More in Hand Tools

Hands-on Holiday Gift Guide

What's better than getting tools as gifts? Getting a project to use the tools on. We came up with 4 dream gift packages for the house fanatic in your life

Photo by Brian Klutch
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The Weekend Woodworker

 

The Weekend Woodworker

Everyone has a husband, uncle, or sister who disappears into the basement workshop for days, only to emerge with another mailbox or birdhouse. Now you can send them off to learn how to make something useful for a change, at the elbow of woodworker extraordinaire Lonnie Bird, who holds 3- to 6-day classes at his Tennessee school. About $450—$895; lonniebird.com

1. The Soul of a Tree
Part woodworking manual, part philosophical journal, this book is as unique as author and woodworking legend George Nakashima's exquisite furniture. About $32; amazon.com

2. Exotic Wood
From Surinamese snakewood to Laotian spalted tamarind, you won't find a better selection of exotic wood or a more enthusiastic wood man than James Griffin, owner of this small, Web-based supplier. Prices vary; exoticwood.biz

3. Japanese Saw
With 26 teeth per inch, the dozuki "Z" saw is the tool you need for smooth cuts and precise joinery. About $42; woodcraft.com

4. Wooden Mallet
The 11-ounce head, made from layered beech, drives dowels and chisels without marring your craftsmanship. About $44; garrettwade.com

5. Chisel Roll
Five hornbeam-handled blades (1/8 to 3/4 inch), plus two extra cocobolo paring handles, all in a leather roll. About $320; lie-nielsen.com

6. Wood Pen and Pencil
Sure, you can write with them. But they're also little instruments of wooden inspiration. About $11 each; leesartshop.com

7. Low-angle Jack Plane
This blade's 25-degree angle is ideal for working end grain without tearing the wood. About $199; leevalley.com

Everyone has a husband, uncle, or sister who disappears into the basement workshop for days, only to emerge with another mailbox or birdhouse. Now you can send them off to learn how to make something useful for a change, at the elbow of woodworker extraordinaire Lonnie Bird, who holds 3- to 6-day classes at his Tennessee school. About $450—$895; lonniebird.com

1. The Soul of a Tree
Part woodworking manual, part philosophical journal, this book is as unique as author and woodworking legend George Nakashima's exquisite furniture. About $32; amazon.com

2. Exotic Wood
From Surinamese snakewood to Laotian spalted tamarind, you won't find a better selection of exotic wood or a more enthusiastic wood man than James Griffin, owner of this small, Web-based supplier. Prices vary; exoticwood.biz

3. Japanese Saw
With 26 teeth per inch, the dozuki "Z" saw is the tool you need for smooth cuts and precise joinery. About $42; woodcraft.com

4. Wooden Mallet
The 11-ounce head, made from layered beech, drives dowels and chisels without marring your craftsmanship. About $44; garrettwade.com

5. Chisel Roll
Five hornbeam-handled blades (1/8 to 3/4 inch), plus two extra cocobolo paring handles, all in a leather roll. About $320; lie-nielsen.com

6. Wood Pen and Pencil
Sure, you can write with them. But they're also little instruments of wooden inspiration. About $11 each; leesartshop.com

7. Low-angle Jack Plane
This blade's 25-degree angle is ideal for working end grain without tearing the wood. About $199; leevalley.com

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The House Historian

 

The House Historian

Gifts for the House Historian
Photo by Brian Klutch
1. Archaeology Trowels; allislandmasonsupply.com
2. Handheld GPS; garmin.com
3. Pocket Multitool; leatherman.com
4. Magnifying Glass; leesartshop.com
5. Digital Camera; olympusamerica.com
6. Day Pack; ems.com
7. Clipboard Case; professionalequipment.com
8. Work Boots; timberland.com
Nobody appreciates the history of old houses more than we do. But for someone who really wants to get up close and personal with America's architectural past, there's no better way than a volunteer dig sponsored by the American Institute of Archaeology. In past years, participants have explored prehistoric Pueblo settlements in New Mexico and the estates of early American generals. No experience necessary, just enthusiasm and a fondness for dirt. Prices vary, some digs are free; archaeological.org

1. Archaeology Trowels
These sturdy Marshalltown trowels are the first choice for archaeologists, who use the blades to hack through roots and soil, plus they're handy for brickwork around the house. About $12— $26; allislandmasonsupply.com

2. Handheld GPS
Now where was that old foundation wall? Note the exact location with a wireless handheld GPS device and you'll never have to wonder. About $450; garmin.com

3. Pocket Multitool
What you can't chop through with a trowel, slash through with this garden multitool's curved blades and toothed mini saw. About $60; leatherman.com

4. Magnifying Glass
Use it to look closely at a relic—or when you need to study a map when you're lost. About $10; leesartshop.com

5. Digital Camera
This 7-megapixel camera has 10x optical zoom and image stabilization to keep the picture steady even if your hands aren't. About $339; olympusamerica.com

