In Shop Blog, Tools

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benjamin seatonKari Hultman (The Village Carpenter) just posted on her blog that the revised and updated edition of “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton” is now available for pre-order from Astragal Press – so I ordered it.

But then neanderthal extraordinaire Zachary Dillinger (The Eaton County Woodworker) chimed in to mention that for almost the same cost, you can join the Tools and Trades Historical Society, and get a free copy of the book as part of the membership (plus you’ll get the Society’s quarterly newsletter and its bi-annual journal, Tools and Trades).

And there’s what appears to be fabulous library available to members (I now have further incentive to cook up a work-sponsored trip to Sheffield, England). So I’m joining – it’s a good organization (or should I say organisation?) and it certainly won’t hurt to have a copy for both work and home.

The first edition, which was published in 1994, is darn-near impossible to find for less than $100 – and it typically goes for a lot more.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Seaton chest, it’s an 18th-century cabinetmaker’s chest full of almost-unused period tools. They were bought in 1796 from Christopher Gabriel and Sons, a tool dealer and planemaker in London, for Benjamin Seaton by his father, cabinet maker Joseph Seaton. And while Benjamin made a nice chest to hold them, he appears to have done little else with the tools. You can read more about the chest and about Benjamin in this post from Christopher Schwarz.

The new edition of “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton” includes not only information on the tools and their context (from the first edition) but considerable amounts of new information about both, as well as description of the making of a replica chest for Colonial Williamsburg.

If you like period hand tools and/or the history of woodworking, you need this book. If you’re a Groucho Marx kinda person, order it from Astragal. Or from Tools for Working Wood. If you want to join a worthy group, submit your application for TATHS.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton,” second edition, just as soon as I have my copy.

— Megan Fitzpatrick


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