Welcome to my little corner of the tool world…


Years ago I was approached by a guy who thought he wanted to purchase Bridge City Tool Works. I agreed to meet him in my office (his call must have been right after, or shortly before a payroll). He commented that my role in the business was essential for its success and asked me, “What would I do as an investor if you lost your mind?” I retorted that he should be much more concerned if I were to get my mind back. Oddly, (to me anyway) he quickly left–in a humorless mood I suppose.

Why share this now? I have no clue. It is however a segue to a “behind the scenes” tone I hope to present for those with nothing better to do than read blogs. Now for the formalities;

I have no formal training as a writer. Grammatical errors and improper syntax are strengths of mine. I am also no stranger to faulty subordination, subject-verb disagreements, dangling modifiers and other writing transgressions. Someday I hope to take up gardening, or maybe join a bowling league. I think I just a heard a car fall into the pit at the Jiffy Lube across the street.

Why bring this up you ask? So YOU don’t have to bring it up when it occurs…unless of course it can be done humorously and completely at my expense. You see, I spend endless days designing Bridge City tools and this blog is my way to make Hemingway want to be a woodworker. (I know he has moved on, but I haven’t.)

Once or twice a week I will poll my brain for interesting thoughts and blog away–feel free to submit questions, comments and opinions. I presume the vast majority of the participants will be from our customers and the usual gang of assorted antagonists, also known to those in the tool world as the “woodworking Taliban”–those overly passionate folks who will go to their graves defending/proselytizing/pontificating/yelling how one should always cut dovetails their way, which of course is either tails or pins first. Word of caution to the later; if your submissions to this blog are written in the tone of a wounded pirate your words will suffer the fate of a thousand cannon balls. Deal?

Now for something completely different.

I am going to organize my thoughts on the design process and post them here. Perhaps it might change the way some approach their craft. It is a much more meaty subject than working wood.

From the NEWS and NOTEWORTHY Department;

Last week (April 21-25, 2008) I spent the week teaching “CAD for Woodworkers” at the Marc Adams school of Woodworking, a short 20 minute drive outside of Indianapolis. I love this school and this class but it was exhausting even though I had an incredibly knowledgeable assistant, Mike Morris. (Mike, I put this in the blog so you could prove to your wife you were in class helping me. Later when you get a chance, let me know where you were for the week–it interests me.)

After class on Friday, Marc sponsored a moderated forum between Tom Lie-Nielsen and John Economaki (that would be me). The moderator, Christopher Schwarz, is the lanky and very bright lad behind the hand tool passion at Popular Woodworking and Woodworking . I don’t know how the forum was received but afterwards I joined Tom, Chris, and John (a mutual law enforcement friend) for a couple of hours in Tom’s hotel room discussing his drapes.

OK, this is probably a lie. We told stories about tools, toolmaking, employees and went off-topic frequently. (The films, Little Miss Sunshine and Raising Arizona were two detours that I remember, there were probably others…) I can’t share further details because of an unwritten, unspoken code of conduct that states “What is said in Indianapolis is not worth writing about.” Interestingly, nobody in this secret meeting was under 6′3″ in height. It is safe to say that I was not the skinniest guy there, but I am actively thinking about working out.

Thanks for stopping by,


7 comments on this post:

  1. John, for your information, the forum was great fun. My buddy & I gave it 4 thumbs up on the drive home. Thanks for being there, I know it’s a long way from home. Wish we could have discussed Raising Arizona a bit too, it’s a favorite. The new saw is incredible!

  2. Brad-Thanks for the positive feedback! Four thumbs up is two safe woodworkers (I did the math myself).

  3. So glad you have a blog.

    Now we can hear all about your 12 cats (twelve, John?!?!).

    Man those sure were some nice drapes in Indianapolis.


  4. Chris: I have two dogs, both of which are dumber than a bag of hammers–I guess that is the same as having 12 cats.

  5. John, Just checked out the new HG–looks like a winner. I really liked the new saw that you brought to MASW–can’t wait for its introduction.
    Separate subject: do you ever listen to Car Talk on NPR? In our neck of the woods here in fly-over land (central time zone) it airs at 11:00 AM on Saturdays. The two moderators have a sense of humor that you would appreciate.
    “Who’s yer Daddy?”

  6. Wayne: Of course I relate to the car guys–they laugh at their own jokes!

    I was your Daddy for a week–I have since put you up for adoption.


  7. John,
    My apologies–the last line in my previous comment should have read “Hoosier Daddy!”
    I forgot where we were!

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