I just got back from the launch party for Crucible Tool at the Lost Art Press, Covington campus. For those not paying attention, Crucible Tool, LLC is a venture by John Hoffman, Raney Nelson and Chris Schwarz  to  design and domestically manufacture high-quality, hand tools for building furniture. They perceive a niche that they need fill.

Interesting event. It looked something like this:


Like this but it’s dark out,  there are close to a hundred people milling about consuming beer and Mr. Schwarz’s hair is almost to mountain man length.

We all knew about their holdfast:


Cast, not forged.

I liked the look, feel and size. My only reservation is that these holdfasts require you to bore and fit a 1″ hole in your bench. With several of the Gramercy holdfasts and one from blacksmith supreme Peter Ross, I am deeply invested in the 3/4″ world for now. I do have some 22 mm. holes for Festool holding devices but I will wait until I build my new bench before considering the bigger holdfasts.

The  promised tool announced last night was a set of 5.75″ calipers. These are based on some vintage/historic patterns and manufactured using modern technology:


Priced at $120. It comes with a driver bit for adjusting hinge tension.

They are a very nicely built, useful tool. Considering the price, would I buy a pair? If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I am not very bright, I am very suggestible and I love Kool-Aid.

They had eight in stock at the launch with more coming soon. I don’t think any of the eight will make it to the Marketplace at Woodworking in America. But there will be more and all orders will be filled in time.

I believe that there is more going on than they are willing/able to let on. On the trip to Covington, I stopped at Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, VA and saw this:


A large pattern mold.


From an interesting company.

With my extensive knowledge of industrial history, I believe the next product is going to be relatively small steam engine to power the line shaft of a small to medium production shop. Like this:


The future of Crucible Tool?

I could be wrong…