Maybe the Best Bridge City Contest Ever? The Details…


“If Pizza sizes were given in area and not diameter, you’d see instantly that a 7 inch is less than half the size of a 10 inch pie.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson


This is my last post for 2012–I think. My plan is to come back to work on Jan 2 or 3rd and that will be the beginning of our 30th year of tool making.


For the 2+ billion people who regularly follow this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog, a 35 year retro exhibition of my work–or your tools, depending on perspective–opens in August–it is an incredible honor, with one really cool twist…


As with most museums, the focus is on education and over the duration of the exhibition the educational focus is going to be primarily on the Jointmaker Pro. The cool twist? The Museum has initiated a call for entries to be juried for inclusion in this exhibition. Here are the details;

  • All submissions must somehow incorporate the Jointmaker Pro in the process.
  • There is no restriction on size, but exhibition floor space is limited.  My advice; smaller is better.
  • The potential for your work to be included in the Museum Sales Gallery, on an ongoing basis, is a strong possibility!  That is really cool.
  • You will be financially responsible for shipping to the Museum and the shipping costs to return your work–if needed.
  • Your entry, or entries must be delivered by March 1, 2013. Winning entries will be included in our book, entries after that date will not.
  • All entries will be judged by the Museum Curator.
  • If your work is accepted, and it is for sale, you will be sent a check by the Museum sans commission if sold.  (I don’t know what the commission rate is but 40 -50% is the norm.)


The rules are simple. Carefully pack and ship your entry to;


Nicole Nathan
Curator of Collections & Registrar
Museum of Contemporary Craft
724 Northwest Davis Street | Portland, Oregon 97209


Inside the box, include all of your return shipping info and a note that this is an entry for the “Quality is Contagious…” exhibition.


This exhibit is going to travel and if you would like it to come to an area near you, the Museum needs to hear from you. The process of reviewing and receiving grant funds for traveling exhibitions is based in part on demonstrated interest by the public. If this strikes your fancy, please send a brief email to Nicole;


Lastly, and certainly not least, THANK YOU for making 2012 so different from 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. All of us here at BCTW are keenly aware of your patronage, support and interesting tech calls…


We all wish you a great holiday season and a very happy New Year!



14 comments on this post:

  1. Thank you, John. I hope that your 30th year is your best ever, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in it.

    Spent the afternoon playing with my JMP and various fences. Quite a learning experience. My project idea is going to require more thought and ingenuity than I had first thought.

    Thank you for enriching our lives in so many ways. Here’s to a particularly wonderful 2013!

    – Peter

  2. Happy New Year John,

    Last year was great; lots of great tools, tool making class and two WIAs. Hard to top, but I know you will.

    Looking forward to all the coolness that the 30th will bring; special tools, the book and the exhibition.


  3. Wow, John! 2 billion followers? Do they all buy tools?

    I’m really looking forward to what’s coming in 2013. I checked the tracking and you should, too. It’ll be there 1/3/2013. Not a contest entry, just a bribe…..

    Thanks again for all you did in 2012, the tools, WIA, copious amounts of sushi and all the good times. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  4. Hi All, and Happy Holidays!

    I have had the joy of spending multiple days in my shop working on an offering for the exhibition. I’m finding that the standards I have took a big jump for this excercise. I have already thrown away a complete set of 2 days work because I found a better and more accurate solution (using the JMP of course). I have also learned a lot about the new fence system for the saw and can say that I really do love it. I do have one idea which may have some value? I could really use a piece that would attach to the miter cut attachment (the flat one that goes from 0 to 90 degrees) This attachment would allow you to clamp a 6″ long piece to it (measured along the length of the saw blade) and would allow a cut of any angle within the 90 degrees starting from the outside corner of the piece (that is the jig would have to be able to have an interference fit with the blade (you would need to watch that, but you could get to the inside ccorner that way). It would need to be rigid enough to hold a piece square 6″ out from the attachment. (think about the sliding dovetail problem I presented last year). This would be helpful.

    Rugater’s approach will also work however and I’m planning to use this tomorrow. It would just be useful to have this as an attachment to the precision fence system as with Rutager’s solution I will need to swing the blade and move the precision fence out of the way to avoid cutting into it.

