Father’s Day: Ten Tools for all the Best Dads
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My dad, in his day, was extraordinarily handy, always fiddling in his shop. As a kid, it seemed a weird hobby; as a homeowner now – a priceless skill set. Every Father’s Day, we would set out to find him the next greatest tool…the one that would change his life. That, and the requisite white tube socks and t-shirts. I later married a man who would turn out to be equally skilled this way. Oddly, he requests socks and t-shirts too. To the point at hand though, let’s talk tools for dad.
With the dads’ help and the input of This Old House and Tools of the Trade, I’ve compiled a list of tools the handy dad might enjoy adding to his collection. This is a general list, not intended for any specialties, but does presume some experience with tool handling. I’ve tried to include some at varying price points.
I have vivid memories of my dad making me hold a flashlight for him while he worked in a small, poorly lit place trying to fix whatever it was. Inevitably he always dropped his tool or screw and the small repair was prolonged. This magnetic wristband can hold a massive amount of screws, nails, even small tools like wrenches and screwdrivers. So, he won’t need two more sets of hands; he’ll have all he needs on his wrist. Great gift on sale for only $8.99.
I’ve myself traced small angles and awkward shapes when tiling and watched my husband do the same in hopes of trying to replicate the shape; often resulting in failure. This innovative, four-sided mechanism quickly forms to the shape of your work area, which can then be used as a stencil for cutting your workpiece. Just place the angle template tool onto your work area, slide the rulers into the shape needed, and tighten the screws. Measures both inches and centimeters. It can be used as a stencil for various applications: tile, woodworking, shingling, etc. This variety now sells for $16.95.
This little tool is miraculous. Haven’t we all turned the house upside down for the right size screwdriver, allen wrench, or otherwise hoping to find the right fit? This Gator Grip can do all that for you. The retractable steel rods pictured below form around any shape or size fastener, bolt, nut, square nut, wing nut, hook, eye hook, etc . Once locked in place, just turn it and it immediately tightens or loosens, accordingly. Retailing now for $36.99.
Though we have belt and mouse sanders, this is our go-to. We use it on walls, doors, building and painting projects. Its can get in most spaces, corners aside. It has a rubber over-mold in all of the critical areas of the sander to reduce user fatigue. A separate counterweight design reduces vibration for improved comfort. Commonly used for sanding wood, metal, and plastics. Retails for $79.
Every dad in every household should own a compact drill/driver. We have one that should just reside on the kitchen counter, for the amount of use it gets. We’re always having to pull it out for small repairs and projects alike. This high performance motor delivers a maximum power of 380 unit watts out. Its light weight, compact design, and long lasting batteries add to its versatility. It comes with bag, charger, and two 18Volt batteries. Retails for $79.
This may or may not be in my shopping cart right now, as dad’s laser level recently ‘flatlined’. This tool projects three self-leveling beams simultaneously. Its bright dots and easy grip, protective covering make it particularly user friendly. Alarms when beyond leveling range. For use in ceiling fixture and door installations, wall hangings, and innumerable others. On sale now for $114.99.
We use this almost daily at our house during the summer months to remove leaves around the pool. Its not super powered and thus not the tool for your fall clean-up. But it boasts a high blower speed and is lightweight, making it easy to use for small jobs. It comes with a variety of attachments, like a sweeper and short hose for inflations (of pool rafts or what have you). Then its small enough to get tucked away in a patio cushion box. This sells for $89.99
This sawzall, reciprocating saw, is ideal for demo or hard-to-reach locations. Its narrow frame and long blade allows the user greater reach. It maintains constant speed and power under the heaviest load. The 6538-21 also includes a patented gear clutch to absorb high-energy impacts that can occur due to blade lock-up. If that were not enough, Milwaukee’s saw utilizes a counter balance vibration reduction system to further enhance tool life and user comfort. Retails for $204.
My husband ‘borrowed’ my father’s miter saw until he finally came and retrieved it himself, forcing us to make the investment in our own. It is, however, his very favorite tool in the box. There are a few saws on this list, but each serves a different purpose. The Compound miter saw allows for very precise cuts. Envision crown moulding. The powerful 15 Amp, (3,800 rpm) motor delivers extended power and durability. It can cut up to 2×16 dimensional lumber at 90° and 2×12 at 45°. Retails at Amazon for $599.
When you’ve floated dad’s birthday, then rolled it into Father’s Day and maybe are planning to stick a holiday bow on it, you might consider this big ticket table saw. Both my dad and husband swear by their table saws as being one of the most useful and durable tools they’ve owned. The 32-1/2″ rip capacity easily cuts a variety of larger shelving and trim materials. The 15 Amp motor rips through hardwoods with ease. Retails for $579.
These are merely suggestions from owners and craftsmen. Within each category there are multiple options offered by the same manufacturer, and then, of course, by a multitude of different manufacturers. Read reviews before committing to make sure its the right tool for your special dad.
Happy Father’s Day to all yours.