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?
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Quality is Contagious; Bridge City Tool Works Book Preview…

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

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
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.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

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.
_BCT0755
 
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.
_BCT0725
 
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.
_BCT0765
 
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.
_BCT0766
 
The rooks were fun to make. And close to impossible without the JMP I do believe.
_BCT0769
 
Work in process by one Elvis. Parts are held together here with double-stick tape.
_BCT0775
 
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

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

“All war is deception.”
Sun Tzu

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
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

TS-2: Our 30th Anniversary Version…

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

“I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.”
A Bit of Fry and Laurie

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Yikes, have we been busy around here. The Drivel Starved Nation must be…starving!
 
This is a friendly reminder that for those of you who are making pieces for possible inclusion in the “Quality is Contagious” exhibition, you have until July 1 to get your piece to the Museum. For those who submitted work for the book, I have been told that one piece was accepted. Nicole is sending out notifications this week and making arrangments for the safe return of the submissions.
 
We are 30 years old this year and are busy making presents that you can buy for yourself (we are always thinking of you). What better place to start than with a new version of the TS-2? Please meet the TS-2v2;
 
TS2 v2 3 Sqiares
 
We are making two versions, all aluminum and all stainless steel. The later will be a limited edition.
 
We invented a whole new way to make a precision square (which as you can see, doubles as a dovetail square) and you can get the idea by looking at the non-stainless version in the image above. The two aluminum squares in the image above are actually the same tool, it has a split personality.
 
After making well over 100,000 try squares we have learned a few things. One of those “things” is when a square hits the floor, the corners of the blade frequently flare. We solved that little annoyance by rounding the corners, and it makes all the sense in the world, there is no function for a square corner on a square blade. Oh, and the blade is field adjustable.
 
That said, the grip on this tool is off the charts, maybe it will never hit the floor…
 
TS2v2_01
 
We will open up pre-orders next week, but here’s a pleasant surprise: The aluminum version will be under $100. Want to know how cool this is? The original TS-2 sold for $45 in 1983. This inflation calculator tells us that the TS-2 would sell for $104.89 today. How cool is that?
 
-John

Bridge City Tool Works 30th Anniversary Gala: The Details…

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

– Ansel Adams

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Drivel Starved Nation the time has come to unveil our plans for our 30th Anniversary bash. Listen up!

 

Thursday, August 15th
6pm -8 pm; The exhibition, “Quality is Contagious: John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works” opens at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. All this proves is that I have been making stuff for 36 years, and includes several pieces of furniture and lots of tools—some of which you likely own! The reception will be held on the roof of the building (it is beautiful!). A selection of plated and passed appetizers, appropriate to the season, will be served in addition to wine and non-alcoholic beverages. The exhibition runs through January 18, 2014.

 

To commemorate this event, the book. “Bridge City Tool Works: 30 Years Through the Lens of Joe Felzman” will be unveiled at the August 15th opening. Here is a sneak peek of the cover;
BCTW_cover
 
Here’s an image from the book that is cool;
Copter and Plane
 

Friday, August 16th
10am -3pm; Bridge City Showroom and Skunk Lab Open House, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, and finger foods provided.

 

6:00 pm until ???
Book Party! This is a catered dinner for our customers and a chance to meet all those associated with the book. This will be a fun evening hanging out with Joe Felzman and Jay Maisel, who is flying in from New York City for the festivities. If you would like to attend this function, please RSVP Consuelo@bridgecitytools.com for further details. (Both of the above links are short videos and worth the time to view them)

 

Saturday, August 17
11am-5pm; Wine Tasting Through the Willamette Valley. We have arranged for a bus tour of the Oregon wine country. We will visit 4-5 vineyards and tasting rooms.The first stop will be Chehalem Wines, they make extraordinary Pinot Noir and their Inox Chardonnay is fantastic. If you have never been on one of these tours they are a blast. One of the buses is a double-decker! Cost will be $50 per person and space is limited, so please RSVP to Consuelo@bridgecitytools.com if you would like to take the wine tour. For those not interested in the wine tour, I suggest renting a car and driving east from Portland through the Columbia Gorge, turn right at Hood River and drive around Mt. Hood, stopping at Timberline Lodge for lunch, maybe ride the “Magic Mile” chair lift up to the snow fields (on a clear day you can see Mt. Shasta in California, about 400 miles away!) before heading back to Portland. To us locals, this is called the “loop trip” and it is jaw dropping.

 

Our hotel recommendation during your stay is the Paramount Hotel. It is only a couple of years old, very nice and affordable. For a couple of bucks, you can ride the MAX light rail from the airport and get within 2 blocks of this hotel. For those of you with female significant others, Nordstrom’s is a block away. Why would I mention that? Oregon does not have a sales tax. You will need to make hotel reservations yourself.
 
Couple of other tidbits; Seattle is a three-hour drive from Portland. Vancouver BC is about 5 hours. Crater Lake National Park (unbelievably beautiful place) is a 5 hour drive from Portland. (Oregon is a honkin big state). Both Mt. Hood (you can snow ski in August here) and the Oregon Coast are an hour away from Portland. Oh, no humidity and no mosquitoes or Mongolian Death Worms! It is a great time of the year to see the Pacific Northwest (we are located in the world’s largest temperate rain forest, which begins in northern California and ends in British Columbia). Other sites of interest include the World Forestry Center, and we are now famous for something other than topless bars and micro-breweries– our food carts. Lots of great restaurants and a conspicuous absence of most chain eateries–the food is great!
 
