The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Father's Day Must-Have Woodworking Gifts

comments (18) June 10th, 2011 in blogs

thumbs up 8 users recommend

Find out what woodworking gifts our staff of editors and dads hope to receive this Fathers Day. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Find out what woodworking gifts our staff of editors and dads hope to receive this Father's Day.

Photo: Woodcraft

Father's Day is fast-approaching and the Fine Woodworking editorial department's crew of dad's are eagerly anticipating (or at least hoping) for a small workshop-related token of gratitude from sons, daughters, and moms. So we figured we'd take a quick poll of the dad's out there to find out what tools (maximum value of $100) were on their wish-lists. If your plum out of ideas regarding what to get dad, here are a few possible choices to get you started.

What's on Your Wish List?
We want to know - especially because some of us are still considering other options!


Asa Christiana

I bought a cheap but complete set of those no-name Taiwanese brad-point drills way back when. Some worked well, but the sharpening was inconsistent on others. And all of them dulled pretty quickly. It's next-to-impossible to resharpen brad-points properly in a home shop, so my set is riddled with gaps now. And ever since FWW did a review of brad-points in 2005, I've wanted a set of the Lee Valley high-speed steel bits, which bored smooth accurate holes in the toughest woods in our test, with zero tearout at the rim. A set of 12 is only $43 at



Lee Valley High-Speed Steel Brad Point Bits - $43

Lee Valley's high-speed steel (HSS) set cuts clean, accurate, flat-bottomed holes similar to those produced by a Forstner bit.



Michael Pekovich
Art Director

I'll let you off cheap this year. One of the greatest additions to my new shop is a hand-crank pencil sharpener and a big stash of Ticonderoga no. 2 pencils. I sharpened up a dozen pencils and put them in the top drawer of my bench. They soon migrated to every corner of my shop so that now, no matter where I turn, I can find a sharp pencil.


Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils and Sharpener - $25 

Remember pencil and paper? It may seem like a boring gift, but a woodworker can never have enough marking implements. Ditto for a good old-fashioned sharpener!



Mark Schofield
Managing Editor

Always need more clamps; clamps work best in pairs; I have two sons therefore I'd like two Jorgenson 24in. heavy duty bar clamps. The 1200 lb limit should pull most of my joints together.

Jorgensen 24-in. Steel Bar Clamps - $49.99 each  

 Need more information on clamps? Check out Fine Woodworking's complete Tool Guide listings.



Matt Kenney
Senior Editor

Although I believe I am getting an iPod speaker dock for my shop, it is over $100. So, I'd say for under $100 I would like a 3 in. thick by 12 in. wide by 18 in. long granite surfacing plate from Grizzly. The plate itself costs $34.95, but because it weighs 79 lb. the shipping is $44! That's a grand total of $78.95. 



 Grizzly Granite Surface Plate - $34.95 + $34 (shipping) 

According to Matt, it beats having to stick sandpaper to his tablesaw table--his usual method for regrinding plane irons and chisel bevels.


Tom McKenna
Senior Editor

I'm in dire need of Forstner bits (to be used after I get a drill press, of course). The last time I found myself at Woodcraft, I was eyeing up this 7-piece set. Hint, hint, hint.


Woodcraft 7-Piece Forstner Bit Set - $82.25 

Be sure to catch the complete review on Woodcraft's forstner bits in our online Tool Guide.




Ed Pirnik
Web Producer

I currently own two squares - a 4-in. and a traditional 12-in. combo square. I've always found the 4-in. to be really easy to work with; it hides in my shop apron and is always at-the-ready. In fact, I think I actually use my 4-in. more than my 12-in. That larger square is just a bit more bulky and I've always wanted the perfect in-between size. A 6-in. combination model will satisfy nearly all my needs and is small enough to remain hidden in my shop apron, right beside its trusty, smaller cousin.

Starrett 6-in. Combination Square - $92

Find out what sets a $75 tool apart from a $6 tool in our article on combination squares from FWW #159.

posted in: blogs, Tools, gifts, fathers day

Comments (18)

mdafran mdafran writes: Well Amazon wish list is a great start i guess.Couple of wooden screws to add up the touch, im ready to go.Still strugling with the starret 12 " though...
Posted: 11:19 pm on July 23rd

Pkorman1 Pkorman1 writes: Matt, Check out Enco ( for a granite surface plate. They always run sales and have free shipping. My 3x12x18 plate was less than $50 with shipping included. I can fit 4 different 1/3 sheets of 3m abrasive film on it and have no problem sharpening my Stanley #7 plane iron(my largest).
Posted: 8:17 am on June 16th

Richinsd52 Richinsd52 writes: Loxmyth - the beam issue is surprisingly expensive. I just replaced a couple of load bearing walls in my 2 story home with 10" steel Ibeams 22' long tucked into the ceiling on my first floor. In steel, beams are remarkably inexpensive, only about $300.00 each here locally and that's in California where everything is over priced. The beams are supported by a doug fir 4x6 on each end bolted to the beam and the footing. The joist hangers are shot into the beams with a ramset which took all of an hour for both. The engineering and permits were cheap as well. Check craigs list for an engineer. Lots of guys out of work right now. Even engineers are offering deals and most will handle your permit submission as part of the service. I paid two thousand for engineering, two full sets of architecturals and permits for the entire home remodel including electrical, lighting, plumbing and all the title 24 stuff to keep the city and state in business. The biggest issue was moving these heavy buggers up into place. An A/C jack on each end took care of that. With only an 18' span and only one beam, the whole thing will likely cost you less than $1500.00 and your colums are history. Just a thought. C Ya
Posted: 10:20 pm on June 14th

gewima gewima writes: four 24" aluminum bar clamps would be a nice addition for me. I do like the Universal Clamp version. They just seem to be exactly what I need more often than any other clamp in the shop. And besides, you never have enough clamps.
Posted: 8:39 pm on June 13th

