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Special Issues & Guides » Gift Guide: Fire

Gift Guide: The Handyperson

Gifts for the aspiring creator



It can be tough to shop for the religious DIYer.

You know the person: She's most at home in her paint-splattered Carhardt overalls, pouring over a how-to book and a massive mug of coffee. And, he'd rather spend the weekend up to his ears in sawdust than browsing the aisles at the local furniture store. When friends admire a new dining room table, freshly upholstered chairs or lush backyard garden, they are likely to reply, "Thanks, I made it myself."

They prefer building to buying, producing to consuming, and may already have the tools of the trade. Instead of trying to fill some unknown gap on their tool bench (although a Sawzall can make a pretty badass gift), look for thoughtful items that reflect their passions, or items you know they can't get enough of.

No matter the medium your favorite craftsperson works in, durable, warm, protective clothing is a must. And while some weekend projects need nothing more than a torn-up T-shirt, long-lasting work wear is worth its weight in gold, and sometimes nearly as spendy. Make your handyperson's project days more palatable with flannel-lined Carhardt work pants ($49, Les Newman's, 126 NE Franklin Ave). If you really like them, consider springing for a pair of sturdy work boots. Worried they already have a steel-toe set? Opt for ones made with a synthetic toe, to prevent transferring heat, cold and electricity, such as the waterproof Redwing 2240 ($185, Les Newman's).

Every craftsperson has a stockpile of tools (stored to varying degrees of organization in assorted containers). Make reaching for the right tool comfortable and convenient with a custom leather tool belt. While the big box stores sell one-size-fits-all varieties, a local leather shop can make one to suit your gift recipient's particular craft, whether woodworking, painting, metal work, etc. (price varies, Nomad Leather NW, 541-815-4356,

Because tools are worthless without the skills to back them up, help your weekend builder/painter/gardener/welder take it to the next level with continuing education classes from Central Oregon Community College. Classes start up in January and include Stand Up Paddle Board Construction ($119 plus $50 materials fee), Undercover Gardening: Grow Year Round ($29), and Woodworking ($189). Check COCC's website for registration.

A handyperson's creations are a source of pride. Help your favorite creator leave their mark with a branding iron. While you could probably pick something up at the local farm store, for a truly memorable gift, consider a custom branding iron based on their signature, initials or logo. Local metalwork shop Orion Forge makes custom irons (starting at $200-$250, 541-350-5408) that are both decorative and functional, with forged grips, for professional craftspeople, including hat maker Cate Havstadt (

About The Author

Erin Rook

Erin is the Source Weekly's Associate Editor. Before moving to Bend in 2013, Erin worked as a writer and editor for publications in Portland including PQ Monthly and Just Out. He has also written for the Willamette Week, El Hispanic News, Travel Portland, OUT City, Boston magazine and the Taunton Daily Gazette...

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