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Update on our Standard line


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Today we received heartbreaking news that our principal engineer behind the Standard line has passed suddenly and unexpectedly. Tom was instrumental in planning, fabricating and maintaining Standard products as well as other CPW items such as the Block-Aid, Choker conversions, and Stub lifts. 

We do hope to carry on with the Standard line, but need time to make major overhauls to that supply chain. It's impossible to exaggerate how integral Tom was to the feasibility of the brand. He provided superb craftsmanship at rates which made the projects make sense. He was passionate about the work. Tom was also a friend. More updates about Standard will come in 2023, but right now we just miss Tom dearly.  


Matt Cannon

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Some promising updates. We met with a local Minnesota shop this week to discuss manufacture and assembly of Standard Grippers. This might be a really good fit. They actually knew Tom from the equipment auction circuit. Since they did similar work they were often bidding against each other for tools. There is a possibility that all Standard grippers will get pinned handles going forward. Tom admittedly had trouble with this application. It was labor intensive and ate up drill bits at an alarming rate. However this shop has different machinery and feels that pinned handles is the best, quickest and cheapest solution over glue. We cannot deny that the pins have a classic, old-timer aesthetic that is hard to beat.

Choker conversions will likely be back soon. 

Standard Adjustable sets might be on the chopping block. This was an idea I had early when I got into grip; making springs with universal barrels so all handles and springs would be interchangeable. They are expensive to produce and the set screws are not perfect. Early on we switched to cup-point set screws which have more "bite" but then also chew up the aluminum barrels quicker. Right now I'm still not sure if this project makes sense going forward. 

Block-Aid is likely discontinued. These did not sell well and while we have a bunch of unused parts, I might just scrap this one. There are a few which were already built available in the store at a decent discount. That might be it for those.  

More to come. It's a process :flowers:


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  • 2 months later...

Making some progress! Standard could be back in April. We have some handle prototypes from Justin at the new shop and have approved the knurling. When Tom was making the grippers, it was mainly by hand in small batches. In the new shop, fabrication will be mostly automated but we want to retain the look and feel of the original grippers. Nothing is changing with the springs as all. The handle differences may actually be positives. The handles will be pinned for sure. Justin can automate that process where glue is a very manual, messy and more expensive solution. Also glue can fail but pins cannot so it should be a better product. Second, the Standard logo and gripper level will be engraved all at once when the handle is turned. The engravings will look slightly different, but we really like the look. It's not laser engraving but rather physical engraving. The automation in Justin's shop should allow us to have a much better supply. We should even be able to offer "Any 3" type discounts like we do with other brands. 

We are almost there! :)  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tentative brand engraving. Justin cannot import the font we used to make the stamp. And thinner lines looked better. With thicker lines the tool path was really apparent. I give into “serendipity” whenever possible. This is what Justin did and I really like it so I lean into that. It makes it feel like it came to life instead of being the sum of a bunch of decisions. 



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Examples of the probable level engravings. We took advantage of what the machine can do and made them a little bigger. I really like them. One note is that the bevels are NOT correct. We kept trying different sizes of letters and kept buzzing off the last ones so we didn’t waste a bunch of handles. It’s fun to visit Justin’s shop. We’re proud to still source the work for Standard locally in Minnesota. 


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A Standard gripper exists!

This was basically proof of process. Justin got to the point where we needed to see if the process and fixtures resulted in an acceptable gripper. There are a few wrinkles to iron out which make this not quite yet a production gripper. There is an undeniable "Tetting-ness" to them because of the pins (which is really the only way they are different than the glued version). We are not pretending this is novel or clever--it's just quicker, cheaper, stronger and cooler. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Probably the final update before the regular line is back. I just saw a quote that hit home: "Prototypes are easy, production is hard." 

April gave way to another problem I was not expecting to address. The knurling tool leaves the handles dirty with an extremely fine dark mysterious particles. I'm not sure what else to call it. Whatever it is, it's odd stuff. It's resilient to being cleaned with soap and water, but then readily comes off on your hand. Tom had this problem too, he told me about it once. But then he would deliver bright, fresh parts and I don't know exactly how he was doing that. So we have a bunch of parts made but need to figure out how to clean them. I'm meeting with a company about that tomorrow. They are in business to clean parts and Justin has used them before. They can clean a thousand parts at once. They specialize in cryogenic stuff and ultrasonic stuff, but our project won't require anything like that. They'll be able to dip them in something and rinse. 

I think it's finally the home stretch. In February, I thought it would take until March. In March, I thought it would take until April. Now here we are at the end of April. This isn't fully decided yet, but the re-released line might see a couple changes after all. I am leaning toward using the wide iron springs to make another gripper between Iron and Cobalt called Nickel. As with the Legacy grippers, we will probably use a variety of mounts so they come out all over the place. Those might all have to be pre-rated, I'm not sure yet.    

Once we have a process and inventory, we can look to other things. I will see if we can make pinned Unobtainium because I still have 30 of those springs and theoretically could reorder (although they didn't like making these and got the impression it could have been a one-time thing). I can also see about adjustable grippers. We have also been talking about special edition Standards with brass or stainless handles. 

In other news, I found another different shop that was interested in quoting the choker conversion work. I hope to hear from them next week as well.

Here's hoping May is incredibly eventful! :flowers: 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oookay, we got the etching process sorted. Handles look the same as before. 

The only update I have is that the levels will be back one at a time. It's not what I wanted, but this is better than nothing. 

Gold will be first and that is soon. May for sure. This wasn't supposed to be first, but somehow we ended up prototyping with Gold. 

Iron is next.

After that it will probably be Cobalt, Platinum, Silver, Tungsten then Titanium. 

Some of the grippers where the quantities are lower we can combine in with another level. Tin and Zinc for example.

So close. 



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