The Anarchist's Tool Chest

By Christopher Schwarz

When I am too exhausted, ill or busy to work in my shop, I will shuffle down the stairs to my 15' x 25' workshop and simply stand there for a few minutes with my hands on my tools.

To be sure, I thought I was a touch nuts because of this personality quirk. But after reading the oral histories and diaries of craftsmen from the last 300 years, I found it's actually a common trait among artisans. I am drawn, married or perhaps addicted to the things that allow me to coax wood into new shapes. At the same time, my relationship with my tools is like a tumultuous combination of an Italian family drama, a bigamist's decision about who to sleep with and a careful gardener.

This book, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” paints a world where woodworking tools are at the center of an ethical life filled with creating furniture that will last for generations. It makes the case that you can build almost anything with a kit of less than 50 high-quality tools, and it shows you how to select real working tools, regardless of their vintage or brand name.

“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” will guide you in building a proper chest for your toolkit that follows the ancient rules that have been forgotten or ignored.

And it will make the argument that building a chest and filling it with the right tools just might be the best thing you can do to save our craft.

Like all books from Lost Art Press, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” is printed and bound in the United States on acid-free 60# paper. The 6” x 9” hardcover is Smythe sewn and covered in linen. This book is 494 pages and includes a full index.

This book is also available as a pdf that is DRM-free.

Companion DVD Available

When I wrote “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” I stayed away from mentioning brand names when I discussed the tools that make up the core kit in the book. Instead of saying, “Buy these brands, and here are their item numbers,” I tried to give readers the information needed to evaluate tools on their own.

Despite this approach, several people have requested a list of all the brand names of tools in my chest and for my reasoning why I chose each tool.

I resisted these requests at first, but then I decided there was no harm in supplying the information. After all, these are my tools, purchased with my own money. And if you read enough of my blather then you probably could assemble the list on your own.

So we shot a 60-minute DVD titled “Inside the Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” Here’s what’s on it.

• A 55-minute movie where I discuss each tool in the chest, tell you who made it and discuss what I like about it.

• A 5-minute slideshow of 66 step photos of the construction of the chest that were not included in the book.

• An 11-page supplies list of the tools in my chest with direct web links to all of the suppliers of the tools – plus more notes on why I chose particular tools (and I offer a few alternate brands as well).

• A SketchUp drawing of the tool chest from the book.

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