New Tools And Horney Squirrels!

Drivel Starved Nation!

It’s been a couple of months since my last post, and if I had anything meaningful to say, I would have said something…

But now I do!

Briefly, as the world reopens from the shutdowns, I became aware of an incredible deal to visit Botswana. So, for a fraction of what it normally costs to fly 11,000 miles away, my wife and I made the short-notice, 10 day trip. More on that later.

Upon my return, I received a package which contained the three boxes below;

And inside;

Please meet the 2021 versions of the CS-6v2 and CS-12v2 Combination Squares and the DS-6 v2 Double Square. I have to share, the craftsmanship is just incredible. (I chose to eliminate the saddle square on the double square, the cost/benefit is tough to justify.) And it appears the stainless steel bodies are PVD coated which means they should look new as in… forever. I don’t have any other information to share as of this writing, but if you are on the BCTW website mailing list, you will be the first to know. These are three of my favorite designs, and they are such a joy to use.

Sad to report that about a month ago we had to put down our lovely pooch of 13 years, Jitter Bug. This dog was something else, and as all of you pet owners know, the couple of days before and those that follow the passing of pet are brutal. Her cousin, Bella is still with us, but she is not the same dog, which I find fascinating. Her behavior can best be described as “depressed”. They were quite the buddies so I think I understand how she might be feeling. In an effort to deal with my grief, I came across an incredible quote that sums up the significance of pets;

“What would we do if dogs lived 50 years?”

For two days in May, I watched outside my office as these two squirrels were relentlessly getting busy. If I wasn’t so old, it might have given me some ideas…

I can’t wait for the perverted comments to begin… Oh, there are now three new little ones scampering around in the yard.

For those of you who follow this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog, I spend much of my free time taking pictures of birds. All I can say it is challenging and so much fun! In my next post, I will share how I used my woodworking skills to take images like this little ball of energy in my backyard, all while enjoying a glass of wine or two…:

Lastly, Botswana is an incredible place, just packed with wildlife. I took over 15,000 images and maybe, just maybe, I will end up with 50 keepers. Below are a couple of beautiful birds…

— Still Your Favorite Tool Potentate

Pied Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher

This fish is having a bad day…

African Skimmer


Snakebird (Anhinga)

29 comments on this post:

  1. I’m very sorry to hear about the pooch, I just went through the same awful process. I’ll leave the jokes about the squirrel kama sutra to others, however the pictures are all spectacular!

  2. Is there any chance of offering the double square in a smaller size?

    I mostly do smaller scale work and would appreciate a 4″ blade option (or 3″?) and a proportionately smaller handle.

  3. My sympathies. I really wish the AKC and other breeders would emphasize overall health and possibly longevity as the most important characteristics. Worry about the latter though, since as heartbreaking as it is to lose an animal, the other way can be even worse — witness the rescue organizations for exotic birds who have very long lifespans.

    A favourite quote:

    A dog does not live as long as a man and this natural law is the fount of many tears. If boy and puppy might grow to manhood and doghood together, and together grow old, and so in due course die, full many a heartache might be avoided. But the world is not so ordered, and dogs will die and men will weep for them so long as there are dogs and men.

    — Ben Ames Williams, _Thrifty Stock and Other Stories_

    (available for free online: )

  4. Those are seriously world-class pictures, John! Just stunning. I always look at shows like Blue Planet and wonder how they possibly got such amazing footage. I’m guessing the recipe is knowledge, patience, and lots and lots of footage that is mostly useless. I’ve never heard of several of the birds you showed here. And I wonder whether that Malachite Kingfisher is just recently fledged – its tail feathers look very short (a characteristic of recently fledged birds).

    And of course the tools are lovely. My double saddle square is one of my all-time favorite tools – the first one I go to when I need a square or a saddle square. I might have to get it a companion…

  5. Curious if these new CS squares will be at all feasible to inlay into? I have one of the few bronze CS-6 that was found a couple years back. It was a great project to use a tiny bit of treasured wood.

  6. Jeremy,

    Yes you can infill the leg cavities. You risk removing the PVD coating on the legs, but it is stainless steel so the contrast might look really nice.


  7. Hi John,

    I’m so sorry to hear of Jitterbugs passing- I think losing a dog is one of the hardest things we can go through.

