General Purpose Tools

Cool Tools 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Mark’s picks

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Gift suggestions from Cool Tools' editor-in-chief

The editors of Cool Tools have curated a number of gift suggestions selected from the pages of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities (which itself makes a great gift), and from the website. This week: Mark’s picks!



Chop2Pot ($10) is a cutting board that folds in thirds so once you’re done cutting the thing you fold up the wings and make a chute so the food slides into your bowl without falling off.”– David Pogue



“I bought this crossbow pistol because my family’s favorite character on The Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon, uses a crossbow to take out zombies, and we thought it would be fun for target practice. It was only about $25, and I didn’t expect it to be very powerful, but I was wrong. A bolt shot from this thing could kill someone. It easily penetrates plywood. I’m not sure if a bolt could go through someone’s skull, but it would definitely lodge itself in a leg, arm, abdomen, or neck..” — Mark Frauenfelder



“I have carried this tiny Spyderco Bug Knife ($12) for a few years, connected to a Photon Freedom micro light (another cool tool I heartily recommend over the oft recommended Microlight II) for the world’s smallest EDC (Every Day Carry) set. A knife and light combo will cover 95% of any odd daily task I encounter while working in an office and lab environment. This knife is the perfect size for professional office dress. It disappears in my pocket until I need it.” — Mark Nordhaus



“I tear down a lot of e-waste for components to upcycle and recycle. I find that many times I am not in a place to recharge my tools easily. So for me, the solution was to get this electric screwdriver that takes AA batteries. ( I have rechargeable AAs) At less than $20 I could not go wrong. It has enough torque for most electronics, and is small enough to fit in my tool bag, or in a drawer of my tinkerer desk. Reversible direction triggers a turn to lock collar so it will not go off in your tool box. Takes standard 1/4 inch hex shank bits and comes with a few too.” — Kent Barnes


The Victorinox Classic SD Pocket Knife ($15) is nicely designed and made; small and light enough to be unnoticeable in the pocket; useful enough to be almost indispensable, even given the size limitations; durable, especially in the Alox version; and cheap. Obviously, such a small knife cannot do 100% of the things people use knives for, and many people will want a larger knife for various purposes. I have another pocket knife myself, for camping. But there is no other knife that is available to me literally all the time. I use mine every day.” — Karl Chwe



“I bought this cast iron pizza pan ($27) over two years ago. Since then my family has used it almost every day, and oddly enough, I don’t thing we’ve ever used it to make pizza. It lives on the stove top, where it is deployed constantly to heat, reheat and cook. It is perfect for heating tortillas, cooking quesadillas, burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.” — Sessalee Hensley



“I bought my bacon press ($17) as a college student over a decade ago, and since then I’ve given many as gifts and recommended them to so many people that Lodge should pay me to be a bacon press representative. I’ve gotten so used to the perfectly even crispness it provides that I am at a loss cooking bacon without it.” — Abbie Stillie



“The OneBlade ($31) cuts close to the skin and doesn’t require shaving cream. I can shave with or against the grain. The shave is almost as close as a razor; you can’t see the difference and can only feel it by rubbing your face. It includes trimming combs that fit on the blade holding it away from your face to leave a short beard of fixed lengths; I don’t use them.” — Russel Brooks



“The Paderno spiral vegetable slicer ($20) is made of plastic and it looks like it would snap into pieces as soon as the crank is turned, but don’t let its appearance fool you. This thing has a set of three sharp blade attachments that make short work of sweet potatoes.” — Mark Frauenfelder

Want more? Check out our 2017 Gift Guide picks, as well as our 2016 Gift Guide, 2015 Gift Guide, 2014 Gift Guide and our 2103 Gift Guide

11/23/18