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

Weekend Projects Using the New V Groove Kit for the HP-10 Plane…

"The Self-Educated are marked by stubborn peculiarities."— Issac D'Israeli

Dear Drivel Starved Nation;

If there is one thing that drives me crazy about being in the woodworking business are customers who are reluctant to acknowledge the potential of new ideas. I will never understand this, and frankly, it frustrates me when I have to spend time with people who never appreciate that the world is full of new ideas yet to be revealed.

We recently introduced a set of four “V” groove texturing kits for our HP-10 Convertible Plane and all they do is make perfect “V” Grooves. Yup, that is all they do. Continue reading

When the Chopstick Master Inspires those who Inspire Us…

"All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity." — Gordie Howe

Drivel Starved Nation-

One of the cool aspects of teaching at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking are the fellow instructors you get to meet.

One year, years ago, my classroom was directly across the hall from the turning studio. The instructor? Michael Hosaluk. Continue reading

Changing the World One Photograph at a Time…

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." — John Milton

Drivel Starved Nation;

It was an exciting time to be a furniture designer/maker back in the 1970′s. I can still remember the excitement of my first commission —it’s such an honor when others want your work in their home. I was so lucky.

But this luck came with a caveat. All of the people who were ordering furniture from me had money. Lots of money. Continue reading

The Furniture of Seth Rolland

Drivel Starved Nation!

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of viewing Seth Rolland’s exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum  which is 20 minutes east of Seattle. This field trip turned out to be incredibly interesting, first there was our train ride, then the fascinating work of Rolland, and a major surprise that will appear in my next post.

It’s always nice to follow the progression of a woodworker who sings with a unique voice in this world we call woodworking.  This is a small sample of his exhibition — I hope you enjoy the pics… Continue reading

TWO Talented Woodworkers are Going to Win $500 BCTW Gift Certificates- TIME TO VOTE!

"While most are dreaming of success, winners wake-up and work hard to achieve it."— Unknown

Drivel Starved Nation;

You should be in your shop making stuff, but since your here, please take the time to vote!

When we introduced the CS-6v2, we opened a contest for those who wanted to infill our naked squares pictured below;CS6v2 in Stainless and Brass 700

We are going to award two $500 Gift Certificates, one for the “Most Beautiful” Cs6v2 Combination Square and one $500 Gift Certificate for the “Most Original” idea. We need 2 votes from you, your thoughts, and you can do so by commenting to this post.We will announce the winners next Thursday, August 25th. (These awards are unbelievably generous because they equal our annual profit here.) Continue reading

How to Turn Urine into Gold! It’s a Gun Story…

Drivel Starved Nation-

Why did you fall for that stupid headline?  You should be ashamed.

But now that you are here, I have a story for you!

Several weeks ago my wife and I hopped on the train to Seattle to see an art show which is the subject of a future post. When we arrived at our seats, the window for our 3.5 hour trip had been the victim of some idiot with a gun. (See, I am headed somewhere with this metaphoric title!)

Continue reading

Woodshop Field Trip… John’s Excellent July 4th Weekend Revealed!

Drivel Starved Nation-

I should have known better than to try and seduce the DSN with misleading photos. What did I accomplish? A bunch of insulting comments about my advanced age and the cost of Depends…  At least nobody brought up my addiction to stool softeners… (Did I just write that?)

But I digress, I did indeed take a field trip to the George Nakashima property in Bucks County, PA. What a beautiful setting! The facility is open for visitors on Saturdays but the shops are closed. If you have never been there, it is an hour drive or so from either the Philadelphia or Newark airports.  I would love to go back in the fall, it just has to be incredibly beautiful.  Continue reading

Woodshop Field Trip… John’s Excellent July 4th Weekend! Part 1

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”— Anonymous

Drivel Starved Nation-

Here are a bunch of photo clues for you. Guess where I went and you will win…. NOTHING!

-John

Continue reading

Inspiration is Everywhere…

Drivel Starved Nation!

I know it must seem like I croaked, or worse, whatever that means, but here I am spewing a little drivel your way…

I just returned from my annual work retreat and since so many of you wonder about how this works, here is a little insight.

Each year, for the past 15 years or so, I have left the office for two weeks to focus on new ideas, most are new tool ideas.

What I look for in a place to stay is a good chair and work surface and typically a good deal on a hotel. The location is meaningless to me other than it is NOT my work or home office.

Once I arrive I set up my CAD workstation, head to the store for food supplies and then settle in for a brainstorming session with myself.  A typical work session starts with a “I wonder what would happen if I tried this…” and then, usually by day two, the muse is in full control. It is, without question, the two most important weeks of the year for me. It is so important that I am actually thinking of doing this every six months.

The first thing that happens is the lack of time consciousness. Since there are no phone calls, no people, and I am disconnected from that pesky little thing we call e-mail, it is amazing what one can do creatively in a few short weeks. There are days where I never leave my accommodations and waking up in the middle of the night happens frequently –  it always amazes me as to how the subconscious provides ideas that never materialize while awake.

This year I was able to complete five new products during this retreat, and that is about four more than I will be able to do during the next 50 weeks! That is the drag effect of running a business on the creative mind.

Anyway, this week I am wading through all my neglected emails, which of course is so much fun I can barely contain myself…

One day, I did take about an hour and outline a process as to how I can feed the DSN with copious amounts of drivel and I have some ideas….

Meanwhile, check out this wooden clock from Japan, it writes the time!

-Still Your Tool Potentate