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  • Don Magruder

Tools are Great Gift for Graduating Students


It won’t be long until you start receiving graduation invitations in the mail from friends and family celebrating the special milestone of either graduating high school or college. As is customary, the invitation is meant to include you in their special moment, but it is also a signal that a little gift would be nice. Cash, gift cards, or trinkets are the usual graduation gift. However, I have a great idea, either on its own or in combination with the other gifts, a tool bag or tool box is a useful, thoughtful gift that can be used frequently and for many, many years to come.


I get it, Nana’s favorite granddaughter may have a puzzled look on her face when she receives tools as a gift, but when she moves into that dorm or apartment and realizes how useful they really are, she will be thanking her Nana every time she hangs a picture or repairs something on her own with her tools. Plus, a benefit of tools as a gift is that most are kept for a lifetime. For some, tools are keepsakes of a lost relative that are passed down through generations.


Let’s talk about what you should consider when you are buying your graduate a tool bag or box. If you are buying for a young lady, most will prefer a tool bag and a young man will generally prefer a toolbox. Yes, I understand this is gender profiling, but women are used to carrying purses. Another suggestion is to keep it the tool assortment small and don’t gift a professional grade set unless they are planning on going into the construction field. The tools should be do-it-yourself style tools that are simple to use and can be easily bought at a local store.


After buying a small tool bag or box, here are my top choices for tools that can take care of most projects:

  • A small cordless drill with a base set of drill bits and screw drive bits that can be used to hang and install pictures and other wall items.

  • A hex key set which is tool that includes multiple hex keys and is used for putting together furniture.

  • A regular hammer and a soft mallet hammer for driving nails and tapping parts of furniture together.

  • Two manual screwdrivers. A medium sized slotted and Phillips’s head screwdriver for tight places.

  • One of the most used items is a medium sized putty knife for filling holes and scraping off paint chips.

  • A small manual hand saw for cutting. There is always one board that must be trimmed or cut.

  • Plier tools, including needle nose, regular pliers, channel locks, and wire cutters.

  • A medium sized adjustable crescent wrench is always used for loosening nuts and bolts.

  • A very small socket with base size sockets from like ¼ to ¾ inch will be used frequently.

  • A nail punch is a small, cheap item that is used frequently to drive the heads of nails into wood. I also like to add one small wood chisel for the times they must make things fit properly.

  • A 25-foot tape measure will be used all the time, as well as a small square for making straight lines.

  • Finally, include a couple of sharpened pencils for marking holes and cuts.

If you shop smart and look for deals, a tool bag and everything in it will cost you somewhere between $100 and $200. Keep in mind, garage sales and flea markets are excellent places to find great tools at very cheap prices.


I fully understand that this gift is not the most glamorous, but I can guarantee that there will be many days in which your graduate will be thankful for the bag or box of tools. Good luck and best wishes to all our local graduating students!


Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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