    The more I use this, the faster it is to make cuts and adjustments. I also am using as many BCT tools as possible just to be “true to the cause”. I have used block planes, marking gauges, squares, japanese saws, etc. GREAT fun.


  5. OK, I was continuing this process and thought about a solution:
    1. a sub base that mounts to the base plate slots so that it can slide toward (or away from) the precision fence.
    2. a tube and stops like the scale on the precision fence that a Purple plate can attach to except that this plate would float toward or away from the blade and only lock down when the precision fence is properly adjusted.
    3. a miter set up just like the one on the precision fence (now you have a front and back support for a 6″ piece you want to rip at an angle!
    4. a slightly different set up for c clamps to hold the work. since you will not be able to get a c clamp into the slots on the front miter attachment at least, there may need to be one that works from the inside top of the work piece. (I used a small jorgenson clamp with pads which worked ok, but it would be nice to have one the size of the ones provided with the miter attachment)

    Just an Idea….


  6. Another option might be to just mount 1/2 of a precision fence on a sub base that would mount as described above? Just a thought.


  7. I also have noticed that the blade tends to wander on rip cuts if you don’t take very shallow cuts. I did NOT change the blade to a rip blade though (shame on me). I was just wondering if a thicker blade might allow a more aggressive cut? John, you have probably already studied this, and i vaguely remember a comment on the blog about it. In the end, it may be that I just needed to change to a rip blade though because it seems that cross cut blade was plugging up on rip cuts with the longer strings vs. cross cutting.

  8. Dennis-

    Glad you are having fun! And, we can’t wait to learn of your entries.

    Regarding rip cuts… not the JMP’s strong suit but they are doable. It is the nature of the rip grain and the fact that you are cutting from the bottom up. Rip “sawdust” is stringy and fills the gullets. Try the following;

    First, switch to the rip blade. If you are making cuts that are 6″ in length, you will be forced to take shallow cuts, and should! Next, the rip blade gullets clog even faster than the cross cut blade because the teeth are square at the top. Take an old tooth brush and fashion a blade sweeper that sweeps the gullets with each pass. This should be done from one side of the blade only–you are pushing the sawdust to the side. The rip blade should track much better than the cross-cut from my experience.

    Once you make the sweeper, you can re-try the crosscut blade. It is clogged sawdust however that is making your blade drift.

    Lastly, FINALLY somebody is catching on to the sub-plate idea–one of the coolest features of the JMP. I know Peter Franks is working on a project that requires a sub plate jig. If you come up with a solution that really “makes your day”, send it to us and we will consider making it as an option. We can’t think of everything! :) At the very least we encourage you to take pics and post in the JMP forum.


    PS: Goodbye 2012 and Happy New Year to the DSN!

    I spent my New Year’s Eve playing in my shop. I am down to just a few hours until I have one project ready for …..SHOW TIME!

    Just once more, I would like to say thanks for this opportunity John!

    I have spent 1.5 weeks on the first project which was about twice what I had anticipated. I think the extra effort is paying off though. I could have built a full size piece of furniture as easily and quickly as the (small) piece I did make. It is very true that the smaller the piece the more perfect it must be.

    Some time ago Paul Schurch had set up “kits” for a large number of custom jewlry boxes he was going to make, but was selling them to students (a great deal). The reason was that he realized this dynamic of increased perfection being inversly proportional to the size of the piece. He found that he was not able to make them any faster than a larger piece.

    If I get some time I will try a mock up of the jig I proposed above. I’m almost thinking you could use the right half of the precision fence on a new sub base. This would work well because the two fences need to face each other anyway! I think this could work!


  10. Dennis- Can’t wait to see what fruits bear from your mind!

    You are dead on correct when it comes to small scale work– it is not for the lazy or impatient.

    Your jig idea is brilliant–isn’t it amazing how productive a little bit of “play” time can be? Two fences opposing each other is something I wish I had thought of! Congrats!


  11. Hmmm. I guess that didn’t work out so well for you K-staters. Go ducks. Quack.

    Is anyone else finding that having the creative stimulation of these contests is cutting into getting woodworking projects done around the house? Like, say, building dining room chairs? Or a garden bridge?

    – Peter

  12. Peter,

    No, I wasn’t getting the things I needed to get done before the contest either- although, it is always nice to have something to blame my lack of productivity on.


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