CT-17: Talking Tool Parts… Last Clue!

Tomorrow (sometime) we announce Commemorative Tool #17. We are optimistic you will find it to be a compelling tool–the internet? We are bracing ourselves for the buckets of crap to come.   (I should be more professional but even Tool Potentates have a weak moment or three…)

From my perspective, I think it will be one of the best in the series, maybe top two (the eggbeater drill is still my favorite), but ultimately you will decide. That said, here is the final clue;


33 comments on this post:

  1. John,

    You can be rest assured that you won’t get any buckets of crap from your “true” customers or the people who hang out on this worthless, useless, bounce your head off the wall blog of yours!

    How about a picture of all the parts to the CT-17 not assembled to give us a fighting chance!?!

    Anyway, I can’t wait until next week or the week after to see the CT-17. =)


  2. Dave,

    I have the feeling that the remaining 6 parts would be a dead giveaway.

    We’ll soon know.

    The far right piece seems as if it is the stand for whatever this gorgeous tool will be, which should be a clue within itself!



  3. John,

    I am confused, will this be used with buckets of crap? Is that why you are waiting for them? :o :o As Dave said we will not be giving you buckets of crap unless, of course, you want them. :o I am going to go out on a limb here and guess and say that it is an amalgam of stainless steel and black chrome cheese grater and crap strainer. Is this right, huh, huh? :o :o


  4. So, here I am at my desk, eating ramen noodles for lunch (I am too frugal to run over to 7-Eleven to get a really good lunch), when this gem is posted;

    “The long part at the bottom of the picture looks like Robocop’s schwanz.”

    I just cleaned noodles off of both monitors–thanks for that.

    That was funny!


  5. Peter wasn’t kidding when he said to start saving your pennies! With all these machined parts I think I might have to dip into my daughter’s college fund! What the hell, who needs to go to college, right? There’s going to be no jobs for them anyway, the economy will still be crappy or everything besides Bridge City tools will be made in China.

  6. .

    It’s a contemporary traveler used to determine the inner or outer circumference of a workpiece as well as a straight run.
    (In an earlier time – in a Wheelrights Shop a wheel was used to roll around the outside of a wooden wagon wheel to determine the circumference in order to make the iron tire to the right size.)

    It’s a Bridge City Tool I could finally use in my kitchen to sharpen both straight and serrated knives.

    I’m gettin to the bottom of the barrel here!


  7. Re: Robocop’s schwanz

    You’re welcome. I take it that didn’t get the $100K prize….

  8. John,

    It appears to me that several of the pieces above are put together with the pin like objects from the last set of clues to make an articulated arm that appears to have a pencil/scribe collet in the “Robo” part. I’m still thinking that this is a layout style tool and not a cutting/stock removal tool. Soooo… I’m guessing a 3D marking tool that can plot or layout in the xyz axsis.


    P.S. If you ever start acting professional or even like a grown up, you’ve lost a customer!

  9. I am a little worried here. How do you know what Robocop’s schwanz looks like? I am just saying as I don’t know about you but I would have no idea. :o Hmmm, I think that it is some kind of hovercraft/sled setup where the black chrome star can be used either vertically behind the device or above it like a helicopter. Of course this is all dependent upon whether the picture is to spec in which case it it would have to be a small toy. :o )

    John, based upon the stainless steel and black chrome I am going to guess this puppy is going to ring in at about $150-$175. :o


  10. Is this a tool for measuring ‘organic shapes’ ? John mentioned in Chicago that most designs today are right angles because there is never the confidence in woodworkers to accurately measure, set, dimension, and cut angles. So I’m wondering if this pursuit of ‘angular’ or ‘organic’ shapes results in a multi-arm measuring setup for defining the angles and organic shape?

    Just a stab based on the collection of parts so far, the inspiration from the helicopter, what appears to be a base with friction based clamping elements.


  11. I agree John – the eggbeater drill is a beautiful tool. Top that one and you’ve done something!


  12. Geez, John. You’ve practically given it away now!

    I’d bet that you could post 20 or 21 of the 23 parts, and people still wouldn’t know what it was. you’re an evil genius. In the best way, of course.

    As for the woodworking Taliban, I think that we, as your Tool Impotentates, should be sworn to protect our leader from the slings and arrows of outrageous postings. We’re here to help. Use us!

    - Peter

    P.S. I think that this is one tool that we can safely say cannot be made in someone’s shop for $5.

    P.P.S. Like all your other tools.

    P.P.P.S. Tee hee…

  13. Rutager,

    Under clue 2/post #4 I mentioned it could be a device to arrive at a curved arc surface in 3 dimensional space….etc, etc., which would include 3 axis planes.

    Although John liked the concept I didn’t even get a whoopie star!

