“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is the story of how I came to realize this during my 15 years as an editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine, and how this small revelation changed the way I approach the craft, my tools and my shop. Here’s what I did:
• After researching lists of the core tools one needs to build furniture that were published from 1678 to 1973, I made a list of the 48 hand tools that are essential. I sold off the unnecessary tools in my kit and focused my efforts on fewer – but higher quality – tools.
• I built a traditional tool chest to house these tools that is based on research into historical chests and my experience of working out of two traditional chests for the last 14 years. Modern chests, I found, are poorly designed, too small and painful to use. So I created a list of the 13 rules for building chests that will result in something that really works. Many of these rules will surprise you. An example: You should always nail the bottom of the chest to the shell.
• I wrote this book to help other woodworkers assemble an ideal first tool kit – or modify their existing tool set to have fewer, better-quality tools.
“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is divided into three sections:
1. A deep discussion of the 48 core tools that will help readers select a tool that is well-made – regardless of brand name or if it’s vintage or new. This book doesn’t deal with brands of tools. Instead it teaches you to evaluate a well-made tool, no matter when or where it was manufactured. There also is a list of the 24 “good-to-have” tools you can add to your kit once you have your core working set.
2. A thorough discussion of tool chests, plus plans and step-by-step instructions for building one. The book shows you how to design a chest around your tools and how to perform all the common operations for building it. Plus, there are complete construction drawings for the chest I built for myself.
3. There also is a brief dip into the philosophy of craft, and I gently make the case that all woodworkers are “aesthetic anarchists.”
As always, this book is being printed in the United States on high-quality paper with a permanent binding. It will not be sold through any mass-market channels such as Amazon, Borders or Barnes & Noble. The book will be available for shipment at the end of May 2011 though our web site, Lee Valley Tools, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and Tools for Working Wood.
The retail price is $37. Within the next week we will start accepting preorders, which will receive free shipping in the United States. Once the book is received in our warehouse (my basement), we will charge shipping. All books ordered from us will be autographed.
We also will offer a short run of leather-bound editions of this book. We are ordering just enough to offer 26 lettered and signed editions that will be hand-bound by Ohio Book, which bound “The Joiner & Cabinet Maker.” Details and pricing on the leather edition will be available in June.
Format: 6” x 9”
Cover: Linen over 98-point hard boards
Paper/Binding: 60# acid-free paper, Smythe sewn, casebound
Printed in the United States (Pennsylvania)