Your Favorite Tool for Under $30

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 231 days ago 1513 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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595 posts in 531 days

231 days ago


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 Micahm's profile


131 posts in 328 days

#1 posted 231 days ago

What type of work do you do mostly?

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me. - Tony Konovaloff

View JohnChung's profile


220 posts in 670 days

#2 posted 231 days ago

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


595 posts in 531 days

#3 posted 231 days ago

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 231 days

#4 posted 231 days ago

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


792 posts in 1739 days

#5 posted 231 days ago

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

View lightcs1776's profile


3262 posts in 250 days

#6 posted 231 days ago

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


1370 posts in 316 days

#7 posted 231 days ago

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.

View Tedstor's profile


1369 posts in 1228 days

#8 posted 231 days ago

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


2076 posts in 807 days

#9 posted 231 days ago

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

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View TeamTurpin's profile


85 posts in 657 days

#10 posted 231 days ago 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 (online now)


3335 posts in 1567 days

#11 posted 231 days ago

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

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View pintodeluxe's profile


3260 posts in 1409 days

#12 posted 231 days ago

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


182 posts in 769 days

#13 posted 231 days ago

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


86 posts in 401 days

#14 posted 231 days ago

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

1093 posts in 565 days

#15 posted 231 days ago

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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