Hopefully I don't appear antagonistic above. I've been making pickles since the 70's and relatives or friends of the family have made them before me - especially the fermented types. I love the Katz' book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods too, and only find a little fault with his brine method especially for kimchi. As I've mentioned I measure salt per the whole product and not in only the brine. And as for kimchi - I don't use brine - I add salt to the chinese cabbage and veges, let it macerate overnight, then add the spices the next day and ferment from there. That was how Korean grandmothers taught me! But way before I even bought that book I was making cucumber pickles, okra pickles, green beans (these were not successful - but I think there is a way they would be), sweet corn on the cob, sauerkraut, kimchi (using many different veges, fruits, and fish/shellfish), radish, turnips, greens, green tomato, and probably more I forgot about, through biological fermentation. I worked out ways for it work for me - often by perusing books and talking to people who've done it successfully. I've also experimented - but with a pretty good understanding of the process (I'm a biologist). It irks me to see how much misinformation is out there and it's hard for me to keep quiet. For instance, famous chefs have talked about sauerkraut being pickled in vinegar (no - it's cabbage and salt plus fermentation). I am not tied down to one method either, but I do tend to stick to some guidelines. I make pickles in plastic bags sometimes! Anyway keep trying and you will make something you like. I am really intrigued by using an airlock - like the kind used for home-brewing - I think that may be a very successful method.
The Bubbies pickles are wonderful. I have made some that are very much like theirs. I think they achieve them by keeping things very consistent - which pretty much requires large batches, fresh cucumbers, a particular cucumber variety (not a secret one, just the same one so their process works consistently), and controlled temperatures. Also look at their label - they use calcium chloride - for crisping - as I usually do with cucumbers. It's a naturally occurring salt found in sea salt - as well as other salts found as deposits from ancient bodies of water - so don't be afraid. This is used instead of grape leaves, cherry leaves (these are not recommended anymore as they contain cyanide - but only in small amounts usually...), horseradish leaves, etc. I've not found these to work that well, but I do like the flavor of horseradish leaves. Also Bubbies kosher pickles contain live cultures and keep in the fridge for a long time (once opened they will not keep as long, and will slowly loose crispness). Transfer home-made pickles to smaller jars with plastic lids and fill to near the brim with the brine they've been pickled in, and top off with pure water as necessary (almost no air space but not zero, or you will get leakage), and they will keep longer once opened - well you will eat a smaller jar faster - so they aren't in the opened-jar stage for long! Keep in the fridge, or a seasonal cold spot like a garage (that does not get much below freezing). You can water-bath can them to make them shelf stable, but you will loose crispness and the live culture as well. For me, vinegar based pickles work better for this method (which I also make and like).