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  1. #1
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    Red face In Search of Gift for Machinist Husband

    Ok, guys. Sorry to jump in here, but I've got a husband who just turned half our garage into a workshop.

    Some background...

    He's got a CNC machine set up, a metal lathe, and a plethora of other things. I asked him how many needle nose pliers he had and his answer was "quite frankly, not enough."

    He works on amps and other music paraphernalia and I suspect he's branching out into other areas.

    Here's the thing. His birthday is coming up and I love getting him stuff he hasn't gotten his eager hands on yet. It used to be pedals, guitars, and amps...but that's gotten old and the guys at Mesa Boogie are running out of things to suggest since my husband often gets to things before I do.

    I need to keep my reputation as best gift-giver of this household.

    SO, here is my question.
    I would love to get him a beautiful (and obviously functional) machinst toolbox. He has a big roll-around guy, but I'm not spying a smaller, more on-the-go option in his workshop. Pray he's not hiding it somewhere.

    I was looking at the Kennedy 8 drawer machinist toolbox (it speaks to my aesthetics), but wanted to see if you guys had any suggestions. Also, should it be the 8 drawer? Maybe the 11 drawer?

    Let me put it this way. What machinist item would put you over the moon if you got from you wife.

    Man, I really hope he's not part of this forum.

    And does anyone have a place they trust to order from for delivery?

    Thanks!
    And sorry to kinda crash the party.
    I DO appreciate the intricacies of what you guys do!

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    Check out the Gerstner USA (not the "international" imports) oak or walnut boxes. They are highly regarded and desired, but maybe are too nice to use. Mine have been sitting empty in a storage room for decades. I have at least a dozen assorted Kennedy items and those are in daily use. So, decide on beauty or practicality.

    Chests & Bases

    Or maybe he would go for a gift card to Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, IN, which is local to me and full of great stuff for musically inclined people of all sorts. The owner has done well and in turn supports music and musicians in many ways. Maybe a trip to Sweetwater would be a great gift. It is a cool place.

    Sweetwater Sound - Wikipedia

    Access to this page has been denied.

    Larry

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    Yeah if my girl bought me one of those I would appreciate it something fierce! They don't come cheap though. If he works mostly on musical instruments he might be more inclined to use one - lot less greasy and dirty stuff involved. And I am absolutely sure he will appreciate your effort even if he IS a member here and catches you in the act.

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    As it turns out, and I'm not sure what this says about me, but I find the Kennedy boxes to be really beautiful. Big fan of industrial design and clean, modern lines. The finish on the brown Kennedy boxes stopped me in my tracks. I wish they came in cream, but I'm sure that's not really conducive to a workshop setting.

    Glad to hear you find them useful. I've been poking around the forums and some people complain about the drawer depth and the fact that the drawers aren't ballbearing drawers, but it sounds like you're not finding that to be an issue! Thoughts on any of those complaints?

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    Does you husband have a you-tube channel or facebook page, so we can have a look see at his interests ?

    Might help pin things down a bit, without letting the cat out.

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    A new Gerstner would put any machinist "over the moon". But one Gerstner would buy 5 Kennedy's, so there is that...

    We use our top boxes for measuring tools, which is why they have felt lined drawers.

    Other suggestions, you can't have too many Interapid indicators. Other "smalls" we all use. Quality (Starrett or Mitutoyo) sets- small hole gages, telescoping gages, radius gages, thread gages, pin punches, transfer punches, adjustable parallels.

    Mag bases, deburring sets, EZ Laps, needle files, 90 degree and straight die grinders (if he has air).

    Setup stuff: parallel sets, angle plates, clamping kits.

    You can google some of these things and then do some snooping to see what he has....

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    The 8 drawer metal Kennedy is a good choice. The Gerstner oak ones are cool, but very expensive unless the cheaper Chinese-made ones.

    Best case he gets one for you as well and fills it with goodies over the years. His and hers keepsakes over the years? Could be your own hobbies or travel mementos?? Be a daunting, but possibly welcome task for him to fill yours as a jewelry box. Maybe with custom interiors fitted to hold whatever you like.

    Could always fill the drawers in his with birthday notes - make it a real treasure.

