Author Topic: The Complete "Jointmaker Pro" Review..... A Paradigm Shift in Woodworking  (Read 172159 times)

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Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

"The Jointmaker Pro"
A Paradigm Shift in Woodworking

An In-Depth Review by Roger Savatteri

Dear FOG members & guests,

In the beginning of June I visited Portland, Oregon with the purpose of immersing myself with Bridge City Tool Works new hybrid saw, the Jointmaker Pro. My intention was to report back to the FOG Forum with an independent, outsiders review of this much talked about device, the discussion of which began several weeks ago after the release of a compelling YouTube video. For those just catching this topic for the first time, I am a professional furniture maker, designer and sculptor. Threads in the FOG forum (Festool Owner's Group) prompted my visit, you can learn how this transpired here;

I met with John Economaki (Jointmaker Pro inventor, former furniture designer/maker/teacher, and current president of Bridge City) and Michael Berg (lead designer and production coordinator) of BCT. Both together and on my own, I / we  spent two intense days with this new tool, from assembly through the many facets and nuances of using the Jointmaker Pro. I took notes, photos & video clips, all of which I am sharing within the In-Depth review below. I left Portland feeling inspired and having gone thru a paradigm shift in my thinking.

Thanks, and all the best,

Roger Savatteri

Also for easy reference, the high rez YouTube video from Bridge City Tools is at......

Bridge City Tools new dovetail video.....

Bridge City Tools new decorative cuts video....

New Squiggle Wood Video...

« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 11:59 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

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Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507


An Overview of the Jointmaker Pro

8999-0         9001-1         9003-2

An Overview of the Jointmaker Pro

A hybrid device is defined as the "combination" of two or more different things, aimed at achieving a particular objective or goal.
The Jointmaker Pro is a true hybrid, a hand tool with the accuracy and repeatability of a machine.

The Jointmaker Pro, in the short time I used it, caused a paradigm shift in the way I think about woodworking because it competes with the accuracy of production machines without the associated risks. It is not a production machine in terms of time as a factory would assess, but can come close for many tasks in our shops and is surprisingly enjoyable.

My first introduction to this new hybrid saw was viewing a menagerie of parts laid out on a large table in the warehouse/workshop at Bridge City Tool Works. I assembled the Jointmaker Pro with Michael Berg as my instructor.  I scanned and held the parts with the same scrutiny I usually do when perusing exotic hardwoods. Each aluminum part was machined and anodized without a blemish at any point.  (I'll discuss the engineering later.)

One pervasive thought as I write about my experience with the Jointmaker Pro is that this idea is so new it was important for me to embrace an incubation period to realize the full capabilities of the tool. Familiarization with with all its nuances and quirks takes patience.
(I cannot stress this more and I will continue to refer to this point throughout my review.) Both John and Michael readily agree that they don't fully comprehend the many ways this tool can be used.

Keep in mind that I was the first person not associated with Bridge City Tools to assemble the Jointmaker Pro, and this was a prototype model. (As of this writing Bridge City has not yet started production.) Due to the intricacies and precision of the Jointmaker Pro, there were some debugging issues through the assembly process. John and Michael informed me of the those areas that will be changed and noted a couple more improvements to be made in the production model after watching me work.

Cuts... When I first started, I found myself moving the wood over the blade, either a single pass for small cross-sectional cuts (about 3/4" square in most species) to many passes for larger stock. In the beginning I did not realize that I had already cut through my stock, the cut is that fine. The kerf (the gap the saw makes) is only .021". The accuracy and cleanliness of the cuts, as my attached photographs will show, were flawless and crisp. The large format photos will let you be the judge, up close & personal as to the results. Remember, these are cuts made by hand that need no further work.


Sound... this is part of the paradigm shift in woodworking I am referring to. Sound, or more succinctly the virtual lack of it pervades this tool. While one can make repetitive cuts in rapid succession, the decibel count is close to the sound of a block of sixty grit sandpaper going back & forth on a piece of wood stock. During the whole time I was with both John and Michael we were going about our business with the Jointmaker Pro simultaneously carrying on an animated conversation. Whether you are in a workshop, office, condo or back-porch, you can go about your craft while listening to a sonata by Brahms or watching over a sleeping infant. Once your stock is positioned and clamped, all you have to do is push, pull and crank and the motion is mindless once you get the hang of it.

Dust... The first thing I did after assembling the Jointmaker Pro was place a black cloth under the frame to test for debris fallout. Since the blade points upward, and the debris falls directly down, this greatly reduces airborne dust. After two days of work, most of the dust remained towards the center of the cloth. There is clearly no need for dust collection in my opinion.

I only had a crosscut blade to test and it clogs in rip cuts as you might expect. The teeth also clog crosscutting in wood with stringy grain, so after every few cuts you must either swipe the blade with a toothbrush or slide two fingers from back to front along the teeth to remove the debris, it is completely safe and quick. Harder woods like oak and walnut do not clog, if they are dry. It is important to know this can occur because it can effect accuracy and blade life.

Together with the moving tables and proper adherence to the work holding techniques the Jointmaker Pro can become a palette to create a wide array of cuts. But this is not a tool to be knocked about in the back of a pickup on the way to a job site; this device is a precision instrument and needs to be treated with the same respect. To quote John, "Why would anybody consider throwing this tool in the back of a truck"  That's not to say you can't move the The Jointmaker Pro from one location to another, John hauls an assembled one around himself for demonstrations.

I have a full workshop studio fifteen minutes from our home. I clearly see myself carefully bringing it to the house on occasion to work on models or complete "fine" work in the evenings or the weekends, especially at crunch time when otherwise I'd be doing all-nighters away from home. The Jointmaker Pro does have its limitations and I will point these out latter on in this review.

One word of advice for any of you contemplating on letting go of your Festool MFT/1080, DON'T. (The MFT/3 would be too high) I would consider that worktable to be gold as a support system for the The Jointmaker Pro. One thing that came out of those two days at Bridge City Tools was the necessity of keeping the top of the sliding tables at hip level and anchored. There is a certain Zen to positioning oneself in relation to the surface of the sliding tables, while pushing, pulling and cranking the handle in one smooth harmonious motion.

When using the Jointmaker Pro there is a mantra of habit that's needed to be adhered to:

     >      Lowering the blade after the completion of a cut.
     >      Adjusting the pitch for each type of cut.
     >      Not raising the blade too much for the first stroke.
     >      Ensuring that the hold down arrangement is good and firm.
     >      Cleaning the debris off the blade every few cuts to avoid clogged teeth.
     >      Being mindful of positioning your arms over the rails when you cut.
     >      Being mindful of your stance & the height of the sliding table in comparison your height.
     >      Being mindful of blade selection for the task at hand.
     >      The Jointmaker Pro needs to be firmly anchored.

