest wood at top speed. Trust us, they’re amazing. Makita’s in-line, variable-speed cordless impact driver has the power—up to 195 inch-pounds of torque—to manhandle stubborn screws and bolts that would defeat an ordinary cordless screwdriver. It's lightweight (only 1.2 lb.) and can be used in a pistol-grip configuration (shown) or as a straight stick. The slim profile lets it fit into tight situations.
Makita Cordless Hex Impact Driver Kit, $158; Home Depot
Power planers are typically big, expensive, two-handed tools. Triton's palm planer is light enough that you can plane with one hand but stout enough to shave 1⁄16 inch of wood with each pass. This 5.3-pound tool spins a pair of steel blades at 13,000 rpm. Think of it as a power block plane for smoothing or beveling doors and trim.
Compact Palm Planer, $73; Triton
No, we are not kidding; every DIYer should know about this stuff. It's called ShapeCrete, and it's like having a cement mixer in your hand. Add the right amount of water and this high-performance concrete behaves like clay, allowing you to sculpt, bend, mold, carve, or cast it into pots, planters, tiles—almost anything you can imagine. Stays workable for about 45 minutes; turns rock hard in 24 hours. Good for the kids’ school projects too!
ShapeCrete, $23 for 20 pounds; ShapeCrete