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What does a woodworker do when he can no longer do woodworking? In the case of John Economaki, you make tools.
Lead photo: Can you spot the fox in the CT-14 11⁄8″ Foxtail Shoulder Plane?
John, the founder of Bridge City Tool Works, developed a severe allergy to wood dust, likely triggered by rosewood, in the early 1980s. At the time, he was a high-end furniture designer; his “Nutcracker” piece was part of a juried exhibition at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and later became part of its permanent collection.
“My heart is in furniture design. The next best thing is living vicariously through the work of others,” John said. In many ways, however, he sees some strong similarities between being a furniture maker and being a tool maker.
“They’re both forms of expression. When I was building furniture, I was doing things that had never been built before. Now, I’m doing the same thing: you use cool materials, and make stuff that’s going to last.”
Making things that last is important to John, who laughs at software companies promoting their latest launch. “None of that stuff will be around in 15 years, let alone 300,” he
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Real woodworking is not only full with pleasure but also it’s a great way to stay in shape.
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