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Behind the Scenes at Bridge City Tool Works
Updated: 6 min 46 sec ago

When the Chopstick Master Inspires those who Inspire Us…

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 11:53am

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.

I was well aware of Michael’s work  because I like whimsy and it is hard to do well. His work is just plain awesome. (Michael won the Canadian equivalent of our McArthur Award, also known as a genius grant, which meant he got a pile of free money.)

As instructors, we found ourselves dining together and you would think that we spent our evenings drinking beer (true) and talking about woodworking or tools (false).  We are both really old hockey players and spend our time together explaining what we would do to each other on the ice, Michael was a defenseman and I played right wing. The carnage is unimaginable…  Forget the fact that today, lacing up skates is more work than playing the game itself.

Michael is one of the finest teachers I have ever met, he teaches in rarified air and is just one of those guys that does not have an enemy in the world — except me of course… He is just so “cushy” looking that I would love to slam him into the boards, it would feel like being dropped from the top of a ten story building into a pile of a thousand feather pillows. He adamantly claims that would be impossible because after he jams the butt end of his stick into my throat and whacks the tendons on the back of one knee I will be  gurney bound…  I digress.

Michael owns a Chopstick Master and today I received pictures of what this tool inspired him to make; rice bowls made out of …rice!  How cool is that?

If this doesn’t inspire you to make something, nothing will. Why are you here reading this drivel? Go make something!

Oh, one more thing. Michael and Mark Sfirri (another uber talented and cool dude) are tag teaching a class this summer. You should consider taking it, I guarantee you will not regret it. In fact…

I would take this class myself, but I am still recovering from my hockey injuries. Thanks Hosaluk.

-John

 

PS:  We just heard from a DSN member that there are round trip airfares from Boston to Shanghai for under $300 if you are considering the BCTW Epic Field Trip….

The post When the Chopstick Master Inspires those who Inspire Us… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Epic Bridge City Tool Works Field Trip to China: Details Emerge…

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 3:41pm

Drivel Starved Nation!

I am thrilled to share that we have been receiving early interest in the Shanghai/Nanjing field trip this fall.

Here are the crucial dates you need to know to make a decision:


Friday, October 27th, Bridge City will host a kick-off dinner at a yet-to-be-named restaurant. It will be a meet-and-greet and lots of fun with the Drivel Starved Nation and members of Harvey International (they are making Bridge City tools for the international market).
Saturday, October 28th, we will visit some major Shanghai tourist spots. We will let the weather dictate our choices.
Sunday, October 29th, we will likely visit a couple of spots and then take the bullet train to Nanjing.
Monday, October 30th, we will visit parts of Nanjing (former capital of China).  Very rich history, and a very sorry chapter of WWII.
Tuesday, October 31st, we will visit Harvey Industries and visit the show-room of China’s most famous woodworker HongMu Master(highlight of the trip!)

Tuesday evening, Bridge City will host a farewell dinner and you will have an opportunity to talk woodworking with both the president of Harvey and the HongMu Master (the most amazing woodworker I have ever met).
I suspect the hotel bar will be busy following…

Wednesday morning, Nov 1, you can choose to take the bullet train back to Shanghai (one hour)  and catch a flight home. Most of the flights to the states leave after 4PM. You will arrive back in the states on November 1 with this decision.

If your schedule allows, I would recommend you add a day or two (or more) on either the front or back end.  China is an amazing place regarding any aspect you can imagine.

Now here’s the deal, in order to make the dinner on 10/27, you need to leave the states on the 25th!  You will likely get to Shanghai late on the 26th (international date line). That will allow you to sleep in on the 27th, and maybe catch a few sights on your own in the afternoon. If you leave on the 26th, dinner will be over before you arrive. If you plan on joining us from somewhere other than the US, you can figure out what travel window works best.

We will arrange for a nice hotel in Shanghai, likely in the Bund area. I know the hotel in Nanjing-it’s nice! All these details and arrangements will be made for you once we finalize the attendee list, which at the latest should be mid-April. So you have some time to think about things.

Here are a couple of images of student work from the HongMu Master;

This grasshopper is not much larger than actual size!

Again, this is student work!

In the video below, you will see an amazing piece of work from ONE PIECE of wood;

When I said this trip will be fun, I meant it. You will get a sense of the personalities in this clip:

So I hope you join us!

