This list is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links. This means I get a small percentage of purchases made if you click the link provided. If that bothers you, never click on any gift guide anywhere on the internet. This list has very cheap items, some mid-range items, and some items that are about as realistic as the Lexus in the driveway with a big red bow. But I never know who is going to read this, and I’d hate to deprive someone of a present like that if it was an option. If you are the shopper, click on the photo to purchase/learn more about the item suggested. If you are the woodworker, leave this post conspicuously opened where they are sure to see it. I recommend an open laptop eye-level in the fridge.
This is a sure thing present serious woodworker. This is a stop block for a crosscut sled. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, you don’t have to. Basically, every serious woodworker has a crosscut sled. If they don’t, they should. So this stop block is the motivation they need to get around to making one. This is both height, left-right adjustable, and won’t budge when you smack it with a board. Which is the major downfall of most all stop blocks. And as an added bonus, Katz-Moses is a small independent woodworker and Youtuber.
WORKSHOP INSPECTION LIGHT/WAND
These inspection lights have been high dollar items in the past. So instead of buying a “woodworking inspection light” you can buy a photography light wand for a fraction of the cost. I use mine several times a week to inspect my sanding progress or ensure I didn’t miss any areas during finishing due to a poorly lit corner of my shop. This one is battery powered and rechargeable, and you can even change the light color. I’d say 95% of woodworkers don’t have a good inspection light like this, so you can probably buy it with confidence. And if they happen to have one, its Amazon, just return it for them.
BATTERY BRAD NAILER
This might be the MVP of all the tools I purchased in the last year. This is a battery-powered 18 gauge brad nailer by Milwaukee. Battery-powered means no air compressor to buy or lug around, no air hoses to get tangled, and no jarringly loud compressor startups. If that wasn’t enough, it is also just a really good brad nailer. Easy adjustments, doesn’t jam, can fire it as fast as I want, and isn’t too heavy. I redid all the baseboards and door casing in our house this year and I told my wife about every two hours how amazing this addition was. In part to justify the substantial $275 price tag though. And that doesn’t include any batteries or charger. So either add a battery pack to the gift, or ensure they are in the Milwaukee M18 family of tools already (that means they already use the 18 volt Milwaukee tools and therefore have their own batteries already).
Really good sharpening stones are few and far between. They are also a serious investment, so you don’t want to buy twice. I have a complete set of stones from Nanohone and am extremely happy with them. You can put a scary edge on your chisels, planes, or even kitchen knives. I recommend this four-stone set along with a stage for around $400. If you have a number of people looking for gift ideas you can never have too many accessories. So check out this one, this one, or even this one.
Every woodworker needs a good set of chisels. And most of them already do. So double-check your person before making this purchase. I own quite a few Narex chisels and am constantly blown away with how they outperform many of my chisels that cost much more. They aren’t the flashiest, but I believe them to be the absolute best value in woodworking chisels. You can buy bigger sets with more specialized chisels, but this four-piece set for $78 is all that 99% of woodworkers will ever need. If you find that your person already has a set of good bench chisels, I use these Narex butt chisels as much or more than my bench chisels. I’d say that only 50% of woodworkers have a good set of butt chisels.
REUSABLE EPOXY FORM
If you are buying for an epoxy woodworker I would highly recommend a premade, no-leak form by Concept 13. These are great for small serving board projects, or can be the perfect solution to the inevitable “what do I do with extra epoxy from my larger pour?” I keep two of these on hand with some small offcuts when I am making a larger table. Any extra epoxy gets dumped into this mold and I get an essentially free serving board to gift or sell. No more wasted epoxy in the bottom of my bucket.
I am pretty sure the Gluebot has made my list each of the last three years. Which you can chalk up to a lack of creativity, or an awesome gift that is less than $10. Either way, I have several of these in my shop for different glues, so don’t worry if your person might already have one. They can always use another one. If you haven’t seen these, they are an ingenious glue dispenser that keeps glue fresh, and always at the ready. If that description doesn’t make sense, don’t overthink it. Its an awesome gift for around eight bucks.
