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?

-John

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).

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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…

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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.

-John

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

Clue #3 for New Bridge City Gizmo….

“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”— André Malraux

Drivel Starved Nation!

Before I share the next clue, I am informing all that we have a winner! NO! You say. Me too! So, why clue 3?

Well, it’s my contest, my rules, and our fun. It’s just too early to stop my ability to insult our customers. I do promise however to share this story and why we are going to have TWO winners for this contest. That’s fair, don’t you think?

Oh, one more thing… both winners will receive this thing whether they want it or not. How cool is that?

OK, now back to the mystery–What you see below is 350mm in overall length. And yes, those are acme threads.

-John

Clue # 2 for New Bridge City Thingamajig….

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." — Albert Einstein

Drivel Starved Nation-

Here’s your second clue to the thing that will make Bridge City the laughing stock of the internet…

If you guessed bent stainless steel wire you are correct! The longer version is about 90mm in length.

-John

New Tool Coming from Bridge City! Here’s Clue #1…

"I wanna make a jigsaw puzzle that's 40,000 pieces. And when you finish it, it says 'go outside.'" — Demetri Martin

Driveled Starved Nation!

Over the past several months I have alluded to a project I began on my work retreat last February. Today is September 21st and it is finished! I’ve been playing with the last physical prototype for about 3 weeks and I am pleased to share that we are going into our pre-production routine next week which includes sourcing and pricing. The pre-order window is still several weeks away.

Before I share our first clue, I am admitting that this project very well may make us the laughing stock of the internet–maybe you too. And if so, I could care less, this thing is so MUCH FUN! Actually, it is so much fun I will give you TWO clues today (isn’t that nice?), one a word and the other an image:

1) “Gesture”

2) Here is a little sub-assembly to keep your brain occupied until the next clue;

See the little red aluminum part? It is 47mm long. And the threaded shaft that is driving it is M6x1.0, Left-hand threads too. From those clues, you can size the rest of the assembly. (We have converted completely to metric here, so don’t read anything into this other than the Imperial measuring system is SO inefficient.)

The subassembly pictured also contains the following (not all are visible);
2 steel washers
1 retaining ring
1 spring washer
1 nylon washer
1 set screw

My only response to your comments will come from this short list;

warm
cold
really warm
moronic
What meds you on?
bingo!
nice try.
Who gave you insider information?
Yes
No

I haven’t decided what the prize is going to be for guessing this invention… maybe a copy of the letter from my patent lawyer questioning my sensibilities…

-John