Recently my grandson “Speedy” took a field trip of his own and visited Bridge City Tool Works for the first time and this proves field trips should be fun!

So you have some decisions to make. And so do I, as I try and figure out why Bella dog likes to sleep like this:

-John

The post Epic Bridge City Tool Works Field Trip to China: Details Emerge… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Chopstick Master v2 Tutorial

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 10:56am

Drivel Starved Nation-

It looks like the BCTW field trip to China is resonating with the DSN.  I will post complete details next week regarding the itinerary. I also think we may limit this to 30 or so for logistical reasons.

Hey! We received the first shipment of the CSMv2s at the end of December. This is such a fun tool to use!

Here is a real-time tutorial on how it is used — you can tell I had 4 cups of coffee the morning we shot this–oh well…

Here is a short clip on the accessories and a couple of tips;

We now have inventory and you can order them here. This has to be the best bang for $195 in the tool world – fun for everybody!

-John

The post Chopstick Master v2 Tutorial appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Announcing An Epic Bridge City Tool Works Field Trip!

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 4:34pm

Drivel Starved Nation!

I got so fed up with the voluminous holiday email blasts in December, we spared you and kept our antsy fingers off our keyboards until today. How cool is that?

First, the Portland Weather Report: As some of you may know, I am an Iowa son, and no stranger to snow. In fact, it is one of the reasons I wanted to move to Portland. No snow shoveling here.

Last Tuesday at 6 pm, I arrived home and it just started to snow. At 10 pm, we had 10 inches of snow on the ground. That is Mt. Hood snow and not heard of in Portland. So, BCTW has been closed almost a week because this city does not have the infrastructure for such events. Tomorrow we get freezing rain.

Anyway, last Thursday, I shoveled snow for the first time in over 40 years. I dug two paths in my driveway for my tires (with a garden spade). Got in the car and backed up about four feet and got stuck. There was so much snow I ended up with my car high centered on snow, no traction for the tires. Am I brilliant or what? At least I didn’t have a heart attack shoveling.

Time for more interesting news. This coming October I have to go to China for Chopstick Master stuff, and for meetings regarding the Bridge City tools being sold internationally.

The thought occurred to me that some of you would enjoy visiting China if you knew you were going to have a good time. So… let’s have a good time!

Here’s how this will work. The exact dates are not quite set, but I am recommending that you plan on taking a week in late October and fly to Shanghai. You will make your own travel arrangements, we will let you know our rendezvous hotel in Shanghai. We will spend two days together in Shanghai and one evening, Bridge City will sponsor a dinner. What part of FREE don’t you like?

On day three, we will all take the bullet train to Nanjing. You won’t believe how cool this is. We have a rendezvous hotel there as well. We will spend two days touring Nanjing, we will visit the Harvey factory and we will spend an afternoon with China’s most famous woodworker. I am positive when you see his work, and that of his students, you will be in complete awe. I still am! One night in Nanjing BCTW will sponsor another dinner get together. Again, FREE is fun.

After two days in Nanjing, you can choose to hang around on your own, or take the bullet train back to Shanghai and vacation there–or do whatever you please. It’s the largest city in the world and there is plenty to see and do. The food… unbelievably out of this world good.

This is not a package deal, we are not in the tour business. The staff at Harvey Industries is going to make sure your time (4 days) in Shanghai and Nanjing is not only educational, fun and eye-opening, but you will have a very safe and memorable experience. The only expense outside of meals and lodging that you may need to occur depends on how many people choose to go… we may need to rent buses to keep everybody together and that expense will be shared by all and it will not be much. The hotels we will be staying in are 4 star minimum, and are typically under $200/night. Friends and spouses are certainly welcome!

For those interested, I should have the dates by early next week. Between now and October, we will make sure you know everything you need to know, from currency exchange to water safety. In the last 18 months I have been to China 6 times. It’s time to share what I have learned with the DSN! I hope you seriously consider joining me, I think it will be a blast!

If you have questions, please ask here. If you know you want to do this, email me direct, john@bridgecitytools.com and I will compile your info in a database.

Something to think about yes/no?

Happy New Year and thanks DSN for making 2016 one of the most interesting in our 34 year history!

-John

The post Announcing An Epic Bridge City Tool Works Field Trip! appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools