How to Choose the Best Retirement Gifts for Woodworkers

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As a woodworker of nearly three decades one of my fears is opening gifts. Not because I don’t appreciate them, but because I may already own them or have no use for them. And that’s why finding retirement gifts for woodworkers can be difficult as well.

Sure, you can always return what’s been purchased but it spoils the surprise and givers satisfaction in a tool they’ve chosen. So to help your search I’ve selected tools that any woodworker would appreciate and have included tips on discovering if they already own them (or would like an upgrade).

To help make your search even easier I’ll group gifts into four categories:

    1. Cool gadgets and gifts at an economical price
    2. Safety and protection devices every woodworker needs
    3. Specialty tools and jigs to assist with common woodworking tasks
    4. Power tools that every serious woodworker needs

Budget friendly retirement gifts for woodworkers

While not everyone has the budget for a power tool, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to give a unique gift the retiring woodworker will appreciate. From innovative clamps to the basics there are no shortage of unique gifts to make a retirees day.

Waterproof work shop apron

With a work shop apron you’ll be giving the gift of not wrecking every shirt and pair of pants exposed to wood glue. And reduce the dust tracked into the house.

So this one is probably as useful for the spouse of the woodworker giving the gift.

Not only will a work shop apron keep dust and glue off your clothes, with a number of pockets it will keep small easy to forget tools in reach.

Risk they already have? Maybe – but having two aprons is just fine.

editors choice

Waterproof Work Shop Apron For Men, Heavy Duty Waxed Canvas Woodworking Tool Apron Bib with Six Pockets, Adjustable Tool Aprons. Keep the dust and glue in the shop.

90-degree angle clamp guide

With a 90-degree clamp joining together wood projects get a whole lot easier. By simply clamping into the corner of two boards the holes and screws can be quickly inserted.

In every workshop there has to be at least five different styles of clamps. And with this clamp the job of holding two pieces of wood perpendicular to each other is fully mastered.

Risk they own this? Not likely, but if they do it’s a type of clamp having two (or more) around doesn’t hurt.

editors choice

Can-do Clamp that is a clamp and vise all in one. Fast clamping for drilling, screwing and inserting dowels in wood projects. And without the frustrating mis-alignment that happens with manual approaches.

Wrist screw and bit holder

With a wrist organizer that uses powerful magnets to keep screws and drill bits handy your retiree will spend less time searching for small metal screws and more time building.

While this lowest price retirement gifts for woodworkers doesn’t disappoint on budget, it will be a favorite for helping to not lose small screws and bits.

editors choice

Magnetic Wristband, Kusonkey Tool Belt with 15 Powerful Magnets for Holding Screws/Nails/Drill Bits, versatile tool gift for retirement. Avoid lost time searching for "where did I leave that".

Safety and protection retirement gifts for woodworkers

Did you know there are over 10 amputations a day in the just the USA on table saws?

There’s not much point heading into retirement only to lose a finger, further damage hearing or develop lung issues from dust inhalation. And it’s for that reason that we’ll explore some must have woodworker gifts with safety in mind.

Dusk and particle respirator with carbon filters

A carbon filter dust mask will help prevent dust-induced health issues for the retiring woodworker.

Woodworking means dust will be generated no matter how small or large your project is. And there’s no reason to start a respiratory issue as the retiree spends more time woodworking.

With an N99 filter this style of mask will remove 99% of particles 0.3 micron or greater. But if you really want to be technical check out OSHA’s page and you’ll find wood dust is a serious issue.

Even if they own a dust mask it’s worth grabbing another one. Especially as these are inexpensive.

editors choice

FIGHTECH carbon filter mask with replaceable carbon filters that catch dust particles. Lightweight and easy breathing with dual one-way air exchange. A must buy retirement gifts for woodworkers.

Shop air cleaner to remove small dust particles

A shop air cleaner will remove harmful small particles left in the air during and after the sawing and sanding is done.

Once the sawing is done a temptation for any woodworker is to go ahead and remove their mask. But, harmful small dust particles can stay in the air for extended durations before they settle. In fact, one article I’ve read said for up to 30 minutes.

By installing a shop air cleaner in the workshop it will cycle the air in the room and filter out the dust particles more efficiently. How? Well units like this Wen can circulate the air in a 400 square foot room 7.5 times an hour and capture dust in dual 1-micron and 5-micron filters.

Risk they own this? Since it hangs from the ceiling you’ll spot one immediately. Just don’t confuse it with a garage heater.

editors choice

WEN 3410 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System (300/350/400 CFM).  With remote control. For larger spaces check out the JET 1000 CFM.

Ultimate push block for saws, jointers and other machinery

A push block is a must as no saw or machinery with an exposed cutting edge should be used bare handed.

Anyone who works with wood long enough has had a few encounters with wood that snapped or kicked back. Perhaps some have even been cut (in my 25+ years, I haven’t).

Protect the retirees hands and woodworking hobby with a premium, high grip push block that will shield fingers from amputation or worse (remember I mentioned 10 table saw amputations a day in the US?).

Risk they own this? Very low as this is a high-end push block designed for use on all machines (table saw, jointer, router table, bandsaw). And with a bright yellow design it’s easy to spot if you have access to their workshop.


GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock for Table Saws, Router Tables, Band Saws, and Jointers by MICROJIG. Made in the USA with 3-year warranty.

Table saw with integrated blade stopping

A SawStop table saw won’t just prevent amputations it will also greatly improve the capability and quality of projects. While the most expensive of retirement gifts for woodworkers this one is worth a look if you have the budget.

