Gift Ideas - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

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Gift Ideas



Here are some great gift ideas for the woodworker on your Christmas shopping list.
 
Every woodworker will appreciate the versatility and usefulness of a multi-tool.
 
Two of the leading brands on the market are Leatherman and Victorinox. You can select from dozens of different configurations of multi-tools; the two that I looked at were the Leatherman Super Tool 200 (top photo) and the Victorinox SwissTool (bottom photo). I used both these professional level tools extensively over a two-week period, and can find good reasons for purchasing either tool. In the shop or on the work site they are eminently useful.
 
These are substantial tools, 4 1/2” in length, about 9 oz., and constructed of stainless steel. Both have some two dozen functions, including pliers, plain and serrated knives, file, ruler, screwdrivers and openers (the SwissTool even comes with a 1/4” chisel).
 
The knife blades hold an edge well (I used them to cut vinyl, gyprock, carpeting and a range of other materials) and the 2 3/4” saws easily cut through a piece of 2x4. The hardened wire cutters made quick work of 10-gauge wire and brass rod, and I could exert a considerable amount of torque on nuts and bolts with the pliers. Open a blade and it locks into position; press a lock release and fold the blade away.
 
The major difference that I could see with these tools is that with the Super Tool 200 you open the tool handles to access the blades. Pulling on one blade causes all the adjacent blades to move out. On the SwissTool the blades open on the outside of the handles, and individual springs hold blades in place so that you don’t get a clump of blades. I found this feature of the SwissTool more to my liking.
 
These tools are widely available at sporting good and hardware stores. Twenty-five-year guarantee on the Leatherman, lifetime on the Victorinox. Both come with carrying cases. You can’t go wrong with either of these beauties.
 
SuperTool 200, $99.99, www.leatherman.com, 800-847-8665;
SwissTool, $124.00, www.swissarmy.ca, 800-665-4095)
 

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Gross Stabil, a leading manufacturer of clamps, has just introduced what are, in my opinion, one of the best clamps on the market.
 

The PC2 line of parallel clamps with jaws 1 3/4” x 5 1/2” and bar lengths from 12” to 100” long, will handle just about all your clamping needs. You can exert up to 1100 lbs of clamping pressure, which is adequate for most glue-ups. The 3/8” x 1 1/8” galvanized steel rails show minimal bending over long lengths even at the maximum clamping pressure.
 
The clamping jaws are covered with a polyamide 6.6 grade of 1A plastic, reinforced with 50% long-fibre fiberglass. The hardwood handles are a generous 4 3/4” long and the clamping pads are replaceable.
 
Over the last month I have used the PC2 clamps on a wide range of applications, and have been extremely pleased with their performance. The jaws slide smoothly along the rail. I can vouch for their durability as well, having accidentally dropped of them onto a concrete floor without any damage to the jaws.
 
What makes these clamps so handy is the fact that you don’t need to use spacer blocks to protect your work from the jaws, and the clamps do a great job of squaring up your work. Simply the best!
 
These clamps are priced competitively with Bessey K-Body clamps; a 24” clamp, for example, will cost about $52. See www.grossstabil.com, 800-671-0838 for a current list of resellers.
 


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The ShopStrop, from Pacific Rack and Machine, has got to be one of the handiest (and fastest) sharpening systems I’ve used in years.
 
A 2” long hex arbor mounts in your drill press, which you’ll set to run at the slowest speed. There is a 1/8” thick piece of leather attached to the MDF base of the ShopStrop. With a dab of the supplied honing compound you’ll achieve a mirror finish on just about any cutting tool in a matter of seconds. If you need to
regrind, simply attach a cloth backed sanding disk (supplied) to the aluminum platen and grind away. Self-adhesive disks are available from 120 to 600 grit (or you can do up your own). If you can do without hollow grinding, this is an economical, easy way to sharpen! ($29.95, www.bigleg.com, toll free 877-220-2699)
 


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Hi-Gage Enterprises makes a great multi-function attachment for your combination square.
 
The Hi-Gage SQ1 (shown attached on the right of the combo square in the photo) fits on a standard combo square, turning it into an inexpensive, accurate height gauge.
 
As well as using it to set the height of your table saw blade or router bit, you can set the width of cut on your table saw, the drilling depth on your drill press, measure material thickness and even use it as a caliper. The SQ1 is well machined and runs smoothly along the combo square blade. A highly functional tool that will get a lot of use in the shop. ($29.95, www.leevalley.com, 800-267-8761)




CARL DUGUAY is a writer and woodworker from British Columbia.
Carl Duguay 2