2018 December 4    Tools

Updated 3/2020


It's time for another list of five great gifts for the DIY enthusiast in your family.  Most of these have prices under $50, and only one of them approaches $100 or so.

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In This Article

One:  It's One Tough Box

Two:  The Handiest Clamp Ever

Three:  Rawhide! 

Four:  All-Around Useful

Five:  A Machinist Tool For Everyone



Contico 20" Toolbox

  The Contico #8200GY Tuff-Box is Made In USA by the company that's occasionally the OEM for some better-known brands (including the box stores). 

A great feature of this toolbox:  even though it's not weather-sealed, it probably won't take on water if you accidentally leave it out in a rainstorm.  I've tested it.

There aren't many toolboxes on the market that are even designed properly anymore;  many of them have gaps or handle attachment points that let the rain in.  So I decided to leave this Contico 20" toolbox outside in a heavy rainstorm.  Actually I've left this out in the rain a couple of times, at least.  And I don't think there was even one drop of water inside. 

Try this link or this one.


Irwin Quick-Grip Bar Clamp, 12"

Shown here a little rusty, because these go everywhere and are used in almost every project I work on.  I never thought the basic Irwin Quick-Grips would be any good.  Light duty?  Who wants anything that's "light duty"??  Actually, sometimes a little bit of clamping force is all you really need.  And these also don't weigh that much.

In case you were wondering, these do seem better-made than a lot of the no-name copies that are out there.  Some stuff by Irwin I'm not really a fan of, but these clamps are a must-have. 

Try this link or this one.

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Garland Rawhide Mallet

The one shown here is decades old and wired together.  But you don't need to wait around for a used one with issues;  get a brand-new, perfect one and put it to use in your workshop now.  This is one of the handiest non-marring hammers you can own, and it's Made In USA.  I actually use a rawhide mallet to set hammer handles. 

The 1 3/4" diameter ("Size 3") is a good all-around size.  Try this link or this link.

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Bucket Boss 54170

This is one of the most convenient tool pouches I've ever tried.  These are simple, lightweight, and low-cost.  I even like the colors and the design.  It's compact enough that you could wear it on a belt with another pouch, such as this one

The 54170 goes over pretty much any type of belt, so it's highly versatile.  It even has an inner elastic pocket where you could carry a phone.

If you like giving two or three gifts of the same brand or type, consider a Bucket Boss 50300 and an original Bucketeer to go along with it.  What a great combination.


The 50300 is fantastic for what it is;  I wouldn't bother using the tape measure holder on it, though, because like every other one that's designed that way, the tape measure will fall on the ground constantly.  Consider a separate tape measure holder like this one, which will fit one of the handiest tape measures there is.  Outside of that, the 50300 is very much worth having, especially for the price.

And the Bucketeer is great because it can turn that jumble of tools in a 5-gallon pail into something that's actually convenient.

Try this link for the 54170 and this link or this one for the 50300. 


Machinist 4" Double Square

This is one of those tools you may never expect to need, but once you try it, you might wonder how you ever did without it.  For installing hinges, squaring up table saws, making things out of steel, and so many other tasks, this is just incredibly useful.  So compact, takes up so little space in a toolbox... perfect size.

Mine is a cheap knockoff, but if you want the real quality, consider the Starrett or at least the PEC Tools, both Made in USA

They're manufactured to amazing levels of precision (0.00001" for the Starrett!).  The cheap knockoff versions are unlikely to be anywhere near that level, especially not with any consistency. 

A full-size combination square is the right tool for many jobs, but it's surprising how often a 4" square is needed.  Great for both woodworking and metalworking projects.  Get yours through this link or this one.


This was a look at five great gifts for the home handyman or DIY enthusiast.

There you have it, friends.  Many of these items are Made in USA, several cost less than $25 each, and most are less than $50 apiece (as of late November 2018.)


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