You've had a busy year, and your holiday shopping list isn't complete. Have no fear. Here is my fourth-annual list of gift ideas for that special person in your life who vacations in the garage.
1. V10 Business Card Holder
For the executive suite: Turn your business card into a conversation piece with this clever desk accessory. Shaped like a V10 engine and fashioned from die-cast zinc, it flips open to reveal a stash of business cards. The valve covers also open up for storing small items. Order it from AUTOart, which has a large selection of other neat stuff for gearheads. Price: $119.95.
2. Gradall Book
Anyone involved in civil engineering would appreciate the story of the Gradall, which is a unique excavating machine that helped build America's roads and superhighways. I recently received a review copy of this 256-page book from the author, Jim Grant, who is a retired employee of Gradall Industries Inc. And although I admit that I haven't yet read "Gradall: A Story of American Ingenuity" cover to cover, I have enjoyed its many stories and photographs, including vintage equipment art that Grant reproduces here. Price $45.00.
3. Command Strips
Although 3M has offered a line of non-damaging adhesives for years (think the Post-it note), a stroll through your local big-box store will show you just how extensive it is today. One of my favorite household products are Command Strips. With these nifty products, you can hang just about anything and get organized without the commitment of driving a nail. Price: varies.
4. Shape Sorter Dump Truck
For the kids: Someone recently gave this to our baby girl, and I couldn't be happier. The truck bed doubles as a shape sorter and makes funny noises when kids plop the correct shapes through the slots. Press on the driver, and it sounds like a big diesel engine is firing up. Buttons around the truck make interesting sounds—shoveling, drilling, hammering—and it plays songs to help kids forget about all that hard work going on. You'll get tons of mileage out of this truck, available at Amazon.com. Or, check your local toy store. Price: $34.99.
5. Bubble Level Cufflinks
This totally impractical gift is just too cool to leave off the list. These cufflinks double as traditional bubble levels. Are they accurate? Who cares? I'll definitely be looking out for them at ENR's Award of Excellence back-tie gala. Price: $39.99.