December 13, 2016

How time flies! When you’re hard at work, holidays like Christmas tend to sneak up on you; at the moment, I find it hard to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away!

Needless to say, tools can make great gifts for hobby farmers who are always looking for better ways to accomplish their work. If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet (or if you’re making a Christmas list for yourself!), here are some tool-related ideas to help you find the perfect gifts. Perhaps they’re not the typical “toys” that Santa Claus is known for, but then again, for someone who loves tools, they’re still a real treat.

1. Pruning Loppers

pruning loppers
J. Keeler Johnson

Don’t hesitate. Put pruning loppers at the top of your list! If you do any sort of delicate tree work, such as pruning fruit trees, and need to trim branches where you wouldn’t dare take a chainsaw, then you need pruning loppers. A large pair can be surprisingly powerful, easily capable of cutting through trees and branches 1½ inches thick, which makes them ideal for cutting back sapling trees that are trying to grow in less-than-ideal locations. I’m currently using a 32-inch model from Fiskars that includes a geared design for even greater power—they’ve served me well!

2. Locking Pliers

vise grip
Daniel Johnson

I can’t say enough good things about locking pliers, which are one of my favorite tools to have on hand. Unlike ordinary pliers, which require you to squeeze the handles to maintain their grip, locking pliers simply grab hold and lock into place with greater strength than you could possibly manage by hand. This can be very helpful if you need to clamp something in place while you’re working or if you’re trying to loosen a rusty bolt.

3. Zip Ties

zip ties
Daniel Johnson

OK, maybe they’re not technically a “tool,” but zip ties can make a great, inexpensive stocking stuffer! Their simplicity is appealing, and you’ll never run out of ways to use them. If you’ve never given them a try, you’ll be delighted to discover that they can be used in countless ways, and you’ll soon be wondering how you ever lived without them!

4. Multi-Tools

Daniel Johnson

Farmers need a lot of tools, but it can be hard to predict exactly when they might need them. That’s why I like “multi-in-one” folding hand tools that can be rearranged to turn into a pair of pliers, a knife, a screwdriver and other types of tools! Having all of these useful items in a single tool makes it easy to carry in your pocket so you’re never shorthanded when you need a specific tool. There are many types available; this particular set from Samsonite also comes with a separate folding knife and a flashlight; the latter is particularly helpful for any farmer who needs to do chores at night!

Now tell the truth—which tools do you want for Christmas?

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