6. Day Pack
A sturdy internal frame takes stress off your back while letting you keep your hands free on the dig site—or anywhere else. $149; ems.com

7. Clipboard Case
Document newly discovered artifacts, or just stuff lunch receipts in one of two internal compartments of this rugged aluminum clipboard. About $29; professionalequipment.com

8. Work Boots
Good for doing the Indiana Jones thing, or for setting that bluestone walkway. About $130; timberland.com

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The Armchair Architect

 

The Armchair Architect

Gifts for the armchair architect
Photo by Brian Klutch
1. Classic Drafting Table; thecenturyco.com
2. Leather Portfolio; ghurka.com
3. 3-D Design Software; cadpro.com
4. Lettering Set; thecenturyco.com
5. Drafting Tools; leesartshop.com and garrettwade.com
6. Static Stickers; ezdecorator.com
7. Contractor Calculator; professionalequipment.com
8. Frank Lloyd Wright: The Houses; amazon.com
If you could fill a portfolio with back-of-the-napkin building sketches, then maybe it's time you tried your hand at the real thing. Channel the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright in the master's very own Oak Park, Illinois, drafting studio, under the tutelage of disciples. At the end of the four-session workshop, you'll have frameable floor plans for your very own original design. Architecture Fantasy Camp, About $650; wrightplus.org

1. Classic Drafting Table
Feel like the real deal at a 1930s-style drafting table, with cast iron base and maple and walnut top. About $7,700; thecenturyco.com

2. Leather Portfolio
A zip case is perfect for toting sketches, notepads—or an idea-refueling nosh. About $795; ghurka.com

3. 3-D Design Software
It's often said that Wright's creativity outstripped the technology of the day. Imagine what he could have done if he had architectural software, which lets you create floor plans and elevations or turn a digital photo into a traceable template. About $80; cadpro.com

4. Lettering Set
Before the days of computerized lettering, draftsmen used tools like this Leroy lettering set. Now it's a collector's item. About $75; thecenturyco.com

5. Drafting Tools
The essentials: drafting kit, About $49; set of 7 rapidographs, About $128; leesartshop.com. 8-in. pencil compass, About $36; garrettwade.com

6. Static Stickers
Remember how much you loved Colorforms? Instead of rearranging uniforms on action figures, plant vinyl couches and beds on a real floor plan. About $250; ezdecorator.com

7. Contractor Calculator
The pros use it to instantly find area, angles, rise, run, and pitch, among dozens of other functions. About $60; professionalequipment.com

8. Frank Lloyd Wright: The Houses
When you run into a creative roadblock, just hoist up this tome and flip through for a jolt of inspiration. About $47; amazon.com
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The Aspiring Film Critic

 

The Aspiring Film Critic

Gifts for the aspiring film critic
Photo by Brian Klutch
1. Hi-Definition TV; sharpusa.com
2. Single-Speaker Surround Sound; polkaudio.com
3. Houses on Film (The Money Pit, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House); amazon.com
4. Amplifier and DVD Player; denon.com
5. Wireless Touchscreen Remote; amx.com
6. In-House Concession Stand; bringperlickhome.com
7. Gourmet Popcorn; crownjewelgourmet.com
There's no better gift for the digitally inclined than a personalized home-theater plan from one of the pros certified by the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association. The only danger is, once your beloved tech head settles into a room equipped with the latest tech toys, he (or she) may never come out. Includes in-house consultation and design plans. Prices vary; cedia.org

1. Hi-Definition TV
Even if you're the last one to the Super Bowl party with the worst seat in the house, you'll still be able to see the game on this 37-inch Aquos, thanks to a 176-degree viewing range. About $2,400; sharpusa.com

2. Single-Speaker Surround Sound
Forget about snaking wire and cutting holes in the walls. Through sound-bending technology, this single unit delivers true five-speaker surround sound . About $950 for surround bar; $240 for optional subwoofer; polkaudio.com

3. Houses on Film
Fire up your new system and feel smug watching The Money Pit, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and other classic tales of renovations gone wrong. About $9-$15 each; amazon.com

4. Amplifier and DVD Player
The DVD player uses spy-satellite technology to enhance picture clarity; the receiver has connections for an iPod dock or an XM-satellite radio receiver. Amplifier, About $1,100; DVD player, About $849; denon.com

5. Wireless Touchscreen Remote
Changing channels and running the DVD? That's child's play for this remote, which can display your entire movie and music collection (with cover art), control your HVAC and security systems, even take you Web surfing. About $5,000; amx.com

6. In-House Concession Stand
Now you can quaff a Chianti and savor your fava beans in your new home theater without even having to pause that psychological thriller. About $2,900; bringperlickhome.com

7. Gourmet Popcorn
It's a snack for the popcorn connoisseur. These rare microfarmed kernels come in jewellike colors, but pop up white as snow. About $5—$7 each; crownjewelgourmet.com
 
 

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