As an example, once I figured out the rhythm of the machine, I pulled the tables back, cranked the blade and because I did not pull the tables back completely, I actually raised the blade into my stock, stabbing the teeth into the board. The saw blade survived but I was lucky, and I did not repeat this mistake again. There are a couple of little things like this that need to be understood before you become really adept at using this tool.

There is a "getting acquainted period" with every tool and new owners of this saw will need to understand this time is very important to master the tool. You will make mistakes at first and I made several, even after I was warned, I  just found it easy to get ahead of myself.

There is a rhythm to working with wood no matter what endeavor we undertake, what level of skill we find ourselves, or what length of time we dedicate to our work. It is through the use of tools that we execute our craft and understanding our tools is part of being a craftsperson.  The Jointmaker Pro is new and it will take you time to understand how to make it work perfectly.


Checking the blade height.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 03:34 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507


The Assembly Process & Calibration of the Jointmaker Pro


The Jointmaker Pro Assembly Process

The first relationship one would have with the Jointmaker Pro is with the collection of its parts. This section is meant to be more of a primer on the "sense" on how the Jointmaker Pro is put together, not a blow-by-blow diary.  The actual instruction manual was not available during my visit but I was assured it would be thorough and illustrated by the assembly videos Bridge City plans to post on their website. My assembly experience was verbally guided by Michael during my visit.

The Parts

When the box arrives at your doorstep (about 28" x 12" x 4" inside dimensions) it will weigh approximately 32 pounds. Upon opening the box you will need to methodically sort out approximately 50 parts and 100 or so fasteners. The majority of the metal parts are anodized aluminum and are either CNC milled or turned. The blade pivots on acetal bearings and the linear motion bearings are Nylatron. Most of the fasteners are socket head cap screws with a nylon thread-lock patch. Please keep in mind this was a prototype and the final version is subject to minor changes. I was informed it was about 98% "there."

The Jointmaker Pro comes supplied with a starter set of various sacrificial poplar fences pre-slotted for attachment to the aluminum fence(s), as well as two work hold-downs I will discuss later. For anyone enlarging the included photos you will notice several different sizes of screws, though the production model will use only two sizes.

Sorting Out

For ease of assembly these parts should be divided into the following groups; the base frame parts, the guide rails, blade mechanism, the 2 tabletops,
2 fence assemblies and an assortment of sacrificial fences and stops. There are a few elements within this assembly that will need to be super glued or "locktighted" prior to assembly.

      9009-1         9011-2

The Necessary Assembly tools (not supplied)

The tools needed for assembly are a standard set of imperial hex key wrenches (Allen wrenches), a slotted screwdriver, a 1/2" open end box wrench and a small, accurate square.

The Base Frame

The saw frame consists of front & rear panels approx. 17" wide x 9-1/2" tall and feature precision milled curved cut outs for the blade tilt mechanism. There are four dovetailed top guide rails (two for each table) that support and guide the independent sliding tables. All of the rails "seat" in slots milled into the front and rear panels and are secured with screws. After the dovetailed top rails are assembled, their precise spacing is controlled by 4 tubular cross struts. In the quest for tighter tolerances for the sliding dovetails, the production model will feature 3 tubular struts on each side, for a total of 6.

Comments....  the assembly of the base frame went very smoothly. I assembled the front and rear panels with the bottom rails first in the upright position with the hex driver tightened only to finger tightness. Having done that I then slipped in the top rails and then screwed in one socket head cap screw for each rail and then completed the process for all 24 screws. (You do not want to use a power drill for this process.) I took out my square, did a few checks, it was perfectly square!

      9017-3       9019-4

« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 12:00 AM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

The Assembly Process & Calibration of the Jointmaker Pro  (continued)

    8977-0                8979-1

The Blade Mechanism

The entire blade mechanism is seated on a "keel" which travels between the front and rear panels of the base frame and allows the blade to be tilted 45 degrees to either side.  Fastened to the keel are two, tuning fork-like height guides. Seated between these two height guides is the (orange) saw spine, onto which the bottom edge of the blade sits. It is precisely positioned by two blade clamps that run the full length of the spine. One clamp is anodized grey; the other is anodized black, think of the greyed-out buttons in computer programs that cannot be activated. The black blade clamp is the one you loosen for blade changes. The grey blade clamp is never touched after the initial install.  This arrangement is vital as the Jointmaker Pro is designed to take blades of various thicknesses.

8981-2              8983-3

8987-4              8989-5

The blade carriage assembly sits between the two height guides which are fastened to the keel.  This whole assembly needs to frequently and smoothly travel up and down while making deep cuts. Beneath the keel I attached the blade height adjustment assembly, which raises and lowers the blade by means of a hand crank seated outside of the front panel. This crank handle is attached to a two-part shaft/gear mechanism that converts the rotary motion of the crank into the vertical motion needed to raise and lower the blade. The blade pitch adjuster is operated by placing your hand under the carriage in the rear and is adjusted by twisting the shaft, much like adjusting the slats of Venetian blinds. In the production model there will be a knob, the knurled version on the prototype is awkward and too small.

8991-6          8993-7

Comments: The gear train (like all gear trains I suppose) needs to be carefully positioned to align the gears properly and to eliminate slop. This is the heart of the Jointmaker Pro and needs to work smoothly. It is not hard, but it is also not intuitive for those with limited mechanical knowledge. I had to fiddle with this a bit to get everything right. 

8995-8           8997-9

The keel is locked to the frame via two knurled locking knobs. The plates are buffered from metal to metal contact by acetal washers. The keel sits atop two acetal "travelers" which ride in the curved cutouts in the front and back plates. The rear pitch screw block rides up and down with blade height adjustments and the pitch is independent of this motion. All of these are fastened together with socket head cap screws.  Attaching the blade height crank is the last stage of the blade assembly.

Because the pitch is adjustable, there has to be proper blade "timing" so the blade can accurately be lowered below table height for its entire length. This is not hard to do, it is a simple measurement but it is critical.

« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 04:27 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

The Assembly Process & Calibration of the Jointmaker Pro (continued)

9021-0                   9023-1

The Sliding Tables & the Aluminum Fences & Stops

There are two 8-1/2" by 10" sliding tables and they are 1/4" thick orange anodized aluminum (so you can easily see scribed pencil lines). Fastened to the bottom of each table are two Nylatron dovetailed guides which ride the "rails." (Refer to the photos below;  in these two photos you're looking at the left and right table as the frame is sitting on its rear panel) Looking at the bottom & top section of both you will see 4 rubber stops. These bumpers constrain travel and soften the occasional "crash" into either the front or rear plates. I had several at first and I was glad they were there! Each table has an independent fence secured by locking knobs or levers. They lock via square head bolts, the bolt heads ride in grooves milled into the bottom of each table.  Each fence is capable of rotating 45 degrees and pivots along the axis closest to the blade. (Refer to the left photo above.)

