July 31st of 2018 Bridge City Tool Works changed hands and location from Portland OR to Montclair CA. I felt in my soul that one last “pilgrimage” to the Portland offices was needed before they closed shop. I made travel arrangements and showed up on Monday when they opened. Wasn’t long after arriving that John “sprung” the idea of me starting my own business and being the guy who would repair the tools that he spent 35 years of his life designing and making. Two trips, 6 days of packing up all the old spares and repair parts from the warehouse and 3 pallets of stuff showed up at my house so I can keep your tools (and my tools) in good order.

My Bridge City Tool Works story begins with an AS-7 in the late ‘90s. I was new to wood working and was suspicious that my cheap square was causing me to make poor cuts. The AS-7 was a major purchase for me; justified by the realization that it would be a tool used every time I made something in my shop- it was also going to be my only purchase; funny in hindsight as I now have or have owned almost every tool Bridge City has made and have multiples of several.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know John Economaki by being a student in several CAD, tool making and Jointmaker Pro classes at the Marc Adams School. I also was selected to be on the “Dream Team” at all of the Woodworking in America shows that the team was a part of; we were a group of four Bridge City customers who demonstrated the tools with the focus on the Jointmaker Pro.

Who knew that making tools as a student in John’s class would be a stepping stone to repairing the tools that I cherish so much.

Rutager West
Rutager West