Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unusual tools: Copydex Jointmaster

The "Jointmaster" was first offered for sale in the 70's.  (A decade earlier the name of this device would have suggested an entirely different purpose!)  Described by its manufacturer as a "precision made sawing jig", these odd things turn up from time to time in my area.  It's a die-cast tool with a stove enamel finish, which holds workpieces by means of plastic dowel pins in order to make cuts between 45 and 90 degrees.  It originally retailed for £4.50.  In it's Mark I form, it apparently won a Gold Medal at the 1972 International Inventors Fair held in Brussels.

The jig was produced by the Copydex Manufacturing Company, Ltd., with headquarters on Torquay Street in London, England.  Copydex seems to have been best known as a manufacturer of glues, particularly a fishy-smelling rubber cement reputedly invented by someone with the improbable name of "Jim Bean Sherwood." Apparently, among other uses, actors applied it to ensure that their false eyelashes remained in place during long theatre performances.  How they put up with the constant fishy odour isn't recorded. 

Copydex went in for goofy product names, offering products such as "Chukka Cement," "Niftytape" and "Wundergrip."  In another claim to fame, the firm was involved in a 1967 legal case, Seager vs Copydex, in which they were found guilty of appropriating someone else's patented carpet grip.  The decision now seems to be an oft-cited precedent in British corporate law. 

At some point, Copydex became Unibond-Copydex, and was then acquired in 1986 by the hoary German chemical company Henkel, which continues to market the fishy glue under it's original name.  The Jointmaster, in contrast, appears to have been relegated to the dust bin.

From what I can determine from the instructions posted by someone online, the Jointmaster is something of a Rube Goldberg affair, requiring you to move the plastic dowels, insert a wedge, and otherwise over-complicate the sawing activities.  Its functions can be better performed using other tools, leaving the actual Jointmaster to be best preserved as a curiosity.


Anonymous said...

For what it may be worth, I still have one of these. I have always found it to be very useful and I only wish that I could get spares. Its use is heavilly dependant on the polythene? Nylon? spacers at the top of the saw guides. Without a supply of those it is of little use.
Tony Jaques... for vegan shoes boots and belts said...

I have just sold mine but scanned the instructions for posterity, in case anyone anywhere finally gets-around to learning joint-making skills on it as they suggest.

I can't help with spares though. The dowells looked as though they could be improvised with wood. There were some rubber grommits. And maybe something like sprung steel from any old clock-type spring would work to guide the saw? Or sprung nylon? Improvisation skills are required.

Oh, here are the instructions

I don't mind if anyone copies the images onto other blogs

The Duke said...

Thanks so much for the link! Up until now, all I've ever been able to find by way of online instructions for this tool were low-quality scans of tiny size. Your instructions are excellent! Like you, I like to scan instructions about tools before I sell them, exactly because I've been in the position of trying to locate information either to find it's unavailable, or some Ferengi wants to sell it for silly money. So, kudus to you, my friend! Having said that, it's still a goofy tool.

Jointmaster said...

I've found one in a shed at a property I just bought, still in original box, with instructions. Looks unused, if anyone is interested

Anonymous said...

Do u still have it in interested

Kam said...

I've one boxed

Kam said...

I've one boxed for sale

Anonymous said...

How much? I got one but lost the thumb screw