In the photos referenced below you only see one of the two slots per table.
Note: in the prototype I worked on, the tables were 10" by 10".

9025-2                    9027-3

Sacrificial wooden fences can be attached to the aluminum fences by means of steel dovetail nuts. (In production there will be only one dovetail nut, 3" long, on each side. Not the double 1"ers they have now.) There is a wooden fence that attaches to both aluminum fences, which enables the two sliding tables to act in unison. There are also individual wooden fences that get attached independently to each of the aluminum fences. To broaden the possibilities of the holding capacity of the Jointmaker Pro there is a duplicate selection of all three fences mentioned above but with a slanted forward face.  Included with the Jointmaker Pro will be a starter selection of stops that work in conjunction with the fences for holding down the work. The applications and the "how to" for the use of these fences & stops will be discussed in detail in the upcoming section; Fixturing and Work Holding Requirements.


The last parts I attached prior to calibration of the saw blade were the finger stops. Each finger stop is a hinged affair held together with very small spring pins, this may be hard for those with dexterity or eyesight issues. Once these assemblies were complete, they were fastened to the front plate with screws and a square nut which rides in a slot in the back of the plate. These stops are user-adjusted for the purpose of repeatability and tighten with a hex key wrench. Please scroll up to the upper right hand photo in this section for a better look..


The Calibration Process

The tables have to be calibrated to work without slop. One of the Nylatron glides on each table is fixed so that part is easy. The adjustable glide is attached but the screws are not tightened. The table is aligned by reaching under the guide rail with the fingers on one hand and pulling the guide towards the palm of my hand, which is resting against the edge of the table. This does two things; it pushes the fixed guide into place and pulls the adjustable guide into place. If you grip too tight, the table will not budge. Don't grip enough and the table has slop. It confused me at first but once I figured out what I was supposed to be doing, it was easy. The screws are on top of the tables and are easily tightened. When done correctly, the table moves back and forth without an iota of side play, is smooth and almost completely quiet. A few drops of Teflon lube really made it slick. John mentioned that Nylatron is hygroscopic and he is looking at alternatives to avoid humidity issues so the production version may be different, remember this was a prototype.


After the Jointmaker Pro is assembled I inserted a saw blade. The gray blade guide is set flush with the side of the upright and tightened. I then "pinched" the black guide on one end and tightened the cap screw and repeated the process at the other end. This process insures the blade has support along its entire length and does not "rattle" during cuts. At this point the blade may or may not be parallel to the fixed dovetailed ways.

To align the blade precisely parallel to the table travel, the keel is adjusted - the screw holes are slotted for this purpose. I raised the blade and positioned a small piece of wood so that it was just touching the front of the blade, clamped it to the fence and pushed the table to the back and observed the alignment of this piece of wood at the back of the blade. You make a small tap (it is never out much, but it needs to be perfect for clean cuts) on one end or the other of the keel until the small stock kisses both the front and back of the blade equally. At this point all four keel screws are tightened. One more check and the tool is ready to cut wood. (The alignment process only needs to be done once and only on one table; the guide rails are parallel regardless of which side you pick to align the blade.)

Comments; although this process was not overly difficult, I think you should plan on four hours for assembly and calibration.  I asked about providing an "assembly service" and apparently the girth of the machine (packaged) combined with the weight makes for an expensive delivery.  The idea was not ruled out but it will obviously add to the cost and may be appreciated by some.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:14 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Saw Blade Changes, Operation and Longevity


Saw Blade Changes, Operation and Longevity

The custom blades are manufactured for Bridge City Tools in Japan according to their specifications (they are the only part of the Jointmaker Pro
not manufactured in the United States).

Blades are made from high quality tempered steel. Crosscut blades will be available in 32TPI x .3mm (.012") thick and 28 TPI x .4mm (.0156").
The fine tooth blade is recommended for small cross-sections (up to 2" in width) and all soft woods used for modeling purposes (balsa, pine, bass,
chestnut, etc). The 28 TPI blade is for general purpose crosscutting and will be included with the saw, it also works for small rip cuts in certain joints (dovetails come to mind).

As of this writing there will be one rip blade included with the saw; 16TPI x .4mm. As mentioned earlier, the blades are designed to be replaced when dull. (John mentioned that the teeth can be ground off and they make superb scrapers.)  Blades will be sold in 5 packs and each blade will cost less
than $20 as of this writing.


The design of the blades (tooth count and length) is what makes this tool remarkable. For example, using the fine blade on a piece of hardwood that is 1/2" thick by two inches in width would likely take four passes (imagine doing that by hand with perfect results). In this scenario, with the wide side down and the saw set for optimal pitch, each tooth (448 total) would have a chip load of approximately 3 ten-thousandths of an inch, that is 1/10th the thickness of piece of paper. This is the heart of the Jointmaker Pro, controlling the chip load by pitch changes to obtain optimal results. Combined with the constrained travel of the linear tables the resulting cuts are glass smooth and dead straight.


« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 04:26 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Saw Blade Changes, Operation and Longevity (continued)

The blade is secured in the blade spine - the notches straddle locking screws. To adapt the blade carriage to a different blade thickness, you adjust the black guide by means of two cap screws, the grey blade guide is never adjusted. A blade change takes less than two minutes. Add a minute or two if the black guide needs to be adjusted. (left & right photos below)

As mentioned in the assembly section, the keel sits atop two acetal "travelers" which ride within the curved cutouts in the front and back plates. Once the angle of the cut is determined, the angle is locked by two knurled locking knobs, this locks the keel to the frame. The plates are buffered from metal to metal contact by acetal washers. The rear pitch screw block rides up and down with blade height adjustments and pitch adjustments are independent of the locked keel - an important detail. If a blade angle is of particular importance (45 degrees for example), a finger stop can be set to repeat it at a later date. (second photo down - right side) Stops can be mounted on either the front and rear plates. Settings for angled blade cuts are similar to a table saw, get close with layout tools, make a practice cut, check the cut, adjust if necessary until perfect (accuracy hygiene always requires checking the cut, not the set-up - never assume).

9276-0          9278-1

The blade height adjustment raises and lowers the blade by means of a hand crank outside of the front panel. (right photo below) One full clockwise rotation raises the blade by 0.055" - a counterclockwise rotation lowers it.  The density of the material, wood width and the blade pitch determines the rotation count per stroke. Crosscutting rosewood might require 1/2 crank per push, maple one crank and pine two cranks per table travel - you get the feel of this rather quickly. The blade pitch adjuster is operated by placing your hand under the the rear of the keel and is adjusted by twisting a knob (in the production model), much like adjusting the slats of Venetian blinds. (left photo below) Blade pitch determines total depth of cut, for example, it may be possible to cut both 1-5/8" square balsa wood, or 1/2 square rosewood in one pass. Generally speaking, the harder the wood, the lower the pitch. The lower the pitch, the more passes required for a through cut.

