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Bridge City Tool Works For the past twenty-five years we have been producing innovative and impeccably crafted heirloom tools for serious woodworkers and collectors worldwide. Made in America, all of our tools are produced in limited numbers and with minimal care should continue to inspire your children's children. I believe the look, feel and accuracy of each Bridge City tool will always influence you to do your best work. Quality is contagious. Regards, John Economaki President & Founder

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  #91 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2010, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

P.S. The argument that John released the CT-17 just to draw people to the BCTW web site is so spurious, it's laughable. John's business model is "no inventory". If you want to buy something, for the most part you have to wait - along with the rest of us - until it's made again.
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I don't have as many Festools as Fred. Or Marcou's, or Brese's, or Lie-Nielsen's, or Lee Valley's, or Blue Spruce's, or Harold and Saxon's, or...
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  #92 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2010, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

I hate bullshit. So I'm not going to read those comments from people who don't get what John is doing. It's just asinine to badmouth a guy for making a beautiful new tool.
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2010, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

The comments that I love - that John apparently gets all the time - are "I could make that myself" (usually for $5 or something). John actually went so far as to give measured drawings to someone who wanted to re-create the Kerfmaker (KM-1) and sell it. Don't think the guy ever made any money.

Given that, I recall saying to John when he showed me the CT-17, "Now here's a tool that nobody is going to say they could make themselves."

Apparently I was wrong. If you check out the Australian woodworker's forum, at least one person does indeed say that.

And it's possible it's true. But would he ever think to? Would he every bother to? Sure - I can say I could reproduce a Picasso. How hard could it be? A few squiggly lines. And he got millions for them.

Well - try to come up with the idea first. Anyone can copy. But how many people truly innovate?
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  #94 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2010, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

I didn't read the links posted mostly because I get irritated reading stupidity.

The whole lament against BCTW by these guys is based solely on jealousy. And I don't know why. Many people have things I'd love to have but cannot justify (or even consider!) buying, but I'm certainly not going to hold a grudge against them.

As for BCTW and the KM-1 specifically, I found it funny that when they first came out and were available on the site (not pre-order), I posted about it and how well it worked for the first project I used it on. Some guy immediately posted that you shouldn't waste $75 on it when you can make it yourself and included a link to a LumberJocks thread about it. True, it isn't rocket science; it's a set of calibrated offsets, but the idea itself is genius. The KM-1 went out of stock then months later was back in stock. Same day, same guy posts another reply on the thread to say even more enhancements and pictures are on that LJ thread. It's as if he wanted to make sure nobody would consider buying a KM-1 (arguably the most affordable BCTW).

Generally on that forum, I get flack for any BCTW-related posting.

I think the mentality goes beyond "collector art tools". I stream from my shop on that other forum and when I started I'd get flack for having a SawStop. Certainly not a collectable art tool.

Oh, to answer the main question, yes, I use the few BCTW tools I have. I'd admit to treating them perhaps more gently, but then I had an uncle accuse me of not using any of my tools because they look pristine save the warfare for the ice!
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  #95 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2010, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poto View Post
I just read John's blog: apparently he'd pretty bummed at the thrashing he's receiving in the bowels of other forums. He supplied some links to those threads, and they're quite fascinating. Some vehement detractors, and some vehement supporters.

One of the points that keeps coming up is that us "wealthy" "Florida Keys house-owning" CT-17 buyers will never use the plane. That it will remain an art object and a collector's item.

So I ask you (who have ordered one): will you use it?

I'm certainly intending to. Will it be better than any block plane ever made? No. Will I get great joy from owning and using it? You betcha!
Jumping in on the bandwagon here but people that trash John and his tools are just out and out rude. Why does anyone think it is okay to just denigrate both the tool and the toolmaker? Yes, I bought the CT-17 and in answer to Peter's question I will use mine probably almost daily. However, even if I bought it to just look at, big deal.

