When I opened the French version of “Dans L’Atelier De Pepere” (“Grandpa’s Workshop”) to the title page, I was seized by a familiar feeling. Pictured there was red Dutch tool chest with all its tools arrayed in front of it – including a folding rule tweaked into a star shape.
I had to build that chest.
This coming week I’m going to buy the pine to build that chest (plus a few boarded chests and an English tool chest for a customer).
I am not alone in my deep affection for the tool chests shown in “Grandpa’s Workshop,” but I am definitely behind the pace of Archer Burbank, age 6, who just finished building the English-style chest shown on page 21 of the same book. His father, Graham T. Burbank, takes over the story from here:
“Attached are a couple of shots of the chest my son built after we read ‘Grandpa’s Workshop.’ Built from two pine 1x12s, the box is nailed together. In order to keep the project moving at a pace that would keep a 6-year-old focused, I processed the boards on a sliding table saw and wide-belt sander (Boo! Hiss!).
“Although we regularly practice sawing to the line, the number of cuts across 11-1/4” material would likely have spent his ambition. I marked out in pencil where he should pre-drill and nail. He held each board in the vise on his bench and nailed them together with white glue and wire nails.
“Most of his corners were reasonably flush, however, he did have to clean up the ends at the top and bottom for the skirt and lid with a No. 2 Ohio Tool smoother. One shot shows him using a Stanley steel block plane chamfering the edges. After softening the corners further with a sanding sponge and planing the top edge further to ease the fit of the lid, he has started a rainbow paint scheme. Perhaps we will finish up that on Sunday. He has asked to make lift-out trays and a ‘place for my saw,’ so we’re not done yet.
“Why the long, rambling description? You sent his book Express Mail, and it arrived the day after his birthday. He has had me read it to him over and over again. So, a bit more formal ‘thank you’ was in order.”
Here’s what keeps our company running: Anything that we publish that prompts anyone to build anything. To be sure, there is a lot of intellectual crap that leads up to transforming an idea into a book. But all we are after is to encourage you to build. Read. Then build. Think. Then build. Plan. Then build.
So thank you, Archer. And know that I am not far behind you in building my chest from “Grandpa’s Workshop.”
— Christopher Schwarz