Editors' Holiday Wish Lists - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Editors' Holiday Wish Lists

 In Feature Articles

With the holidays fast approaching, we decided to share our Christmas wish lists, in the hopes that someone (mom, are you reading this?) would be looking for last-minute gifts. And because a certain someone will likely not read this post past the first few paragraphs (mom, still reading?), I’m putting my own list first.

Megan Fitzpatrick
(Half my list is based on the fear that Chris will ban me from his tool chest.)
– Lie-Nielsen Router Plane (large and/or small). Out of all the tools I’ve learned to use over the past half-decade, I find router planes to be enduringly the most fun.
– Shapton GlassStones in #1,000, #4,000 and #8,000 grits, and the diamond lapping plate to match.
– Eccentric Toolworks dovetail saw (the one tool of Chris’s he won’t let me use).
– Grizzly GO555X 14″ band saw (sure, I’d like a bigger one, but my basement is vertically challenged).
– Benchcrafted Glide Leg Vise. I’ve been convinced that a hand-tool shop and Shakespeare can co-exist nicely in my study, and the pretty new bench I plan to build will need a little bling (not to mention that the Glide is the most awe-inspiring bench hardware I’ve ever had my hands on).
– An iPhone app that cleans the litter box (this is for the cats at home; I’m fairly certain my co-workers are potty trained).

Bob Lang
– Lee Valley Low Angle Jack Plane. This is a running joke between my family and me. I’ve been telling my son he should get me one since he was four. He’ll turn 18 eight days after Christmas and I doubt he’ll come through this year. Maybe after he graduates from college and gets a real job.
– Starrett 12″ combination square. Semi-sentimental choice. I used to have my grandfather’s but it disappeared during a move. I have a 6″ combination and a 4″ double square so I don’t really need one, but it would be nice to have.
– Lie-Nielsen No. 140 Skew Block Plane. Good looking and gizmolicious , I don’t just want it, I really, really need it.
– Lie-Nielsen Chisels. I’ve been using a set of plastic-handled chisels I bought on sale in 1979, along with odds and ends for special uses. They’ve served me well, but they look like crap hanging from my tool rack and are an embarrassment every time I take them somewhere to teach. I need the whole set, the bevel edges, the fishtails, the skews and the mortise chisels, but not the corner chisels. That would be excessive.
– A real stereo for the Popular Woodworking shop. And if I could design it, it would have automatic controls to cancel out machine noise, or at the least be equipped with wireless headphones/hearing protectors.

Christopher Schwarz
It’s funny, most of the things on my Christmas list don’t exist (yet). Here’s what I want that would make my woodworking nicer.
– High-angle frogs for my small smoothing planes. The more I work, the more I prefer small smoothing planes with high bedding angles. If my Christmas wish were to come true, I’d have a 55Ã?° frog for my Lie-Nielsen Nos. 3 and 4 smoothing planes. Then I’d shut my yap forever.
– Steel split nuts. While brass split nuts look really cool on a backsaw, they are fragile. It’s easy to strip out the threads or ruin the slot that tightens the nut. That’s why I’d like robust steel split nuts instead of brass. Yeah, they wouldn’t match the brass back of the saw, but I could probably live with a steel back, too.
– A realistic table saw miter gauge. Maybe I’m different, but about 95 percent of my crosscuts on a table saw are 90Ã?°. Why, oh why, are the modern miter gauges designed to cut all these wacky angles with ease, but setting them back to square is an ordeal? Give me a miter gauge (or sled or sliding table) that is easy to set to 90Ã?°. It’s OK if it’s a pain to set it to 37.625Ã?°.
– A Clark & Williams square ovolo plane. I ordered this plane from the Eureka Springs, Ark., company more than a year ago, and I suspect I still have at least a year to go before my name comes up on the waiting list. But a boy can hope for a Christmas miracle.
– A wooden floor for my shop at home. Why didn’t I insist on a wooden floor? Concrete is the pits, and it makes my feet and back ache like crazy.
– A decent shop apron. Every shop apron I’ve owned is fatally flawed. All the pencils, rulers and small junk comes spilling out when you stoop or bend over. I’ve designed a shop apron that will make everything stay put but still handy. My Christmas wish is to find someone to make one.

Steve Shanesy
I’ve been a good boy . . .
– A real dust collector – cyclone style, I should think 2hp would do.
– A vacuum pump with two set-ups – one for the lathe to hold bowls while finishing the bottoms and the other for pressing veneer with a bag.
– Oh, if only I could replace all my 30-year-old pipe clamps with parallel-jaw clamps.
– All the bench accessories needed to go along with a new workbench I want to build.

Glen Huey
– A copy of “American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840” by Sumpter T. Priddy , Books of this quality have loads of great information, great color and B&W photographs and add to anyone’s furniture knowledge. Truthfully, I would gladly accept any museum-style book on nearly any furniture style.
– A Grizzly G0636X 17″ Ultimate Band Saw , This is the only band saw that I’ve used that I can say I covet. I would sell off my 14″ and 16″ tools if this machine were under my tree.
– Here is my shocker gift. Though I’m mostly a power-tool woodworker, I’ve found reason to ask Santa for a nice Lie-Nielsen small router plane. With my interest in inlay work continually growing, this hand tool would be a welcome addition to a small but growing tool list. Of course, I would like the extra blades, too.
– You cannot build furniture without great lumber , well, you can, but what’s the point. So I’m putting in a request for some of the old-growth mahogany that Greener Lumber LLC is reclaiming from the rivers and lakes in Belize. Having worked with a small amount of the material, I know I want more.

