I am pleased to announce that ShopWoodworking.com now sells “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” a book that took me two years to write. And the process of writing this book so changed my perspective on the world that I stepped down as editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The book has its critics, and I imagine you’ll see a couple pop up in the comments below this post. But before you dismiss “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” because of its title or some Internet bad-mouthing, I’d like to make a case for my book.
What the heck is it about? Well it’s about my immersion in the world of tool manufacturing as an editor at Popular Woodworking, and how during those years I filled my shop with tools and accessories that didn’t help me become a better woodworker.
And it’s about how one day I woke up and pared down my tool collection to about 50 hand tools and a few machines, improved my workshop so it was a pleasant place to be and built a traditional tool chest to hold all my essential tools.
The bulk of the book is about the core set of 50 tools: what’s in this set and how to select good ones for your shop, regardless of their vintage or their brand name. I don’t care if you buy old tools or new tools, pricey ones or cheap ones, but I do want you to buy good ones.
And then I show you how to build a traditional tool chest to hold all your tools. This chest is based on 12 historical principles, many of which were surprising or seemed contradictory on their face (I should use both nails and dovetails?).
So what’s with the “anarchism” in the title? That’s a good question because I am probably the least political person you will ever meet. There are lots of flavors of anarchism out there, including “aesthetic anarchism,” which is where people make what they need and eschew government help and corporate-made goods. If you aren’t convinced I’m talking sense here, read Wikipedia’s entry on Individualist Anarchism. In fact, I make the case that many woodworkers are already living the lives of quiet aesthetic anarchists — they just don’t have a name for it.
Oh, and there’s some language. I rate the book as PG. You might see such words as “crap” or “craptacular” and maybe “damn.” It’s stuff you’ll hear on television, but I just want to warn some of the more sensitive readers that I am not entirely polite.
So if you understand that making useful, durable things out of wood is odd in our consumerist and disposable society, then you might just enjoy this book.
“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is made in the United States, printed on acid-free paper and Smythe-sewn to last. You can buy it from ShopWoodworking using this link.
Thanks for reading.
— Christopher Schwarz