What to Buy a DIYer for Christmas

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 -

Holy cow! How did this year go by so fast?! I get asked about tools a lot, so I decided to put together a few lists of my favorite, essential tools, breaking them into skill categories. All the links below are affiliate links, which means I make a very small commission if you buy the product. Although I may make a little money from selling these tools, I can honestly say I use EVERY SINGLE ONE of them on a regular basis. I am recommending them because I honestly love them! If you or someone you know is a "do-it-yourself" kind of person, these tools are essential. 

As of this morning, most of these items could still be shipped in time for Christmas! Most are available at your local Home Depot too, if you are into 'brick and mortar'. And for all you proactive people whose Christmas shopping is all done, no worries. You can use all that money Grandma sends you to buy new toys! 


I could write an entire post, a long one, just about tools for the new DIYer. Although it would be really nice to go out and buy a whole garage full of new tools, I'm guessing that's out of the budget for most people. I came up with, what I think, are the the first 4 tool purchases every garage needs. 

#1- Workbench- Simpson Strong Tie WBSK Workbench and Shelving Hardware Kit
 Hands down, the most important part of a workshop is a sturdy work surface. You can buy a pre-made workbench, but building your own will be a lot cheaper, can be custom built to fit your space, and typically will be a lot stronger. Get yourself a kit, a few 2 x 4's, and some plywood, and you've got yourself a sturdy work surface.

#2- Power Drill/ Impact Driver- Dewalt Cordless Impact Driver 18 V 1330 In-Lbs. Of Torque
In a dream world, you would have both a cordless drill and an impact driver. A drill really should be your first purchase, but an impact is life changing!

#3- Circular Saw- Skil 5480-01 13 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw Kit
Every shop needs a circular saw. I personally like a corded one, so I never have to wait for a battery to charge, but corded or cordless, a circular saw will be one of the most versatile tools you own. Its great for ripping plywood as well as cross-cutting lumber.

#4- Electric Sander- Ryobi ZRCFS1503K 1.2 Amp Corner Cat Finish Sander
An electric sander is truely one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread! Different sanders are better for different jobs, but if I had to choose one, it would be a finish sander with a narrow point, like the Ryobi Corner Cat.

Stepping it Up:

If you give a mouse a cookie...well, you know the rest. The same goes for tools. Here's a list of great gift options, when you're ready to step up your game in the DIY department.

#1- Pocket Hole Jig- Kreg Jig® K4
A pocket hole jig lets you join wood together, quickly and tightly. There is a reason why you see Kreg jigs all over DIY blogs. It is game changer, especially if you want to build or repair furniture and cabinets. 

#2- Clamps- IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Clamp Set, 6-Piece (SET150)
Oh, how I love clamps! With some projects they're helpful, and with some they are down right essential. Everyone could use a set of ratcheting bar clamps.

#3- Sawhorses- Stanley STST60626 Adjustable Sawhorse Twin Pack
Ever need a third (or forth) hand? A couple good sawhorses are more than handy. I use mine for cutting sheets of plywood, painting, and sometimes as a second workbench. 

I've been playing around with a new toy for the past couple weeks, and I can't imagine life without it. I got me a Jawhorse Sheetmaster from Rockwell tools, and I kinda love it. Imagine a solid steel sawhorse with a built-in clamp that can apply 1 metric ton of pressure. The clamp is secured with your foot, and the best part... 

It holds a full sheet of plywood! Maneuvering a full sheet of plywood around the garage is dang hard work with my scrawny arms, and a 4' x 8' piece of wood takes up a lot of real estate! The Sheetmaster makes cutting down plywood a lot easier. You can buy it online here.

#4- Miter Saw- DEWALT DWS782 12-Inch Slide Compound Miter Saw
Perfectionists will love a good miter saw. Although you can cut almost any angle with a circular saw, a miter saw allows you to cut them quickly and almost perfectly. A must-have for cutting moulding. 

Been Around the Block:

Once you can check these tools off your list, you have just about everything a weekend warrior would need. After this, you can just start at the beginning of list and upgrade. 

#1- Table Saw- SKIL 3410-02 120-Volt 10-Inch Table Saw with Folding Stand
A table saw opens a whole new world of DIY. Ripping plywood down to a manageable size makes woodworking at lot more enjoyable. If you are getting into furniture building, a table saw should be on your short list. 

#2- Push Block- Gripper(TM) 200 Advanced System - Assorted Colors (Black or Yellow)
Have you seen a video of the Gripper? Man, this thing is cool. It makes your ripping so much more precise, and safe. It's a push block and jig, all in one. 

#3- Drill Press- SKIL 3320-01 120-Volt 10-Inch Drill Press
My husband scored a large, industrial drill press when a lumber warehouse went out of business, a few years ago. Since then, I have fallen in love with a drill press. Since I have started working with metal, I couldn't love my drill press more. I can drill holes quickly and more precisely than I ever could by hand. 

#4- Router- Factory-Reconditioned Ryobi ZRR163K 8.5 Amp 1-1/2 Peak Horsepower Router Kit
A router is one of the more versatile power tools around. Most people think of decorative edges, but a router can trim, join, and plane wood and MDF like a champ.

Stocking Stuffers:

Yes, tools can be pricey, but there are dozens of inexpensive gifts that a DIYer would love. Here's a list of some ideas that I would love to find in my stocking (wink wink). 

drill bits- Tooluxe 13-Piece Hex Shank Titanium Coated Drill Bit Set
driver bits- IIT 64370 6-Inch Power Driver Bit Set, 9-Piece
router bits- Pro-Series PS07426 Router Bit Set, 12-Piece
sandpaper- SandBlaster 21120-CCG Sandpaper with No Slip Grip Backing, 120 Grit, 9 by 11-Inch
chisel- Stanley 16-292 Utility Chisel, 1-1/4 Inch
screwdrivers- Stanley 60-060 Standard Fluted Screwdriver Set, 6-Piece
paintbrushes- PURDY 144152125 2.5-Inch Clear Cut Glide Brush
glue- Franklin International 5005 Titebond II Premium Wood Glue, 32-Ounce Bottle
needle nose pliers- 6 Piece Precision Pliers Set

* I was provided with product for this post by Rockwell Tools, free of charge. All opinions are my own and not influenced. I'm just happy to spread the word about good products. I do not endorse products that I don't personally use and love. 

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  1. This is an awesome post Elisha! I have a lot of these tools in the workshop and I especially love my Dewalt Cordless Drill - that baby has power and can hold a charge! But I'm definitely adding a couple of these tools to my Santa Wish List. I need that awesome Jawhorse Sheetmaster - that things looks super sweet! I also need the Gripper Push Block - maybe it will be the tool that will finally help me overcome my fear of the table saw! I'm pinning your list for Santa *wink* *wink*.
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista

  2. Lot's of great gifts ideas, shared on Pinterest!

  3. I still only use paper and glue, but I have been so wanting to branch out a bit with a drill! Great post.

  4. Oh...and an electric sander.... (shared on my FB page!)

  5. This is such a great post! I'm so NOT a DIYer but I love the ideas and would love to get myself started in some areas, so this is a great list to keep an eye on AND share!


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