The Chopstick Master from Bridge City; Production Prototype Images

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernard Shaw

Dear Drivel Starved Nation;

The first production prototype came in last Thursday and I thought I would share with you a sneak peek. As mentioned, this item will be made completely in China and I think you will be thrilled with the quality.

Before we move on to the pictures, I want to thank all who commented on the logo – all my teachers in my life and my deceased parents would be pleased to learn that I do indeed listen.

Here is the new copyrighted logo for the box and the Chopstick Master; Continue reading

The 2015 Bridge City Fab 50 Tool is Announced… Think Copper!

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” — Albert Einstein

Drivel Starved Nation;

I spent the month of February working on some new concepts and I finally finished the 2015 Fab 50 tool. Why the name “Fab 50″? Because each year we pick a design and fabricate 50 units and move on to something else the following year. This year’s version is something else…

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Limited Edition North Bennet St. School Try Squares are Done!

"Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them."— Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Drivel Starved Nation!

Next week I begin my annual work retreat, and I can’t wait to see what the muse will deliver this trip. This will be my 14th year of holing up somewhere and do nothing but think about tools for two weeks. And as long as Megan Fox leaves me alone, it is incredibly productive… Continue reading

Last Call for the CT-18 Dual Low Angle Smoothing Plane …

Drivel Starved Nation –

This is a courtesy announcement that we are assembling the last 40 or so CT-18 Dual Low Angle Smoothing Planes. We have approximately 10 boxed and ready to go, and the balance will be assembled next week. Based on the previous 17 Commemorative Tools, these will be gone forever in the next couple of weeks.
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New Tool, New Contest from Bridge City…

Last year we introduced the Kerfmaker and if you don’t have one by now… maybe you can win this little contest and get one for (drum roll please) FREE!

But first you have to wade through the latest post on this totally awesome and worthless blog and then enter the contest below.

Let’s recap; the Kerfmaker will allow you to to make P-E-R-F-E-C-T bridle joints, cross laps and other tight fitting joints without measuring SQUAT!  How tight you ask? Tighter than a tube top on Dolly Parton–tight enough?

We will soon be introducing the Tenonmaker, which will allow you to make P-E-R-F-E-C-T tenons without measuring SQUAT! How tight you ask? Tighter than a prairie dog’s butt in a Nebraska dust bowl–tight enough? (Aren’t you glad I bypassed the obvious sophomoric analogies…?)

Because you are likely a guy (wild guess on my part) we are forced to make a movie of the Tenonmaker so that you understand it–every guy knows manuals don’t work. And once you understand the Tenonmaker YOU WILL succumb to an overwhelming urge to send us $89 for your own personal version. Don’t believe me? Check out this testimonial;

John-I have had a run of bad luck lately that led to a pretty wild night a few weeks back. My boss at the pitchfork factory rejected my idea of a one tine pitchfork, said it was already invented and it is called a javelin.  So I came home and swallowed three bottles of sleeping pills, stabbed myself in the neck with an oyster fork, jacked my car up, crawled underneath and kicked the jack handle. I really wanted to leave this earth but the pills turned out to be flea medicine for my dogs, the oyster fork hurt like hell (FYI), and that damn jack never worked anyway.  My wife said if I tried all of this on the same day again, she would turn off the heater on my salt water aquarium. I think she is my problem–she just doesn’t get mouth breeders.


I ended up in therapy where it was suggested that I buy a Kerfmaker from Bridge City Tool Works. Hell, for $72 bucks I gave it a try.

I want you to know that this amazing tool ,which allows me to do P-E-R-F-E-C-T joints has turned my life around. Thank YOU!

As a token gesture of gratitude, I have included a stack of Bearer Bonds totaling $2.4 million dollars. Do with this as you see fit–you deserve it.


–Cooter Ditchman

PS: I think any woodworker who does not own a Kerfmaker is dumber than a bag of hammers.


Well now, that is quite the story yes/no?

The movie will soon be done (the TM-1 movie that is). Meanwhile the pic below showcases the KM-1 (on the left) and the soon to be TM-1 (if you guessed “on the right” you are really smart) side-by-side.



Study this picture carefully because it can be your ticket to free tools (thanks to Cooter, I am now set for life and giving stuff away doesn’t bug me like it used to…).

How you ask?

Don’t you think this picture needs a caption, one that can be shared in a family-centric blog such as this one?