John & Michael believe that blade life is a user variable dependent on species of wood, frequency of use and the operator.  This is all part of the discovery process of this tool. That being said, I believe you will accidentally trash a blade or two getting used to the cadence of the machine. John, who spent seven years as a professional furniture maker ruined three in the first month - two were from being reckless/careless and one was from pushing the limits of the tool cutting 1" diameter acrylic rod. One important note, not once did I break a tooth.

I also discussed with John that not having a hacksaw type blade limits the type of materials that can be cut with the Jointmaker Pro. The ability to cut acrylics, laminate backed ply and epoxy coated trim are but a few market expanding capabilities that architects & interior designers would appreciate. Bridge City believes that further capabilities are certain but for the time being, the Jointmaker Pro is being made available as a woodworking tool. John did share that a carbide particle blade would likely be the next test as it may work on glass and ceramics.

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Ways to trash a blade.

>    Not securing your work properly - it will shift in mid-cut and once you try to retract the tables, you will kink the blade. Properly secured work is essential and this scenario is completely avoidable, after you do it once like I did.

>   Getting in a hurry and forcing the cut can cause unforeseen issues - mainly the blade teeth get clogged, the blade bends and will not reenter the crooked thin kerf after it springs back straight for the beginning of the next pass - the now straight blade will miss the crooked kerf. You know immediately - it is a crash (this can also occur when the blade guides are not properly set).  Again, this is completely avoidable...after the first time.
>   Cutting materials that are not wood. The tool will cut small cross-sections of acrylic but will dull the blade. Items like styrene board and foam board clog the teeth real fast. It will not cut steel, concrete, titanium, antlers, stone, bike tubing, hand cuffs, pad locks, whisky bottles or bricks in case you were wondering......
>   Cutting plastic laminate is not an option unless you have money to burn.

>   When raising the blade your stock needs to be clear or you risk bending the teeth - I actually got in a rhythm that was a bit fast and failed to fully retract the tables before a blade raise and I immediately felt resistance and stopped, saving the blade. I did not make this mistake again.

>   If you go completely brain dead and rely on the genes we share with gorillas and crash your blade, the nylon gears are designed to fail (they are the least expensive part to replace in the gear train) which is a reassuring design aspect of the Jointmaker Pro. Sacrificing a gear or two (a ten dollar mistake) avoids bending the height shafts, or trashing the bushings pressed into the keel, or stripping the threads on the aluminum shafts. (On my Swiss made Inca Jointer/Planer the moving gears are made up of black nylon for the same reason.)

>   Not lowering your blade at the end of a work session is a mistake because horizontal surfaces attract unwanted risks. A raised blade not in use invites accidents - there is no blade guard because the blade does not move. This is common sense which is often absent when one gets in a hurry or is careless.

These are the lessons I learned in two days of using the Jointmaker Pro. Hopefully you will not make these same mistakes, saving you a few bucks.
There are likely other ways to trash a blade, fortunately the tool is designed in such a way so these lessons are not bank breakers.

« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 04:29 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Fixturing, Work Holding Requirements &
The Cutting Experience with Appropriate Applications

In "Woodworking Magazine" (Spring 2008), Christopher Schwarz wrote an excellent article titled "How to Saw", about perfect hand saw use. In that article he quoted Robert Wearing's book "The Essential Woodworker" where he talks about using woodworking tricks in a methodical and coherent way.

Wearing divides all saw cuts into three classes. (I'm quoting Chris talking about Wearing):

"Third-class saw cuts, where speed is more important than either accuracy or the final appearance of the work. This is a rough cut designed for sizing stock before processing it further."

"Second-class saw cuts, where accuracy is more important than speed or the final appearance of the work. This is for joinery cuts where the joint will not be visible in the end."

"First-class saw cuts, where both accuracy and appearance are critical."

Chris further expands on each of these applications and I would encourage those interested, to seek out that issue. What struck me after my experience with the Jointmaker Pro is that by default, the only cuts possible are First-class cuts, and they are done with ease.

Remember, there is an incubation period for the Jointmaker Pro and accurate work requires accurate set ups. That said, there we go....

Please follow the text and the numbered photos/videos regarding the different types of cuts. This should give you a general idea of the capabilities of the Jointmaker Pro. (note.....the video segments are not presently up)

Cutting and work holding

As John remarked "When you make a cut and it's a new species of wood, or a new width or a new thickness or whatever, it's a good idea to find out where you're at."  This is done with a light cut to gauge the resistance of the cut. In some woods you can't sense a thing...others you know intuitively that you need to make a pitch adjustment.

In powering/operating the Jointmaker Pro You're pushing with one hand and cranking with the other. Within this rhythm there are three basic ways to approach your cut; one is to make one turn with the crank per stroke cycle with the sliding table. With this technique it is likely you're not engaging all of the teeth and the cut occurs on the back half of the blade - and this works fine. By rotating the crank more than one rev (depending on the pitch/width/species variables) you will engage more teeth and lighten the chip load per tooth. In order to do that you need to determine, through cutting resistance, the optimal pitch for your board - this takes about 15 seconds once you know what you are doing. The third way of sawing is by pushing forward a few inches, back up an inch, push forward twice as far as the first time, back up an inch and work your way down the blade while climbing the blade - all without a full table retraction.  This works too but relies on touch to determine when to stop each forward motion and is not as uniform as a full pass stroke.

When holding small stock by hand, the closer your fingers are to the blade (sounds crazy, but in practice it's not) the less vibration and more control over the negative feed of the blade. When cutting extremely small length pieces it is advisable to double-stick tape a false table of aircraft plywood (1/16" thick) to the sliding table (the two tables are most often bridged by the fence and act as a single table), make a through cut and your fall-off will stay on top of the table. This technique is also valuable for knowing exactly where the kerf of the saw is and this kerf can be used as a dead-accurate reference - like cutting marked dovetails on the proper side of the line, this is incredibly accurate and easy. And yes, you can cut your finger if you put it in the way of the blade. Keep in mind; this saw is no more dangerous than any sharp handsaw, in my opinion.

Although the tables can, and do work independently, I found the cuts to be easier when they were bridged with the fence. And in most of the cuts I wanted to test, the tables were bridged. Miter cuts require a rear bridge for the cuts to be perfect.

I found that that you monitor the cutting action by the sounds you hear. When you hear a "rumble" in the blade, the pitch is too aggressive, or there are too many teeth engaged with the stock - wide boards are cut differently than narrow stock. If the falloff portion of the stock is not clamped, you'll hear it. I found that perfect cuts were predictable when the stock was clamped on both sides of the blade. Remember, when sawing by hand your stock is either clamped or held in a vise, with the Jointmaker Pro your vise/clamp is the table and you need to know that accurate work can only be achieved if your stock is rigidly held. It's like any hand saw operation, let the saw do the work - if possible I recommend always clamping your stock with the exception of really small cross-sections. Determining how to pitch the blade and table technique is part of the "getting acquainted period" I continue to mention.