We hope you can join us! We might even have a little sale for those that make the trek…
 
–John

HP-10 Foxtail Convertible Plane: You Might Need a Doctor Too…

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. “

– Albert Einstein

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I have the coolest job in the world. How cool you ask?

 

You can tell by examining the bags under my eyes — which means I have not been sleeping. Get this — in the last two weeks I am averaging less than 4 hours per sleep/night. I don’t like it, and I can’t help it.

 

Our new HP-10 Foxtail Convertible Plane is the reason why. Frankly, I think this is one of the most exciting new tools ever, and the culmination and fermentation of 10 years of work. I believe it is a complete game-changer in functionality, ergonomics, economics and space requirements. I also know I am prone to speaking in absolutes, generalities and hyperbole. My answer? My name is John and I approved everything I said about the HP-10 Foxtail plane. And, I believe it tool — if not, why bother?

 

Tomorrow, you will receive the pre-order email on the HP-10, and it is important to understand how we are going to deal with all the capabilities of this tool — so now would be a good time to pay attention DSN.

 

The offer tomorrow will be for the HP-10 Foxtail Convertible Rabbet Plane. This will include everything you need to make rabbets including the unisex rabbet depth foot, and the universal 45/90 degree fence kit, scoring cutter and of course the body and iron. And this is just the beginning.

 

The next “Convertible” option will be the Foxtail Shoulder Plane kit. This will include front and rear soles, a lower attack angle iron for end grain and universal depth skids. Why universal depth skids? Because they will work on both the rabbet conversion, shoulder conversion and… yes the dovetail conversion down the road.

 

After the shoulder conversion, we will introduce the Foxtail Crown conversion kit, consisting of the soles and iron only. The fence you need is included in the rabbet kit.

 

In 2014, we will introduce the Foxtail Dovetail conversion kit, which will do sliding dovetails. Following that are some unique dado/groove soles and the tongue and groove kit. After that, I will post, on this totally and awesome blog, the other profiles I want for myself and allow you, the Drivel Starved Nation to vote on their order of introduction.

 

I also have a couple of suggestions. Let’s say you only want the HP-10 Foxtail shoulder plane kit, and that is fine. I suggest you order the Foxtail body only from the window opening tomorrow because we are only going to make bodies for this plane once a year. We will re-make profile kits when the interest hits our minimum mfg.number which is typically no less than 300 units. Also, we have some customers who like separate bodies for each profile, and if you are one of those, I suggest ordering the bodies in the window opening tomorrow. As always, if our timing and your timing is off, call us for layaway options because we are going to remain in the anti-inventory business for the foreseeable future, and more likely until I croak.

 

Lastly, everything we are introducing is backward compatible with the limited edition (50) Stainless steel Foxtail rabbet planes.

 

As mentioned earlier, we will continue to offer new profiles for the HP-6 and continue to make bodies. I love that little plane. The HP-10 Foxtail allows us to do profiles that are next to impossible with the HP-6. Make sense now?

 

HP10 Front 800 sq logo

 

Did I mention how excited I am about this plane? I may need to see a physician because part of me has been excited for more than 4 hours…now that is exciting!

 

– John

The First New Tool from Bridge City in 2013…

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

“A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn’t.”

– Unknown

___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

First, for those that follow this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog (about 2/3 of the total population of Earth last count–amazing isn’t it?) you are likely aware of Drivel Starved Nation member, Rutager West. Besides being a great customer, he is a fervent contributor to our forums and is likely the world’s foremost authority on our DJ-1 Drilling Jig and perhaps the Jointmaker Pro–and of course, bacon.

 

Rutager is also an avid bicyclist and commutes 20 miles each way to work in St. Paul, MN. Friday, while riding to work in frigid weather, he hit a patch of ice, crashed, and broke several bones in one leg–not unlike a compass needle that points both North and East. Not good. He has had surgery and now will have a difficult time passing through airport screening. The good news: He has not lost his sense of humor–and I am guessing as he re-cooperates he may enjoy hearing from fellow DSN members. rutagerwest1@gmail.com Sorry Rutager, had to do it.

 

I am really excited about adding our newest creation to our Bridge City Essential family of tools. As mentioned in previous posts, our focus is creating tools that not only work, but take up very little space. The value proposition of this new tool should be enticing to many. Please meet the HP-10 Foxtail “Convertible” Plane…

 

The HP-10 Foxtail is primarily an all aluminum plane, and we will reveal full specs in a couple of days. Since I have been gone much of the year, and you are likely starving for more drivel, here are a few pics illustrating the many functions of this versatile plane.

 

Here is the setup to precisely cut rabbets;
HP10 Rabbet Fence 800 Res wLogo

 

Cutting both with the grain, against or across is a breeze with the circular scoring cutter;
HP10 Scoring Cutter 800 wLogo

 

Here’s a view of the rabbet depth stop, which like the fence or the scoring cutter, can be attached to either side of the plane body;
HP10 Rabbet Foot 800 Res wLogo

 

The first of the many conversions possible with the HP-10 is the obvious shoulder plane;
HP10 Shoulder 800 Res wLogo

 

And my favorite decorative cutting plane of all time, the crown cut conversion;
HP10 Crown Plane Render 800 Res wLogo

 

This plane is heading where the capacity of the HP6 leaves off–because of the larger body and improved grip, we will be able to add conversions down the road. AND, we are going to add them in a really fun way, we will decide here, on this blog!

 

Lastly, before anybody has a cow, there is an HP-9 plane, it needs more work so this plane skipped ahead.

 

–John