Tools Your Wife Wants for Christmas: A Post To Pass Along To The Santa In Your Life

Hey ladies! If you want a tool or 2 for Christmas, all you need to do is send your husband over to this post! I’ll take it from there! 

Dear Husband of (insert your wife’s name),

Sit down man, we’re going to have a chat.

You lucky dog you, do you know what your wife wants for Christmas?? TOOLS! You’re here because she wants tools. Do you know how great that is? Just think of all of the fun Saturdays you’re going to spend bonding over projects while your kids eat fruit loops off the floor and cry because their egg surprise video on youtube keeps glitching out!

Or don’t cause that totally kills the vibe I’m trying to build.

Your wife may have sent you here because she’s nervous that she’ll get a “you’ll drill your eye out” response when she tells you that she wants a driver set, but I’m here to tell you not to be the mom on A Christmas Story.

Face it. You probably couldn’t pull the hair off anyway.

Let me be the first to tell you that we’re not talking about a pink electric screwdriver that comes with matching nail polish. We’re talking REAL TOOLS. Tools that you’ll probably claim as your own. Tools that you can secretly buy for yourself and give them to your wife as a front, just like my husband does (I’m on to you Court).

Of all of the tools in the world, I’ve narrowed it down to my 5 must haves for completing every project Pinterest can throw at her. These are the actual tools that I use (and opinions on others that I don’t use) so you can bet that when I recommend it its because I believe that it’s the freaking best. Most of what we use now is Rigid because their lifetime warranty can’t be beat, but if you’re a Milwaukee family I can respect that too. Just as long as youre not a Harbor Freight family, in which case we need to stage an intervention.

So lets get into it!


Tool #1: Drill and Impact Driver set

Ok so I know that this is technically 2 tools, but they usually come as a package so in my mind that means one really great tool. I use this more than anything else, hands down. I love the Impact Driver because its lightweight and powerful. Something to pay attention to when you’re buying one, is if the tool is Brushless, this newer tech is great at saving battery life, it’s more powerful, and the life of your tool is greatly extended.

I use and recommend: Rigid 18-Vold Gen5X Brushless Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit

Tool #2: Compound Miter Saw

I have 2 different miter saws. A Ryobi 12″ and a Bosch Dual Bevel. While we love and use the Bosch almost exclusively it is kind of a beast and way more expensive than the Ryobi that works really well too. You don’t have to have a massive miter saw with an articulating arm and 9000 horsepower. This is not a Tim Taylor grunting “More POWER!” moment, especially if you guys are more of a DIYers and not professional framers. The inexpensive miter saws will cut 95% of your projects juuuuust fine. I recommend starting with something inexpensive and upgrading when you’re ready.

I use and recommend:
Beginner: Ryobi 12″ Compound Miter Saw
Advanced: Bosch 15 Amp Dual Bevel Compound Miter Saw

Tool #3: Finish Nailer

2 words. SHIP LAP. A pneumatic nailer is mass critical to your wife fulfilling all of her Joanna Gaines hopes and dreams.  When we bought our nailer my husband did a ton of research and we ended up with a Hitachi. It’s pretty awesome, and I can attest to its durability, my husband Court has knocked it off of a latter on multiple occasions and it still works like a charm. That being said, I’m asking Santa for a a Rigid HYPERDRIVE for Christmas, it’s a cordless, compressor-less, nailer that would make my life so much better, I’ve tried the Ryobi Airstrike and it clogs up after every 5th nail so I’m hoping that Rigid will be better.

I use and recommend:
Cordless: Rigid HYPERDRIVE 18-Volt 18-Gauge 2-1/8 in. Brushless Brad Nailer
Corded: Hitachi Finish Nailer

Tool #4: Orbital Sander

Refinishing furniture is all fun and games until you give yourself carpal tunnel. Having an orbital sander is an absolute necessity. Spend a little more and get one with more power, its worth it!!

I use and recommend: Rigid Cordless Sander


Tool #5: Table Saw We use our table saw so much, we absolutely love it, that being said, this guy is more of a bonus. I wouldn’t get a table saw until after I already had the other tools previously listed.

I use and recommend: Rigid Professional Table Saw



I expect to be getting a lot of happy wife emails after Christmas because of this post. You should make sure that your beautiful wife is one of them and not screw this up, like the time I screwed up Christmas by giving my husband a housekeeper. 

Man you’re one lucky guy. Also, you’re welcome.

You know what for.

Love, Mandi


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“In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to enjoy…

“In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to enjoy constantly being in over your head. There’s this sweet spot between, “I GOT THIS!!!” and “…Holy shit, I’m gonna barf” that you live in every single day.” #MRxTM #MRPartner

from Man Repeller

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Adventures In Saving The Merc’s Original Sign

When we took the stucco off of the brick section we didn’t know what we’d find underneath, and we CERTAINLY didn’t know that we’d find the original sign. There was plaster that was stuck to the front of it that needed to be gently cleaned off (it’s the gray stuff all over the front of the sign).

The sign was painted in 1928 and the paint was SO WEIRD. The black paint specifically was like chalk. You can literally wipe if off with your finger. When we cleaned the old plaster residue off we had to make sure that we didn’t rub the back paint onto the white paint because it smeared so easily.

As the months went on and winter inched closer I grew increasingly concerned with the sign situation. Every time it rained I was worried that we’d show up and the sign would be washed away.

Before I could do anything to protect it though, I needed to get rid of the plaster residue. We tried a few different ways. We started with a microfiber rag. It worked but there was a ton of scrubbing and in some spots where the residue was especially thick the paint would be almost gone before it was clean. I used a small soft bristled brush but it wasn’t strong enough to get the residue off, or precise enough not to smear the black and white. Finally I threw caution to the win and tried a 220 grit sanding sponge. It worked like magic! I very gently sanded it in small circles and was able to get the residue off without damaging the paint. I still had to be careful to not mix the white and black but it worked so much better than the other methods and did a lot less damage.

I knew from the second that we uncovered it that I wanted to leave it original, there is so much charm seeing the old brush strokes and imperfect letters but I didn’t know what to do to actually protect it. I did know that whatever I put on it would most likely darken the white paint and show the cement underneath, I just didn’t know how badly.

This is where things get hairy.

I went to HD and bought a clear spray paint called Dead Flat. I brought it home and sprayed it on a couple of the letters. This is also where exhaustion and real life kicks in. It darkened the white a ton, and when it dried on the black, some spots absorbed the paint (darkening it) and some didn’t so it looked lighter. I mayyyy have had a little melt down thinking that the paint frosted the black. (Which it sort of did, but not as much as I originally thought.)

So I went back to Home Depot and got a clear concrete sealer, and a few different clear spray paint options.

And then I tested them.

When I put the sealer on it darkened the white just as much as the paint did, and painting it on would have been a nightmare because the black would have bled into it, the entire thing would have taken days to do.

Next I tried a satin finish clear spray paint and it had a ton of positives. Yes, it darkened the white, but it wasn’t going to bleed the dark, and it was much faster and easier to use.


I sprayed it over all of the black letters.

After it was on I realized why some of the letters were looking so frosted, the concrete absorbed the paint in some spots and not others. Check out the picture below and you can see what I mean.

After a few coats it was ready for the white touch up!  I diluted Emerald Exterior 2:1 and repainted all the white sections. It turned out SO GOOD. Using the diluted white paint made it so that there was color variation, just like it had before I sealed it. Perfectly imperfect!!

And how is this for a before and after?


Psst! Want to be in on the day to day decision making at the Merc? Make sure you’re following our Instastories!

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