Chopstick-making Party!

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Earlier this year I got to use an early prototype of the Bridge City Tools Chopstick Master during a trip to Portland, Ore. (Read about that here.) After planing out a pair of Japanese-style sticks, Bridge City founder John Economaki asked if I’d be interested in testing the second prototype.

Hmmm. Food. Woodworking. Could I add alcohol to this equation?

And thus began the idea for the chopstick-making party we held last night. We gathered eight adults and two teen-agers who were mostly non-woodworkers to make chopsticks. Their reward for success? Getting to use their chopsticks instead of their hands to eat Chinese take-out.

Earlier that day I prepared the 7mm x 7mm blanks for the chopsticks using a bunch of exotics and domestics. I was thrilled to get to use some Ancient Kauri (40,000 years old) that has been sitting in the racks for years. Plus bog oak, teak and mahogany left over from “Campaign Furniture,” heart pine from an old factory, Douglas fir, Port Orford cedar and white maple.

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The guests picked their woods and did all the operations themselves as I observed and stopped them from making the occasional mistake. This was the flaw in my food+woodworking+alcohol plan. I had to stay dead sober and be the “responsible” one who kept his “underwear in place.”

Biggest lesson: I had no idea there were so many ways to hold a block plane (pinkies up, really?).

After planing the chopsticks to shape, they sawed the tiny pyramid shape on the ends using an integral sliding table that works like a mini-Jointmaker Pro. Then they sanded the sharp corners and finished their chopsticks with mineral oil.

All in all, everyone was thrilled to get to make something useful with their own hands and in just few minutes of work. All the chopsticks worked great – until we brought out the cheesecake. Then we had to switch to forks.

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I definitely will buy a Chopstick Master when it comes out. It is simply too much fun, and I love anything that bridges the gap between my love of food and woodworking. (This is why I’ve been obsessed with treenware for so long and follow the Hungry Squirrel on Instagram.)

Which begs the question: When will John Economaki invent Fork Master or Teaspoon Master?

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. If you are interested in Chopstick Master you can sign up to be notified when it is available at chopstickmaster.com.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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28 Responses to Chopstick-making Party!

  1. TrevorML says:

    Chris… it does look like a really fun gadget… great dinner party ice breaker 🙂

    what is that cute looking purple honing-guide looking thing?

    cheers from Oz
    Trevor

  2. Designated Woodworker. The short straw.

  3. Dave Nelson says:

    Chris,

    Your link to the Chop stick .com site takes you to the hungry squirrel. BTW production is in China and John has no idea (or at least a few weeks ago) if they would ever be distributed in the USA. Just saying………..

  4. TrevorML says:

    Dave… I only a few days ago have been added to their notification list so assume it will be available elsewhere otherwise not much point being on the notification list 🙂

  5. amvolk says:

    The link to the Chopstick Master at the beginning of the article is still pointing at Hungry Squirrel. I used the bottom one to sign up for the notification.

  6. Chris, if you’re obsessed with treen, are you following Jarrod Stonedahl? His stuff is beautiful and he’s amazingly efficient (I geeked out watching him turn a lamhog at Handworks this summer).

  7. Josh says:

    Chris, What’s the other jig with the red length stop? Thanks, Josh

    • That is the sliding table for sawing the pyramid shape on the top of the sticks.

      The sawblade is clamped to the body of the jig.

      It seems odd until you do it once. And then you are like – oh! Duh!

  8. Every Southerner knows cheesecake is best eaten deep fried on a stick. Fork not required…

  9. Brian says:

    So many beautiful people in your life. Oh, and the chostickmaster looks pretty too. But all this begs the obvious: how were fine chopsticks traditionally made?

  10. rwyoung says:

    Having just enjoyed a few Free State IPAs (and their new pillsner, whit and well…) now I want to both remove my underwear AND make chopsticks. And pick things up with the chopsticks. But not the underwear.

  11. abtuser says:

    Awesome! I signed up for notification when your original post came out. Can’t wait! (Oh, Ommegang Abby Ale with dinner tonight, since we’re sharing).

  12. Jon Quinn says:

    It looks a little like the Morgan Planer Mill that was made to plane tapered triangle sections for making bamboo flyrods, just a couple feet shorter.

  13. Sergeant82d says:

    I know this is practically last weeks news (article), but can you tell/show me more about that beautiful maple chest the CM is sitting on in the third photo?

  14. Nick Gibbs says:

    I’ve loved making chopsticks and think we will try to create a jig to make them in Living Woods magazine (www.living-woods.com) as soon as possible.

  15. Tell me your process for cutting those blanks. That looks like the bear of it.

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