Welcome to the 2021 edition of the Popular Woodworking gift guide! Know your price point? Jump right in below, or keep scrolling if you’re just browsing for ideas.
This year we’re featuring a ton of great tools new and old, with whopping 15 ideas under $100. Also new this year are our Top Pick gift ideas- these are the products we’re using in our own shops that we know you’ll love.
$30 and Under
Price: Projects and techniques start at $1.99
We’re launching a brand new Popular Woodworking digital shop, featuring all of your favorite project plans, videos, and techniques, plus new accessories and more coming soon!
Manufacturer: Harbor Freight
Price: $2.49/pack of 36
Woodworking consumables aren’t as “sexy” as some of the other gifts on this list, but they’re essential for most woodworkers. These acid brushes are great for applying glue or greasing up larger machines, and are an inexpensive way to show the woodworker in your life you care
Final glue-up and assembly can be one the most stressful parts of a project, and the last thing anyone needs is to be wrestling with their glue bottle. Enter the GluBot from Fastcap, which features drip-free application in both horizontal and vertical conditions.
Save $9.99 when you give a Popular Woodworking magazine subscription, the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.
Drill driver bits tend to be an underrespected part of a woodworker’s arsenal. You don’t tend to think about them until you suddenly strip out a screw head and realize that the bit you were using is well past its throw-away date. Thankfully you’ll have that problem a lot less if you switch over to impact bits, which can last up to 50 times longer. This set features magnetic tipped bits for Phillips, Torx, Security Torx, square, slotted, and hex screw, all in a convenient carrying case.
It’s a utility knife! It’s a scraper! It’s… both? A simple slide to scrape mode will automatically transform this humble utility knife into (let’s be honest, equally as humble) scraper tool. I’ve used a utility knife blade to remove stickers or paint on more than one occasion, so it’s nice to see that these two have finally been combined into one easy-to-use tool.
Manufacturer: Quipt Tools
Price: $19.99 (small)
Shop organization can be a struggle during a project, but this portable tray will make it that much easier. Simply attach it wherever you need it while working (the clamp works horizontally, vertically, and several angles in-between,) then store it when you’re done. No more inflexible, permanent, sawdust collecting bins needed.
Price: $19.99 (12″ clamp)
Clamps are a perennial woodworking gift, as it’s almost impossible to have too many of them. I’m fairly partial to wooden handscrew clamps, and the ones from Rockler are high quality while being a few dollars cheaper than some other brands. They also work nicely with their clamp handle grips for extra leverage without tearing up your hands.
Price: $30 (standard)
Accuracy is a cornerstone of woodworking, which is why the ability to correctly set the dept of a blade or bit is essential. Enter FastCap Mag Shims. Coming in standard, with eight 1/8″ thick shims and two 1/16″ steel spacers, or metric with six 2mm thick shims and two 1mm steel spacers, Mag Shims make setting spacing fast and effortless.
$30 to $100
Precision screwdriver kits are super convenient, but generally have two major shortcomings: the bit storage is clunky, and the screwdriver itself is too small for comfort. Megapro solves both of these issues by storing the bits in the handle itself, with a retractable cartridge. Add in an end cap rotates for easy one-handed operation, and you have a comfortable, thoughtful screwdriver for any task.
Price: $59.97 each
Few things are more frustrating than inadequate lighting while trying to complete a task. However, the woodworker in your life will never have that issue again once with either one of these great lights from Milwaukee. Both feature super-bright LEDs and are rechargeable via USB cable. The headlamp has a detachable magnetic task light that is incredibly useful, while the flashlight also has a magnetic base and can be clipped to the brim of a hat for a hands-free experience.
Manufacturer: Texas Canvas Wares
Woodworking can be tough on your clothes- sharp tools, rough lumber, and sawdust all take their toll. Aprons, like this fantastic one from Texas Canvas Wares, will protect your clothes from all those things, plus give you a handy place to hold tools while you’re working. The apron features four tool pockets, padded straps, and a suspension system to evenly distribute weight across your body, instead of just on your shoulders. The 16oz waxed cotton is tough enough to last a lifetime, so this is a product you’ll only need to buy once.
Price: $65.95 (on sale for $52.76)
What better way to connect with nature than by carving? This 3 piece set is the perfect starting point for carving patterns in wood, and the sharpening compound will help keep those blades sharp.