Please do not get me wrong as I am not saying that anyone cannot ask legitimate questions and/or point out things that they think will not work for them or even seem to make no sense. However, all of that is just polite discourse over a tool or even a person and there is nothing wrong with that. However, denigrating a tool maker and the product of his mind is truly onerous.

I am proud to own and use these tools and am even more proud that many of these tool makers call me their friend.

Fred
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  #96 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

Poto

You asked if those who purchased the CT-17 expect to use it. I certainly will use the one I ordered.

I find it amazing that woodworkers can admire a Sam Maloof (who's chairs sell for tens of thousands) or other craftspeople yet will criticize John for his craftsmanship in tools.

I've seen your work and Eiji's work here and plenty of other craftspeople on this and other forums. You'd expect to pay a pretty price for craftsmanship.

Every item has a price range. John, Ron Brese, and others have chosen to target a low volume, higher price segment. More power to them.

Every craftsperson has the right to charge what they can for their work. There's plenty of crap in tools and construction and woodworking. But there are a few that get quality, fit, and finish. I'm attracted to the latter.

Years ago my Dad a book of matches from a feed mill that said something like "buying quality is like buying oats. If you want good clean, first run oats, you'll pay a premium price. However, if you're willing to settle for oats that have been through the horse, those can be had for a cheaper price."

neil
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  #97 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2010, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

I am a new comer to the Bridge City tool owners group. I remember their catalogs from the 1980's. Their products were gorgeous back then. They still are. Somehow, despite the opinions of some in this world of anonymous people behind the screens of the internet, they have proven that they can provide products that people will buy. A million people? No. I don't care.

I personally applaud all those who will take the risks to provide something different and arguably better than ... I may buy or not buy, but others are different than I. Go for it.

Peter
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  #98 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2010, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

And that's precisely it, Peter: buy or not because you want the tool or not. But don't say the tool is bad (or other more flowery adjectives which I've seen on some forums) just because you wouldn't buy it. One person actually had the temerity to say that the CT-17 didn't feel good in the hand. Give me a break! There is no possible way he could know this: they don't exist yet!!! I'm probably one of a handful of people who have held a prototype (and it feels much better than I imagined from looking at it), but nobody - including John Economaki - has held an actual stainless CT-17.

So here's my conundrum: why would people take the energy to bash a tool, just because they don't want to buy it? Apparently (based on my recent research) this goes for Festool, too. And probably Lie-Nielsen too.

You're welcome to criticize a tool's aesthetics. Or even its performance, once you try one. But to criticize it on the basis of its price?

John told me that the regular CT-14 brass foxtail shoulder plane took about 2-4 hours (I can't remember the exact number) of machine time on the CNC - just for the body. The stainless steel version of the same tool took 22 hours! That's a remarkable increase in the time required for production (5-10x), for a rather modest increase in the cost of the tool (3x).

John is not getting rich off this stuff. He just really (REALLY) loves making amazingly beautiful (to some people at least), incredibly functional tools.

Thank you, John.
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  #99 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2010, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

Peter said, "John is not getting rich off this stuff. He just really (REALLY) loves making amazingly beautiful (to some people at least), incredibly functional tools."

I think tool making at this level is one of the highest arts.
They ain't just thangs.
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  #100 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2010, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: The Bridge City CT-17 tool announcement!

Poto asked me to repost this comment here, in hopes the Bridge City guys will see it.

Quote:
I just looked at a CT-17 video. I don't think there is a more imaginative designer of hand tools than John Economaki-- the plane rethought, and perhaps the beginning of a whole new esthetic for hand tools. I love the toggle clamping.

I can't find the offending comments--didn't look that hard--but it's easy to imagine. I think even those of us who can't afford his work should be grateful that John is alive and well and creating.
For several years I was a Bridge City Club member (#1812), but the tools are beyond my budget now. That doesn't make them a bit less beautiful, or John's work less important.

Ned Young
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