Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Chopstick Maker

Awhile ago I ordered a Chopstick Maker from Bridge City Tool Works. The UPS girl dropped it off the other night and I found a couple of minutes free tonight to try it out. It works pretty much as advertised.

When I saw it my thoughts were "what a great gift idea to make hand made chopsticks". Almost everyone I know, and a few I don't, have a small box of one kind or another in addition making a box takes time. I don't mind the time and I have a good number stored around the house but.....

I figured hand made chopsticks would be enough different from boxes plus a little more unique, it was worth a go. Also if it didn't work out then I would get a nice Bridge City apron block plane out of the deal anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it....truth is I'm a sucker for new toys.

On to the story: The first pair I made were from maple blanks and look pretty good for the first go. The kit has enough blanks of different woods to make 10 pair of chopsticks. The question now is: Order more blanks or make the blanks from shop scrap. I'm leaning toward ordering blanks but we will see. it to big it.

The Ebonized box lid finally dried enough to fit:

The same box with the Cherry lid:

I'm not sure which I like better but then it is not my decision.

That is one of the new style ECE Jack planes in the fore ground, it has been in the shop for several months and I figure it should be acclimatized to the desert by now. I put a nice camber on the iron and gave it a go this afternoon. Pretty sweet, it may become my go to Jack, a little smaller than English style Jacks and I really like the horn. As good as a #5 is as a Jack the Stanley is still heavier, the older I get the better small and light becomes.

See you guys on down the road,



  1. Hi Ken,
    nice new tool - the ECE jack ;-)


  2. I would think making your own blanks would be a good way to used up small offcuts... providing ypu hoard such small pieces :-)
    Nifty contraption from BCTW.

    Bob, with Rudy on his lap trying to drink my coffee

  3. Anonymous5:04 AM

    Now you can make long flat narrow boxes and put the chopstick in it ;-)

    With a (hand?) router to make the cavity?

  4. Stefan,

    I agree. The Jack is one of the new style ECE planes without cheeks to hold the cutter, using a cross pin instead. I'll give it more time but it seems to take a firmer tap to set the wedge than one with cheeks. Maybe after setting in it will hold like the old style, if not I will learn just like with other planes.


  5. Bob,

    I agree, but the thought of making a perfect 7mm square 270mm long by hand makes the cost of a box of squares attractive. We will see, I'll try both ways.

    Yep at least a couple of times a morning I get a brown nose pushing on my elbow while I'm drinking coffee or trying to type. Most of the time I just send her to the other elbow and continue one handed.

    I've posted before, they maybe a PITA at times but nothing brings as much joy to life as a good dog.

    Give Rudy a treat and scratch for me,


  6. Sylvain,

    That brings a chuckle :-).

    Now if I can figure out how to carve or mark 'em with ハッチ. It should be Hatch in Japanese but my guess is it reads "One who does Ducks"


  7. Interresting, when you mentioned making perfectly square small long blanks, my first thougth was a similar jig would be just perfect to do that... then I thought, maybe the jig can be adjusted to do this?
    Then again, perhaps they rather you invest in another purpose built jig :-)

    Bob with Rudy still on his lap after his last treats

  8. Bob,

    There you go filling my shop up with more stuff :-). Pretty soon I'll have a jig to make a jig, to make a jig.

    I just looked at the BCTW price for blanks....Your thought has merit. The only problem I don't have any Padauk scrap and the Padauk blanks make really pretty chopsticks.

    I expect Ralph will want to Ebonize a set which is a thought....Ebonized Beech should make some nice sticks.


  9. Ken are you taking orders for sticks yet? I eat so much chinese I should learn to eat it with chopsticks.

  10. Ralph,

    Get me a physical address and a pair is on the way.

    Back in the day, I was working a summer job delivering ice cream to Chinese stores in Houston, I watched an older Chinese woman eat a fried chicken with chopsticks. It has stuck with me for all these years. BTW, I'm pretty good with sticks but not fried chicken good.


  11. Ken my address is on the G+ thingie. If it isn't there let me know how to get it to you.

  12. I found this blog by trying to figure out how to best process scraps into blanks for a chopsticks party. Curious if you've gotten around to making blanks yet.
    I'm guessing my method will be to bandsaw rip to 8-9mm squares and then use the included depth skid plane to get them to exactly 7mm. Based on experience from 8-Bit cutting boards I made a while back, what seems like a super simple task (making a bunch of squares) ends up taking a TON of time.

  13. Jeremy,

    I run a board through the planer to make it ~7mm thick then bandsawed slightly oversized blanks. I made a planing jig with a 7mm shoot so I could bench plane (#4) the blanks to final size. It works pretty good with minimum monkey motion and almost no danger.