Bridge City New Tool and Other Cool Stuff…

Wow. What an August we had here. The Museum opening was a blast, and thankfully the roof was dry, which is more than I can say about some of the Drivel Starved Nation who attended… I think everybody had a good time, I know I did – over 300 participated. (I proffer this in case you were wondering why this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog has been sitting fallow since late July, now you know.) The museum staff did a great job on the installation and if you are looking for a fun reason to visit Portland the exhibition runs through the first week of February, 2014. Next stop is Colorado I am told.

On Friday evening we fed 91 of the Drivel Starved Nation at our house and starved they were. The evening was magical and if I have any observational skills at all, Consuelo should run for president. All night long, DSN after DSN wanted to know who was Consuelo and where she was.

This week Michael and I are participating in the second Portland Maker Faire in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Remember that crazy kenetic sculpture video we made years ago where the ball bearings were bounding around on squiggle wood? We are going to make a real life squiggle wood installation at the Museum over the following two weeks. They are expecting over 20,000 attendees so I think we will find plenty of volunteers to make squiggle wood. If Maker Faire ever comes to your city, grab some video game addicted youth and show them the real world. There I said it.

Here is a bit of trivia for you. For the past 5-6 years we have been having fun with color in our tools. One such color we have been working on is “champagne” and we have an anodizing house here in the Portland metro area that does this color for us. Apple just announced an iPhone with this exact same color – they call it “gold”.

Coincidence? Maybe not. The lead guy at our anodizing house was hired by Apple several months ago…

I was recently forced to become acquainted with this syndrome; Dupuytrenโ€™s Contracture. Just like the arthritis in both of my index fingers, it is more of an annoyance than anything else, but a couple of months ago, I experienced some negative feedback (pain) in my hand from our HP-6 Mini Multi Plane. That won’t happen again…

We will soon open pre-orders for the HP-6 FX plane body and our new 1/8″ tongue iron/sole kit. This body is 100% backward compatible with every profile we have produced and I will never again have to wince when using this amazing little plane (the sole is only 5-1/2″ in length). Here are a couple of pics;

HP6 FX w Tongue Kit

HP6 FX Rear View

I like the following image, which is an over exposed image of the HP-6 FX SE, the limited edition in stainless steel. The reason I like it is that all the lines of the tool are clear. These are the little details that I like to spend my time on.


We are about a week away from the announcement. I can tell you this, the plastic ergonomic model we 3D printed here – after 12 or so permutations – fits the hand unlike it’s predecessor which is now formally and forever discontinued. Yup. It is that much better.

Lastly, a big thank you for all who made the trek to Portland for the opening of the exhibition. It was one of the greatest three days of my life. (Running from the cops in Florida and parts of Georgia in 1977 were the greatest four days of my life. FYI) And if you believe that click below.



PS: We just opened the pre-order window for the Jointmaker Pro and Precision Fence System and if you haven’t heard, we have held the price on this tool since 2008. Next year it will change to reflect the rising costs of metal in the USA. If you have been on the fence, now is the time. Also, I am teaching two JMP classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in 2014, the weeks of May 5 and 12. One will be a duplicate of the “Fog of War” class this year with some twists, and the other is a new project that I am not done with yet. If you are interested in one or both, drop me an email and I can reserve a spot for you – I have connections. ๐Ÿ™‚

23 comments on this post:

  1. The plane looks cool and all, but what I really want to know is the rest of the story about running from the cops in ’77.

  2. Wow! That HP-6 FX is just WILD! It looks extraordinarily comfortable to use – I like that you’ve employed the foxtail idea in the new body. But that knob is something else! Yow! I can hardly wait to try it. I’m so glad you posted this, as I was eying another HP6-v2 body on ebay (where I buy all my BCTW tools). Now I can happily ignore it. Thank you!

    And man-oh-man – that SS version is SEXY.

