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Bridge City Tools—replacement blades years later available?

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Forum topic by DrTebi posted 10-09-2019 09:30 PM 1058 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DrTebi

323 posts in 3779 days


10-09-2019 09:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bridge city tool works blades hand planes

I must admit, many of the bridge city tools hand planes, whether the latest ones or legacy planes, are quite beautiful and oftentimes very cleverly designed.

There is just one thing I wonder about, with all these limited production runs, what does one do when a blade needs to be replaced? For example… I really like the HP-6 model, but, even if I could find one used, not being able to get spare replacement blades would probably stop me from buying one.

Does anyone have experience with this? They (BCT) say they fix any old plane, and have replacement parts… so maybe they stock replacement blades as well?


16 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3914 posts in 1087 days


#1 posted 10-09-2019 10:15 PM

Are you actually doing that amount of work with any hand plane that scarcity of the exactly correct steel is a show stopper? I have a 60 1/2 Stanley that I covet, it was my first NEW plane, and I have used that puppy a LOT, I would think literally miles of wood has seen this plane, and I still have a Century of use left in the blade.

I think you worry about something that will not become an issue.

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1898 posts in 2007 days


#2 posted 10-09-2019 11:45 PM

+1 > I think you worry about something that will not become an issue!

BTW:

Do you know that Harvey Industrial in China bought out Bridge City Tools in Portland, Oregon in 2018?

Do you also realize that the current Bridge City Tool Works is now in CA, and is actually a division of Harvey Industries International? Harvey Industries International has also authorized a 3rd party repair business in US for legacy BCT tools?

Even if BCT plane blade was not available through official channels; Ron Hock makes custom plane blades :-)

As a last resort: Most any competent machine shop can cut tool steel. It might be expensive to custom cut one new blade, but it can be done easily today, or even hundred years from now. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE for me to believe that you can not obtain a new blade for any plane, new or old; unless of course the world ceases to exist tomorrow?

Bottom line: If you want a BCT plane, stop making excuses, just go buy one.

Cheers!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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pottz

6389 posts in 1497 days


#3 posted 10-09-2019 11:53 PM

yeah if you ever wear out the blade your doing a hell of lot of planing,go for it and dont worry.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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SMP

1401 posts in 418 days


#4 posted 10-10-2019 02:45 AM



Are you actually doing that amount of work with any hand plane that scarcity of the exactly correct steel is a show stopper? I have a 60 1/2 Stanley that I covet, it was my first NEW plane, and I have used that puppy a LOT, I would think literally miles of wood has seen this plane, and I still have a Century of use left in the blade.

I think you worry about something that will not become an issue.

- therealSteveN

I have a stanley 60 1/2 that is probably 70 or 80 years old…original blade and i am sure it will outlive me.

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DrTebi

323 posts in 3779 days


#5 posted 10-10-2019 03:44 AM

Well OK… you all made your point and it makes sense.

I think I should have been a bit more specific: There is an HP-6 available on the used marked, but it actually comes without and blade… and also without a bottom plate (it’s that plane that has replaceable bottoms for different molding shapes etc.).

Sooooo… it would be lovely to get that plane, but without the bottom piece and a blade, I would be stuck. Unless, of course, there is a place where I can get them.

And that is basically what I am wondering about. Because if someone bought the HP-6 and didn’t get all the available blades and bottoms, then what? Sold-out legacy tool, no more parts/accessories?

BTW, I heard about the take-over of a Chinese company. I suppose there is another thread somewhere already where I can read more about that. Not sure whether that helps answering my question though, maybe I missed the point?

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1898 posts in 2007 days


#6 posted 10-10-2019 07:06 AM

You missed one point:

Why not call BCT and/or BCT Legacy Repair and get official answer on parts availability?

https://bridgecitytools.com/pages/contact

Quoted from site:

Our hours of operation in our Montclair, CA headquarters beginning August 6, 2018 are Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM PST.

Please note that our Portland, OR office closed on July 31, 2018.

Our new location starting August 6, 2018 is:
Bridge City Tool Works
Harvey Industries International DBA Harvey Industries
10830 Ada Ave.
Montclair, CA. 91763

Use the form below, or feel free to email us with your questions or comments to [email protected] You may also call us at (800) 253-3332

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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DrTebi

323 posts in 3779 days


#7 posted 10-10-2019 07:55 AM

Right. I guess I could just do that… just thought someone here may have had their own experience to share, hence I asked.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

10963 posts in 1651 days


#8 posted 10-10-2019 12:54 PM

Looks like that plane was sold as the body only and then you bought irons and soles to use on it with different profiles etc. A quick search did not turn up any irons and soles for sale. I would say you can grind your own irons easily for the profiles you want but, you’d have to make matching soles to go with… BCT does not sell the plane any longer and unless you can find iron and sole pairs you can buy, I’d let that one go.

