Many of the woodworking “gift guides” out there are a thinly veiled attempt to get you to buy some new products that are new to the store and are new, new, new.
As someone who was force-fed a diet of new tools for 15 years, here is my advice: Be wary of tools that are new in the marketplace. Let the manufacturer work out the bugs in the manufacturing process first. This advice carries over to new car models etc.
Case-in-point: A few years ago one of the big woodworking retailers came out with some 90° clamping blocks that you would clamp to the inside of a carcase to square it up. This new product was out just in time for Christmas and was in all the company’s gift guides.
But here was the problem: All of the clamping blocks were made at 89°.
Over at my other blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve been doing a series called “The Anarchist’s Gift Guide.” These are small, time-tested and thoughtful gifts that you might actually use. I have no financial interest in any of the products. They are simply little things I have purchased and used for years in my shop. Here are the links:
Day 1 is here. Rockler Mini Drill Bit Set
Day 2 is here. Brownell’s gunsmith drill bits
Day 3 is here. Grip mini pry bar
Day 4 is here. Tiger Flakes
Day 5 is here. Gramercy Holdfasts
Day 6 is here. Draft-Matic mechanical pencils
I have a couple more to add this week. But today I am taking a day off to go to Chicago and eat myself silly.
— Christopher Schwarz