At a loss for Christmas hand tool presents? How about a digital multimeter, stud finder, woodworking clamps, or a Leatherman multi-purpose tool?
Well, Thanksgiving and Halloween are just memories now. The next holiday in the pipeline is Christmas and itll be here in a flash. The other DIY Christmas tool gift guide discusses DIY
Christmas gift power tool ideas.
This article covers hand tools (not the absolute basics). Just cant have too many!
The Digital Multimeter (DMM)
The digital multimeter
is an essential tool for any DIY projects involving electricity. Changing or
installing a ceiling fan?
Replacing a light switch? Installing LED or low voltage lighting fixtures? Got to have one.
The multi in multimeter means three tools in one: ammeter, ohmmeter, and voltmeter. Its great for testing continuity in electrical circuits when troubleshooting. DMMs are fairly inexpensive nowadays. The top brand is Fluke, and Radio Shack also carries their brand for a good price.
The Handy Stud Finder
No, this isnt a dating service; the handy stud finder is the Do It Yourselfers best friend when it comes to hanging pictures, installing wall shelves, or hanging a mirror.
Forget the old methods of wearing the hide off knuckles by tapping the wall or making holes by searching with trial and error finish nails.
The stud finder is affordable enough to be a stocking stuffer. The cheaper ones work their magic by using a magnet to pick up nail or screw heads.
Beware; they can also alert on pipes and conduit, neither of which is recommended to nail into. Spend a bit more for a model that senses the density of the wall.
It will alert where the stud begins and again where it ends, so the center can be located. The best ones are made by Zircon and Strait Line.
Woodworking Clamps for Strength
Any woodworker will confirm it having too many woodworking clamps hanging on the shop wall is impossible. Period. In almost all wood joinery DIY projects, the pieces are dry fitted, then glued up and clamped overnight (excluding much traditional Japanese wood joinery).
For example, building drawers with dovetail joints or box joints, or when assembling picture frames, 90 degree clamps ensure that perfect 90 degree angle. For mortise and tenon joints, bar clamps are the ticket in most cases.
New style clamps seem to appear on the market all the time; a lot of research has gone into development of specialized type tools.
Jorgensen® woodworking clamps have a rich history of quality; they are usually passed on to the next generation of craftsman rather than wearing out. Quick-Grip clamps have been around for a while now and allow the convenience of one-handed operation.
There have been many imitations over the past decade but no manufacturer comes close to an authentic Leatherman multi-purpose tool. Mr. Leatherman was an engineer before he invented the tool so it goes without saying that he obsessed over quality.
There is a whole array of Leatherman tools; one for every purpose and budget. The tools greatest feature is portability; it folds up and rides in a belt pouch.
Sometimes its just inconvenient or impractical to carry around a toolbox when all thats needed is several different screwdrivers and a pair of needlenose pliers.
The one I carry on a daily basis is the Wave model. Being completely stainless steel, its also a constant companion when I go kayak fishing out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hopefully the hand tools covered in this article point in a direction that will help to delight the DIY gift recipient on Christmas morning!