Drew DePenning
– Kreg R3 Pocket Hole Jig System. I used this system to build the “I Can Do That” Storage Bench from the June ’09 issue. Its portability and stability made assembling this project a breeze.
– Blue Spruce Mallet. Almost every person in our shop owns one of these, and there’s a reason. Not only are they extremely durable, but they look really nice, too.
– Marples Blue Chip 6-piece chisel set. I don’t own any chisels, and I think this would be a great “starter set” for me. Plus if I beat the crap out of them and accidentally chip a few it’s no huge loss.
– A good jigsaw and Bosch “Xtra-Clean for Wood” blades. I need a good jigsaw, and these blades cut extremely smooth.
–  Jet 10″ band saw with the stand. When I start to build my home shop, this will be one of the first machines I purchase. It’s very small and portable, and because I have very little space, it will fit perfectly.

Jim Stack (Popular Woodworking Books)
– A good set of riffler files so I can get into nooks and crannies.
– A twist-drill sharpener that works. It’s just tricky enough to get the correct angle that I always mess it up using my grinder.
– A toolbox with fitted drawers to hold every hand tool I own, which would mean about 200 drawers.
– More clamps. As every woodworker knows, the availability of a clamp is inversely proportional to its need at that moment. Also, you just can’t have enough clamps, period.
– More wood.

– Megan Fitzpatrick

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Showing 13 comments
  • Richard Dawson

    I probably have more tools than I need, or deserve. That doesn’t stop me from wanting more. Maybe I should want something I really need — Time.

    Time to absorb and understand all the knowledge presented by the contributors to Woodworking Magazine and related blogs. They have all made me think and wonder, whether it be Chris or Megan, or the many readers who amplify and expand points and freely share their knowledge and experience; I need time for all that.

    Time to master and apply new techniques. There is always something new.

    Time to read the books Chris writes (with substantial help from Megan) and recommends. That alone is asking a lot.

    And time to thank everyone who has made even the smallest contribution to my pursuit of a very gratifying experience with wood.

    Thank you,


  • Kevin Thomas

    Remember Chris. A steel split nut can still be dressy. All you have to add is CHROME. It’s worked for the automotice industry for years.

  • Turner

    I am beginning to suspect that building a work bench can be habit forming….

  • Richard Noel

    For Chris, how about keeping two miter guages – one of which you never alter from 90 degrees. That has helped eliminate the frustration that comes from finding out after the cut that your ‘readjustment’ did not get you to 90 again.

  • Alan Schaffter

    A can agree with at least one item on each editors list!

    Megan if you find that iPhone App please let me know!! So the LVL bench is ok, but . . . . .

    Bob- I don’t like to wear headphones or hearing protection- maybe a call to Dr. Bose will yield a machine noise cancelling shop stereo some day!

    Chris- not sure which item would be better- a simple solid 90/45 miter gauge (that also has the ability to be set in between but using a simple, inobtrusive mechanism) or a shop apron- my ideal apron will not catch on vise handles, will allow me to bend over easily, will always be hanging from the nearest hook, and will have pockets that collect no dust or chips- if anyone can make it, Lee Valley can.

    Steve- come see me before you get that cyclone DC- you need at least 3 hp, plus one of my high dust alarm units to protect the filters when you overfill the dust bin. On my wish list is a manufacturer who wants to license my new, improved alarm unit.

    Glen- I want an endless wood rack- one that always has the species I need, and automatically replaces a board when I pull one to use.

    Drew- I want a good set of "self-sharpening" chisels, whose tips fold away instantly so I can’t damage or use them improperly.

    Jim- I have good luck with the Drill Doctor, what I need is a drill stretcher- so I am not left with a bunch of stubby bits that are too short for my drill index and hard to retrieve. If you get your clamp wish, you need to build one of my "ultimate" rolling clamp racks- it holds around 70 parallel jaw clamps as well as others in a low profile stable cart- I sent drawings of it to PWW (Megan?) last spring.

    Merry Chritsmas to all

  • Emily

    You know what, Chris? In addition to having great legs, Norma also happens to be an excellent seamstress. I’m sure I could talk her into taking a look at your shop apron design!

  • Jonas

    I am probably buying myself a dust collector / cyclone for Christmas this year. So I am glad to see that others have that wish too.
    Chris, could’t you ask somebody with a metal lathe to make you some steel split nuts? It shouldn’t be too hard to make.
    Merry X-mas

  • Tom

    This now begs an update to the post below, in which Chris sang the praises of Lee Valley’s apron…


  • David Antis

    I really like the WoodenBoat Builder’s Apron. Allows a lot of freedom of movement and stuff doesn’t fall out of the pockets easily.


  • Megan

    Oops. Thanks Andy – I fixed it.

  • Andy

    Thanks for sharing! Very interesting to see what others are wishing. I’ve already received a few of my Christmas wishes, and one I didn’t even know I had – a friend just offered to let me use a sweet infill small smoother on a "long-term-borrow" basis! Very exciting.
    Anyway, I wanted to point out a small nitpick – if someone had a "god jigsaw", they probably wouldn’t need any special "XTra Clean Blades" to go with it… 😉

  • Christopher Schwarz

    The Lee Valley apron is excellent. As is one from Duluth. But I have come up with two changes that will make a better apron. Not earth-shaking, but they borrow trick from aprons in other trades.


  • Bjenk

    Chris, why not pitch your apron to Lee Valley or Lie-Nielsen and they could sell it as the "Christopher Schwarz apron"?

    I’d buy it! ;P

    It was great to read what you guys and gals would love to have.

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