    When I first saw the images you posted, I assumed you’d made an attachment for the HP6-v2 that you could bolt on (not sure how) to form the handle at the back. Guess we’ll have to buy the whole thing.

    Nice job. You sure make keeping money difficult.

    — Peter

  3. Wonderful evolution. Looks like it will definitely be more comfortable in the hand, particularly on those profiles that cut more wood.

    Great time in Portland too! Consuelo for President!


  4. John, Thanks for being such a great and generous host. Meeting some of the DSN gang was a treat also.

    HP-6 FX SE looks great. How Many will be made? Did I beat Fred to the Order list.


  5. John,

    It’s “hell” getting old, although it sure is helping the ergonomics of many of your latest tools. In many cases, form follows function, in this case they are “holding hands and skipping.” I can’t wait to try them on for size. Any idea when they’re coming and how many SS versions are you making?


  6. Masood-

    We will make as many HP6 FX SE as we receive orders and then we are done. Most likely under 300 of the SS version. We have thousands of HP-6 owners so who really knows…


  7. Peter-

    We prefer to think of ways that makes parting with money fun. Why do you always have to be so negative? ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Masood; Nobody beats Fred to an order and truthfully I don’t know how he does it. I think he is bribing Consuelo, which if true, pretty much nixes her bid for President.


  8. Lookspensive. All the unusual angles, surfaces, curves, and forms and the overall structure makes it look a little Cubisty or like a collage. I had Picasso’s Guernica on my mind for other reasons and (at least in my head) there’s a weird echo between the overexposed SS image and the painting, which is in shades of black, white, and grey: Very cool.

  9. This is exactly why I like working in stainless steel.

    I saw the Picasso exhibit in Seattle a year or two back. Not only was he prolific on canvas but sheets too. Oh my.


  10. John,

    A couple quick questions about the new sole: I think it’s obvious, but you know me, still got to ask; will this then make a tongue and groove joint with the 1/8″ dado? will you be making the grooves in all of the other sizes to match their dados? and finally, if you leave the fence in place and change the dado and groove soles, will the joint be flush?


  11. I recently made a tongue on the edge of a piece of walnut for a ledge of a music stand. I used the HP6-v2 with a dado sole and the fence, and cut each side separately. Worked great! Though I suppose I had to make twice as many passes as with a tongue sole.

    — Peter

  12. Rutager;

    Yes, it is designed to precisely fit the 1/8″ dado cut.

    You may not always want the dado/groove centered, so you will need to align them. THAT SAID, you could switch out the two without MOVING the fence and accomplish aligned faces within the tolerance of the tool components which is a couple thousandths of an inch.

    Pretty cool if you ask me. But then again, you did!


  13. John, what are the two little holes on the side of the plane body that seem to be aligned with the blade?

    — Peter

  14. Those are threaded holes for screws that will help adjust special irons I am working on – similar to the special sliding dovetail cutter coming to the world REAL SOON!

  15. John,
    I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to look at my JMP on my cruise through Portland.

    To everybody…I was having issues with the JMP and since I was going to wedding on the Oregon coast I asked John if he could figure out what was going on with it. John and Michael diagnosed it as being too loose trunnions.

    Annie and I went to see the exhibit the next day….beautifully done. We went upstairs and there in all of it’s glory was a kitted out JMP. Annie was somewhat amused and surprised and said “Hey! We have one of those in the car!”

    Thanks again, and nice meeting both of you.

  16. John, I’m sure this is a stupid question, but why doesn’t the bevel of the front of the rear sole match the bevel of the blade? It seems like it would give the blade more support (not that I’ve ever had a problem with chattering on the HP6).

    And I guess the other thing, based on your previous post, is that we’re gonna have to buy the HP6-FX to use those new irons you’re inventing (re: the blade adjustment screws on the sides).

    — Peter

  17. Peter,

    It is never good form to answer a question with a question, but I am making an exception.

    On a bevel down iron, if the bevel was backed by the sole or plane body, what would happen if you tried to adjust the iron depth?



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