Tool Test – Last Minute Gifts for Dad


Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, and I know  there are family members trying to figure out any last-minute gifts for dear old Dad. We are a woodworking magazine , I’m sure we’re your Dad’s favorite magazine , so we would be remiss if we didn’t offer up a few tools for that special day. Here goes.

Lee Valley Tape Tips @ Leevalley.com

I’m sure by now you have seen this workshop helper. These pieces are used in conjunction with a tape measure to assist in diagonal measurements. It’s like having a second set of hands working with you.

One of two rare earth magnets attaches to the tape, depending on what job you’ve engaged it to do. If you’re measuring the outside corner of a project, checking for square when assembling a case, the Tape Tip hooks over the outside of the box and you get a direct read from the tape. If you’re using the tip on the inside of the box, from corner to corner, nudge the point of the tip into the corner, read the measurement from the tape and add 1″. Bingo.

There are additional uses explained in the instructions that accompany the Tape Tip.

Tape Tips are $3.95 each.

Striker Pencils @ strikerone.com

This is the next generation in carpenter pencils. What do you do in a woodworking shop with a carpenter’s pencil? I’ll tell you what I do. I lay out the cut lines in rough lumber. Breaking down longer boards into shorter, workable sections that are easily milled is the first operation for my projects.

This new pencil is made from ABS plastic and has few moving parts. It won’t fill with sawdust or shop grime. Just press the cap and the jaws open to allow the lead to extend for drawing, and to retract so as not to break when not in use (and for installation of new lead).

Replacement lead is available in packs of five sticks each, in black for common woodworking and odd jobs around the shop, in red for marking on concrete or masonry or in white if you mark on iron or black pipe (pipe clamps?). I wonder if the white draws on dark woods such as walnut or mahogany?

Striker pencils are priced at $3.69 for the pencil and 5 leads, or $1.99 , $2.69 for lead-only purchases.

Husky 45-piece Stubby Set @ Homedepot.com

This is a great set of tools to have around the shop. They’ll fit into most drawers and spring into action if you need them to tighten a bolt or assemble a new table saw. The “Stubby” part comes from their size. The handles are a short , 3-1/2″ or less.

What’s included? A pivoting-head ratchet that handles both 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive sockets, 13 sockets (SAE) that range from 5/16″ to 3/4″, 14 metric sockets from 4mm to 17mm in size and a ratcheting screwdriver with 10 different bit tips (different is size and variety). There’s also an adjustable wrench and a few other parts. Is that 45 pieces?

This set is from Husky and is backed by their guarantee. And, here’s the great news , the cost of this set is only $15. It’s available only at Home Depot.

That’s three ideas. If you know of something special that we should note, or if you get a cool tool for Dad’s Day and want to share it with others, add your comment to this page.

, Glen D. Huey