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RainyDayGiftGuide 2012 : Tools

We don’t need to tell you that tools make great holiday gifts. Every year we see lists and lists of recommendations (RainyDayRenovtions included) for all kinds of cool tools for those who like to work with their hands. This year we decided to step back from this listomania and ask “What is the most useful tool for around the house?” Our answer: the screwdriver. With that as the guide, we came up with a collection of driver-related suggestions which we think will be appreciated by those who like to get hands-on around the house.

While there are many different kinds of screwdriving tools we could recommend, they basically fall into two categories: drivers and bits. For the drivers, we have the following:

Both the SwiftDriver and the Worx SD Semi Automatic Driver come with their own set of accessories. Included with the manual SwiftDriver is a 29-piece bit set and a flexible extension shaft for getting into tight places. The 4V Lithium Ion-powered Worx Driver comes with 12 standard driver bits and two quick-change cartridges.

The Master Mechanic 18-volt, 3/8-inch cordless drill kit is designed to meet the needs of both professional tradesmen and weekend do-it-yourselfers. This high-quality tool is an ideal choice for general construction, plumbing, electrical installation work, and finish carpentry. To accompany the Master Mechanic Drill/Driver, we would recommend the following drill bits, screw tips, and other useful accessories:

  • IRWIN Drill Bit Set (Titanium , TurboMax): 15 bits, split tips, long lasting
  • Alden Extractors: for removing broken bolts and screws (you WILL thank us)
  • Ryobi Drilling and Driving Mat Set: for drilling metal, plastic, masonry and wood

Titanium nitride (TiN) coating resists heat and friction, providing up to six times longer life than standard high speed steel bits. The self-centering, precision-ground TurboMaxbits feature a tip that eliminates “walking” on flat and curved surfaces, and stays sharp longer and drills faster than standard high-speed steel bits.

Sooner or later every DIY-er will run into a broken bolt or a stripped screw head. Alden Grab-It extracting bits are designed for those situations. They are made from hardened steel, come in a variety of sizes, and are self-centering (so no walking or wand’ring during use). We have put them into service many times and have always appreciated how well they work.

Many of these suggestions will make great stocking stuffers, and here ere are two more for consideration. The first is the Snap-On LED Hybrid Light. It is a great upgrade to the conventional incandescent-bulb flashlight. They run cool, sip (as opposed to gulp) battery power, and can illuminate a wide span or a small area. The second is a set of screwdriver bits for taking apart electronic gadgets. Be sure to get one which includes the common security bits (wing, torx, spanner, and hex).

NOTE: The Snap-On LED Hybrid Light (#92421, $9.99) is only available at PepBoys but is not on their online store. Those interested can order one by calling 1-800-255-7011.

OK…we now are going to stray a little from our stated guide. This is because IRWIN has introduced some new additions to their Marples line of saw blades which deserve a mention. The Marples name has been a favorite among fine craftsmen and professional tradesmen since its origin in 1828. These new Marple saw blades are laser-cut, thin kerf, and with extra-sharp, oversized carbide teeth. What it all translates to is that they will cut cleaner and truer, hold up under heavy use, and can be resharpened many times. Any woodworker would be thrilled to find one under the tree on Christmas morning!

Cutting wood throws saw dust into the air regardless of the strength of the dust-collection system in place. Protection from airborne particulates should be an important safety consideration for woodworkers. While a full air-filtration unit can be helpful, an effective system is costly to install. A more practical and economical alternative is a personal air-filtering face shield such as the Trend AirShield PRO. The AirShield PRO protects the wearer by filtering just the air around the user’s head, and moves with them anywhere in the shop. You’d still need a dust collector in the shop for wood chips/saw dust, but you won’t have to worry about breathing any of it in.

We hope these RainyDayRenovations suggestions will help you find the right gift for the handyman/woman on your list. We are now just seven days from the big day. Happy shopping!

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