12 cool tools for handy dads

Make painting, woodworking easy for under $300

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Make painting, woodworking easy for under $300

Paul Bianchina
Inman News™

When it comes to a gift for Father's Day, you know you can never go wrong with a cool new tool! So here are some great suggestions, listed in order of average street price, for you or the family to consider for Dad this year.

Kreg Square-Cut ($14.98): Here's a simple, easy-to-use tool that lets you accurately align your circular saw to your pencil mark when cutting wood to length. Adjustable to align perfectly to your specific saw, for fast, repeatable cuts in lumber, siding, and a variety of other materials up to 12 inches wide.

Craftsman Ratcheting Wrench Sets ($17.99 and up): Craftsman is offering a wide range of open-end and box-end wrench sets with ratcheting mechanisms for added convenience. There's a four-piece open-end set in metric or SAE (standard size) that lets you turn nuts and bolts without removing the wrench. There are also seven-piece open-/box-end Elbow Ratcheting sets, also in metric and SAE ($79.99), with ends that adjust and lock at different angles.

True Temper Graphite "Shock Zero" Hammer ($19.99 and up): A very comfortable hammer with a tough graphite handle and non-slip grip. It features a wider striking face, and a handy magnetic nail holder that helps save your fingers. Well-balanced and virtually indestructible, these 16- and 20-ounce hammers should last a lifetime.

Craftsman Max Axess Mechanics Tool Set ($70): This is a truly unique, open socket and wrench design that allows the bolt to pass through the socket and even through the ratchet. It eliminates the need for deep sockets, and even allows the use of a socket wrench on threaded rods. The complete kit includes 42 sockets in SAE and metric sizes, 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch ratchets, extensions and other fittings, in a great case that holds things very well. It's all the sockets a do-it-yourselfer should need around the house or shop.

Black & Decker 12V Piranha Pruning Saw ($79.99): This handy pruning saw cuts through branches up to 3 inches thick, and features a pivoting clamping jaw that grabs the branch for a clean cut with less vibration. The 12-volt lithium battery has enough power to cut more than 50 one-inch branches per charge. The saw also accepts any "T" shank jig saw blades, so you can use it for cutting PVC pipe, copper pipe, plywood and lumber.

Dremel Trio ($99): A versatile tool for a variety of DIY projects, the Trio gets its name from its ability to cut, sand and route. The handle pivots 90 degrees for more versatility, and the non-marring foot telescopes for accurate depth control. Great for wood, plywood and drywall. Features variable 10,000 to 20,000 RPM speed control, and comes in a kit with a case and several handy accessories.

DeWalt DCF815S2 12-Volt Max 1/4-Inch Impact Driver Kit ($139): DeWalt offers several different tough, compact tools that utilize the new 12-volt lithium ion battery technology. This is their impact driver, which drives screws and lag bolts with ease. Three LED lights circle the bit for great visibility, and the clever flat, bottom-mounted battery design lets the tool stand up on its own. Very powerful, but light enough and small enough to easily fit in a tool belt. The kit includes two batteries, charger and a soft case.

Ryobi TEK 4 Inspection Scope ($139): If you need to know what the framing's like inside the wall, where that leak's coming from, or exactly what's going on behind the dishwasher, here's the perfect tool at an affordable price. With a bright LED light, 3-foot waterproof cable, 2-times digital zoom, and a bright, clear viewing screen, now you can see inside walls and behind hidden objects with ease. Uses interchangeable 4-volt TEK 4 batteries. Charger and battery included.

Milwaukee 2411-22 M12 38" Cordless Hammer Drill Driver Kit ($159): This is one of Milwaukee's line of compact, heavy-duty 12-volt lithium ion tools, offering 275 inch-pounds of torque while weighing only 2.8 pounds. Has a two-speed gear box (0-400 RPM and 0-1,500 RPM), with 0-22,500 beats per minute (BPM) in hammer mode. It also has an bright LED work light, on-board fuel gauge, and 30-minute charger, all in a fitted case. It's a lot of tool in a small package.

Wagner 515040 Procoat Max Airless Paint Sprayer ($299): Here's an affordable airless paint sprayer that can tackle all your big projects, including home exteriors. Sprays 0.26 gallons per minute at 2800 PSI, with a 1/2-horsepower motor and variable pressure for spraying a variety of materials. Includes a 25-foot hose with a professional-grade, all-metal spray gun with reversible tip and filter. Telescoping cart allows painting from a 1- or 5-gallon can.

Husqvarna 356BT Back Pack Blower ($479.95): For larger yards, Dad will really appreciate the unique design of this lower-emission, two-stroke, gas-powered backpack blower. The engine, fan housing, and exhaust tube are all designed and insulated specifically to dampen noise. The blower operates at only 64 decibels, which meets many community noise ordinances, and the tone is a lot gentler on the ears. The comfortable padded and ventilated backpack harness has nice wide shoulder pads and a hip belt. The fan generates 177 MPH of air flow, with a tube-mounted throttle control.

Porter-Cable 77240 24-Inch Omnijig Joinery System ($579.95): If Dad's a woodworker, here's the ultimate gift that you might want to get the whole family in on. The well-designed Omnijig works with any router to cut a variety of dovetail and box joints in wood up to 24 inches wide, and from 1/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches thick. Templates allow half-blind dovetails to be cut with a single pass of the router. There are also fingers that are independently adjustable for a unique, hand-cut dovetail look. The various color-coded on-board instructions, depth guides, and bit stops minimize test cuts and ensure greater speed and accuracy.

Remodeling and repair questions? Email Paul at paulbianchina@inman.com. All product reviews are based on the author's actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.

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