JeffS JeffS writes: I forgot to list my own "wish" list item
a Dave's Shaves flat spokeshave... at $110 it only slightly exceeds the $100 limit
or a nice marking knife (Blue Spruce)
Posted: 12:48 pm on June 13th

JeffS JeffS writes: Hey Matt,
why not go to a local granite countertop fabricator and get a scrape piece of granite that fits your needs? I know it maybe 3 inches thick but it will be flat and a lot less expensive
Posted: 12:38 pm on June 13th

AndyRey AndyRey writes: Wow - $100!?! While we're dreaming, I need a new sharping stone. I was thinking of a Norton water stone - 4000/8000 combo. Could get that for a $100.

Posted: 10:28 am on June 13th

MKenney MKenney writes: Hey Tom,

Although I appreciate kingmason looking out for my financial well-being, please don't buy me the granite surfacing plate sold at Woodcraft. It's not the same size as the one I want (too small) and won't work for the way that I grind. Of course, I could get two from Woodcraft and have the same surface area as the one from Grizzly!

Posted: 8:25 am on June 13th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Claytonwood: Nothing beats a solid combination square - especially after you've been fooling around with a lesser square that can be so inaccurate, it's infuriating! I love mine!

Kingmanson - I need to let Matt know that Woodcraft has 'em in stock!
Posted: 8:18 am on June 13th

cattoycarpenter cattoycarpenter writes: To Loxmyth - Brother, Free yourself from the tyranny of posts!
Go to the Western Wood Products website and download the beam calculator and figure out what beam you need to clearspan that space! I bet a weekend, a friend, and $500 will see the Lally columns gone!
And yes, buy the sawstop. It's my next tablesaw too.
Posted: 9:31 pm on June 12th

icomba icomba writes: The only thing I would add to this list is a set of forstner bits in metric other than that you guys seem to have it covered to bad I don't have a wife to buy my tools so I guess that would be another thing to add to my list anyway but for now I'll be the one getting the tools. LOL
Posted: 11:01 am on June 12th

kingmanson kingmanson writes: Hey Tom, next time you're at Woodcraft pickup a Granite Surface Plate for Matt and save him the shipping.
Posted: 11:15 pm on June 11th

deadsquirrel deadsquirrel writes: an Osborne Table Saw Miter Gauge. currently on sale at Woodcraft. very accurate and I love mine. New blades for band saw, table saw or router bits. I use the Amazon wish list all the time and just tell people to pick something from there. It's not hard to keep the list long and lots of choices and price ranges. You can even add items from other web sites.

I just added the pencil sharpener and pencils to my list, that was a great idea.
Posted: 4:24 pm on June 11th

garyprott garyprott writes: A couple Lie Nielsen block planes. One regular and one high angle. I've been good. Whats the problem honey?
Posted: 10:52 am on June 11th

Loxmyth Loxmyth writes: Unfortunately, the next thing my own shop really needs -- outside of a cleanup and organizing pass, which may mean a wall-mounted wood rack would be a good gift -- is a table saw. Which probably means a Sawstop.

Actually, the thing my shop _desperately_ needs is help figuring out how to arrange the tools. I've got a roughly 18'x18' space, which ought to be plenty -- but it's got a pair of Lally columns helping to support the main beam along the center line, and I haven't yet figured out how to reasonably arrange a table-saw workflow around them. I _really_ want to see an article on workshop layout which covers how to deal with this sort of complication, rather than assuming we either have an open space or the ability to trundle tools outside when we need elbow room.

(Yes, I know that theoretically I could get an engineer in and have that beam and its endpoint supports reinforced. But at that point, I think I'd instead have to settle for projects and/or tools and/or construction techniques that could fit the space.)

I suppose hand tools, miter saw and router and, perhaps, a panel saw with router plate (and fence?) could cover most of what a table saw is used for and would fit this space better, but... There's got to be a Best Answer for this situation, and I'm just not experienced enough to know what it is.
Posted: 9:34 am on June 11th

jareed jareed writes: Between larger projects I enjoy carving wooden spoons,so just get me more wood, of any kind, big or small, doesn't matter I'll just add it to my stash!!
Posted: 8:08 am on June 11th

cblouin cblouin writes: It dawned on me this morning that my life would be much better with a caliper ($30-$50), or maybe that Smith&Wesson Gunstock set of carving tool ($35); it may not be as good as the $200 from Hirsch set from Lee-valley, but it'd be good enough to get going.
Posted: 6:52 am on June 11th

Claytonwood Claytonwood writes: I've got two things on my list for under $100.00: A Starrett 12 inch combination square to replace my inexpensive one, and a 6 piece set of Stanley Fat Max chisels, $38.00 at Amazon. I've been using an old 3 piece set of Craftsman chisels, and it's time for an upgrade.
Posted: 3:35 am on June 11th

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