Yes, But a Different Tool Chest

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

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Yes, But a Different Tool Chest

  1. tpobrienjr says:

    The rainbow paint scheme is great. On my shelf is a similarly painted Pinewood Derby car that my son built – and painted – about 1981.

  2. Trevor Smith says:

    Archer you rock. Are you taking commissions?

    • Graham Burbank says:

      Archer says, “Hmmm, maybe”. He painted the bottom skirtboard black tonight, and then practiced cutting to the line (curved line) with his coping saw.

  3. Good job Archer!
    Graham, you sound as good a father to your son as my father was to me.
    Chris – you’re right, that’s why I buy books on woodworking.

  4. Kristian Faulkenberry says:

    I love seeing kids interested in woodwork. Great Job!

  5. joemcglynn says:

    Great job Archer! Making stuff with my son is my favorite thing.

  6. Awesome job!!! I hope my daughter an I get to do that soon.

  7. Archer, that is the best looking tool chest I have ever seen. Please show us more of your tools and projects you build.

  8. Tracy says:

    As soon as I get the sawdust out of my (it’s sawdust, I SWEAR!) I’m pu]lacing my order for this book!

  9. cmhawkins says:

    “Here’s what keeps our company running: Anything that we publish that prompts anyone to build anything.” This weekend a buddy from work came over & I helped him with some joinery for a toy kitchen set (range, stove and sink) he is building for his 4 year old daughter. It was satisfying to share some of the things I’ve learned over the last few years. Woodworking can satisfying in many different ways.

  10. Rascal says:

    Archer/Graham, you both rock! I am so impressed with both of you. Archer for building the chest, and Graham for incredible Dad-lieness (I know it’s not a word, but it is now!) You are both something really special. This made my day!

  11. Sam says:

    As a little guy, I spent many happy hours in the shop with my father, and many hours making messes without him, and many hours cleaning up those messes. When i was old enough, I spent many hours on the job-site with him. I wish I had a dollar for every board ft. of lumber I processed with those sharp old tools.

    My son now looks forward to spending time in the shop with me, just as I did with my father.

  12. Ryan Bishop says:

    Right on Archer, keep sawing to that line!

Comments are closed.