Arts & Crafts Tool Cabinet

The goal: The maximum tools in the minimum space.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 66-75

From the December 2004 issue #145
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Sometime while sawing the 60th dovetail for a drawer side, when my patience was as thin as the veneer facing on cheap plywood, a familiar feeling crept into my body. I began to experience an understandable lust for my biscuit joiner.

It sat patiently on a shelf, and I knew that its chattering, rattling teeth would make everything about this tool cabinet go much faster. But I resisted, because I had the words of a Victorian social reformer, art critic and part-time madman ringing in my head.

The writings of Englishman John Ruskin (1819-1900) were a cornerstone of the American Arts & Crafts movement. Ruskin decried the worst parts of 19th century industrialism. He promoted craft, pensions and public education when there was little of those things for the poor.

And in his book the “Seven Lamps of Architecture, The Lamp of Memory,” which was published in 1849, he wrote a passage that all woodworkers should read. It’s a bit long and a bit dramatic, but it has stuck with me just the same.

From the December 2004 issue #145
Buy this issue now