The Woodworking Joint Used in the Arms of Ming Dynasty Chairs…

"With but a few exceptions, we don't have this personal study under masters any more. Craftsmanship has sunk very low. We no longer have any universally creative persons who are able to guide young learners not only in technical matters but also, at the same time, in a formal way." — Walter Gropius

Drivel Starved Nation-

My latest trip to China was my favorite to date. When you are on an informative trip, fun is easy to find. When the weather is perfect, trips like this become magical.

The highlight for me was the gift Mr. Yang, the Hong Mu Master presented to me. It is a sample of the joinery used in his masterpiece pictured below;

As explained by Mr. Yang, his students are not allowed to build a chair until this joint is mastered;

Incredibly, mastering this joint can take up to a year. The rosewood supply he has is finite, so there is no tolerance for waste when it comes time to make a chair. And because there is no finish, the joints need to be perfect to become invisible. It truly is an amazing display of craftsmanship. The joint itself (I wish I would have asked if it had a name) is a thousand years old I am told.

Here is a short video by Academy Award Winning Cinematographer Wanna Be Consuelo;

Each chair arm has 6-8 of these joints. They are incredibly strong and could be completely functional without adhesive… they are that strong.

Pretty cool yes/no?


Bridge City Field Trip Report #4: The Hong Mu Arts Museum Tour

"The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere - in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. No one would desire not to be beautiful. When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming." — John O'Donohue

Drivel Starved Nation,

This is a long post, and it is full of pics. So there DSN, lots of Drivel! (If you have slow internet, you may have to wait a bit for all the pics to download).

Continue reading

Pencil Precision Video, China Field Trip, Other Bridge City News

"My journey began with a single pencil. While traveling through India in 2006, I asked a boy begging on the streets, 'If you could have anything in the world, what would you want?' and he answered me with two words: 'A pencil.' Luckily, I had one in my pocket, and in the second it took me to give it to him, a defining dream was born." — Adam Braun

Drivel Starved Nation-

Here’s the latest news regarding your favorite Tool Potentate…

Continue reading

Introducing Pencil Precision from Bridge City Tool Works

"What can a pencil do for all of us? Amazing things. It can write transcendent poetry, uplifting music, or life-changing equations; it can sketch the future, give life to untold beauty, and communicate the full-force of our love and aspirations." — Adam Braun

Drivel Starved Nation!

It’s always exciting when we have something new to share… which I suppose makes this post news. (I did that math all by myself – FYI)

Since 1983, (that’s 34 human years, but 311 tool maker years), we have been producing impeccably crafted bench tools primarily for avocational woodworkers. It’s been mostly fun, but not as fun as it could have been knowing what I know now… Continue reading

New Tool from Bridge City Tool Works Identified!

"What can a pencil do for all of us? Amazing things. It can write transcendent poetry, uplifting music, or life-changing equations; it can sketch the future, give life to untold beauty, and communicate the full-force of our love and aspirations." — Adam Braun

Drivel Starved Nation!

We have our two winners who identified what I have been working on over the past 7 months. Now watch it make me the laughing stock of the internet.

It’s called Pencil Perfection and here is what you can do with it;

I have some commitments that will keep me out of the office until next Monday, but when I return, I will share the story behind our winners, this project and what it means to me and hopefully you too.


Clue # 4 for New Bridge City Tool…

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” — Roy T. Bennett

Drivel Starved Nation, Got a headache yet? I would if I were you. Think about this, I’ve spent 7 months of my life figuring out how to become the laughing stock of the internet. This is my way of sharing the pain headed my way. Here’s clue #4, this component is 77mm in length. Milled from aluminum and it is known internally as “the rack”. -John

Bridge City Tool Works Introduces New KM-2 Kerfmaker…

Drivel Starved Nation!

You talked and we listened. Over the past couple of years we have received numerous requests for a larger KM-1 Kerfmaker. I am pleased to announce that I finally got around to designing one. And in the process, we have made it better!

If you are new to our Kerfmaker tool, we conceived and patented this device several years ago and over this time it is our number one selling tool. Here’s a video of how the original KM-1 works–the KM-2 Kerfmaker is no different;

Continue reading

Critiquing the UG-1 Universal Gauge…

"I am very self-critical, but that's a good thing because it keeps me growing as a human being and as a musician." — Ray LaMontagne

Drivel Starved Nation!

In my previous post I mentioned that I would “grade” the functionality of our new UG-1 Universal Gauge pictured below.
UG_R.8 700

The reason for this self-critique is twofold: I am typically not fond of multi-purpose tools. Too often the compromises are just to hard to deal with. Hopefully we have not fallen into that trap and I want to share why by grading all the functions. Secondly, as painful as they can be, critiques are crucial to understanding both the design and functional aspects of the things we make.
Continue reading

The Back Story on Our Latest “Different” Tool…

"You will never influence the world by trying to be like it." — Sean McCabe

Drivel Starved Nation;

It seems that whenever we introduce a tool that is not “traditional” factions of the woodworking community, using their internet bullhorn, feel compelled to condemn the effort as heresy, an egregious assault on our “woodworking heritage”. These anachronistic views to me, and to us as a company, are about as much fun as pre-chewed food. Ideas evolve and so do tools — at least I like to think so.

New ideas are almost always the result of a changing perspective. And this is what I believe we do best, we rattle the cage of conventional woodworking wisdom with tool ideas that either attack or improve functionality deficiencies, inconvenience and work-flow efficiency, all with an underlying passion for aesthetics. Ironically, nobody needs any of these tool ideas… except me. Continue reading