If not clamped tight enough, the work will slip and you could damage your blade. If you don't want a small burr on the falloff piece, it's wise to clamp both sides. Having 180 grit sandpaper on the face of the fence (with double faced tape) really helps the holding power and combats slippage; just make sure not to place it where you would trash your saw sharpness.

In summary, when the pitch is correct, the stock firmly clamped, this tool sings. And it is easy to tell, it simply sounds efficient.

Setting up the sacrificial fence.

9202-0     9204-1     9206-2
1.                                                                       2.                                                                        3.

9208-3     9210-4     9212-5
4.                                                                       5.                                                                        6. 

Adjusting the Fences and Tables (refer to the stepped photos above)

Adjusting the table to the slides below.....if the table gets sticky or is wobbly, the adjustments to the slides are made from the top of the tables by way of the three setscrews.

In setting up a sacrificial fence for the first time, it's necessary to cut the fence first. (The screw placements of the aluminum fence will change in the production model) The angled sacrificial fences are used (as you see in the photos as clamping "grips") for straight cuts.

Saw parallelism to the table travel is checked by cutting small stock (1/8" dowel works, or a coffee stirrer) and noting the position of the stock at the end of the blade. The screws that hold the keel to the acetyl travelers are in slotted openings for the necessary parallelism adjustment.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 06:14 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Fixturing, Work Holding Requirements &
The Cutting Experience with Appropriate Applications  (continued)

Stops & Clamps

Included in the package are two complete universal wood stops. They work with both straight or mitered cuts. It is preferable to use these clamps which trap your stock between the fence and the clamp jaws as opposed to top-down clamps where the force needed to fix the wood can deflect the table (they are slotted and cantilevered over the dovetail ways). A thicker table wasn't an option, for both cost and cutting height capacity. The metal clamps you see in the photos do not come with the Jointmaker Pro & might be available as an accessory later on - they were part of the prototype process and I wanted to try them.

Setting up a basic straight cut using a straight sacrificial fence and one stop.

9220-0     9222-1    9224-2
1.                                                                       2.                                                                       3.


Prefinished Stock (refer to the stepped photos above & below)
Trimming prefinished, delicate trim works well because there is zero tear-out. I cut a primed, five-inch, fluted curved
column detail coming up from the bottom without any tear-out.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:43 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Fixturing, Work Holding Requirements &
The Cutting Experience with Appropriate Applications  (continued)

Setting up a cut using a one stop and a clamped hold down. 

9228-0     9230-1     9232-2
1.                                                                       2.                                                                        3.


« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:40 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Fixturing, Work Holding Requirements &
The Cutting Experience with Appropriate Applications  (continued)

Miter cuts (refer to the stepped photos below)
Remember a six-inch cross cut capacity; does not give you a six-inch miter capacity. Nobody is claiming the Jointmaker Pro is the tool for the guy that needs to make every minute of his day count - it is up to you to ascertain the value of this tool for your needs. Four inch long miters are easily doable.

9236-0     9238-1     9240-2

9246-3     9248-4     9250-5

9252-6     9254-7     9256-8

« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 06:33 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Fixturing, Work Holding Requirements &
The Cutting Experience with Appropriate Applications (continued)

Cutting Dovetails

Dovetails (refer to the stepped photos below)
It is recommended to use a clamp when cutting dovetails. For those with strong hands, hand-holding works, but for most, and for perfect results with no surprises, use the table clamps and fence with sandpaper.

To cut pins, you scribe pencil lines on the top of the tables - this is the reason for the light orange color of the sliding tables. Your pins are chopped out using traditional techniques; however, you can make a couple of extra cuts in the waste area to speed up the process.
...Just a flashing thought, it's 2 am in the morning as I'm writing this and there are two people sleeping upstairs, I could be down here cutting dovetails.

To cut the tails, the blade is then appropriately tilted (using test cuts). A false table of aircraft plywood is attached and cut. (not done below) Now it is easy to cut on the correct side of the line using the kerf in the table as a reference. There really is no way to screw this up.

9164-0           9166-1 
Setting up the the cut to my mark.                                                               One pass, then return.

9168-2           9170-3
Before starting the cut, I set the forward height of the                                   I also set the rear "Pitch Adjuster" to the height of the
blade flush with the top of the sliding tables.                                                      dovetail.

I make three push, return cuts (one on each set), with my fence set at one angle. Then I set the fence from the other side to the same angle and repeat the process to the second cut of each set. Using my hands as a clamp firmly holding the stock to the fence. Being mindful of keeping the blade free of debris.

For more information on making dovetail joints with the Jointmaker Pro, please refer to.........

Bridge City Tools new dovetail video.....


« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:43 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Fixturing, Work Holding Requirements &
The Cutting Experience with Appropriate Applications (continued)


Cutting chamfers... using a stop on the opposing table. Breakout will occur if the stock is not held down properly.The first piece I chamfered was about
3 feet long (the size of a potential table leg) and likely the maximum length without additional support (dead-man bearings would work great).

Little caveats

>    Set your hands over the two rails as you make your cut.

>    In cutting a miter you first set one table at 45 degrees, and you then adjust the second table with a 90 degrees to the already set 45 degrees.

>    Always use clamps to hold your work on each side of the miter.


>   The maximum height of the blade above the sliding tables is 1 5/8 inch, so the maximum crosscut would be a bit over 3 inches, cutting from both sides.

>   I cut a walnut and maple 1 1/2 inch solid stock that was about 36 inches long, using a clamp.....coming close to the maximum length without further support.

>   Crosscuts are limited to a maximum of 6 inches, less for miter cuts.

As I said earlier you are limited to wood stock only at the present time. The blade selection doesn't allow for any plastic based materials.

Prototype vs. Production Model mentions...

The clamp across the back end of the rails in some of the images is there because the prototype rails were out of spec by four thousands of an inch.

The production tables will be a bit narrower, the overhang is not needed.

The tubular struts between the rails will increase from 2 to 3 for each side.

The hex key adjustments on the fence to hold the dovetailed brace for the sacrificial fence will be relocated.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:44 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

 Safety, Health, Ergonomics & the Set Up Requirements for the Jointmaker Pro

On Safety....

Small shop woodworking accidents occur primarily through ignorance (one table saw kick back is enough ...), dull tools (this too falls under ignorance in my opinion) or when taking work holding risks with power equipment. The later belongs in the stupid category - fingers versus powered cutters should never occur. These are moments where a simple misstep could result in a painful recovery or a lifelong injury.  Who would ever guess that it would take a hot dog to make us aware of the risks of a table saw?

