Making Chopsticks in Taipei with the New Chopstick Master™ from Bridge City Tool Works.

Dear Drivel Starved Nation-

Several weeks ago, over the Forth of July holiday, I traveled to Taipei to unveil the second generation of the Chopstick Master™.  If you have never been to Taipei in July, it is hot. So hot in fact, on my cab ride to the exhibition hall I saw two trees fighting over a dog…

The second generation of the CSM saw the addition of a small sliding table and saw blade for making the pyramidal finial — think mini-Jointmaker Pro without any bells or whistles.  Everything went without a hitch, and we made a lot of chopsticks as you will soon see.

Pictured below is version 3 and it is in production.



The chopstick making reception in Taipei was identical to what I shared from my Shanghai trip. In addition, we have now hosted five dinner parties this summer where our guests had to make chopsticks or they went home hungry. Interestingly, the joyful, enthusiastic reaction of our guests was identical to what I witnessed in Shanghai and Taipei. The similarities are so strikingly similar I think I have a better understanding of what is going on with the Chopstick Master™ and it may not only be about chopsticks…

Yes, there is instant gratification. Yes, it is really fun. Yes, the end result can be immediately put to work. And, it is really cool to end up with a finished product that is both flawless and professional, particularly if one has zero woodworking skills which is the vast majority of folks who have used the CSM so far.

Simply, I think it is all about “making”, and how starved many are to validate their own existence.”Making” awakens our spirit. Speaking from personal experience, “making” is a celebration of life itself — the feeling of being alive. Whenever I finished a piece of furniture I would sit in communion with this thing I made and bask in the warm feeling of being alive.  And then after about a half-hour, sometimes less, I began listening to the voice asking me “what the hell was I thinking?” But that is another story.

“I made this!” is a proud, powerful phrase and more often that not, I suspect a source of envy from non-makers. The Chopstick Master™ allows anybody to enter the realm of “I made this!” and it feels so damn good you can’t help but smile.

Here’s the Taipei video, and I think you will agree, we had a lot of fun. And the lady at the end… oh my, what a literal and metaphoric statement she spontaneously made…

I observed one lady in Taipei put her chopsticks in the little canvas sleeve and she held them to her heart and then began to slowly jump up and down with joy.  She was so excited I thought she was going to wet her pants, or knock herself out with her purse flopping all over the place.  She had a 5-star dentist smile for all to see.

On this trip I observed many couples who made chopsticks and as they walked away, holding their “his” and “her” versions (we have canvas sleeves for males and females), you could feel the affection they had for each other — a new bond from making.

Thanks for checking out the video, this was a damn cool trip!


  • Chris Schwarz, from Lost Art Press graciously hosted a chopstick making party this weekend and you can read about that here.
  • Yesterday an intrepid DSN member sent me a link from a woodworker in Japan who made a jig to make a 4 sided chopstick. It is a cool video, and aspects of it are remarkably similar to the path I chose for the CSM (which makes sense when you logically think about tapering a stick). This jig, properly scaled, could be used for tapering table legs and other four sided pieces where a sandpaper free, repeatable taper is desired.
  • After the Shanghai video was posted, my mother-in-law sent me a fascinating book all about chopsticks. You can check out 6,000 years of chopsticks here.
  • As mentioned in a previous post, the Chopstick Master™ is being made in China, primarily for the Chinese market but we are going to sell them in the USA and everywhere else.  The pre-order window will open in a couple of weeks and we will have all units delivered prior to the holidays. Full details, including the price will be announced at that time. I recommend ordering early, the first production run is underway and is a fixed number.
  • When you get a chance, Google “weight loss with chopsticks”.  Draw your own conclusions, but it is fascinating.
  • If you have a friend, family member or neighbor who might find the CSM fun, direct them over to  to get their name on the notification list.
  • The CSM you see in the video above is version 2. You do not need a vise for the CSM but at trade shows the vise is a handy inventory control tool. Version 3, (which is in production) looks really similar but has been tweaked — no more changes are required.
  • Yes, the CSM will make both Chinese style chopsticks (5mm tip) and Japanese style (2mm tip).
  • Yes, customers will be able to order extra chopstick blanks and sleeves (10 sets at a time) and in different woods.
  • No, I don’t know the woods yet.
  • The Chopstick Master™ comes with enough blanks and sleeves to make 10 pair of chopsticks.

Lastly, I will be headed back to Shanghai in September for the world’s first “Chopstick Olympics”. This should be a hoot as I have never been associated with a tool that is this much fun!

Thanks for taking the time to read this drivel!


3 comments on this post:

  1. John,

    Looks like it is a hit everywhere, can’t wait to give it a try- how do chopsticks handle bacon?

    Will you be selling the “T” shirts that say “Chopstick Girl” on them? I bet I would look good wearing one!


  2. The appeal of creating something that is both beautiful and practical is clear, and the CSM brings this pleasure to people who have never done woodworking. That is a very good thing. I look forward to hosting some CSM parties with friends and suspect it will be a hit with both the young and old.

    Two suggestions:
    – Drop that stereotypical ‘asian’ font for the english name. See here:
    It’s so jarring to see a font associated with cheap take out food precision etched onto a perfectly machined block of aluminum.

    Consider calling the tool “Chop Stick Maker”. The “Master” feels self aggrandizing, and with that font choice a bit stereotypical.

    (hops off soapbox and returns to using his “Thin Shaving Master” a.k.a finishing plane )

  3. Matthew-

    We have had several discussions regarding this font in China and the consensus was that it represented “fun”, not anything derogatory. We have our final design review this Thursday and I will bring it up again. China is not the only place this will be sold, so perhaps it does warrant more scrutiny.

    Thanks for the comments and suggestion.


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