    If he doesn't already have a copy of the "Machinery's Handbook" might find a good condition older copy (Amazon, Bookfinder) and put that in the drawer meant for it. Some of the newest ones won't fit, so get either an older copy or one of the toolbox editions. Something even as early as 1950 will still be relevant. This might be the latest:

    Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Machinery's Handbook, Toolbox Edition

    I'd be inclined to be an older used copy to add to the toolbox -- and maybe next year think about the larger print and new edition. Here's a fairly recent edition that should fit: Machinery's Handbook (Thumb Indexed) by Oberg, Erik|Jones, Franklin D|Horton,… 9780831124243 | eBay An ancient version also has it charms; a bit of perspective on progress over the past century.

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    There's a pretty useful machinist's calculator out there. Makes a good gift.

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    Grobet or Vallorbe hand file set.
    Blake co-axial indicator.
    Haimer 3-D taster.
    Bead blast cabinet.
    Newer gooder compressor.
    A nice tool makers vise is always a bonus.

    All those are under $500.00. (Maybe not the compressor)

    A Gerstner is the prize jewel of tool cabinets to buy.

    R

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    Quote Originally Posted by NMScott View Post
    As it turns out, and I'm not sure what this says about me, but I find the Kennedy boxes to be really beautiful. Big fan of industrial design and clean, modern lines. The finish on the brown Kennedy boxes stopped me in my tracks. I wish they came in cream, but I'm sure that's not really conducive to a workshop setting.

    Glad to hear you find them useful. I've been poking around the forums and some people complain about the drawer depth and the fact that the drawers aren't ballbearing drawers, but it sounds like you're not finding that to be an issue! Thoughts on any of those complaints?
    Kennedy has had several available finishes over the years. I do not like the brown wrinkle, but that is what I have most of, because that is what they mostly make. They did a beautiful dark blue wrinkle for a short-lived private label line for International Harvester around 1980 and I got a few items when they had the close-out sale. Some items were made with red wrinkle and some with gray wrinkle. They also have smooth red, and maybe a line of stainless steel items. Some of these things have been discontinued and I have not bought any new stuff from them for years.

    The machinist chests with small wool felt-lined drawers are for small light-weight items, so ball bearings are not practical. The roll-arounds have big drawers that are easy to overload, so I definitely want ball bearing slides on them. The roll-arounds can mostly be bought with plain slides or ball bearings. The slides are interchangable. I got a set with plain slides at a pawn shop and went 30 miles to Van Wert, OH to the factory store and bought the ball bearing slides to convert them.

    As far as size, I would go for the biggest 10 or 11 drawer machinist chest because they always get filled up. Keep in mind that a machinist chest stacked on a roll-around and an intermediate chest can get the top till too high to see into or reach.

    I bought most of mine directly from the factory store, so I have no experience with how well they survive shipping.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by NMScott View Post
    Let me put it this way. What machinist item would put you over the moon if you got from you wife.
    Wife of 30 years ain't ever going to start gifting me with machinist items any more than she'd want me buyng her cosmetics. Why would she - or I - abandon what she - or I - are already the master of?

    No.. not "the obvious". Our age?

    Same bait as she used to get me to chase her until she caught me.

    World-class "ho mei" many course Cantonese[1] meal!



    Same bait I got her to chase me until I caught her. Ability to fix most anything.

    Her patch? Expert at lots of things, actually. But four hours off the aircraft upcoming visit we'll be enjoying a meal! THEN we takes a nap!



    [1] "Cantonese" cuisine means "ANYTHING really good, and really FRESH, AKA "ho mei" (good tasting, not "home made"). So it might be adapted from Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Indohooligan, "mediterranean" French or Italian, Sichuanese, Hunan, Indo vegetarian, Nepalese spicey... if folks LOVE it, it becomes "Cantonese". Even superb mashed potatoes.

    PS: CAVEAT: Might not want to "try this at home" if yah haven't grown up with it. She and her 90-year's young Mum can take four hours, twin cookers, dual Woks, twin double-bowl sinks to do an ORDINARY seven to thirteen "dish" Saturday evening family supper.

    Chinese New Years? They are preparing food a good 12 hours day for about two WEEKS in advance, several variations on "radish cake" and several types of Won Ton dumplings among my favourites. Don't even THINK about buying this stuff in the frozen-goods section of an Asian market. It just ain't even CLOSE to the same.


    PPS: More do-able? Go ogle "pulled" duck or spicey shredded duck with crepes, plum sauce, julienned spring onions & crispy veg. That was one thing we usta go OUT for - "Laughing Buddha", Blackheath, London - their speciality.

