Your Favorite Tool for Under $30

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 12-03-2013 04:19 PM 2897 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1326 posts in 2350 days

12-03-2013 04:19 PM


I am trying to think of some good tools to put on my Christmas list. Obviously, I’d love a Oneida Dust Collection System and a 55 degree lie nielsen and a 12” powermatic jointer. Unfortunately, those are not really practical things to ask your loved ones for. So, I’d like to defer to my fellow LJ’s here and ask you guys what your favorite tools for under $30 are. I figure that is a good price range to float in when it comes to gifts. I don’t want to just be a taker here, so I’ll dish out my top 5 most useful shop tools for under $30:

1. 3M Respirator
2. Strop
3. Headlamp
4. Simple Honing Guide
5. Card Scraper Set

Those are mine! What are yours?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

43 replies so far

View Micah Muzny's profile

Micah Muzny

185 posts in 2148 days

#1 posted 12-03-2013 04:36 PM

What type of work do you do mostly?

View JohnChung's profile


419 posts in 2489 days

#2 posted 12-03-2013 04:37 PM

1) Stanley plane blades. Cheap and effective
2) Machine Oil
3) Japanese craft knife for marking.
4) Mechanical pencil. Draftsman version.

All these tools are always welcomed.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1326 posts in 2350 days

#3 posted 12-03-2013 04:38 PM

I’m pretty half and half as far as power tools and hand tools. I have a 3 HP unisaw, but I can sharpen a plane blade and a scraper.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Priusjames's profile


2 posts in 2051 days

#4 posted 12-03-2013 04:43 PM

Nice thread!

Here are 5 more:
Doweling jig
Bandsaw blade (is this a tool?)
Plans for specific projects from a list I’m interested in

-- Shopsmith enthusiast

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3559 days

#5 posted 12-03-2013 04:43 PM

I love my magnetic stud finder. It has made putting up wood storage shelves etc SO much easier.

View lightcs1776's profile


4239 posts in 2069 days

#6 posted 12-03-2013 04:45 PM

My woodworking toolset is pretty limited, so you may already have these, but …

Mortise gauge
Woodworking books

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View bigblockyeti's profile


5776 posts in 2136 days

#7 posted 12-03-2013 05:21 PM

Really like the respirator idea, mine works great when I remember to use it. An ok Japanese style pull saw would be a good one to add, though a nice one would be over $30.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3048 days

#8 posted 12-03-2013 05:32 PM

Kreg Jig R3 Jr Set (typically $35, but can be had for $30 on-sale).
Face Shield (harder to lose/misplace than goggles)
Drill bit set
Jigsaw blades

View JayT's profile


6226 posts in 2626 days

#9 posted 12-03-2013 05:42 PM

Lots of good ideas above. I would have a tough time narrowing down to five, but a few not mentioned yet that would definitely be in my top 10 are:

Flexible stainless steel ruler (6 & 12 inch)
4 inch machinist/engineer square, great for project use as well as checking machine set up
Kreg Bench Dogs

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View TeamTurpin's profile


85 posts in 2476 days

#10 posted 12-03-2013 06:02 PM has about 20 Japanese saws for under $30. I don’t know what other woodworkers think about these, but I use mine constantly.


View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3386 days

#11 posted 12-03-2013 06:18 PM

Jorgensen Pony Pull Saw. Love this saw. Have a couple of missing teeth on my existing copy, Need a new one.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5949 posts in 3228 days

#12 posted 12-03-2013 06:32 PM

Sandpaper. Just get me lots of sandpaper.

p.s. Santa I use Klingspor VD900 series sanding discs.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knockknock's profile


471 posts in 2588 days

#13 posted 12-03-2013 06:54 PM

My 2 favorite tools for under $30 are general:

- A “GOOD” ratcheting screw driver with bits (mine is from the 90’s, KMart Cobalt tools I think).
- Fluke Need-L-Lock pliers (versatile needle nose pliers, cutters, crimping section holds small nuts).

For woodworking:

- Empire inch/metric combination square(s).
- Shinwa Japanese square.
- Stainless steel inch/metric ruler(s), never rust and can be used with a knife.
- Cabinet maker’s clamp(s).
- Bird cage awl.

-- 👀 --

View Makarov's profile


102 posts in 2221 days

#14 posted 12-03-2013 07:19 PM

Headphone hearing protectors, gunsmith screwdrivers , 1/4 inch drive socket set , good tape measure, Sheetrock square.

-- "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult." Georgy Shragin Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1902 posts in 2384 days

#15 posted 12-03-2013 07:23 PM

My number 4 Stanley hand plane. My brother bought it for 15 bucks at a flea market and gave it to me for Christmas last year when i really got into woodworking. I use it all the time

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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