    So, if its not a layout tool, or some sort of stock removal/ cutting tool………

    It has to be somewhere in the nether world between.

    Something we’re not thinking of.


  14. First..it’s been sex or seven hours since I looked at that last clue and saw the phallic link… now I understand what is wrong with at least ONE of our customers…

    I still maintain, that it is funny. Something about being inappropriate appeals to me… like our tools to most people… or so it seems.



  15. I think it finally dawned on me.

    The CT-17 is ….

    not a layout tool,
    not a cutting tool,
    not a wood removal tool of any sort,
    not a 3-D image enhancer

    The CT-17 is…..

    A tool that “grows” wood.

    Or to put it less poetically…..

    It stitches wood (thin veneers) together.
    With a choice of patterns.
    Joinery of veneers if you may.

    The CT-17 is a tool that forms wood…..
    Again thin veneers…….
    Into bendable forms,
    much like a pipe bender with memory,
    so as to make repeatable patterns.
    Let’s say for a Soshi screen.

    The CT-17 is not a tool that works wood,
    but is a tool that compliments the craft of wood…..
    in the formation of thin strips of brass or soft metals
    in the fabrication & form of hardware.
    Let’s say for handles.
    In such a way that hasn’t been thought of yet.


  16. Okay, looking at all the clues, here’s what I’ve pieced together. The bolt at top left in clue 5 goes through the flat saddle piece from clue 8 and threads into the cross dowel to the left of the saddle. It must pass through something else between the head of the bolt and the saddle. The two long and two short pins in clue 8 go through the two parts at left in clue 9, presumably with a pair of swingarms between them, like a parallelogram-bed jointer. I’m guessing that the hole in the end of the long arm of the part in clue 9 aligns with the hole in the butterfly-shaped part (the base?) in the same clue and the tulip-plug-cutter passes through both. I think the rare-earth magnets are embedded in the back face of the orange rudder from clue 7. And maybe the shaft of the tulip-plug-cutter passes through the rudder? Could the tulip end hold a pencil or other instrument? I think the #5-40-1/4 capscrew goes in the other end, perhaps through the butterfly-shaped base.

    Still with me? I can’t blame you if you’re not! I’m posting now before I get any more confused.

  17. Clue # 10: At this moment, John sits at his Ramen-soaked double-monitor rig feverishly double-fisting cheap coffee and proofing the announcement for rush-release lest some meta-mind digest the last-gasp guesses and pop-out with the answer:


    I win!

  18. Chris,
    Say what?!

    Come on man! One last clue! How about a picture with all the parts not assembled. I suggest that if a person guesses what the function is correctly then they do not receive a $100,000 prize (to help convince you to do this). All of us who lost sleep, who pulled our hair out, who got yelled at by our bosses for not focusing on our work but on figuring out these clues (of which none of us did), who was trying to slowly break the news to our wives of a new tool coming out and then getting threatened with divorce, we would greatly appreciate it! Plus, what’s the fun for us if in the end none of us figured it out? We know what the fun is for you, seeing all of us come up with crazy answers like “Robocop’s schwanz”.

    Never the less, I’m excited.


  19. Come on, John! It’s almost 8:00 am, and I’m jonesing bad. Real bad!

    - Smithsonian

  20. John,

    This Ct-17 thread has completely exhausted my brain in trying to get a glimmer of thought as to what it could possibly be,
    all that I know is that once I see it, I’ll know it’s a tool that I can’t do without!

    Thanks for the trip thru looney-land.


    hey dmarkowi,

    “42″ – that’s a good one! (Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe for those that didn’t – it’s the answer to what keeps the universe together)

  21. I think it will be used to help remove sawdust. A highly flexible sawduster. : )

  22. Peter,

    hmm, I thought u already are in the “know”?

    I have the feeling that John’s gonna keep us guessing till about 2pm. (west coast time) – Remember it’s gotta be a tool that none of us has of yet mentioned a function for!


  23. It’s an overly complicated holder for a Kindle so you can read while cutting on the JMP!

    This feels a lot like waiting until Christmas to open one’s presents!


  24. Ok, at this point, for no prizes, please just post a picture of the tool (without explanation) and see if any of us get it. I suspect we’ll still be all over the map.

  25. Thank god for RSS feed readers because if I didn’t have one, I’d be checking the site every 5 minutes to see if the CT-17 is out yet.

  26. I am fairly new to Bridge City and have discovered alot here on the site – this thread has been interesting to follow. I can’t offer any insight into what CT-17 is going to be (except there is another quick release cam mechanism), but John and Michael, what the heck is in the water down in Portland? There seems to be an overabundance of beautifully machined and anodized tooling down there! For instance, anything from here:
    and here:
    and here:
    and let us not forget about Stumptown Roasters!!!
    Can’t wait for my next trip down to PDX!

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