November 12, 2010

Tool Snob 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

holiday_gift_guide2010.jpgBosch GCM12SD Axial Glide Miter Saw - This one is a late addition and it wasn't on the first version of this list because we hadn't yet been able to get any real hands on time with it. Well one showed up at the shop and we're not pretty confident in saying that if someone on your list likes tools, this saw, as a gift, will make their jaw hit the floor. There's a lot good to say about it, but the brass tacks are that its footprint is very small when compared to a regular 12" saw...or 10" for that matter. And that's simply something that anyone from the working carpenter to the DIYer will appreciate. Without a sliding rail system, the Bosch can be backed right up to a wall, saving a foot of space. Might not sound like much but take into account the need for a work support to the left and right of the saw. Now, you see what we're saying. Technology like this isn't cheap, but all things considered, the Bosch is a (we think) very reasonable $700.

Rockwell JawHorse - Might as well get this one out of the way first. Since it's release, the JawHorse has been Lord of the Tool Snob Gift Guide. If it seems like we're hell bent on making sure that every house in America has one, it's because we are. We use ours for everything. If someone you know has a garage workshop, this funky tool will become their best friend.
Our review here.
$170 at
There are also accessories available at

Ridgid JobMax - It slices, it sands, it pounds, it twists, it drills, and it all fits in a small duffel bag. Redefining what a multi-purpose tool is capable of doing, the JobMax is a good gift for everyone from the most experienced carpenter to the handy apartment-dweller. Our review here. Kits starting at $99 at Home Depot.

Worx GT 24-Volt Trimmer - Has your loved one ever drop-kicked a string trimmer across the driveway? Have they ever thrown a chainsaw at a tree? This is a common behavior response to an uncooperative 2-stroke engine and, at least on the string trimmer side of things, Worx has put a stop to the hair-pulling frustration. Their trimmer is light as a leaf and powerful enough for most standard lawn tasks. If you're trying to clear a haying field, look for something else, but if you're looking for a pain-free way to tidy up the lawn, this is it.
Our review here
$150 at

Insulate and Weatherize - Sure a book about insulation sounds boring, but it's really not. This is actually a fantastic book that every homeowner should read, particularly those of us who have an affinity for old houses. It's not so much about insulation as it is about how a house functions and what it takes to get the most out of the conditioned space. It's good for someone interested in the science behind their home as well as the person looking for an insulation game plan. We highly recommend this one.
Our review here
$13 at

Dremel 4000 Rotary Tool - Our favorite of the never ending line of rotary tools pouring out of Dremel HQ. This one has some serious kick to it and it's about as comfortable in the hands as a tool can get. The different kits come with different accessories, the tool is the same.
Our review here
Dremel 4000 2/30 at ($80)
Dremel 4000 3/34 at ($87)
Dremel 4000 6/50 at ($150)

Irwin GrooveLock Pliers - Hellloooooo stocking stuffer.
Our review here
Various sizes for various prices at

Made by Hand - We liked this book when we initially read it, but now, as time passes, we think back on it and that fondness has sort of grown. It's a funny little book about the author's forays into the DIY lifestyle. It's not meant to be a how-to as much as a source of inspiration. So it's a good gift for someone who might be thinking about walking down the enlightening and treacherous path of altering, fixing, and re-purposing. And if nothing else, the book might provide the spark needed to start home-brewing kombucha (it did us).
Our review here
$17 at

MegaPro 13-1 Ratcheting Screwdriver - If a $40 screwdriver sounds insane then you've obviously never used the MegaPro. It's got it all; hidden bit storage, smooth ratcheting action, and a nice, solid feel. Mrs. Tool Snob absconded with our review sample, she liked it so much.
Our review here
$40 at

Jake's Run - This is a book that has nothing to do with tools, other than the fact that the main character is a part-time carpenter and it was written by Father of Tool Snob. We think it's a fantastic book, but we're definitely biased, so don't take our word for it, take those of Howard Frank Mosher: "Jerome R. Mahoney is a fine writer, with a great sense of humor. He understands small-town life inside out and knows how to create characters that readers will care about. Jake's Run is an entertaining and insightful novel." So if someone on your gift list enjoys a) a good (and truly funny) story and b) the rural way of living, they'll enjoy this book.
$15 at and

Skil Flooring Saw - We just reviewed this one and it's sort of a DIY wonder tool. It's a table saw and a miter saw in one small, portable package. While it works great for flooring projects, it's also perfect for the small scale DIYer who wants a lot of functionality, but doesn't have a whole lot of space. If you know any ambitious apartment dwellers, this tool could take them to the next level.
Our review here
$150 at

Senco Fusion F-15 Cordless Finish Nailer - Along with the Bosch Axial Glide Miter Saw, the Senco Fusion has been one of the big stories in the tool world this year. This finish gun provides pneumatic power with the ease of a cordless tool. We've grown to love ours and the person on your gift list will grow to love theirs too (if you can afford to buy it, that is. This one ain't cheap).
Our review here
$400 at

Oscillating Tools
- Instead of recommending a single brand, we'll give a quick rundown of our general thoughts on the category. *Ahem.* Get the Fein MultiMaster if you want the best. There is no real comparison between this one and the others. The Fein is simply of a far superior quality. It's expensive though (kits starting at $250 at review here...and make sure to get the 250Q with the quick change chuck). The Rockwell Sonicrafter is a nice tool as well and is good if you're not willing to spend the cash on the Fein (kits starting at $125 at review here). We're generally wary of the cordless models, but found the Craftsman to be very nice ($85 at review here).

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 12, 2010 5:30 AM
Recent Comments

The costco by me (North suburbs in IL) is selling a jawhorse combo pack that includes both the jawhorse and the plywood attachment for $199

Posted by: Jason at November 14, 2010 3:59 PM
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