The holidays are just around the corner, and here are some tool ideas that are sure to delight anyone on your shopping list:

  • Dremel 400 Series XPR: Rotary tools have always been a big help around the house, and Dremel makes some of the very best on the market. For this holiday, consider their newly introduced 400 Series XPR, a beautifully designed tool kit that has every accessory you’re likely to need. The kit includes the comfortable new high-performance XPR rotary tool, with variable speeds of 5,000 to 35,000 RPM; a convenient flex shaft attachment; a planer attachment for trimming doors and other wood-planing tasks; a circle cutter; two accessory sets with a variety of cutting, grinding, sanding and carving bits in fitted cases; and a couple of informative booklets. All the tools fit neatly into a very cleverly-designed case that also features four exterior slots that the accessory cases snap into, keeping all your rotary tools and accessories neat, organized and close at hand. Retail price is around $99 for the whole kit, and they are available at a wide variety of retailers. And for even more versatility, add Dremel’s great little MultiSaw attachment ($30), which fits onto the XPR rotary tool and uses interchangeable jigsaw blades to let you cut a variety of materials.

  • Avenger Laser Guide: Lasers have had a huge impact on the tool industry, and here’s a great way to add the convenience and accuracy of a laser-cutting guide to your existing saw. The Laser Guide is a small, heavy-duty steel disk that attaches to the side of most 7 1/4- and 8-inch circular saws and most 10- and 12-inch chop, miter and sliding compound saws. It replaces the saw’s original outer blade washer, and is held in place by either the original saw blade bolt or one of the replacement bolts supplied with the guide. The battery-powered Laser Guide activates automatically when the blade rotates above 500 RPM, projecting a bright, accurate red laser line onto your work piece to guide cutting. The Laser Guide comes in a fitted case that also includes extra batteries, replacement blade bolts, a couple of wrenches and complete instructions. Retail price is $50 to $55 depending on the saw; for more information, including “where to buy,” check out www.avengerproducts.com, or call them at 702-293-7510.

  • PSI Woodworking Portable Panel Saw System: When you need to make fast, accurate cuts in plywood, siding materials and other sheet products, this clever tool is the perfect answer.  Just attach the metal guide plate to the bottom of any 6 1/2-inch to 8 1/4-inch portable circular saw, and clamp the guide rail to the plywood sheet. The guide plate tracks smoothly along the rail for perfectly accurate cuts that rival a traditional – and much more expensive – panel saw. The Portable Panel Saw retails for around $90, and includes the guide plate, a 108-inch rail for ripping, a 64-inch rail for crosscutting and complete instructions. Available through www.amazon.com/toolcrib.

  • SharkGrip 8-inch Prybar: Here’s one of those great little tools that really works like it should. The SharkGrip has a curved nail puller at one end that is designed to grab the shank of the nail, not just the head, so it really pulls those nails. The other end is a wide, thin, slightly curved blade that slips into tight spots with ease for prying off moldings and trim. Small enough to slip into your toolbox or tool belt, it retails for around $17 at most home centers, hardware and lumber stores, and other retailers.

  • The Little Giant Ladder: This complete ladder system gives you everything you need at home or on the jobsite. The versatile, heavy-duty ladder opens up like a standard stepladder, and then clicks open again to turn into an extension ladder. The legs adjust independently on each side, so you can set the ladder up for uneven surfaces such as stairs. You can even separate the legs into two individual support sections – just add a plank, and you have a portable worktable or scaffold. This is a Type 1A, professional-grade ladder, and is load-rated at 300 pounds. Two models are available: 9-15 foot extension ($350) and 11-19 foot extension ($400). Available through many home centers and other retailers, or check them out at www.littlegiantwarehouse.com.

  • Portable Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI): You need to be safe out there and these handy portable devices help you do that. A portable GFCI is simply a box that plugs into any standard 110-volt electrical outlet and provides you with one or two GFCI outlets to plug your extension cords or portable power tools into, offering you greatly improved protection against shocks from faulty cords. Portable GFCIs are designed for rugged use, and are now required by OSHA for most commercial jobsite applications. They retail for around $55 at most home centers and retailers of electrical supplies.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paul2887@direcway.com.

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