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Viva La Revolution!!!

So I missed US independence day, just missed Bastille Day (I was busy watching Le Tour coverage), but the woodworking revolution is in full swing and our independence day is right around the corner. According to their website, Bridge City Tool Works will be releasing the Jointmaker Pro any day now.


If you don’t know what I am talking about then it is time to come out of the wilderness or dig out from the sand and go check out the videos for this revolutionary tool on John Economaki’s blog. Of course you could probably just search woodworking in Google and you would find a link to those videos in the top ten results because this has been probably the most talked about tool on the Internet.

Just recently, Craig Stevens at Woodworker’s Resource released an interview with John Economaki, Founder and President of Bridge City Tool Works. They talked about the upcoming Woodworking In America conference but also spent some quality time on the Jointmaker Pro. John specifically mentions bringing a woodworker into his shop to test it and to write a non biased review. Tonight I spent about 45 minutes reading through Roger Savatteri’s extremely thorough review of the Jointmaker Pro. Roger covers every aspect from assembly, tuning/calibration, to usage and applications. The major theme from Roger’s review as well as John Economaki’s interview with Craig is that this is a paradigm shift for all woodworkers. The Jointmaker Pro challenges what you know about hand tools and forces you to think in a new way. Even calling it a hand tool is inadequate and it seems that we need a new classification under which to put this marvel. Even more poignant is that this review is posted on FOG, the Festool Owner’s Group. Festool being another company known for revolutionary innovation and often villified for those changes and their prices. I think Bridge City can empathize with that situation. But just the fact that a power tool company and a hand tool company are lumped together as bedfellows shakes the foundations of our woodworking world.

So let’s step away from the Jointmaker Pro and examine the concept of a paradigm shift in woodworking. When have you experienced this in your own work? What tool was the catalyst? What project inspired the shift? How has your work changed since that moment?

Speaking personally, my Waterloo was building my first Windsor Chair. I took a class on the subject and while I had been using some hand tools, I had never built something completely by hand. Nor had I been forced to examine a new construction technique or a change in my medium. (green wood construction) During the class and for weeks following it I walked around in a daze trying to wrap my brain around what I had learned and what it meant to my world from now on. The tool that accompanied this revelation was my newly aquired Lie-Nielsen spokeshave.

I know you hear me Kaleo, can I get a witness???

Since then my work has changed significantly. With every project I find myself spending more time examining the wood I use and exploiting it’s unique properties. I try my best to design around the strengths of that specie whether aesthetic, or mechanical. I also find myself examining older techniques and trying to apply them to my modern tools and modern understandings.

I believe that this is what Bridge City Tool Works is about. I could say the same thing for Lee Valley. They both take time honored designs and tweak them using modern technology to make them revolutionary tools. However, every now and then one of these tool makers not only reinvents the wheel, but finds a way to work without the wheel, thus shaking the bedrock we stand on.

Which brings us back to the Jointmaker Pro. Yes the price is daunting, but the quality is unquestionable. Some of the applications are unobtainable without it. And… the chicks dig it! 🙂

***Cue partiotic music***

Yes, I want one. Yes I will be waiting in line at WIA to try it out. (Craig, I’ll find you and we can wait together) Yes, I will be spending my next bonus in order to buy this tool. But Monsieur Robespierre, King George, I say viva la revolution and unite or die! I have an inalienable right to challenge how I perform my craft! And don’t tread on me!!

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