Your Favorite Tool for Under $30

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 12-03-2013 04:19 PM 1956 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1251 posts in 1023 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

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Micah Muzny

185 posts in 821 days

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

What type of work do you do mostly?

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347 posts in 1163 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


1251 posts in 1023 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 724 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


814 posts in 2232 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


4062 posts in 742 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


2526 posts in 809 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.

View Tedstor's profile


1598 posts in 1721 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

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3884 posts in 1299 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

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View TeamTurpin's profile


85 posts in 1150 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


3898 posts in 2059 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.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4185 posts in 1902 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


310 posts in 1261 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


100 posts in 894 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

1546 posts in 1058 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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