Not convinced? Top three captions will win something.

This is a “No Limit” caption contest. Tell your friends NOW.  Proudly hold your clarion aloft and tell the world! Do join in on the fun because I guarantee this will be fun.

What are you waiting for?

–John

CT-17 Block Plane; The Back-story…

As promised last week, here are further specs on the CT-17 Dual Angle Block Plane;



Weight: 748 grams/1.65 lbs
Overall Height in Use: 61.2 mm/2.41 inches
Sole Length: 162.5 mm/6.4 inches
Sole Width: 48.75 mm/1.92 inches
Iron Width: 34.92 mm/1.375 inches
Iron Finish: Back, Optical Lap < 4 RMS
Iron Thickness: 4 mm/.16 inch
Iron Material; A2 Tool Steel, Rc 60-62, Cryo treated
Iron Bevels: Low Angle: 30 Degrees (25 primary +5 deg. micro bevel), Regular: 35 Degrees (30 primary +5 deg. micro bevel)
Iron Tension: Adjustable
Depth of Cut, Change per Revolution: .025mm/.001 inch
Throat Opening Range: 0 – 4 mm/.15 inches
Maximum Blade Cant : 2.5 Degrees
Sides to Sole Squareness: plus/minus .05mm/.002 inch
Materials: 304 Stainless, Steel Pivots
Blade Guard: Anodized Aluminum, Resides in Plane during use, attaches to back edge of iron for sharpening (affixed via 2 rare earth magnets)
Finish: Interior of body & components; glass bead finish, sides abrasively grained, pivots black oxide. Cap is polished. There is no black chrome on this piece.

Traditionally, most metal block planes use a cross-pin to anchor the chip breaker/cap to the body which holds the iron in place. By eliminating this pin, we were able to address the ergonomics of the tool with new light. The pic below, utilizes one of the stereo lithography models to illustrate the hand position where the index finger rests directly behind and above the cutting edge in a contoured pocket–this I am excited about because it feels great;



The design of the body is “circle centric” as circles were the predominate theme in the tool–they are everywhere and accentuated when possible to reinforce the theme. As illustrated below, the main holes in the body make grasping the tool securely easy and without much effort–it feels like it belongs in the hand…





The pic below illustrates the most traditional hand position using a block plane;



Although not illustrated here, the front “tote” pivots for two hand use and the inclination can be adjusted to suit your tastes.

For the past couple of years I have been wallowing in the money pit of radio controlled helicopters–while on my work retreat I realized they have had quite a subtle influence in my work over the past year or so. With the CT-17, I consciously used the influence as a design criteria as you can see below…



Regarding the clues in this totally awesome and worthless blog;

Clue # 1 was a close-up/abstract of the “tail pipe” depth adjuster.

Clue # 2 involved the making of the video. The blade lock mechanism is not linear and at thirty frames per second, I needed to know the exact location of the clamp arm, cap and link throughout the range of motion when opening and closing. This involved a sequence of 12 individual frames to open and 12 to close–the animation software we use is not constraint or interference based so I had to do it manually. This illustration below should bring clarity…



The rest of the clues should make sense now.

Regarding the video, it was put together by Michael who also wrote the music beat. Editing by yours truly, hosted by YouTube.  You are probably thinking, I would love to see that again! Here ya go;



For those of you curious about the software we used in this project (not in any particular order); Cobalt, SharkFX, HyperShot, HyperMove, Premier Pro, PhotoShop, Excel and FantaMorph.

On a personal note, I have been deeply troubled by the story of Phoebe Prince (the Massachusetts high school freshman who took her own life after relentless bullying by classmates). Why, we as a culture allow this kind of thing to happen is beyond my ability to comprehend. I was once told that bad people exist because good people do nothing.

So, on a much less serious scale–completely insignificant in comparison–but nevertheless related, we here at Bridge City deeply appreciate those of you who take the time to correct some of the inaccuracies and mean spirited posts circulating on the internet regarding this tool. It is a huge step in making the internet a much more useful tool.

More questions regarding the CT-17? You know where to find me.

Thanks to all for making this project so much fun. For those of you who earned a $50 Gift Certificate, you can expect an email sometime in the next 10 days–Natasha, aka. “The Gift Certificate Queen” is on vacation this week.

