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Amazing Tools #14: Bridge City Tools Jointmaker Pro v2

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 1316 days ago 6083 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Now THAT is a sharp plane Part 14 of Amazing Tools series Part 15: Now THAT's a dust collector »

Well, this just shot to the top of my wishlist. I’ve for at least 6 years now been specifically wishing for a really accurate, really quiet way to cut wood in my house after hours, when I can’t run power tools due to neighbors close by here in crowded LA.

Scroll to the bottom to watch the video, or watch it on YouTube in higher quality.

It’s a bit crazy-priced right now at ~$1200, but I’m sure that’ll come down. For now, I’m dreaming of a few additions to it already. I’d love something like the Incra FlipStop Fence, but raised up about 2” so the blade can always pass under it. The sacrificial material would be beneath the fence with the super accurate and repeatable flip stop riding above it. This would allow for setting the fence’s teeth and ruler once up front, and later changing out the sacrificial material without having to change it. I’d also like the material area to be open on each side so a longer piece of material could be fed in from one side and continually slid over as it got eaten up. You’d be able to take a 2’ length of wood and use every 1/8” of it as sacrificial surface, then flip it over to use the opposite side. Something like toggle clamps could hold it against the fence and base securely to make sliding it over at any point trivial.

Oh, and I also would add miter gauge abilities as seen in the Incra Jig Miter Gauge 1000HD, which has 180° of positive stops, and a vernier scale for 1/10° stops between those. A setup as described above would allow for the most flawless, and quietest work ever. I could crank out perfect segmented bowl pieces while watching TV in the living room (wooden floors are easy to vacuum!).

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator



20 comments so far

View woody57's profile

woody57

645 posts in 2028 days


#1 posted 1316 days ago

That is the most accurate hand saw I have ever seen. It would be great for hand cut dovetails.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3559 posts in 2336 days


#2 posted 1316 days ago

Oh, noooo..I finally got that music out of my head, and here it is again! At first glance, the machine is impressive; and I see the person who posted the video has deflected a lot of criticism since I saw the video last summer. If it’s what you GOT to have, sure, go for it! I hadn’t thought of the noise issue before. I assume it only does cross-cuts, Gary. Does it rip? I’ll resist the temptation to ask whether there is a dado-head conversion. I saw this at the last woodworking trade show I attended, but there was nobody around to demonstrate. I wonder if one of these couldn’t be built at home, with a backsaw and an armload of this: http://cgi.ebay.ca/36-Bosch-T-Slot-Metric-Aluminum-Extrusion-45x90MM-9Pc-/160510010861?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item255f2465ed as an example.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4759 posts in 2483 days


#3 posted 1316 days ago

I have been looking at that saw for a while. It looks sweet, but yow, the price. And they have not dropped it. That video is from May 2008.

But it is so fricken cool. And it would solve your noise requirements.

Good luck, that would be great.
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3559 posts in 2336 days


#4 posted 1316 days ago

The price was about $900 six months ago. Now it seems to be over $1000. It’s my only objection.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View DonH's profile

DonH

483 posts in 1419 days


#5 posted 1316 days ago

I don’t know what to think of this tool – conceptually I like it but it seems so way overpriced. I decided to examine building something like it but the cost and level of effort and design challenges shot down the “business case” to do it yourself – maybe it is not overpriced after all.

I would like to try one out before making that kind of investment in a niche market tool – anybody know where one could do that?

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1796 posts in 1792 days


#6 posted 1316 days ago

extremly cool, they have a bunch more videos on their you tube sight,

I plan on checking it out later. Yes very expensive, my guess is they

are one offs, so don’t expect a price break.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2559 days


#7 posted 1316 days ago

Very cool, very precise looking, but WAY overpriced IMHO

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 1983 days


#8 posted 1316 days ago

Emmett – the quote at the end – “It is the cleanest sawcut I’ve ever seen, whether by hand or power.” – is from Christopher Schwarz, editor at Popular Woodworking. I always trust his recommendations, because he’s like a scientist with this stuff. He takes every process he comes across and tries it again and again, changing every variable he can think of to see which combinations work best, and which variables matter the most. He generates really good, empirical data this way, and it’s clear in the videos all over the web of him sharpening saws and planes, and figuring out what works best with what wood that he really cares about it.

