Chopstick Master v2 Tutorial

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!


13 comments on this post:

  1. Great videos John,

    One tip I can add is that I always take my first plane cut on each side near the tip that way if I get tearout, I can switch planing direction and be able to remove the offending area, whereas if you start taking a full stroke and you get tearout near the thick end, you might not be able to plane it deep enough to remove.

    Quick question for you: I thought BCTW was a relatively low budget operation; so how is it you were able to afford a male super model to demonstrate in these videos?

  2. That’s a great tip, Rutager. I have to say that my main problem with the CSM is – even after careful examination of the blank – planing the wrong direction and getting serious (fatal) tearout. And of course, you can plane three sides fine, and then get tearout on the fourth. It’s a pain. I also worry that if I am having trouble with that, normal non-woodworking people will find it (perhaps terminally) frustrating.

    I would appreciate the Tool Potentate’s suggestions. I don’t want such a cool tool to make people frustrated…

  3. The problem with reverse grain has nothing to do with the CSM. It’s wood.

    We do offer a kit that increases the attack angle to 50 degrees and this works surprisingly well. The only other suggestion to avoid frustration is to simply not make anything – that decision is absolutely fool proof.


  4. Ha! Fair enough, John. I had written my comment before watching your video. I think the combination of Rutager’s suggestion, and your somewhat casual mention of planing toward you will solve the problem. I bet it wouldn’t hurt to do a demo video of planing a chopstick that gives some tearout when planed in the usual direction. Are there ways of salvaging it before you ruin the chopstick? I bet your non-woodworking customers would really appreciate that.

  5. We do have a reverse grain video posted, I just don’t know where it is off the top of my head. Try honing a steeper micro bevel on your iron, it works really well for the vast majority of cases.

    I am in the habit (after making over 300 pair of chopsticks) of “reading the grain” on my first pass. Rutagers idea is a good one, but it won’t reveal reverse grain further up the blank. I also make darn sure I check my octagon cuts by feel on the first pass as well.

    One trick that I know works extremely well on power planers with nasty grain is wetting the problem area with water. The softened fibers are less likely to tear ahead of the cut. I have not tried this however on a chopstick blank.


  6. Another tip I can offer for the octagon cuts is if you find that your blank is tear out prone, is to mark your plane direction on the back end and you can bet that the corner that borders both of the reverse planed sections will need to have the octagon reverse planed.

    In the real world, we should expect that two sides need to be reverse planed, but in actuality, it seems that in most woods only one side needed it.

    Like John said, wood is organic, so sometimes you just need to “wave the white flag” and try another blank. Paduk was “killing me,” but I wasn’t going to give up, so sharpened the blade and was careful to find grain direction and made a pair for a Christmas gift. That was pre- 50 degree jig. Doing it again, I would try that first.

  7. Show off!

    What was the occasion for making 100 pairs of Padouk chopsticks?

    Quick question: can I buy an extra set of plastic planing skids? I have both Chopstick makers and an original HP-8 and it might be nice to leave the 50 degree loaded up in one and the HP-8 ready to go for the blue flat planing stick.

    Seriously impressive, I was having fits trying to get one pair made; tossed several blanks due to switchback grain- we’re these done with a steeper pitch iron or superior skills?

  8. I made the blanks myself, so I bought a board that looked plane friendly. Out of 200+ blanks, I think I tossed 10 or so.

    They were made for goodie bags to give away at a media event we attended in NYC last spring.

    The higher pitch iron helps a lot.

    You can acquire another pivoting depth sled I believe, you’ll have to pester Consuelo. You will also need v2 depth skids, v1 skids can’t be set flush to the sole easily.

    Another thing that helps with squirrelly grain is playing around with shearing cuts using the pivoting depth sled.


  9. John,

    Maybe you’ve come full circle?

    When I looked at your row of chopsticks, something in my head clicked and it reminded me of the front of your desk.

    Some foreshadowing over thirty years ago?


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