Holiday Stocking Stuffers – On the House

Holiday Stocking Stuffers

By on December 3, 2016

Each year about this time we make our annual jaunt through various hardware stores and home improvement centers seeking out new and interesting tools and devices that would make perfect holiday stocking stuffers.

We did just that recently and as usual we weren’t a bit disappointed with what we found. That is to say that products for the do-it-yourselfer continue to grow and become more sophisticated. Traditionally there were two very obvious lines of tools. One line was directed specifically at the professional contractor. These were the tougher , more powerful tools. The other line was “suited” for the do-it-yourselfer. These tools were less powerful, not nearly as tough and offered far fewer options.

While this is still true to some extent, as manufacturers compete for business from the rapidly expanding do-it-yourself market, the two product lines are becoming more homogenous as tools for the home improver take on many of the characteristics of professional tools. Some of the more obvious features are more powerful motors, tougher shells, more solid construction, variable speed triggers, improved safety features, assorted components (drills bits, blades, pads, bags) and more functions.

After all, the finished product of any home improvement is generally the result of three elements. The handy work (that’ s the doer), the tools and the materials. As we have stated on countless occasions, the right tool can make all of the difference in the finished product. Furthermore, it can make a job easier and safer.

Having said all of that, what follows are our “picks” for stocking stuffers for the do-it-yourselfer in your life. Be advised that there simply is not enough room in this column to include all of the fabulous tools and gadgets that we came across this year. However, we hope that this will give you a small sampling of what to look forward to.

If you’ve ever tried to sand tough-to-get-into corners with either a hand or power sander you know how difficult and frustrating that can be. That was before the new Bosch B7001 Corner Detail Sander. This little pup has a three and one half inch triangular sanding surface (shaped essentially like a cloths iron).

It has an ergonomically designed grip for comfort and stability, a variable speed motor and an assortment of accessory pads which will do everything from polish furniture to remove paint from window glass. This is a great gift for the wood worker in the family. The B7001 retails for $99.

Our next pick is too big to fit in most stockings, but it’s worth making room for under the tree. And speaking of trees, if you have any that shed leaves or needles then the Ryobi 310bvr Gas Blower/Vacuum is a must.

Professional landscape maintenance companies have enjoyed the convenience that a Blower/Vacuum provides in rounding up leaves and other debris. When was the last time you saw one of these guys use a rake? Power blowers for the homeowner have been around for a number of years, but like many other consumer-oriented products, could not compare to those designed for the pros. This is becoming less true with the new generation of power blowers.

Whereas power blowers are available with gas or electric motors we picked the gas blower because of the convenience. You can take it anywhere and you don’t have to hassle with electrical cords. The Ryobi 310bvr has a low tone muffler for quiet operation, 150 MPH air speed, variable speed throttle, and is light enough for use by light-weight gardeners. This unit also serves as a vacuum with automatic mulching action. You’ll never have to pick up a rake or broom again. The 310bvr retails for $113.

Sanding, sanding and more sanding. It seems like Americans are always sanding something. Cabinets, furniture, walls, floors–you name it we’ll sand it. Two of the most prevalent disadvantages associated with sanding are user fatigue (one’s arm can get pretty tired) and the amount of dust created. Dust is a real problem when required to work in the house as with sanding cabinet faces, for example.

Well, we’ve got just what the home improvement doctor ordered, the Skil 7276 Sandcat Dustless Palm Grip Sander. The Sandcat’s 1.7 amp motor delivers 13,000 orbits per minute for fast, smooth finishing. Its compact one-handed grip and quarter sheet design make it a breeze to use. One of our favorite features is the through-the-pad dust extraction and dust bag which cuts down on the mess for those in-home sanding projects. The unit also comes with easy mount paper clamps for effortless paper changes and an eight foot cord for added convenience. Santa’s budget for this little baby is less than $60.

In case you haven’t noticed we are in the electronics age. Thank goodness computers have yet to replace contractors or we’d be in big trouble. They do however make producing our column a lot easier. Computer technology is now available in a variety of electronic home improvement gadgets. Electronic studfinders, levels, measuring devices and material calculators are just a few of today’s hottest electronic tools.

For do-it-yourselfers, the old fashioned retractable hip-mount measuring tape has been replaced by a more do-it-yourself-friendly alternative–Seiko Instruments ProTape16’ (HC500). The ProTape16’ looks very much like a convention tape measure, but the large digital display on one side is a sure give away. The display shows measurement lengths, accurate to one sixteenth of an inch, in feet and inches or in metric units. This nifty gadget made it into this years pick due to the convenience that it provides folks who traditionally have a tough time reading the hash marks on a tape.

For added convenience the ProTape16’ features a case addition key which automatically adds the length of the case for easy wall-to-wall measurements. Tape and display locks also allow easy and precise readings. Other features include memory plus addition and recall functions that allow for cumulative measurements, such as running board feet and automatic shut off after fifteen seconds.

Another equally sophisticated yet easy to use electronic tool from Seiko Instruments that will fit perfectly in a holiday stocking is the ProMeasure+ (HC1000) (formerly the Home Contractor). The ProMeasure+ is a tapeless device that ultrasonically measures room dimensions, including heights, at the push of a button. Like the ProTape16’ the large digital read-out displays the measurements in both feet and inches and metric units.

It also features a high-accuracy conversion calculator, making it easy to achieve accurate measurements for estimating the quantities and costs of materials needed for painting, carpeting, wallpapering, paneling, tiling, air conditioning, heat and other projects. All of this from a gadget which fits in the palm of your hand. Unbelievable!

In addition to the ProTape16’ and the ProMeasure+ Seiko Instruments also offer an electronic level and other electronic measuring devices. All of Seiko’s Home Contractor Electronic Measurement Tools retail for under $50.

And last but certainly not least is a tool that the entire family can enjoy–the Ryobi Detail Carver. When figure carving with wood, it’s the gleam in the eye, the more lifelike folds in a dress, or the extra feathers in a wing that show pride in your work.

Simply stated, the Detail Carver is a power chisel which works with a pressure-activated chisel motion. You can use it to create plaques for desks, personalize wood crafts, replicate Victorian detail for home repair projects and even create decorative arts for country kitchens.

Like all of our other picks, it light weight (two pounds) which makes it safe and easy to handle. The unit is equipped with two speed settings and comes with five chisel bits of varied sizes and profiles to suit any detail need. It has two speeds, 10,400 and 12,500 strokes per minute. The Detail Carver retails for under $70.

Here’s hoping Santa finds space in your stocking for one of these great stuffers! Sincere best wishes to all for a pleasant and healthy holiday season from the Carey Bros.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.


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