Safety means something different to everyone. I once got a good deal on a small Swiss made modelers table saw because the woman I bought it from was fearful of the spinning blade, and all she wanted to make was small boxes.  Will the mechanism on the Jointmaker Pro lock up if you cut a hotdog? No. Will it cut your finger if you put it in harms way? You bet. Is it inherently safer than a table saw/chop saw/radial arm saw? No contest. In a worst case scenario, remember YOU are pushing YOUR finger over the top of the blade - how far do YOU have to go before YOU stop? Is this a tool that you could teach a son, daughter or grandchild how to use safely? Absolutely. And once you do, their cuts will be just as safe and accurate as yours.

As mentioned earlier, the Jointmaker Pro is no more dangerous than any sharp hand saw in my opinion. When used with small stock and moldings it allows the operator to get up close & personal for accurate and repetitive cuts like never before. I know of no other non-powered device than can match the accuracy or speed of the Jointmaker Pro or with less risk. In the two days I worked on the Jointmaker Pro I didn't have to duck my head once to avoid flying projectiles... And for those who are completely risk adverse, the clamping system (John calls them trap clamps) can be used for 99.9% of every crosscut need. Other joinery cuts can be clamped to the fence freeing both hands to work the sliding table.


On Health...

Concerning your ears, nose & mouth. Forget about using your hearing protection and your dust mask - you don't need them. After two days of working on the Jointmaker Pro all the dust settled onto a black cloth that I placed under it for the occasion. (If you are a guy and there is a woman in your life, all you have to do is mention this and guess what you are getting for the holidays?) There are no high speed shrills, whining motors, and no need to fear of waking family or neighbors when working at night. To hear for yourself, visit the Bridge City Tools Dovetail Video and listen after the music ends. I think it is always good practice to wear safety glasses and I can't imagine what could go wrong with the Jointmaker Pro for an eye injury to occur, but I do know there is a reason these unforeseen events are called "accidents".


On Ergonomics...

If you know how to drive a stick shift vehicle, you know about learning curves. The same learning curve is required with the Jointmaker Pro. It is completely new to us woodworkers and works different than any other saw - although there is an innate familiarity with how it works if you know how to use a table saw.  Length of cut and density of material are the two primary variables that will need to be considered when setting blade pitch and depth of cut. I only used the Jointmaker Pro for two short days, and I was getting to the point where it was a "no thinker".  I believe most people will have no difficulty with understanding this new way of cutting wood.

The "power" needed to push the wood across the blade is a non-issue regardless of sex or age once you understand how the tool works. To highlight this point, I had Marissa (one of the BCTW marketing staff) push the blade through a piece of 4/4 walnut stock. (see photos)


« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 06:12 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

 Safety, Health, Ergonomics & the Set Up Requirements for the Jointmaker Pro (con't)

9870-0    9872-1

9874-2    9876-3

Regarding portability, as you can see in the photos above, Michael is not having much of an issue walking with it - it weighs approximately 32 lbs.
(Just make sure you crank down the blade beforehand and tie your shoelaces!)

Set Up Requirements...

This tool needs to be firmly attached to a rigid base and your body height determines the working height. Regardless of your stature, it's very important to position the table, or you, so the sliding tables are at hip level. This is the optimal height for the strokes you make with your arm(s) when cutting. If mounted too low you will kill your lower back. Mounted too high you will find the last two or three inches of travel to be awkward.  I stood on a pallet in Portland because the prototype was mounted to a workbench that was too high for my height. Do not be lazy about this, it is a crucial point!  Lastly, the Jointmaker Pro can either be clamped to a surface or screwed down (it is pre-drilled) using the bottom rails.

In addition to working height, your mounting surface should not be wobbly or out of sorts in any way. Be mindful of a secure stance - the correct positioning of your body as you work minimizes fatigue. I do believe that I could cut on this tool for hours without fatigue. The rhythm you find yourself in is much like a leisurely walk.

Your other option is to say hello to your knees and set it up on a carpet. No clamping required.

Make sure you have enough light (.021" kerf is really small) and then fire it up!

Hmm, probably best not to start on an empty stomach...

In Summary...

Safety, accuracy, no utility power, and shop space requirements are the major selling points of this tool in my opinion. When you consider that you do not need dust collection (or the associated costs and noise), nor hearing protection, and the cuts are cleaner than anything you have ever seen (there are several blog comments about the quality of cut by Chris Schwarz at Popular Woodworking that I cannot argue with after my experience, they are unbelievable), this tool will be a welcome addition to any shop where those traits are a major part of the value proposition.  I never thought of this as consideration before, but being able to work without missing a note of my favorite music is a big deal to me.            

Chris's blog......

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 11:47 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Value Thoughts on Engineering, Materials & Craftsmanship

Last August John Economaki conceived of a way to safely make repetitive cuts using a hand saw. The first prototype involved a Japanese handsaw held upside-down in a wood vise. The second permutation was a simple butcher-block with miter gage slots. This evolved to ball bearing linear tables (see photos below) and a tilting blade. The noise from the ball bearings, in addition to cost factors led to yet another version. All in all, there were over 40 digital (computer) versions and four different working prototypes built. Eleven months later, the Jointmaker Pro is being released for manufacture. Barring surprises, the production time for the first edition will be 3 months and units will be delivered in November. (I just received a comprehensive list of changes from the prototype I worked on when I was in Portland and I will note this in a later update.)

If you glance back at the assembly section you have to notice the engineering aspects of a device representing twenty-five years of tool design experience. The Jointmaker Pro features the same sensibility & engineering that has gone into every plane, square or measuring device BCT produced. The Jointmaker Pro works for a reason; it is the singular passion of an out-of-the box thinker and it works unlike anything I have ever seen - or used.

It is my desire to provide FOG members with an accurate assessment of this new tool based upon my unbiased experience in Portland working with one of the prototypes. As part of my research, I have read many of the discussions on Internet forums regarding the Jointmaker Pro. Outside of positive comments, most of the negativity involved the selling price and/or, the tool is "cheating". Here's a sampling;

"the concept is innovative and you can't deny the results. But it takes away the portability factor of the handsaw, and the price, hmm! Besides it doesn't have the tactile quality of a hand tool that draws most of us to them."

"At this price, I would like to see the blade be set to rise automatically each stroke, vs. having to push, then hand crank up the blade, over n over. I think it would add tremendously to the "usability" factor."

"Just curious.... If anyone uses this to cut dovetails, would we still call them "hand-cut" dovetails? And if so, how do we distinguish those from ones cut using just saws and chisels"

"Over the next few weeks, I will be building more of these tables and I could really use a saw like that."

