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Right now, Amazon is selling the Milwaukee 6519-31 12-Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit for $94.75 (and Prime eligible). It’s the sturdy, mid-sized, corded Sawzall that Milwaukee updated earlier this year (see TM’s March 2010 writeup) with a QUICK-LOK blade clamp for speedy, tool-free blade changes and a counterweight system to reduce vibration. The kit doesn’t include a bunch of extra blades, but it’s hard to complain with the affordable pricing.

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Milwaukee 12-Amp Sawzall Kit

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Every year you’ll see a number of holiday “gimmick” items gracing shelves about this time of year, stocked by folks who hope you’ll find ’em tempting — especially if you’re looking for a gift for someone who has lots of tools. The “features” seem to set the tool apart from others, many of which your giftee will likely already own.

Two years ago it was the Black & Decker Autotape. Is it junk? No. It does exactly what the box says it’ll do. But in our experience — and the experience of a number of friends who got them as gifts over the last few years — the battery dies quickly, and then it lies in a drawer unused.

Instead, consider purchasing a basic, high-quality tool that’ll give service for years. You can pick up a super-nice short tape — like, for example, the Stanley Bostitch 16′ pictured above — for $20 or even less with some careful shopping. And even if your favorite Toolmonger already owns a short tape, it never hurts to have two. Or three. In short, it’s the kind of gift that’ll always bring a smile because a) it’s useful, b) it’ll remain useful for years, and c) it’s thoughtful.

Short Tapes [Bostitch]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


The selling shtick for this product touts its ability to keep you informed about the status of your vacation home. But even if you (like us) aren’t loaded enough to have two homes, it’s still damn useful. Plug this sucker into a phone line, stick a 9V in the back, and it’ll call a phone number of your choice when the temperature drops below 45 degrees.

This would make a great addition to any home in the North — or any place where it stays below freezing for a decent chunk of the year. A broken heater (even while you’re alway for work) can make for a bad day. And $50 isn’t much to spend for peace of mind. Plus it’s kinda gadgety, which makes it a fun gift.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]


Looking for a killer “big present” for your favorite DIYer? Sure, lithium ion is the hot ticket, but step back to Ni-Cd and you find deals like this: a four-piece DeWalt cordless kit — hammer-drill, impact driver, recip saw, and flashlight — for under $400, complete with a battery and charger.

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So it’s V minus three, and you’re still thinking “what should I do for the special day?” We feel your pain. So we kicked the idea around the Toolmonger offices and came up with a few ideas.

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My friend Joe Brown tipped me to this just in time for last-minute gift-giving: These folders served as French army and Foreign Legion-issue pocket knives. And they still make great daily-carry knives now, some 70 years later. They meet all our standard requirements, too, including a standard drop-point blade and a nice thin profile, and checking in at under $25 total.

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I had the chance to rip through a friend’s copy of this recently and found that we were both commenting that a great deal of our childhood was contained in the book. The book was intended for his 12-year-old daughter, who was excited to receive it. After looking through it a little I have to agree: boy or girl doesn’t matter. This summary tells why.

The bestselling book for every boy from eight to eighty, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north and knot tying. The Dangerous Book is a guide book for dads as well as their sons, as a reminder of lore and technique that have not yet been completely lost to the digital age.

This is the kind of stuff that I wish I’d had a manual for when I was a kid. Nothing really stops kids from doing it now but perhaps it’s a nice kick-start for a youngster not into those things because they don’t know about it yet. Coupled with a parent’s assistance and enthusiasm on the activities located inside, you’ve got a good time brewing in no time flat.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]


I make no secret that I am a sucker for real wood on tools. Better yet, I love the ones I feel like I can actually use instead of the kind that’d make you feel bad if it were banged up a little. These Sheffield gift sets from Lowe’s are headed in the right direction.

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I saw this kit Saturday at our local Costco, marked down to $80 from $100. While I didn’t look super close because I have more hand tools than I know what to do with, it did occur to me that this might make a pretty decent gift for a friend that doesn’t have any tools at all. It looks like a surprisingly good selection, and I’m particularly happy they chose to include an adjustable wrench. You’d be surprised how many basic sets forget one, leaving poor buyers screwed if they run across a nut or bolt outside the range of the included sockets and wrenches.

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