Bridge City New Tool and Other Cool Stuff…

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.— James Whistler

Wow. What an August we had here. The Museum opening was a blast, and thankfully the roof was dry, which is more than I can say about some of the Drivel Starved Nation who attended… I think everybody had a good time, I know I did – over 300 participated. (I proffer this in case you were wondering why this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog has been sitting fallow since late July, now you know.) The museum staff did a great job on the installation and if you are looking for a fun reason to visit Portland the exhibition runs through the first week of February, 2014. Next stop is Colorado I am told.
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How to Make the “Fog of War” Board in Pictures…

In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.— Friedrich Nietzsche

Last April I taught two classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking on how to make my “Fog of War”, which is a metaphorical sculpture posing as a chess set.

There was not enough time in the week to make both the players and the board and I promised to make this post available for those who wanted to complete the piece. So here ya go!
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Five Cool New Tools from Bridge City…

Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.— Charles Eames

Hello Drivel Starved Nation!

As mentioned last week, we are opening the pre-order window for the following tools. Yes, I said tools.Why?

Well, if you haven’t noticed lately, shipping rates are getting crazy. Because a couple of these new tools are under $100, we are going to gang produce them so you save a few bucks. Cool eh?
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Three New T-Bevels from Bridge City and Other Fun Stuff…

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.— Buddy Hackett

Drivel Starved Nation!

I know you are starving for some drivel, so hopefully this will tide you over for a bit. In a previous post I mentioned that we have radically changed the TB-2 and here is a sneak peek–
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New Bridge City Try Square; Here’s a Pleasant Surprise…

Fear is stupid. So are regrets.— Marilyn Monroe

A couple of weeks ago we closed the pre-order window on our new TS-2v2 Try Squares. The square was well received by Bridge Citizens across the globe, which should be good news. But it wasn’t.

Something was gnawing at me about this tool and that is never a good sign. On Monday, I realized what it was; I have never liked the squares I owned that had aluminum blades. I know it is a personal preference, but at the end of the day, every tool I design, I design for me. I really liked the way the aluminum square looked, but I realized that I would not buy it. So, what to do?
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Bridge City Tool Works has Redesigned Their Flushing Chisel…

I don't kill flies but I like to mess with their minds. I hold them above globes. They freak out and yell, 'Whoa, I'm way too high!— Bruce Baum

Happy Memorial Day DSN!

Here’s a quiz for the Drivel Starved Nation; When was the last time we made our Flushing Chisel?

If you guessed 2003, you WIN! And if you guessed 2013 you would be correct as well.

Of all the tools we have made over the past 30 years, our flushing chisel was one of the most cherished if you believe our customers. Here at BCTW, we believe you! The new version is similar to the old blade-wise, but features a completely redesigned grip. After a ten year absence, it is time to bring it back.
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Inspiration is Everywhere: Dominick Calicchio

Always remember, your focus determines your reality.— George Lucas

DSN: I am thrilled to be able to share this video with you. Here’s the back story…

 

The film below was part of the Portland Public School’s Film Depository in 1973. I ordered a copy to review for my woodworking students. I have seen this film over 50 times and watched two times today! Caveat, it is not about woodworking.
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Quality is Contagious; Bridge City Tool Works Book Preview…

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“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”Grouch Marx

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Finally, the book we have all been so busy working on is now done and off to the printers. I think it is really beautiful, and is a very nice and fitting tribute to Bridge City followers across the globe.

This is a coffee table sized book; the cover is 12″ square (get it?). There are 287 stunning images distributed over the 204 pages and it weighs just under five pounds. It is being published by Museum of Contemporary Craft. Jay Maisel wrote the introduction and the editor was Christopher Schwarz. The book will be printed in Korea at a plant that specializes in art books.

We will offer two versions, the one you see below will be available for $95. There is a limited collectors edition, in a cloth bound box that will available for $140, and these are all signed by your favorite tool potentate. Unfortunately, there are no discounts for either version. I am traveling to Korea at the end of May as part of the press check team and the limited edition versions will be signed while I am there. All other versions will be shrink wrapped, boxed in self-mailers and sent directly to the Museum and our allotment to our fulfillment facility outside of Portland.