"Where's the cord"

"I had the chance to see and use the BC saw in person. The inventor gave a demo to a group of us. All I can say is you have to use it to understand. He came up with the idea to cut the very small and detail moldings made by the small multi hand plane they sell.
All i can say is I don't care how good or expensive a hand saw is or how skilled a woodworker is. You will NEVER make as clean and straight a cut as this saw will. This is from Hands on experience. The cut on end grain is smoother than glass. That said I think I will hold off for the $19.99 Harbor Freight unit LOL!!! "

"I just can't cut small pieces on a powered miter saw like that!"

"A Challenge? Be interesting to watch a you-tube video of Rob Cosman hand cutting a dovetail vs. someone using the Bridge City "hand-cutting" machine. Bet Cosman would win (time-wise)! Maybe his cuts wouldn't be quite as precise--but you wouldn't be able to detect that once the joints were assembled."

"I also do model railroading and radio control airplanes. A saw like this could cut down the time required to build a plane (like my 1/4 piper cub) by 90%!!! I think something like that would be worth about $600, but I could imagine paying that much for it. I'd also write some letters to the company trying to see if I could get a discount somehow."

"At first hand appearances, I would have thought $99 or so, which makes me now wonder where they used the gold plating, since I can't see any in the photos"

...taken on a philosophical level, a Poet Sage once stated;

"Price is relative.
 As long as a tool fits a need it can be priceless.
 I would have gladly paid a thousand dollars for an adjustable wrench
 the day I was stuck in the Painted Desert."

9866-0    9868-1

After my two-day experience with the Jointmaker Pro, I sat down with John and Michael over dinner and a beer and among other topics, cost bubbled to the top.  They were both frank about managing costs and I can share the following for those who think this tool is obscenely overpriced;

1. The tool weights approximately 32 pounds - most of this is in aluminum plate which is almost $4.00/lb.

2. For those of you that are not familiar with anodizing, it is not inexpensive and adds over $100 in cost to the unit.

3. The screws, nuts, knobs, gears, and washers, IN BULK cost the company almost $50.

4. John and Michael are very proud of the fact that with the exception of the Japanese made blade, the Jointmaker Pro is an American product  where all involved make a living wage.

These are the only costs I agreed to share. But you can see, without turning on a lathe, or milling machine, building fixtures, or adding a profit margin, or any attempt to recoup R&D costs, or adding the fees for patents, there is simply over $250 in raw material/finishing expenses. So for those who are anxiously awaiting the Harbor Freight version for $45, I for one just don't see this happening - EVER.  A good dozuki saw runs $30-$90. 

We talked about CNC machining verses water jet cutting and John explained to me that the surface from a water jet cut still needs to....."be cleaned up with a milling machine for the tool to work smoothly. With the high speed milling machines used today, it makes no economic sense to do both."

An engineer I know, who works for a well known research laboratory, read my review and asked me why John hasn't used off the shelf ceramic glides in place of the custom made nylatron glides or to use ceramic components in place of other machined aluminum components. John replied "ceramic glides are not inexpensive and don't address the negative feed issues this tool creates during use. However, if he has knowledge of such a solution, please have him contact me."

As to the "cheating" aspect that has come up on forums, one needs to understand that a chisel is still required for waste removal. We discussed this at length and John does not feel bound by traditional techniques, he is focused on creating a positive user experience in a society where practice time is either in short supply or impossible to justify.

One aspect of the Jointmaker Pro that would be familiar to long time Bridge City Tool customers is the 100% satisfaction guarantee that Bridge City Tools maintains. It states that...  If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, simply return the item WITHIN 90 DAYS after receipt for a merchandise exchange or full refund. I don't mean for that to sound like an advertisement, but a fact is a fact.



One late breaking news item...

Bridge City is going to offer the Jointmaker Pro pre-assembled for an additional $249. This cost includes the labor and added packaging expenses and is in direct response to my comments that there are potential customers who would greatly appreciate this service. (this would not include the actual shipping costs)


And this just in.......

This review would NOT be complete without a list of the changes I just received from John Economaki at Bridge City Tools outlining the changes from the Jointmaker Pro prototype to the production model coming out within 90 days.
So here it is......

After three months of using and demonstrating the Jointmaker Pro prototypes, the following changes have been made -- the production version is being released for manufacture next week.
Front and Rear Plates

>         Width changed from 16.25" to 13.7"
>         10 Non-threaded holes added, three on each side and four along the top (each plate)   
            for shop-made accessories (i.e., auxiliary supports for long stock, stop rails, etc).
>         Grooves for square nuts and finger stops tightened to eliminate play.
>         Rear plate now accepts finger stops
>         Crescent cutout at the top of each plate removed for new linear rail locations.

Top Plates & Linear Motion Carriage Changes

>         Top plates: width changed from 9.875" to 8.01", Length changed from 10.25" to 10.5"
>         Nine threaded holes added to facilitate user-made jigs and fixtures
>         Rubber bumpers increased in size from .5" Dia to .750" Dia.
>         Linear guides changed from Nylatron to acetyl. Eliminates swelling to do humidity changes and increases lubricity.
>         Linear guides lengthened to improve function with one hand use.
>         Linear guides shifted closer to blade to improve function with one hand use.
>         Dovetailed ways and bottom rails shortened by 1-1/2"
>         Top plates will be laser etched to indicate danger zone when blade is tilted.
>         Fence locking slots redesigned to for ease of use and quicker changes.

Engineering Changes

>         Crank handle is now locked with a jam nut as opposed to a set screw
>         Thrust bearing added to front shaft to improve gear train operation
>         Acetyl travelers used for blade tilt redesigned to improve user calibration process
>         Acetyl travelers are now identical allowing for finger stops to be used on the rear plate.
>         Blade guide uprights are more robust for increased support
>         Blade guide uprights are now dovetailed at the top to receive the blade guides
>         Blade guides are dovetailed to slide in blade guide uprights?this makes it impossible to miss-align the guides in relation to the saw blade.
>         Blade pitch center changed to improve rigidity
>         Pitch block redesigned to eliminate play.
>         Pitch screw now has a knob for finer and easier adjustments
>         Acetyl travelers in front and back plate redesigned to ease assembly.
>         Cup washers eliminated from saw spine to ease blade changes.
>         Dovetailed ways are now separated by three spacer rods as opposed to two. This will ease table alignment and accuracy.
>         Linear motion geometry completely redesigned for one hand use with both tables bridged.
Fence and Clamp Block Changes

>         Fence locking levers replaced with knobs to remove risk of levers hitting blade accidentally. This also improves ergonomics in use.
>         Universal clamp blocks redesigned for both flat and trap clamping as well as square
           and miter cuts.
>         Sacrificial fence locks to supports with one dovetail nut per side as opposed to two?speeds set-ups dramatically.
>         Dovetail nut changed from 60 degrees (inclusive) to 28 degrees. Sacrificial fences can be user made with readily available 14 degree router bits.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 06:04 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Potential Users & Specific Applications

As mentioned earlier, the Jointmaker Pro is one of those tools where creative applications and ideas occur that were previously unimaginable by hand. From my perspective the tool is appealing because of the quality and accuracy of the cut. The lack of noise and dust is almost difficult to describe. Each of those traits alone will appeal to various potential customers.  And the Jointmaker Pro has a very appealing safety factor.  No moving blade is very reassuring to those with ten remaining fingers. 

