The Anarchist's Tool Chest
After researching lists of the core tools one needs to build furniture that were published from 1678
to 1973, former Popular Woodworking Editor, Chris Schwarz, made a list of the 48 hand tools that he considers essential. He sold off the
unnecessary tools in his shop and focused his efforts on fewer - but higher quality tools.
built a traditional tool chest to house these tools based on research into historical chests
and his experience of working out of two traditional chests for the last 14 years. Modern chests, he
found, are poorly designed, too small and painful to use. So he created a list of the 13 rules for
building chests that will result in something that really works. Many of these rules will surprise
you. An example: You should always nail the bottom of the chest to the shell.
He wrote this book (which by the way is teeming with humor as well as savvy insights)
to help other woodworkers assemble an ideal first tool kit - or modify their existing tool set to
have fewer, better-quality tools.
The Anarchist's Tool Chest is divided into three sections:
1. A deep discussion of the 48 core tools that will help readers select a tool that is well-made -
regardless of brand name or if it's vintage or new. This book doesn't deal with brands of tools.
Instead it teaches you to evaluate a well-made tool, no matter when or where it was manufactured.
There also is a list of the 24 "good-to-have" tools you can add to your kit once you have your core
2. A thorough discussion of tool chests, plus plans and step-by-step instructions for building one.
The book shows you how to design a chest around your tools and how to perform all the common
operations for building it. Plus, there are complete construction drawings for the chest him built for
3. There also is a brief dip into the philosophy of craft, and he gently makes the case that all
woodworkers are "aesthetic anarchists".
Naturally a book like this tends to stir controversy, as every woodworker has opinions about what tools are truly basic,
depending on the journey of their own experience and personal preference. Because this book also reflects a
philosophical bent, it creates an abundance of opportunities for online commentators to discuss, argue and flame
one another about.
CLICK HERE to read some comments from
the Sawmill Creek woodworking forum.
CLICK HERE to read a book review from the Highland blog of The Anarchist's Tool Chest.
Hardcover, 475 Pages