    I believe that fish in the bird’s mouth is a Plecostomus; an aquarium “staple” for cleaning algae off the glass- very weird to make the obvious realization that somewhere in the world they are just regular fish in a lake!

    I would think that by now you would have figured out that the DSN are much to sophisticated to comment on those squirrels…

    Take care,

  8. Those squirrels remind me of BCTW products: you need two or more and they screw together.

  9. More specifically, the bee-eater is a Little Bee-eater, the bird with the unfortunate fish is a Reed Cormorant, and the snakebird is an African Darter, a close relative of the (New World) Anhinga, but a different species.

    And your backyard bird is of course a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

  10. There are two things I’d like to see in a square:

    1. I’d like to see a 9″ blade. I find the 12″ is just a too long most of the time but the 6″ is often a bit too short.

    2. I’d like to see a blade that has 1/8 markings and 1/16 markings and that’s it. No 1/32 and no 1/64 anywhere. If I want to measure something to 1/32 that is more easily done by mentally splitting the 1/16 than by having more markings. Tons of fine markings like 1/32 and especially 1/64 just make the scale hard to read. More lines aren’t better. If I really need to measure something to a finer tolerance than 1/32 I’m going to use calipers anyway. On my existing double/combo squares I’m always flipping them around to avoid the 1/32 and 1/64 markings. I also think that the scale is better when the lengths of the marks vary (so the 1/2 inch mark is longer, and the 1/4 inch mark is a little shorter, and so on.)

  11. Sorry to hear about Jitterbug, and Bella’s loneliness, not to mention your own.
    13 years is a pretty good run though, in dog years, so at least there is that consolation.
    I’ve never had a dog live to such a ripe old age.
    The pictures really are incredible, and as the saying goes, “when you’re hot you’re hot”.
    The squares are exquisite.
    I am quite partial to the little Double Square, it would fit beautifully
    inside a workbelt pocket. Are they offered in Metric too?

  12. Might you consider after moving through your shared period of grieving, getting a new small peer for Bella, to help put the spring back in ALL of your steps?
    I often enjoy watching, in the morning, from my upstairs window the little squirrels (for which the Balinese name is SMALL) scampering through the trees at a good clip, seemingly in hot pursuit. Leaping fearlessly from tree to tree in a protracted dance which I had suspected might be a courtship ritual. They are so incredibly agile and fearless. It might just be siblings or friends trying to one up each other, but they certainly put on quite a show.
    A Golden Lab perhaps?

  13. John, I’m not sure which is better looking, your tools or your photos. I would be willing to bet that National Geographic or a book company that specializes in birds might be interested in your photos. Also the specialty Veterinaries who specialize in birds would probably flip upside down to have one of those photos in their office. I have never in my life seen more beautiful photos of amazing birds ever. My mother-in-law would have paid good money to have a print. She loved birds so much. I’m so sorry to here about Jitter Bug. That’s so hard to do. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. The right thing is often the hardest thing to do. I’m sure Jitter Bug is grateful for your courage to not let him/her suffer. It takes a lot of love to do that.

  14. Thanks Dave! Jitter Bug, just like every other dog I have had the pleasure of sharing my life was indeed special.

    Regarding my bird photography fetish, I’m just an amateur, and intend to stay that way.



  15. Good morning
    I found your interesting website and collection while surfing through the internet archive
    here in the sylvan groves of Beautifull Downtown Richmond VA we are soon holding our 1st post Covid Richmond Antique Tool Society (RATS) meeting, and I plan to talk about & show off your catalog. You have the most intriguing arrangement of gauges and instruments. The RATS are mostly tool collectors but a few of them actually make stuff, and I am sure they will appreciate seeing your catalog and collection.
    Please stay with the Program, hand tool skills is increasingly an endangered species.
    Sincerely, Giovanni Meola

  16. John,
    Beautiful squares. Nice to see that BCTW is expanding the tool line and building some heirloom quality tools.
    Africa really is a knock out from the first trip to follow up visits. My niece and nephew had a whine that went “no more birds Uncle Jimmy, we’ve seen enough birds” from when we were on safari in Zambia.
    Jim Coogan

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