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If you are a woodworker, chances are your wife, husband, or significant other has never really delivered when it comes to purchasing for you an actual woodworking related gift. They try sometimes, but can never seem to get it right. Since Christmas is fast approaching, I put together a short list of items that are inexpensive, relatively easy to get, and will be useful to most woodworkers. If you don’t happen to celebrate Christmas, these are still good gifts for a woodworker on any occasion.
- Kiwi shoe shine brush.
This idea comes courtesy of Paul Sellers. Many woodworkers use wax for polishing/protecting furniture, nothing new there. But buffing it out is not always easy. I would never have thought to use a shoe brush, but it does a brilliant job. No more wax build-up in crevices, corners, etc. and nothing but an even finish. These brushes generally sell for under $20.00 ea.
As far as durability, I still have the first brush I purchased more than 20 years ago during Basic Training, and after hundreds upon hundreds of uses it still looks and works the same as the day I got it. On that note, I do not use my shoeshine brush for woodworking, I have a separate one just for that purpose.
This is another gift idea from the mind of Paul Sellers. Depending on which model you get, the cost ranges from $6-$20. Sellers uses this as a marking or scribing knife, and it does an excellent job. The blades can be sharpened and are inexpensive to replace. It is as good as any marking knife I’ve ever used, and because it is foldable can be kept in a pocket. I recommend the 11-041 replacement blade for woodworking.
- 3M Sandblaster flexible sand paper.
I’ve just fairly recently discovered this product at my local Home Depot. It is not cheap for what it is: a 4 pack is approximately 8 dollars. But it is well worth the money. I’ve used it almost exclusively for sharpening, and for the first time I’ve been getting extremely consistent results.
When coupled with dowels, which can be purchased at most home centers, hardware stores, and craft stores, this product can easily be used as a faux rasp, and more importantly, custom sized sharpening jigs for many curved profiles. Another plus; the paper can be used wet or dry.
According to 3M, Sandblaster lasts up to 15x longer than standard backed sandpaper. I can neither confirm nor deny that claim because I’ve only been using it for a few months. But it does seem to last quite a bit longer than the garden variety stuff. Yet another plus: I’ve yet to accidentally tear a piece during use.
4. Craft Leather
Another gift under $20. Usually these are sold in 6×8 or 8×11 pieces. With honing compound, I use these leather sheets to strop all of my chisel and plane irons. They can be glued (regular carpenter’s glue) to different sized wood blocks for clamping with a vice, or wrapped around dowels to for use with curved profiles.
Any woodworker who wants to get a high-level of polish will want to strop his/her irons.
I’ve used Amazon as a source on all of the links for convenience. But if you’re like me, you may want to purchase these items locally. I own everything on this list, and I got all of them at a supermarket, my local hardware store, the Home Depot, and A.C. Moore, respectively. Of course there is nothing wrong with purchasing them online, but I do like to support my local businesses. I know the Home Depot is a national chain, but considering that every item on this list was purchased within a 15 minute drive from my house I still consider it a local business.
So if you’re looking to impress the woodworker in your life, and you don’t want to drop some major coin on woodworking tools or accessories, I think this list will do you right. Your cheap ass now has no reason not to go out and get a woodworking item or two for your better half.