The newest member of the ISOtunes family is “lite” in both price and weight, but doesn’t skimp on the features that make ISOtunes headphones so great. With TRILOGY™ Universal eartips, 26 db noise reduction, and a 10-hour battery life, you can enjoy tunes all day in your shop while protecting your hearing. Of all of the items on this list, these get the most use in my shop.
Did you know that leatherman not only makes multi-tools, but apparel also? We just found out ourselves, and had to get our hands one of their new made in the USA hoodies that came out this fall. They’re well made, incredibly comfortable, and the perfect article of clothing to wear around the shop this winter.
$100 to $200
Kreg released a whole new lineup of pocket-hole jigs this year, and all of them are pretty great. However, each time I need to drill a pocket hole, I find myself reaching for the 720, thanks to the Automaxx clamping system. It makes securing the wood to the jig so effortless, and holds it perfectly secure while drilling. For a few bucks more, you can also upgrade to the 720 Pro, which packs even more useful features.
For the Sharpening Enthusiast: 8″ Professional Diamond Bench Sharpening Stone Kit Buy Now
Manufacturer: Timan Edge
Popular Woodworking is proud to partner with Titman Edge to bring the original James Barry sharpening stones to the US market. This Professional kit includes everything you need to sharpen edge tools such as knives, chisels, plane irons, and more. This kids includes a 3″ x 8″ Double-Sided Diamond Stone (300/1000 grit), lapping fluid, non-slip mat, leather strop, ultra-fine mirror paste, and a nylon case for storage.
Manufacturer: Metabo HPT
Price: $149 (bare tool)
Metabo HPT is a great tool brand that doesn’t seem to get quite the recognition it deserves. Take their new 18v Cordless Trim Router for instance- as part of their ever-expanding MultiVolt system, it accepts either their standard 18V battery or their MultiVolt 18v/36v battery. It has a brushless motor and weighs only 2.5 lbs, making it one of the lightest routers in its class. The tool includes 1/4″ and 3/8″ collets, trimmer guide, straight guide, template, dust collection port, and a bit changing wrench.
Manufacturer: Case Knives
I never expected to be one of those people who carried a pocketknife with me wherever I went, but the Marilla from Case Knives changed that. Part of their new Modern Knives collection, the Marilla has a 3.4″ blade made from S35VN stainless steel, which means it’s both strong and built to hold an edge well. The opening action is fluid, and the blade is absolutely rigid once locked into place. Once I started using it, I didn’t want to go back to opening packages with scissors, popping open battery compartments with screwdrivers, cleaning under my nails with- well, you get the point.
Five Tools for the Price of One: XTREME™ 12V MAX Brushless Cordless 5-in-1 Drill/Driver Buy Now
MSRP: $179.00 (battery and charger included)
The right tool for the job always makes the job easier, right? The new 5-in-1 Drill/Driver from DeWalt is the right tool for several types of jobs. The 12v platform means that it’s lightweight and comfortable for most everyday tasks, while the swappable attachments mean it will fit into tight or awkward spaces. If you’re only going to have one drill in your shop, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Manufacturer: Busy Bee Tools
Busy Bee Tools (sort of the Canadian equivalent of Rockler or Woodcraft) is joining the world of high-end hand planes by launching six new models. They’re hitting the sweet spot of price and quality, aiming for peak performance without breaking the bank. The No. 5 Jack Plane is a great all-arounder and the perfect plane to start building your collection around.
$200 & Up
Manufacturer: Mullet Tools
We’re big fans of the Mullet M5 here, so it should come as no surprise it’s making it onto this list. By starting with a blank-slate design and tackling every common complaint about dust separators, they’ve made dust collection (dare we say it) sexy.
A reliable planer is worth its weight in gold, which makes the new 75lb planer from Ridgid an absolute bargain. It’s rock-solid, easy to use, and produces clean, snipe-free boards time after time. The woodworker in your life is going to go nuts when they see a box this large and heavy under the tree.
Most woodworkers would probably call their table saw the centerpiece of their shop, but there’s a good argument to be made that a bandsaw is the real shop hero. The JWBS-14SFX from Jet bridges the gap between traditional cast iron bandsaws and inexpensive tube frame models. The fence flips down for small stock and stands tall for resawing, a standout feature at this price point. Sure, it’s a bit expensive for a gift, but if you ask the woodworker in your life, they’d probably rather have this than a new car in the garage on Christmas morning.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.