One of the difficulties of a project of this magnitude is the print quantity. Too few and too many are both problems. Some time today we will open pre-orders and a print run decision will be made on May 7th – you will receive an email when our website is updated and ready to receive orders. The pre-order deposit is $1.00 and all books will be shipped the second week of August coinciding with the opening of the exhibition of the same name. Here are a couple of images for you to ponder;


Front Cover


Back Cover


Back Cover Panel


Spread 2


Spread 4


Spread 5


Spread 1


Spread 3


I hope you like it! By the way, it is a little early to be thinking about holiday gifts, but this book should appeal to both woodworkers, photographers and anybody who believes in the value of quality.

Lastly, if you would like to donate a copy of this book to your local library, please call us for details. (800) 253 3332

-John

What We Made at Marc Adams School of Woodworking… and if You are an Idiot, BEWARE!

“For those who have never experienced the joys of fishing, there are two reasons to fish: One, a free fall mind drift that takes over during all the lapses in action. Two, catching fish. Drawn on each fish is the daydream that preceded the catching of that fish, the most common of which (in my case) is boobs. Public restrooms, 9-11, childhood memories and the pattern plaid, along with various pieces of litter complete the contents of the plastic donut bucket. The bucket, being emptied on the countertop at home, is a chronicle of the morning’s events, both external and internal.”David Regan
 
NOTE: This was the “Artist’s Statement” from an exhibition I saw in NYC a year ago. I love irreverent artist statements.
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Yo! Drivel Starved Nation…PAY ATTENTION!
 
I have three benchmarks I evaluate that determine if classes I teach are a success or, a complete bust – there is no middle ground.
 
The big one is whether I was required to administer the Heimlich maneuver. I just hate having to do that – too much theater for a wood shop. Students that don’t know the difference between a potato chip and a wood chip should not be admitted. Add cow chip into that mix too.
 
The second benchmark is to have a student list void of Elvis impersonators.
 
As you might guess, giving the Heimlich maneuver to an Elvis impersonator is my worst nightmare. It has happened to me more than I care to admit.
 
You decide if my classes were a success or not.
 
Below are a few pics of what Elvis worked on over the last two weeks. Don’t ask me any “How” questions please. They are the exclusive providence of the tuition payers. I am sure they will chime in if asked. Besides, I have to create a video of how I made the “Fog of War” for the upcoming exhibition. Lots of how stuff in that.
 
The little jig we made for all JMP’s to make micro adjustments using a digital caliper.
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A little army of pawns. These guys are under 2″ tall and each took about 45 minutes to make. Elvis needed 16 to move on.
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It is not easy at this scale to make perfect cuts without over-cutting. All the little Elvii did great!
_BCT0723
 
Small scale work often involves abrasives. Think diamonds.
_BCT0760
 
Lots of options for creative expression with this project.
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Gap free joinery takes time. The lattice components are .058″ thick.No glue at this point, just pressed together for a quick pic before I had to leave to catch a plane.
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The rooks were fun to make. And close to impossible without the JMP I do believe.
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Work in process by one Elvis. Parts are held together here with double-stick tape.
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If you ask any of the Elvii, they will tell you that small work is HARD! And fun.
 
My favorite part of the class was converting everybody to decimal inches. I prefer metric but did not want to get lynched. Anyway, most of the students had $30 or under digital calipers. WE WARNED YOU a year or so ago to stay away… BUT NO! So here is what happened…
 
We had one student who was going through one battery a day. WE WARNED YOU! Others could not get their caliper to repeat…. Anyway, the class had enough and we ordered good calipers, they cost about $125 each. For those that don’t listen, they actually cost $155+ when you add in the cost of the crappy tool.
 
I then overheard the student with the battery sucking caliper say to his partner, “I can’t wait to sell this piece of shit to some idiot on the internet when I get home.”
 
It is amazing what you learn in school.
 
-John

Teaching at Marc Adams School of Woodworking…Here’s What We Are Making in 2013

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“All war is deception.”
Sun Tzu

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In an earlier post I shared the King and Queen of a chess set I have been working on for over a year now. Next week, my students at Marc Adams will make their version. And the new students the week after that.
 
I wanted a project that really emphasizes the capabilities of the Jointmaker Pro.
 
The smaller your work, the more accurate you have to be. This is going to be challenging, but we will do it.
 
This chess set will be on display in the upcoming “Quality is Contagious” exhibition in August. It is the first piece of woodworking I will have made in almost 30 years. Lots of precision sawing and block plane work. FYI, the king is 4-1/2″ tall, the chessboard squares are 1-3/4 square in the cavities. I wish my eyes were younger.
 
The piece is called. “Fog of War“.
 
Chess Set 1
 
Chess Set 3
 
Chess Set 4
 
Chess Set
 

-John