It’s a sexy little devil though :-))

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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HokieKen

10963 posts in 1651 days


#9 posted 10-10-2019 01:04 PM

Little more digging… Looks like there are a few irons they still make small batches of based on demand. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any soles for sale on their site.

I know you were looking at the Bridge City specifically. But, if one were in the market for a combination plane, I’d suggest they look at the Veritas offering ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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DrTebi

323 posts in 3779 days


#10 posted 10-12-2019 05:00 AM



Little more digging… Looks like there are a few irons they still make small batches of based on demand. Unfortunately, I didn t see any soles for sale on their site.

I know you were looking at the Bridge City specifically. But, if one were in the market for a combination plane, I d suggest they look at the Veritas offering ;-)

- HokieKen


Thanks a lot, just saw your post.

I will check out the Veritas, might be a much easier route.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1102 days


#11 posted 10-12-2019 05:21 AM


Little more digging… Looks like there are a few irons they still make small batches of based on demand. Unfortunately, I didn t see any soles for sale on their site.

I know you were looking at the Bridge City specifically. But, if one were in the market for a combination plane, I d suggest they look at the Veritas offering ;-)

- HokieKen

Thanks a lot, just saw your post.

I will check out the Veritas, might be a much easier route.

- DrTebi

Kenny knows his stuff for sure and I take his advice seriously. Bridge city planes are fascinating from an engineer’s perspective, but in the long run a good Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen will perform as well, if not better.

I do have their HP-8 block plane, which is unique in that the skids allow it to be used as a thickness planer for very small stock. It’s something I need for specialty work, but for regular bench planes, I’ll stick with the name brands.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

10963 posts in 1651 days


#12 posted 10-12-2019 03:05 PM

To be transparent, I recommend the Veritas based on word of mouth. I don’t own, nor have I used one. I have a vintage Stanley 45. But if I were in the market for a new one with more modern features, I’d be inclined toward the Veritas.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3914 posts in 1087 days


#13 posted 10-12-2019 03:51 PM

The biggest one thing about the current state of BCTW is that Economaki based his entire business model on the factoid his tools are not that Chinese junk. For years he told the story of talking to them once, and they took him on a grand tour of where they made drill bits.

Anyone here who had him expound already knows this story, he told it all the time. It was that only the 1/8”, 1/4” and 3/6 drill bits were actually made of good metal in your Horrible Frieght set of 27,000 drill bits. Because stupid American market only ruses these sizes, his guide explains in broken Engrish…...... He would even do the voice. BTW it was from John that I first heard Horrible Fright used to describe Harbor Freight.

So he goes on the explain, he would never do business with those people who would be so deceptive as to use crap metals on the other sizes, to keep costs low.

Then he goes to sell, and guess who he sells to, what he said he hated…..

I always thought Lee Valley/Veritas were miles ahead in quality, and innovation.

-- Think safe, be safe

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HokieKen

10963 posts in 1651 days


#14 posted 10-12-2019 11:07 PM

The high-end boutique tool market is a tough niche to crack and make a name for yourself in. Economaki managed to do so and to make a long and profitable career from it. I always felt the BCTW tools were prohibitively over priced and over engineered. Not that they don’t work well, just too many unnecessary bells and whistles IMO.

All that said, BC tools are probably the sexiest tools made IMO and there’s no denying they’re solid users. I’m fortunate enough to have been gifted one of their saddle squares by a fellow LJ a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful tool and superbly designed and crafted.

Point to this ramble is just that I don’t want anyone to mistake me recommending the Veritas as A recommendation against the BCTW plane. In this case, it’s a simple matter of parts availability.

I have the utmost respect for Economaki and for what he created at Bridge City. His design work and craftsmanship are second to none. However, I would very much prefer that he hadn’t sold out to such a large conglomerate that caters to mass market rather than discriminating users. I have to assume that it was very advantageous for him and his family financially. Can’t really fault him for that ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1102 days


#15 posted 10-13-2019 01:29 PM


Because stupid American market only ruses these sizes, his guide explains in broken Engrish…......

- therealSteveN

I’m frankly shocked at the callousness of that sort of derogatory comment. It might be worth reviewing the LumberJock site rules, in particular number 3.

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