Video: A Chest Divided

There is something appealing about a chest that has French-fitted compartments for each tool. Protecting it. Cradling it. Showing it off.

In my first tool chest I built the top of the till with a bunch of French-fitted compartments for chisels, block planes, a shoulder plane and drill bits. And for the first year I was well pleased. All the tools were in the right place and easy to get.

But then I realized that flexibility was more important than permanence. It wasn’t that my tool kit changed, but the projects I was building required a different set of tools. Sometimes I needed my grandfather’s carving tools handy. Bench-building requires lots of boring operations. Dovetailing needs quick access to chisels, saws and marking & measuring tools.

But not every project has dovetails.

With the chest I built in late 2010 I decided to skip the French-fitted dividers and live with open and flexible tool storage until I concluded that a certain tool needed – deserved – a permanent holder, such as a saw till.

I now have all my tools loaded up into my chest at home – the 48 tools in my core set plus a few that are on my list of “good-to-have tools.” This short video shows what the chest looks like with all the tools in place. There’s room for everything, plus then some.

And I’m sure I will eventually put in a few wooden dividers in the sliding tray to cordon things off, but they will be added sparingly, like dog holes in a workbench.

Printing update: The pressroom made up the plates for the book on Friday and we are now on schedule to have the books shipped to us on May 23. So if you want to order “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” with free domestic shipping, be sure to do that before May 23.

You can order the book with free domestic shipping here.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in The Anarchist's Tool Chest. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Video: A Chest Divided

  1. mike hamilton says:

    Music credits, please.

  2. Pingback: On The Anarchist’s Tool Chest | ben lowery

  3. As much as I would like to leave Afghanistan, I am more impatient for my book to arrive, and my wife to tell me it’s home!

    As an aside, what I will be very interested in seeing on everyone’s blogs, is the adaptations, modifications, and personal touches on their version of the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. For instance, I’ve been gathering (My wife says cluttering up the house with…) brace bits. My first inclination is to have a tray that holds them individualy. But after some consideration, I noted that I have screwdriver bits, spoon bits, forster bits, and an assortment of oddball bits. So now I figure they should go into labeled rolls so I can grab what I need, when I need it.

    I just want to add that I appreciate the work all of you do on each and every one of your blogs and websites. It’s a luxury here, and one that I really love and appreciate!

    Albert A Rasch
    Qalat City, Zabul Province, Afghanistan

    • lostartpress says:


      We are happy to provide some small service for people such as yourself who provide the ultimate service in this world.

      And yup, put the bits in rolls. You can store an astonishing number of assorted bits there. I have my primary set of augers in a wooden box that slips into the moulding plane bin at the back of the chest.


  4. Darrin N. says:

    As I sit here reading this blog I’m thinking about the tool chest I will most likely be building in the near future. I think I will try to build it with only hand tools. As you know, I’m brand new to this hobby and look forward to learning how to make a lot more than just hamster bedding 🙂

    Glad to hear the book is on schedule, I can’t wait for it to arrive.

    Last but not least… To Albert, THANK YOU!

  5. Eric says:


    Really, really nice. Did you consider a thicker lid, allowing for saw storage underneath?


  6. John J. says:

    I just watched the video, and clicked on the video featuring the quotes. What happened to your right-side bench screw??

  7. Dan says:

    Timeless. Well thought out. Impressive. Thank you.

  8. Francis says:

    I cant see any small backsaws (e.g. dovetail, carcase) in any of your pictures or video’s. Do you just throw them in one of the tills, or do you have special place for them?

  9. robert campbell says:

    What a pleasure to discover this book. I ordered it immediately, without realizing that it was just released — rarely is my timing so good. Over the past couple months I have been strategizing to furnish my own shop. Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that I would rather buy planes than a jointer, and I am so pleased to see that you are offering me exactly the type of guidance I am seeking. I love Underhill’s books but your honest and direct approach seem like exactly the type of new life the traditional woodworking lore would benefit from. I have felt relatively alone in my woodworking being a philosophical pursuit as much as a practical one, and it seems you are elegantly braiding these threads in a most appealing manner. Thanks for all you can do and I 2nd the commenter above who praises your densely informative blog posts and articles.

Comments are closed.