Gifts for that Special Machinist in Your Life

What do you give the person who has everything? Classic holiday conundrum.

What do you give the guy or gal in your life who can make anything?

Good news for you! We recently sat down for some milk and cookies and talked with our favorite shop foreman, Kris Kringle, to find out what’s big with the little folks in his jolly machine shop up north.

Here’s what we learned.

Beginner set of polishing stones, various makers and retailers

For most elves, it can take years, even centuries, to build skills like polishing metal to a mirror finish. If it was easy, anyone could do it. But it takes a special kind of patience to make it glow when the sun won’t shine for half the dang year.
Bonus: Remember this is a gift that keeps giving. Once your machinist learns to polish, it’s up to you to find useful items that could use some gleam. Take a look around. How’s your bottle opener looking these days? If it’s beat up, polishing stones could be the perfect remedy.

Grissom Bottle Openers, $40, www.grissomknifeandtool.com

Speaking of bottle openers, Santa’s team of machine shop artisans loves a good bottle opener. Solid craftsmanship holds a special place in their hearts, and there’s no more finely crafted bottle opener than the lineup by Frank Grissom, the Illinois-based knife and tool maker who has a number of epically cool ways to pull the cap off a twelve-ounce weight.

Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Manliness poster, $26.95, NBC Company Store

If you don’t understand what makes Park & Recreation’s Ron Swanson tick, are you even making chips for a living? St. Nick is a big Parks & Rec fan, and he swears by such Pyramid of Manliness building blocks as Buffets (Whenever available. Choose quantity over quality.), Cabins (A place to rest that is made of logs.), and Facial Hair (Full, thick and square. Nothing sculpted. If you have to sculpt it, that probably means you can’t grow it.). A staple of North Pole pop culture, and a must for your cave, toy shop, or any visible vertical surface.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, $349-399, bose.com

When reindeer won’t stop yapping, these miracles of science are a real treat. Perfect for tuning them out and tuning in a favorite jam, podcast, audiobook, or simply a silent night.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, $11.92 from Amazon.com

Yes, it’s a philosophy book and a dedication to craft and making and doing tangible work all rolled into one. In fact, it was Shop Class as Soul Craft that inspired Papa Noel to rebuild his sleigh with half the bells and twice the jingle. This book’s a classic and a steady reminder that a machinist’s life is truly great on those days when others laugh and call you names.

Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG 16 oz. Stainless Steel Mug, 16 oz., $25.89 from Amazon.com

Zojirushi insulated mugs and bottles are the type of objects that say they’re good for something, and then they’re really good for that something. In this case, that quality is heat retention. When the perfect temperature is achieved, Zojirushi insulated mugs keep that heat locked in, a quality that’s sure to be appreciated. So be the hero the next time your guy or gal is freezing their jingles off.

Anova Precision Cooker Nano Sous Vide Circulator, from $199 at AnovaCulinary.com

If you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon of sous vide, it’s a modern-but-practical cooking method where vacuum-sealed food take a bath in temperature-controlled water until it’s tender and tasty. Does anyone need one? No. But you know what else nobody needs? A grill. Wait! Put away your angry face! Remember, it was Santa who said this, and affection for him is universal. His point, of course, is sometimes we cook for the enjoyment of cooking. And sometimes, cooking is more fun with gizmos and whatnot.

Tormach PCNC 440, Premium Package preconfigured from $13,225, Tormach.com

The most elf-sized of Tormach’s CNC mills, the Tormach PCNC 440 is Santa’s preferred machine for prototyping and light production. As a reminder, this was from our fireside chat with him, we don’t have any photos as evidence, but this is definitely something he said out loud. He claims it’s great for garages, basements, machine shops, toy shops, offices, or reindeer stables. He said because they fit almost anywhere, a living room or bedroom is a possible destination space (see also Bose Noise Cancelling Heaphones 700).
Santa also mentioned it’s a perfect time to place an order for a Tormach 24R CNC Router. Again, totally his words.

Tormach wants to wish you and your home/work family the happiest of holidays and the merriest of machining in the coming year!

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