Check out this article from the Lake Oswego Review all about Chopstick Master by Bridge City Tool Works.
John Economaki has been designing tools for his company, Bridge City Tool Works, for more than 30 years and while they receive rave reviews by users, nothing prepared him for the reception of his latest tool, the Chopstick Master.
“I was a furniture maker until the wood dust got to me,” he said. “From my experience, I had the innate ability to know what tools woodworkers would want.” His tool company, Bridge City Tool Works, makes high-quality tools intended to last for generations and has clients around the globe. When a customer in China wanted to create a little buzz at a trade show Economaki suggested they make chopsticks. He then set about creating a tool that would turn out perfect chopsticks in a minimal amount of time.
“It started out as a bit of a joke,” he said. “Show the Chinese how to make chopsticks? We set up a station at the tradeshow, and we were inundated — it just went crazy!” After the tradeshow, he made a few tweaks to the tool and took it to a second tradeshow in Taiwan, receiving the same overwhelming response.
“What I realized, completely serendipitously, is that we live in a culture that is craving something more than what technology provides,” Economaki explained. “We now have two generations of Americans who likely were never exposed to industrial arts in their education. Nobody knows how to make anything anymore, and it’s no surprise that some of the best paying jobs in America are plumbers and electricians … And that same thing is true in China. Nobody knew how the ubiquitous chopstick was made, and I too was clueless until this little tool popped out of my head.”
Between March and August 2015, more than 1,000 pairs of chopsticks were made using the Chopstick Master. The response of the makers, whether here in the U.S., China or Taiwan is that of “pure joy.”
“I’ve never been associated with any tool that simply makes people feel this good about themselves,” Economaki said. “And it just may be that during the process, people are rediscovering the enriching experience of ‘making.’ It sure beats being addicted to Facebook.”
The Chopstick Master enables anybody regardless of experience to make a pair of flawless chopsticks in 15 minutes or less. Each chopstick begins as a 270-millimeter-by-7-millimeter square blank and when completed is a gracefully tapered and perfectly proportioned chopstick that is square and transitions to an octagonal tip. Because it is cut with a block plane, the finish is as smooth as you can make wood.
“The final touch, a pyramidal finial, is cut with four simple passes over the special crosscut blade and takes less than a minute,” Economaki explained. “This cut elevates the chopstick from amateur status to professional, and I assure you, nobody has seen this done more efficiently or more accurate, particularly by someone with zero woodworking skills. In other words, it is possible for one’s very first woodworking project to be perfect.”
Making chopsticks is fun and adds to the dining experience.
“To see the first-hand joy, I invite you to host an Asian food-themed party where your guests make their own chopsticks or go home hungry,” Economaki said. “I have hosted five such parties this summer and the results are identical — it is a giant fun fest! I guarantee you will have hosted one of the most fun and memorable dinner parties your friends have ever experienced.”
The Chopstick Master is a professional tool with an all-metal base, intended to last for generations. Each kit comes with enough blanks to make 10 pairs of chopsticks. The chopsticks can be painted, airbrushed, gilded, lacquered and embellished in other ways to make truly unique utensils.
“I have seen chopsticks in both China and Japan that are well worth $500,” Economaki said. “They make terrific gifts.”
The Chopstick Master is available for preorder with delivery in 2016. To learn more, visit bridgecitytools.com.
Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.