WALL OR CEILING PHOTOGRAPHY BACKDROP
If your woodworker is already selling his items, or you’d like to encourage them to make the jump, they need a proper photography backdrop. Etsy is littered with the wrinkly sheet under a swinging lightbulb photo. If you want to stand out, you need to take good pictures, period. I use one of these with few different rolls of paper. Paper isn’t included here though. I recommend a roll of white or black. Skip the grays and any other color.
Woodworkers have lumber. That is just what we do. We don’t always have a place to store it though. I added three of these racks to my shop this year and have been pleased with getting my wood off the floor. Each level holds around 100 lbs, but is only 12” deep. So you won’t be able to store any dining table slabs, but you can pile all the 2x4s and narrow pieces you want. Each pair will only run you around $45, so it can be a great way to organize the shop for a lot less than you could make something yourself.
Every serious woodworker should own a pinless moisture meter, but not everyone can justify the $500+ price tag for a really good one like this. I understand the trepidation, but if they are going to spend more than $1000 on wood this year, and their supplier doesn’t have a meter like this (I’m looking at you craigslist guy), then they need a good moisture meter to avoid wasting money on wood that isn’t dry. I have fallen victim to the wood deal that is too good to be true, only to have trapped moisture in a cheap slab, and now I have a $400 piece of wood I can’t use. I keep my meter in my truck, just in case I see that roadside wood dealer and don’t want to get suckered again with green wood. This Wagner Orion is pretty much the industry standard for pinless meters and the only one I have personal experience with. So try other brands at your own risk and avoid pin meters that only get test the surface moisture and leave little holes in your wood.
Again and again, people ask me what premium tool should they buy first. I keep coming back to this sander by Festool, which surprises a lot of people. I think people expect me to say a giant table saw, a sexy track saw, or a whole shop dust collection system. But the bottom line is that it is extremely hard to get professional results with a cheap sander. The sander is the last thing to touch your project before the finish goes on. So all the cuts from the table saw, profiles cut with a router, or domino joints inside won’t impact the final appearance as much as a really good sander. Not that those tools aren’t important and shouldn’t be owned, I would just buy those after this sander. What is so good about a $500 sander when you can buy a premium Bosch one for $100? It is hard to explain in text, but think of it as the difference between a Ferrari and a Camaro. Once you turn the key on and touch the throttle you can tell the difference instantly(So I’m told, I’ve never so much as sat in a Ferrari). This sander starts and stops almost instantly, stays cool, is dust-free, and barely vibrates your hand. Just an overall pleasure to use for the unavoidable hours we spend sanding.
The Sawstop is the “Lexus with a bow” present on this list, but hear me out. First, if your woodworker doesn’t have a Sawstop, they want one. Even if they think they don’t, they do. They just don’t know it yet. So I will skip all the reasons why your person might want a Sawstop and get to why YOU want them to have a Sawstop. If you don’t know, Sawstop is a table saw that won’t cut you (YouTube the Sawstop hotdog test if you haven’t seen it, it’s crazy). Unfortunately, many woodworkers suffer a lost finger or worse at some point in their woodworking career. In my previous life as a Lifeflight helicopter pilot, we were dispatched to transfer a man whose dog had jumped on him and caused him to fall into his running table saw. He was going to live, but his arm would never be the same. I came home to my wife and brought up what I had seen. Knowing what I was about to suggest, I was rather timidly looking at the ground with my hands in my pockets. Eventually, I sheepishly mentioned that it might be a good idea for me to get a Sawstop, expecting my wife to laugh at the prospect of me spending $3000 or more on a ‘toy.’ To my shock, she instantly said, “yes, buy one.” I was so surprised I tried to talk her out of it for some reason. I said “I dunno, that’s s a lot of money.” and she pointed out that the cost of a Sawstop would be less than the insurance deductible on even a moderate accident. Not to mention she married a guy with 10 fingers and intended to keep it that way.
Bonus motivation: This can be like the guy who buys the engagement ring for a birthday present. He’s going to buy the ring anyway, so he might as well avoid having to buy a present that year. So if you want them to be safe, give yourself the free bonus points of giving the greatest gift they have ever gotten. This year I upgraded my very capable Sawstop PCS to the ICS. Both are great options, but if you want the best, go for the 5hp ICS.
This is another item by Katz-Moses and is just an easy gift you don’t have to overthink. Woodworkers wear aprons, but not crummy ones. This is waxed canvas and even has a leather holster for your combination square. Serious quality on al