I first heard about Tico Vogt through a mutual friend who’d commissioned him to make various pieces of furniture over the years. Tico’s acclaim as a woodworker was high, but what was of particular interest to me were the tools he began inventing in his workshop. “He’s making some special shooting board or some sort of specialized jig thing I think,” my friend (not a woodworker) said. Intrigued, I paid Tico a visit recently to learn more.
A lot can be gleaned about a person based solely on his/her workshop. A few things that struck me upon first entering Tico’s were the efficient layout, the orderliness, its cleanliness, and how well-stocked it is. Tico’s shop resembled other woodworker’s shops that I’ve visited over the years; I wasn’t at all surprised by how it all looked and felt. What was different about this woodworker’s space, however, were the unique jigs and fences that he was making. This is where craftsmanship and ingenuity meet.
While Tico Voigt is a professional woodworker, he’s also an inspired inventor – an avocation that developed further out of necessity when the economy shifted several years ago. And inventing is in his blood; his father, C. W. Vogt (1891-!973) was an accomplished inventor as well. Under his company name Vogt Toolworks, Tico makes and sells hand-crafted shooting boards and drill press / band saw fences on his website. His use of MagJigs is particularly ingenious.
Tico gave me a tour of his home (all hand-built by him including most of the furniture inside), and then introduced me to each of his inventions. He described their function with the kind of care I imagined he uses when hand-cutting a dovetail joint. Every edge of each board, every piece of the fence he designed were thoughtfully milled and precisely detailed. In some ways, the pieces he’s creating, the shooting boards in particular, are like fine pieces of art in and of themselves. He showed me earlier iterations of both, and pointed out what he’s kept or improved, and what he discarded.
They’re worth a look, especially the drill press / bandsaw fence which have some nice additional features.
"You can learn more about the Vogt Toolworks shooting boards here."
"You can learn more about the drill press/ bandsaw fence here."
Here’s a video of Tico explaining the fence design, as well as a demonstration.