It’s 2018 and We are Awl Full…

"The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools."— Confucius

Drivel Starved Nation!

I just finished my 2018 work retreat and it was a weird one. More on that later.

I do not remember the last time we made awls, but I bet it was almost 20 years ago. Knowing that, I am suggesting these will be the last awls we produce while I am still alive. Now that I think of it, this is a great marketing gimmick: “John’s Not Dead Yet, Buy These Awls!”. You like Yes/No? Continue reading

Bridge City Tool Works to Open Woodworking School in 2020…

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.” — Nikos Kazantzakis

Drivel Starved Nation!

Greetings from the Cloisters! I am currently in the middle of week 2 of my annual work retreat… Continue reading

Bridge City Hardware Adoption/Warehouse Sale Launches Monday, Jan. 15th

"Exercise would be much more fun if calories screamed when you burned them."— Sign on a gym wall

Drivel Starved Nation!

The last time we had a warehouse/hardware adoption sale, and some of you likely remember, all hell broke loose.

First, our site slowed to a crawl, which caused buyers to press the “submit order” button several times. Behind the scenes we were getting paid for each button push. Over the next week, we refunded over $250,000 to those impatient buyers.

While the site was having fits, we notified our IT contractor who said “no problem” and then quit on the spot. We had to find a new IT company in 24 hours. In hindsight, I think it would have been way more fun taking the money and spending a month or two running from the FBI. Continue reading

New Year, New Tool from Bridge City Tool Works…

"I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying toys not included."— Bernard Manning

Drivel Starved Nation!

This little journey called Bridge City Tool Works is now in its thirty-fifth year. Some call this amazing. I call it too stupid to quit!

Going out of business 35 years in a row is not easy. However you see it, we thank you and look forward to going out of business again this year– with your help of course.

Before I share our first new tool offering of 2018, I thought you might enjoy this Christmas story… Continue reading

Holiday Shout Out – New Tool From Bridge City Tool Works!

"Life is short--smile while you still have teeth!"— Unknown

Drivel Starved Nation-

I am pleased to share the latest edition to the HP-10 Convertible Plane, which will allow you to cut coves/flutes and cores in four sizes.

Cutting flutes is an essential element of decorative woodworking. The Greeks and Romans were masters at employing flutes in both their architecture and furniture. Why you ask?
Continue reading

The Woodworking Joint Used in the Arms of Ming Dynasty Chairs…

"With but a few exceptions, we don't have this personal study under masters any more. Craftsmanship has sunk very low. We no longer have any universally creative persons who are able to guide young learners not only in technical matters but also, at the same time, in a formal way." — Walter Gropius

Drivel Starved Nation-

My latest trip to China was my favorite to date. When you are on an informative trip, fun is easy to find. When the weather is perfect, trips like this become magical.

The highlight for me was the gift Mr. Yang, the Hong Mu Master presented to me. It is a sample of the joinery used in his masterpiece pictured below;

As explained by Mr. Yang, his students are not allowed to build a chair until this joint is mastered;

Incredibly, mastering this joint can take up to a year. The rosewood supply he has is finite, so there is no tolerance for waste when it comes time to make a chair. And because there is no finish, the joints need to be perfect to become invisible. It truly is an amazing display of craftsmanship. The joint itself (I wish I would have asked if it had a name) is a thousand years old I am told.

Here is a short video by Academy Award Winning Cinematographer Wanna Be Consuelo;

Each chair arm has 6-8 of these joints. They are incredibly strong and could be completely functional without adhesive… they are that strong.

Pretty cool yes/no?

-John

Bridge City China Trip and Charlie Manson…

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them”— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Drivel Starved Nation!

After spending three weeks in China, my jet lag back here in Oregon is something else. I must be getting really old…

The day before I departed back to the States, my Chinese business associate Jack and his daughter Jessica accompanied me to Beijing for a special dinner.

It’s not a big secret that I am an Iowa son, born and raised until my graduation from Iowa State when I headed off to my teaching job in Oregon. Wow, that was 45 years ago! Ouch.

While living in Ames, I would occasionally get my hair cut–about once every three years. (I liked being a hippie where I learned that you could accomplish so much more in a day if you skipped bathing.) The place I frequented was called the Head Shop and it was owned by Al Thompson who was my barber. We have remained friends all these years and whenever he FaceTimes me he tells me my hair looks like it was cut with a Weed Eater… Continue reading

Bridge City Field Trip Report #4: The Hong Mu Arts Museum Tour

"The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere - in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. No one would desire not to be beautiful. When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming." — John O'Donohue

Drivel Starved Nation,

This is a long post, and it is full of pics. So there DSN, lots of Drivel! (If you have slow internet, you may have to wait a bit for all the pics to download).

Continue reading

Bridge City China Field Trip Report #3: Shanghai to Nanjing…

"Every man has a train of thought on which he travels when alone. The dignity and nobility of his life, as well as his happiness, depend on the direction that train is going, the baggage it is carries and the scenery through which it travels."— Joseph Fort Newton

Drivel Starved Nation;

Nothing quiets prejudice, hatred and biases more efficiently than travel. Only until one sees, smells, hears and learns from different cultures and their people can you intelligently grow as a citizen of planet Earth. Over the past 4 years, my 8-9 trips to China have been filled with wonderment, awe, disgust, dismay and joy. I thought this field trip idea would be an equally fun learning experience for Bridge City customers. And it was. Continue reading

Bridge City China Field Trip Report #2: Shanghai, the Largest City in the World…

"Tell me I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand."— Chinese Proverb

Drivel Starved Nation;

After our kick-off dinner, we all took a nice walk along the Bund which was a block or two from our hotel. Here is how it looks to my cell phone at night;

The Bund

After this spectacular view, we retired for the evening. Well not all of us… but that is another story. Continue reading