Gift Guide: Editor Top Picks
From shop vaccums to tablesaws and more—8 tools to get a home builder for the holidays.
We recently asked the Fine Homebuilding editors what tools they would recommend for a home builder’s gift list. The tools in this list are favorites from a few of our editors’ own tool kits. And oddly enough, Patrick, Matt, and Colin all included tools for job-site cleanup—it seems that Fine Homebuilding editors are a tidy bunch.
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Patrick McCombe, FHB Senior Editor
|DeWalt 20v Cordless Blower
I love my DeWalt 20v Cordless Blower. I use it to blow leaves off our decks and clear away piles of sawdust left from outdoor cutting. It’s not a substitute for a high-powered backpack blower, but I use it more than I could have ever imagined. If you’re not on DeWalt’s system, you can find similar blowers from most cordless tool manufactures.
It sells for $180 with a 5-Ah battery. Without the battery it’s $150.
|Superior Block Plane
If you’re hoping to take your furniture making or finish carpentry to the next level, a good place to start is a high-quality block plane from Veritas or Lie-Nielsen. My Veritas Apron Plane is a joy to use and it’s small and light enough that it’s not a burden in my tool belt. Properly sharp, it will make even end grain curl, and I can’t image a more enjoyable way to ease edges and scribe parts to fit.
It sells for about $100.
Truth is, I never used to worry about cutting off my fingers with a tablesaw, but my job has introduced me to a surprising number of smart carpenters, cabinetmakers, and furniture builders who are missing fingers from accidents. I often hear carpenters say that this type of injury can always be prevented. That may be true, but carpenters are often forced to work long, arduous hours in all kinds of less-than-ideal conditions. And even if everything is perfect, people make mistakes and there’s always the potential for distractions outside your control.
In my mind, a SawStop saw is cheap insurance against a painful, disfiguring injury that could end your career. If you’re a carpenter, get the Legacy Jobsite Saw or the Jobsite Saw Pro. If you’re a cabinetmaker or have a home shop, get one of the cabinet or contractor saws.
Prices start around $1500.
Matt Milham, FHB Deputy Editor
Colin Russell, FHB Video Director, Senior Producer