–John

CT-17 First Peek…

I want to thank all of you crazy people for participating in the CT-17 guessing game–although nobody won the $100,000,000,000 prize, EVERYBODY who contributed to this thread (up until noon 4/15) has a $50 Gift Certificate coming–I thought this was fun.  AND, I have at least two new ideas to pursue!

Should we do this again next year?  What if I bumped first prize up to $100,000,000,000,000?

Oh, I almost forgot; here’s a little clip of the CT-17…our website/store will be updated later today.

Thanks again-for making this all possible.

Now I get to go home and do my taxes. I know I am not getting a refund but we are hoping you do!

–John

The Tool Too Sexy For Mass Production–R Rated!

Something about this tool awakens prurient interests…at least mine anyway–I feel just like I did approximately 50 years ago when a band of misguided 10 year olds found their first Playboy magazine at the local illegal dumping site…

We have been playing with the prototypes here for a couple of months and this tool is way cool.  Study the pic below because we have made a beneficial change to the 18″ blade we think you will really like.

CS18v2 Web

Here’s what is different; the 18″ blade is unique and has some new functionality that will save you time. The bottom scale is in inches (32nd’s) and regardless of what hand you hold the square in, you can set the long leg to whatever distance you desire from the end of the blade.

The top scale features centering rules on each face, one metric and the other imperial.  I would not use the imperial centering rule for finding centers, I would  use this scale with straight leg aligned on 9″ (zero on the center scale) and as such, converts the square to a killer hook rule–reads from the leg out as opposed to the end of the blade in.

Opposite of the imperial centering scale is the metric (.5mm) centering scale which reads either left or right from the center. This is what I would use to find centers, i.e., 42.5 on the left and 42.5 on the right and you know center. This is way easier than reading 2-23/32″ on the right and 2-23/32″ on the left.

In addition, for those of you who are trying your best to wean yourself from the lunacy of imperial measurements, with the long leg set to 9″ on the lower scale, you can use the top scales to quickly convert between imperial and metric. This is cooler than you think.

We are also including in the kit a standard 12″ blade, all imperial because, hey this is America damit! (Not my view, but we need to pay rent here…)

Milled from solid stainless steel and graced with a black chrome web, this is the next tool in our Bridge City Essentials series. We will begin accepting pre-production orders as soon as we quantify our costs in a couple of days.

Now, I don’t have a tree-house anymore, but IF I DID, this tool would join Ms. June, 1963 as one of my most cherished belongings.

Your thoughts?

–John

Bridge City Essentials; Black Chrome and Stainless Marking Gage

As we continue to celebrate our 25th anniversary I am pleased to give you a peek into what is coming next.

Sometime in the next day or so, we will be announcing the pre-production run of the next Bridge City Essential–an updated version of our MG-4 Marking Gage and calling it the MG-5. Stainless steel, black chrome…OK, I will fess up–this black chrome is the coolest stuff–I am hooked.

Frankly, the world does not need another marking gage but this one is notable because it has two “business ends” one, a beveled cutter for straight work and a scribe pin for following curves. It is small, fits the hand great and the black chrome just feels oh so sexy.

We are working on pricing but the MG-5 will be well under $150 so it won’t break the bank…hell, what I am thinking, all the banks are broken! Don’t know how many we are going to make yet and don’t know if we will make it again (We are in the anti-inventory business) so give it a ponder.

Here’s a Sneak Peek of the prototype;

MG5_02Single

–John

Special Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Plane

Last year when we introduced the CT-14 Shoulder Plane, we made a couple out of solid stainless steel with no intention of ever producing a stainless version–the machining costs are astronomical.

I have hauled one around with me at several of the Lie-Nielson Hand Tool Events and it is definitely a head-turner–works great too. Recently we had a customer who wanted to buy the plane and it was explained it was not for sale.

“Name your price.”  he said. I have heard this before and it is hard to ignore.

We held our ground. Until last week.

In a staff meeting it was suggested that we make a very small run of these and include them as part of our 25th Anniversary celebration.  What is a small run? 50.

Each of these planes will be hand signed and serial numbered. Delivery will be in October, the price; $2500.

If this interests you, give us a call (1-800-253-3332). As of this writing there are 17 remaining. Phone orders only–serial number will be assigned at time of order.

If you are looking for a something that is truly unique, perhaps a great investment, this may be worth considering. There is nothing like it.

Did I mention I have developed a tool fetish for stainless steel?  This stuff is awesome!

–John

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