Justin Newcombe contemplates the top options to give that special man on Father's Day.

Father's Day is tomorrow and it's time to reward big boy for all the hard work he's going to do this summer (ladies, make your list). You could buy Dad some slippers and a cardigan or a fold-out tray to pop the chocolates on while he watches Match of the Day, Antiques Roadshow and a re-run of an Officer and a Gentleman.

On the other hand, since we are about to embark on one of our all-time greatest summers in the history of the greatest country on Earth, Dad needs the kit to go with his ruggedly handsome good looks, his debonair sensibilities and his cheeky "you know it, buddy" wry smile.

For starters, with all the sunshine we are going to experience, the grass is about to grow from a five o'clock shadow to the full Billy Bush, so a new mower might be on the cards. Go for Morrison and, if possible, get a red one.

One of my favourite student jobs was leaf-blowing and a petrol blower is just the thing for tidying up the lawn and garden beds. For a small garden an electric blower will be fine. Leaf blowing is like giving your property a blow wave after a decent haircut (apparently). I recommend a holder harness, which will allow Dad to walk around aimlessly with the blower on and not actually have to hold on to it.


If you bought Dad a boot-load of tools last year, then he needs a cabinet and a can of wd40. This is the perfect thing to keep everything in order but make sure it's got room for plenty of additions.

If you're still trying to get the big lug to build that fence he's been talking about for the past five years, I recommend a builder's apron. Get a big one with deep pockets and throw in a decent hammer.

Other stuff to put in the apron include a small tape measure (because it's easier to carry and I find most measurements are under three metres), a set square to get everything nice and, well, square, a pencil, string line, a small hand plane, which is great for tidying up cuts and edges and some sunblock.

If you're unhappy with some of Dad's prezzy purchases in the past 12 months then take the opportunity to get even. Nothing says "thanks for the ironing board, Steve" like four pallets of pavers and five cubes of base course dumped on the drive on Friday afternoon. Not enough so you can't get your car in the garage but just enough so Dad (Steve) can't get the boat out.

There are a few tools I use all the time and most of them are small hand tools. A good one-tool-does-all to keep in the cupboard is the XU1 Multi Tool. It's battery-powered and has a small arsenal of multifunction heads, perfect for those odd jobs and small repairs that crop up from time to time. Then there are little plastic blocks: I use them to set a string line (great for fencing and masonry work) as they make it easy to move the line up or down. I love my wooden mallet and chisels because the wooden mallet gives a nice soft impact, which means good control over the chisel. Even if you have no interest in DIY, a little plane-on-wood action is just the thing to settle the nerves after a hard day of whatever it is you do.

But if I had to choose my all-time favourite, most-used and most versatile tool; the one I'd recommend to anybody, it would by my little Ryobi skill saw. And if I had a secret wish this Father's Day it'd be to get an upgrade to the new Ryobi lithium-powered saw.

Make Dad's day
Weekend Life and Ryobi have a wonderful gift pack to give away: a four-piece Ryobi 18V lithium-ion tool kit worth $499. The two speed compact drill has 24 clutch torque settings for ultimate control when drilling or screwdriving; the 150mm circular saw has exactline technology for accurate cuts every time and the reciprocating saw has 22mm stroke length. Toss in a cunning swivel head torch, two batteries and a dual chemistry charger - all in a natty carry fluoro carry bag - and you have the makings of a great workshop. Now all you'll need is a list of projects to get started on.

To enter, go to nzherald.co.nz/weekend life, enter your details and the keywords Ryobi Lithium-ion Tool Kit by midnight, Wednesday September 5.