This is a big ticket item around $2500 but a table saw is the centerpiece of any woodworking shop. What’s different about the SawStop? Well, it has integrated technology that almost instantly slams the blade off and pulls it below the table if it contacts skin.

But why else invest in this saw? Because it features a 30″ premium fence, cast iron table, a massive motor and supports all dust collection systems.

Risk they own this? Very low but easy to spot. Also, if they own a table saw but it’s 20+ years old every woodworker wants an upgrade. And they can’t argue with you over safety.

editors choice

SawStop PCS175-PFA30 1.75-HP Professional Cabinet Saw Assembly with 30-Inch Premium Fence System, Rails and Extension Table. Also available in a compact portable saw.

Specialty tools and jigs for woodworker gifts

Purchasing a useful tool gift from the massive variety of tools and jigs for woodworkers is daunting. And not just because of the tools but because of the projects the retiree will be tackling.

Let’s face it: your retiree isn’t likely to pick up cabinet making as a hobby due to the size and heft of that line of craft. However, small projects with complex joinery, fine sanding and detail work are all highly probable.

So on this list I’ll skip the standard stuff and go right to specialty tools that make fine woodworking possible:

    • Jigs and systems to join wood together
    • Saw guides and stops for cutting repeated wood lengths
    • Specialty tools like clamps for gluing wood panels

Wood panel clamps (aka pipe clamps)

Every woodworking project uses pipe clamps to create wood panels, glue frames, make table tops and many other glue-up jobs.

And the great thing about pipe clamps is you can never have too many. Because of that, and at last count, I have well over two dozen of these attached to a variety of 3/4″ black pipe ranging from 3-feet to 8-feet long.

Risk they own this? They likely do so check the shop for similar clamps and buy the same brand if so. Both Pony (orange and black) and Bessey (red and black) are other manufacturers of these clamps. Due to strength I use 3/4″ pipe, but you can also buy 1/2″ clamps (if weight is a concern).

editors choice

IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Pipe Clamp, 3/4-Inch (224134). With wide feet and a clutch system that doesn't require threaded pipe. Can't miss choice on this list of retirement gifts for woodworkers.

Pocket hole screw system

With a pocket hole screw system a woodworker can join just about any two pieces of wood firmly and quickly. And with a complete system all drill bits, jigs and clamps come together.

This screw system is much more than a gadget. Due to it’s ability to join plywood, hardwood and softwood it is a flexible tool that can join wood. And best of all the pocket holes it creates can be filled with matching wood plugs.

Risk they own this? Unless they are a serious woodworker this is a low risk buy. But check around the shop just in case.

editors choice

Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig K5 Master System with Jig HD and 30 HD Pocket Hole Screws - K5MS, KJHD, SML-C2X250-30

Dovetail router jig for sure bet retirement gift

A dovetail jig belongs in every serious woodworkers shop. Because this jig enables construction of high quality drawers and boxes it’s a favorite of all woodworkers.

After building a hundred or more kitchens and 15-20 drawers per kitchen I’ve spent a lot of time with this type of jig. Due to that I wouldn’t even consider making a drawer any other way because of the quality of the final product.

Risk they own this? Check the workshop as a current woodworker just might. It’s easy to spot with it’s tooth-like front edge.

editors choice

PORTER-CABLE Dovetail Jig with Mini Template Kit (4216). Every woodworker should have this jig to make quality drawers and boxes (eg. jewelry boxes for grand kids).

Best woodworker gifts for retirees

This section takes budget and throws it out the window. Since you retire once and have the best years in front of you why not start out with the right tools to enjoy your hobby.

While the retirement gifts for woodworkers tools on this part of the list are generally expensive, they will be appreciated and well used.

Power miter saw for cutting wood to length

A power miter saw is one of the true must-have tools for any woodworking operation. And if your woodworker has a radial arm saw scrap it immediately and buy a much safer miter saw.

The miter saw sits next to the table saw as one of the must have retirement gifts. And with the advances in cutting capacity and safety features the newest models, like this 12″ Bosch, will make woodworking safer and more enjoyable.

Risk they own this? It’s likely a retiree owns this, but not likely they own a modern saw that can be used weekly for high quality projects. And with massive cutting capacity, dust ports, and ability to integrate into a workbench it makes this a great investment regardless of their current saw.

editors choice

Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD - 15 Amp 12 Inch Corded Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw with 60 Tooth Saw Blade

Dewalt 10 tool combo pack plus jigsaw

With a combo pack of woodworking tools to power retirement all of the key tools will be portable. And by upgrading to the latest and greatest batteries over 100 other tools are ready to add later.

Every woodworker wants a set of cordless tools. And with the latest battery systems a countless variety of woodworking and yard tools are powered by massive battery packs.

Risk they have this? While almost everyone has a cordless drill very few own a set of cordless tools like this. Just take a look at the current system and see if it’s a single tool or not.

editors choice

DEWALT DCK1020D2 20V Combo Kit with DCS331B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Jig Saw (Tool Only). Battery sold separate - buy 5.0aH 20V.

Professional router table retirement gift

A router table is a gateway to enabling more woodworking projects than just about any other tool. Because without a router table doors, trim, and other projects aren’t possible.

While this Kreg is an expensive tool it’s quite a bit cheaper than a standard shaper. Due to this system having all the gadgets you need the receiver of this gift will be left with only one task: finding a perfect router to insert into it.

Risk they have this? Very low and you can easily spot this one in the garage.

editors choice

Kreg Router Table with PRS3090 Caster, PRS3020 True-Flex, PRS3100 Router Table Switch, PRS3400 Set-Up Bars, and KRS7850 Router Table Stop

Hopefully that helped your search for retirement gifts for woodworkers.

      The Home Woodworker