    The Laughing Buddha chinese Restaurant in London

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    Quote Originally Posted by NMScott View Post
    As it turns out, and I'm not sure what this says about me, but I find the Kennedy boxes to be really beautiful....
    NMScott: This is just to reassure you that there are at least a few of us here who share your preference. I admire, and admire greatly, the joinery and wood, and certainly the traditionalism, of a fine older Gerstner. But when it comes to buying a new chest, for the occasionally rough and thoroughly functional everyday usage of my shop boxes, I prefer the clean, basic utility of a Kennedy. It's quite a personal thing. It reminds me of having once walked into an acquaintance's living room and seeing an arm chair, one of those 18thC French looking jobs, made to an Old World standard of craftsmanship that anyone would envy, and knowing that it was not something for me to sit on. As to recommending a Gerstner/Kennedy choice for someone else, I'd want to know a fair amount about the type of person who is going to be on the receiving end.

    -Marty-

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    The non ball bearing slides aren’t a problem unless you fill them clear full with drills & toolbits. My near 50 year old top box with the itty-bitty pulls is still good to go.

    Hmmm… You gotta sister??? Don’t answer, I already gotta wife!

    Good luck,
    Matt

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    I'd much prefer a Lista cabinet over any overhyped Kennedy or Gerstner stuff. This is a real workhorse. Natually, the shop should have enough space for it.

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    i would suspect he already has in boxes what he needs. not knowing your price range but guessing around the small tool box range:

    if he has a surface grinder get him one of these
    A.K. Tooling Co. – End Mill Sharpening Fixture, Universal
    if he doesn't then get him one of those (sg)

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    I bought myself a Gerstner when I retired. My wife stole it from me and uses it for her jewelry box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    If he doesn't already have a copy of the "Machinery's Handbook" might find a good condition older copy (Amazon, Bookfinder) and put that in the drawer meant for it. Some of the newest ones won't fit, so get either an older copy or one of the toolbox editions. Something even as early as 1950 will still be relevant. This might be the latest:

    Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Machinery's Handbook, Toolbox Edition

    I'd be inclined to be an older used copy to add to the toolbox -- and maybe next year think about the larger print and new edition. Here's a fairly recent edition that should fit: Machinery's Handbook (Thumb Indexed) by Oberg, Erik|Jones, Franklin D|Horton,… 9780831124243 | eBay An ancient version also has it charms; a bit of perspective on progress over the past century.
    Not on topic, but this reminds me of my wife's birthday quite a while ago, before we were married. She wanted a copy of Machinery's Handbook, so I bought it for her. She was happy, but my now mother-in-law was not thrilled. She didn't think Machinery's Handbook is on the list of acceptable birthday presents for your girlfriend.

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    I appreciate your note, Marty.
    My husband and I often talk about old packaging and industrial design and both really love simple, functional items that stand the test of time in terms of looks.

    The Gerstners are really beautiful, but they wouldn't go with our aesthetic and I have a feeling he'd be afraid to use it in his workshop anyway.

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    Smile Ordered!

    Guys, thank you for coming to my aid so quickly! (Time was of the essence. His birthday is the 24th of this month, I'm working a freelance gig and juggling two sick kiddos - a toddler and an infant - at the moment...while also being sick.) The cards were not in my favor in terms of time for proper research and shipping time.

    I love all of your suggestions and appreciate those who went into great detail about particular tools. Because he's also a forum guy and has a really quick trigger finger when it comes to online purchases, part of me had a feeling he has already ordered or has the tools that you all listed.

    Seriously, there are packages arriving EVERY DAY. And, let's be honest, I'm almost positive that I couldn't point out a Blake co-axial indicator to save my life. I know he DOES have some of the items you guys already listed (since he'll occasionally have the time to show me something before running back into his workshop.)

    Anyway, I ended up going with the 11-drawer Kennedy tool box (thank you for the drawer number suggestion, Larry!) and a copy of the Machinery's Handbook. (Thank you for the link, Pete!)

    I have a feeling I'll be back here for our anniversary. In the meantime, I'll try to do some educating myself on all the various tools he has so I'm better prepared next round.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone!

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    I wouldn’t be “over the moon”, but a fractional, wire gage, letter drill index full of drills should be pretty useful for a home workshop.


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