The do-it-yourselfer on your list is a tough nut to crack. He’s quiet, reserved, shuns any kind of fuss and would rather spend his time perfecting a dovetail than hear about where you sourced the artisan flannel used in yet another plaid shirt. Chances are you owe him a favor (or will soon), so you may want to make this year’s gift special. Tools are always appreciated but at this stage, his collection demands specificity. Anything added to his repertoire needs to be tailored to accentuate his strengths, bolster areas of weakness and facilitate efficiency. Gifts for the DIYer should be as rugged as he is and never come with strings attached (“I got you this finishing nailer…so now you can help me lay that quarter-round!”). Here are a dozen excellent options — and one extra-special selection — to chisel a permanent smile on the do-it-yourselfer’s face.
Stanley Satellite Rechargeable LED Work LightYour inner six-year-old will immediately dub this thing the “whirlybird.” But there’s good reason for its playful shape. Each of the propeller-like panels unfurls to offer an extra 18 LEDs to shed extra light on work areas and campsites, or even help you man the grill. The Stanley Satellite Rechargeable LED Work Light provides up to 300 lumens of illumination for up to six hours and packs a built-in 1-amp USB charger to keep your smartphone primed. Get used to hearing “pass me the whirlybird, would ya?”
Dewalt DCB204BT-2 20V MAX 4Ah Compact Battery with Blue ToothWhether it’s at the job site or tackling chores around the house, cordless power tools are the first thing the DIYer grabs. Run times and power are now on par with with the corded old guard, and their convenience is second to none — provided your battery is charged. To keep workers productive, DeWalt has integrated Bluetooth technology into their newest line of 20V XR (“eXtended Runtime”) batteries. Coupled with their iOS and Android-friendly Tool Connect app, users can monitor charge levels, set various user-defined alerts and even force a tool to shut down if it’s taken out of range or is borrowed for longer than you’d like — take that, stupid Flanders.
RotoZip Tools SS560vsc-31 120V Roto Saw and Spiral Saw Kit with Dust VaultSpiral saws are the perfect solution for finishing contractors to minimize patchwork when roughing in their utility cutouts. The RotoZip Roto Saw features a variable-speed blade that spins up to 30,000 RPM and is designed to maintain speeds even when under load. Equipped with the RotoZip Dust Vault, it now eliminates 90 percent of the post-project cleanup and should keep the beard gypsum-free.
The Gear Patrol MagazineThe best gift is something that the recipient wants but wouldn’t buy for himself. A basket of pears? No thanks. A trip around the world? Now you’re on to something. While we won’t be bankrolling a trip, we can get you close with Issue #1 of the Gear Patrol magazine, a journey from Wyoming to Chile to Norway (and more), plus product guides and an interview with mountaineer Conrad Anker. Seriously, put down that fruit basket.
Generac iQ2000 Inverter GeneratorWith almost eight hours of run time at 25 percent load, the Generac iQ2000 Inverter Generator provides more than enough portable power to keep the DIYer humming well into the night. And thanks to a 79cc, four-stroke engine that automatically matches throttle response to AC demands, it runs quiet enough not to upset the neighbors.
Rockwell RK9034 JawStand XP Work Support StandAn extra set of hands is always appreciated around a project, and the Rockwell JawStand is better than most human assistance. It has a 360-degree swivel head that also pivots 90 degrees and holds loads up to 220 pounds. Non-marking feet and jaws make this clamp perfect for major projects or finicky finishing work, and best of all it won’t complain when you need it to stick around through lunch.
Stihl TSA 230 Cutquik Cut-Off MachineThe Stihl Cutquick TSA 230 is a cordless, electric-powered cut-off machine that aims to rival Stihl’s own gas-engined stalwarts. Powered by a 36V lithium ion battery and featuring integrated water control, the TSA is lighter, quieter and cleaner than anything else on the market and can easily be used indoors.
Hammerhead 4V Lithium Rechargeable Screwdriver with Circuit Sensor TechnologyThis is the perfect screwdriver for armchair electricians to keep at the ready. More than just another battery-powered driver, the Hammerhead features an integrated circuit sensor to check the status of circuits up to an inch away. There is also a built-in LED work light, wire stripper and wire bender so you can quickly and safely get power run to the essentials before kick-off.
Rigid 18V Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill KitThe brushless motor housed within Rigid’s 18V Hammer Drill delivers 50 percent longer run times without sacrificing any twist. It features an adjustable clutch with over 100 settings and a shift-on-the-fly mode selector that transitions from drilling to driving to hammering without the need for further changes. That means you go from mounting ledger boards to laying deck floors with just a flick of a switch. Rigid also backs their tools with a lifetime warranty that includes free parts, free batteries and free service.
GP Leather Watch StrapAll the DIYer needs to do here is add the watch. This robust strap will fit most 20mm watches, is made in the USA and features hearty leather that can handle all the serious demands placed on it.
L.L.Bean Signature Jackman Ranger MocJust because he rolls with a tool belt most of the time doesn’t mean work boots are the DIYer’s footwear of choice. The Signature Jackman Ranger Moc by L.L.Bean is a comfortable and casual five-hole boot that’s timelessly styled and built tougher than most projects he’ll ever tackle.
The Architecture of American HousesYou don’t need to be a builder to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of architecture. This poster-sized print from Pop Chart Labs celebrates the ever-changing American housing landscape as it follows the trends that have shaped homes from the 1600s through to the present day. Sadly, the McMansion made the cut, but then again, so did the mobile home.
Sanborn Canoe Company Merino Wool BeanieMerino is one of the most versatile fabrics on this planet. It heats when it’s cold, cools when it’s hot, wicks moisture and repels odors. The Merino Wool Beanie from the Sanborn Canoe Company uses US-sourced wool and may very well be the perfect seasonal companion.
Faribault Woolen Mill Co. × Gear Patrol Cabin BlanketWe’ve teamed up with Faribault Woolen Mill to create a premium medium-weight merino wool blanket with a pattern exclusive for Gear Patrol and, naturally, a light touch of our signature orange. It’s perfect as a bedspread for the cabin or as a spare blanket in the trunk of your car (or in the cab of the truck).
Guideboat Co. Natural Wool French Work JacketThe wool chore jacket is the perfect transitional layer of outerwear for the needs of a rugged, working man. This natural wool version from Guideboat Co. is crafted using the shorn fleece of Quessant Island sheep from the North of France, which admittedly sounds a bit posh, but know this: the wool is finished just like the Burel cloth from medieval times.
Aquor HydrantSwitching to the Aquor Hydrant can save upwards of 3,000 gallons of water that would otherwise be lost to a leaky faucet. And it looks pretty slick, too.
It’s always worth asking, right?
Balmain Boat Company Pilot Kit: It’s not exactly as large as the Titanic, nor as intricate as Ron Swanson’s canoe, but the Balmain Boat Company’s Pilot Kit is the perfect way to hone woodworking skills while creating your own seagoing vessel. Everything is included in this precision-engineered six-person kit, right down to the cups and stirrers to prepare the glue. With roughly 100 hours’ estimated completion time, building your Pilot will help you ride out the woes of winter before rigorous testing all spring and summer long (fishing rod in hand).
More guides and gear to fill out your list
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Don’t know the difference between a drill and a driver? Didn’t even know there was a difference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you sorted. These are the best selections of each.
The Ultimate Tool Guide
A man’s tool kit will evolve over time. But nobody wants to buy the same thing twice. Our Ultimate Tool Guide features a selection of essentials that exceed expectation and might even outlast your most stunning project.