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'The Anarchist' Series of Books

"The Anarchist" series of books by Christopher Schwarz represent a 10-year effort to make woodworking more accessible, affordable and ethical – and less commercial. Each book addresses an important aspect of the craft.

"The Anarchist's Tool Chest" shows you how you can build furniture with only a small kit of high-quality tools. The first half of the book explains in detail how to choose the right tools, regardless of brand name. You'll learn what makes a good hammer, a good block plane and a good awl – so you can make good decisions when buying new or antique tools. The second half of the book shows you how to build a traditional tool chest to hold these tools and explains: If a tool doesn't fit in the chest, you probably don't need it.

"The Anarchist's Design Book: Expanded Edition" shows you how to put those tools to work to build an entire house full of furniture with simple tools and methods. The Design Book explores "staked" and "boarded" forms of furniture – two efficient and nearly forgotten ways of making furniture that is sturdy, good-looking and easy to build. Additionally, the Design Book explores (and debunks) many of the myths we have about furniture and good craftsmanship. Wild ornament, flashy woods and complexity don't always make for good furniture. And the Design Book asks: Why would you want to imitate the taste of your boss's boss's boss?

"The Anarchist's Workbench" explains how to build the last workbench you'll ever need using home center construction lumber and simple woodworking tools. This book, the final in the Anarchist Series, encourages you to make the simplest bench possible and then add complexity from there. The bench plans featured in the book are based on a 15th-century design that emerged from France and Low Countries. And it has yet to be eclipsed.

These three books have been the most successful titles published by Lost Art Press. Their simple message "build instead of buy" has been embraced by woodworkers all over the world and nudged many amateurs to quit their corporate jobs and make a living with their hands. You might not go that far. But then, maybe you will. Here's how to find out.