Up North to Sputnik ToolPosted: May 19, 2011
I hired a car in Boston and drove about 6 hours north to Sedgewick, Maine, to visit Jeff Buchholz of Sputnik Tool. Jeff has built his own workshop, and I was really impressed to see that his finely-made fixtures and tools are all made in-house by him alone on a lathe, a Bridgeport milling machine, and only recently, a CNC Millport milling machine.
When I met Drew at Engin Cycles in Philadelphia he had a lot of praise for Jeff’s tools, and Drew knows a thing or two about tools..
Jeff showed me some work in progress, and I took some pictures:
Jeff talked to me about how he used to work at Fat City Cycles and Independent Fabrication, but is mostly self-taught with regard to machining. He struck out on his own when his previous role became more managerial, and he wanted to work with his hands.
Sputnik ships equipment globally, and I was impressed how Jeff didn’t dress things up in marketing spiel, he just makes purposeful, straightforward quality tooling.
Here are some fixture parts awaiting machining:
I really like the fact that Sputnik Tool makes great equipment by one man in his own shop. Moose sometimes stroll past the window next to the blueberry field.
These tools will save a lot of frame builders time and money. I half-jokingly suggested that due to the weight of some of the bigger fixtures, maybe Jeff could licence production in Europe, where many of his customers are based. Jeff replied that the whole point for him was that he enjoys making things himself.
I was sold.