If I could have only one power tool, it would be a jig saw. It has a thin vertical blade that goes up and down (may be the "knife-like" tool you mentioned). Bosch brand would be 1st choice, but I think it's ~$150 in US. Maybe it's less expensive in Europe, as it's German-made.
A jig saw can cut curved as well as straight lines, kind of a combination of circular saw (hand-held saw with a round 7 1/4" blade, and band saw which has a thin blade for cutting curves).
That is a good idea Rodney. This is just my opinion, but I don't agree with the cms as a first gift. It is too limited in what it can do. I guess it can get an ooo ahhh effect because it comes in a big box on christmas. I guess this would be good for cutting jungle gym pieces to length. But then what?
A few hand tools could go a long way. It may take a little longer, but the end result could be a better product of the effort. Just my opinion. I agree with the books too, but go to the library if you are on a budget. I am sure that France has free libraries.
I myself think that a scroll saw wood be a good gift. You say he has a circular and all. You can get a decent little starter scroll saw for around $70 the grab him the jigsaw also for about $25 at a walmart store. Everyone talks about buying all the high dollar name brand power tools, but to start and to see if he enjoys get him a few different crucial tools that will give him a taste of the trade but will not break the bank.
>Might I suggest a power compound miter saw. I believe you
>can get a Delta power miter saw at Lowes for $100. Make
>sure it's a compound miter saw, that it's a 10" blade and
>that he obviously doesn't already have one. I find my miter
>saw to be very valuable and useful (especially when cutting
>trim around the house). This would probably help to get him
>started. Although, a table saw would be the best starter
>tool. But that will have to come later.
You mentioned a table saw being a better starter tool. I'm trying to decide between a compound miter and a table saw. I've got a great jigsaw, circular saw, etc. New to woodworking myself and have really only done what I can with these few tools (yard decorations and things like that). My wife wants to me work on some bookshelves, perhaps an entertainment center, etc. My brother is suggesting I go for the table saw. He recommended a 12" table saw and a 10" cms. Suggestions?
Hmmm... I would go the opposite, 10" Table saw and a 10" or 12" CMS. I would think a table saw would be much more useful to you, as just about everything you can do on a CMS, you can do on a TS. But, a good TS will run you a lot more money than a good CMS and you should do your research and buy the best you can afford, or you will be buying twice! See the many discussion about beginners and Table Saw choices by using the "search" function of the forum.