He also researches a lot, and will cite all kinds of research in his talks, and usually how half of it contradicts the other half, necessitating his forays into testing it all himself. I think I’ve seen him write or talk about over a dozen saws now, and he is very up front about not liking a tool. Too, as editor, he has a lot of tools sent to him for testing, and he reviews how they work, often testing several brands against each other. When I saw that the quote above was from him, my eyebrows went up, and my confidence grew a lot.

Poopiekat – There is also a rip blade. The guy in this video talks about it (really likes it). Also, yes, my mind has been spinning over here trying to figure out how to build one myself! Instead of a backsaw, I was thinking of a replacement blade from a ryoba. That one has rip and crosscut sides to it. I’d like to invent a system that can roll over to switch from one to the other.

Steve – hadn’t realized the video was so old. That’s disappointing! I want a major price drop soon!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1716 days


#9 posted 1316 days ago

its a great tool yes but way too what I ever will pay for it

take care
Dennis

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2097 posts in 2329 days


#10 posted 1316 days ago

I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that you won’t really ever see a price drop on bridge city tools. I think they build niche products that are often expensive (and collectible too). They make limited production runs and once they sell out, you need to wait till the next run (to limit excess inventory). I can’t afford 95% of their items though so I don’t spend too much time following them, so I could be wrong.

Their kerfmaker sounds like it has quite the following among those of us with more limited funds.

View DonH's profile

DonH

483 posts in 1419 days


#11 posted 1315 days ago

I did make a mock up to test the concept of how the saw cuts and it worked. In my limited test it seemed a high quality saw blade with lots of teeth is required – a coarse blade would be hard to work with I think, ruling out Ryobi.

An option is to practice a lot with hand saws and save a whole bunch of money. That was the approach I took and I am getting fairly consistent with hand sawn joinery and crosscuts (I find crosscuts are the hardest for some reason). requires about 1/2 hour of daily practice though.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 1983 days


#12 posted 1315 days ago

Hokie – I went through all of their videos last night, while drooling, and saw the kerfmaker and the tenonmaker. I want them! Also, no fair them making collectible tools once per year and never again! They’re up to their 17th one-off now. I’m 90% sure I’m going to be making kerf and tenon makers on my CNC mini mill. I’ve had it for 4 years now, and I’ve hardly used it. That’s one of my goals for ‘11 – to start really using my CNC setup.

DonH – I’ve gotten pretty good with the saws with the tremendous amounts of hand sawing I’ve done this past year. I still want one of these! I think I’m going to be mocking something up this coming year and building myself something with all the bells and whistles I want. The hardest part will be the precision, of course.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3559 posts in 2336 days


#13 posted 1315 days ago

Gary,
Shouldn’t be too hard to fabricate something like this. Four steel shafts mounted horizontally, two for each side of a split feed table (1/2” aluminum plates) that rides on recirculating ball bearings. A flat saw blade (I have a 24” backsaw in mind for this) clamped to some sort of raisable platen. Yeah, it’s do-able! I’ve always wondered if I could clamp an old handsaw to the outer edge of a table saw extension wing, teeth side up….What would it do?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View rance's profile

rance

4125 posts in 1762 days


#14 posted 1315 days ago

My comments, same as Steve’s. Each time someone brings up this saw, I look at the videos and drool all over the screen. Then my mind goes into design-my-own mode. It spurred a new aspect this time. Maybe enough to do a mockup myself.

>I’ll resist the temptation to ask whether there is a dado-head conversion.
I don’t care who you are, that was funny. (LTCG)

Gary, I can’t believe you don’t use your cnc mill. I have a micro mill being converted to cnc and hope to take delivery next week.

Poopie, maybe you looked at the Single Wing(SW) for $800 and not the Pro. Just a thought.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4759 posts in 2483 days


#15 posted 1315 days ago

Same as Poopiekat, that music is playing real loud. My brain has gone nuts thinking about building one of these. The aluminum extrusions as linked to above go on sale on eBay all the time now. Both the Bosch and http://stores.ebay.com/8020-Inc-Garage-Sale which has all the brackets, plates, and what not. Now that linear bearings have gotten pretty cheap at someplace like VXB http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/CTGY/LM
this seems like a fun little project.

It seems like you might only need two bearing assemblies, kind of like a crosscut sled riding in the miter slots. The table can be connected at the front and the back of the slit. I guess it depends…. Maybe the table could be hinged at the back and it would tilt up. Seems like it might be easier to engineer than a blade that raises.

Make it stop.
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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