I would say it is a false assumption that the Jointmaker Pro is for miniatures or small stock only. With a cutting capacity of 6'' and a depth of cut of 1-3/4'', the tool will make many of the cuts needed for numerous projects.  It requires very little space and could be part of a hand-tool only shop in a spare bedroom.  It clearly is not a rip saw, is not advertised as a rip saw and competes very well in the accuracy department with most chop saws - which are also not rip saws. As mentioned earlier, if you need to make every single second of your day pay, this may not be the tool for you.

I believe the list of potential users is strong...

Artisans; Luthiers,  Lute makers, Artists, Woodturners, etc...

Hobbyists & Craftspeople;  Dollhouse Makers, Boxmakers,  Birdhouse makers, Parquetry, Model Railroaders,  etc...

Professionals; Architects, Architectural Model Makers, Interior designers, Inlay floor design makers, Furniture Makers, Woodworkers, Set Design Studios,  Pattern Makers, Tool Makers,  Picture Framers  etc...

Architectural,  Multi Media Art Programs, etc...

And so on and so on....

Applications encompassing ...

Miters, Joinery, Dovetails, Tenons, Veneer Cutting, Miniature Cuts, Guitar Frets, Pre-finished Moldings

Chamfers, Short rip strokes up to about 6 inches, Sequential Cuttings for turners, dowel cuttings, decorative design cuttings,

Repetitive Exact cuts and so forth...

In summary, as a member of FOG, you must be acutely aware that there are many woodworkers, perhaps most, 
who think we are crazy for buying quality. I need say no more regarding the value proposition of the Jointmaker Pro.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 02:30 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Summary of my experience

I confess, prior to my Portland visit I had a broad agenda of ideas and projects I wanted to complete. My expectations of the first day included assembling the Jointmaker Pro and splitting the rest of my time between training and cutting exercises. I seriously considered convincing John that at the end of the day one,  I should retire with the Jointmaker Pro to my hotel room for another 3 hours to cut a sample design for a shoji screen (I had pre-milled the lengths of maple I needed). Day two would be devoted to a sculptural project in which I had pre-cut, laminated panels to take advantage of the repetitive angles possible. Well... no plan survives the collision with reality and the large 6" x 6" x 48" box of wood samples has been shipped back to my shop...  the obvious capabilities of this tool required no such effort.

Just for fun, I designed and executed a woodworking project without ear shattering noise. (a rare occasion) It was a simple, sculptural, light switch plate made possible with the Jointmaker Pro and one of Bridge City Tools beading planes (another review for another time). I still ponder the experience of making a meaningful, useful item without power and I can't wait for this creation to continue to inspire me towards a complete offering of switch plates for my clients - good tools push designers into directions they never imagined.  But I digress...

After reading this review you should have a sense of how the Jointmaker Pro is both assembled and calibrated. You should understand how it holds work and the motions required to cut, and its peculiarities and limitations. I will never say this is a tool you should own or not own - I can only speak for myself. I do believe that had you been able to stand by my side during my two days in Portland you would have a difficult time getting this tool out of your mind.  Using the title "Paradigm Shift" should be telling itself.

In summary, the Jointmaker Pro is a new device that invites new ways of thinking. Allow yourself the time & patience to get acquainted with what will probably be a lifelong relationship. There is a learning curve to fully realize the capabilities of this instrument. It is not a panacea and it is not a replacement for a table saw, nor is it a tool (in my opinion) for those steeped in tradition or those bound by speed. Simply stated, the Jointmaker Pro allows you to cut wood, by hand, as accurate, maybe more so (as unbelievable as that may sound), as any traditional method. It uses human power, makes almost no noise and even less mess.  I encourage you, if possible, to test one yourself... it is that different.

Thank you for taking the time to read my comments, I did the best I could in the two days (not enough time when one is having fun) and would be happy, to the best of my ability, to answer any questions this review left unanswered.


Roger Savatteri

P.S. It is my understanding that Bridge City's introductory price for the Jointmaker Pro will be $995. For more information contact the company.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 05:32 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Parting Shots....

"The Bridge City Toolworks" Core Team...


John, Natasha, Marissa & Michael


John, Myself & Michael

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 03:24 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507


"This space is being reserved for possible future additions"
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 02:32 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

"This space is being reserved for possible future additions"

« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 02:32 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2743
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Interesting!  I look forward to receiving more information.  You must anticipate that there will be a great deal of information based on all the spacve that you have reserved.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 07:38 PM by Frank Pellow »
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

Offline Dave Rudy

  • Posts: 770
  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Interesting!  I lookl forward to receiving more information. 


Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507
Interesting!  I look forward to receiving more information.  You must anticipate that there will be a great deal of information based on all the spaces that you have reserved.  ;D


I have a wealth of photos of the assembly process, different fixturing and stages of work during those two intense days.

Once all the chapters are written I think it would be nice to see it in one flow with ease, especially regarding new
members who first need to navigate thru the tread.

So first there would be all the information with a discussion to follow both during and
after the process of putting out the chapters I referred to above.

So I did what they do in LA when they have events, they tape off parking spaces!

Except here I'll need to park photo files (and print).

« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 01:17 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
It looks like you're building an exciting presentation here!  This is going to be good.  And you found an interesting way to reserve "parking space" for your discussion!  Just let me know if you eventually want all those different posts merged into one.

In honor of your effort, I have just added a new "Message icon" to the drop-down list that members can use to signify when their discussion is under construction!

It is called, appropriately enough, "Under Construction" and looks like this ...

So, Roger, if you want you can go back and edit your posts to use this message icon to make it clear this is a work in progress!

Keep up the good work, and let us know how it's going.

FOG Designer and Creator

Offline Roger Savatteri

  • Posts: 507

Thank you for the symbol, that was a nice touch.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 01:17 PM by Roger Savatteri »
Los Angeles, California

Offline tallgrass

  • Posts: 1018
ok roger................ i am watching with my critical eye ;D......lets see it.

Offline Ron Dunn

  • Posts: 43
You're writing a review, not a book. Forget the fancy layout, just get on with it.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 6374
You're writing a review, not a book. Forget the fancy layout, just get on with it.

But don't leave anything out  :)

Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2743
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
You're writing a review, not a book. Forget the fancy layout, just get on with it.

Don't be so impatient Ron.  ;D  By the way, I see that this is your forst post, so let be the first to welcome you to the Festool Owner's Group forum.

Roger, I appreciate your doing this and I encourage you to take all the time that you think is necessary.
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)