Thank You for Writing ‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest’

Ah, reviews. I am on both sides of this particular coin. I have to both administer them and receive them.

As far as reviews of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” go, I have been struck by how many people are taking me to task on the technical details when the overall message of the book was what caused me endless agony.

Today I received an e-mail from a reader that is typical of what individual readers send me. It is the reason I wrote the book. Here goes. This is from reader Adam Godet:

“I hesitated to buy ‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest’ …I’m not sure why. The first time I read the description on the web page, I thought, ‘400 pages of tool descriptions and instructions on building a box…and an argument not to buy more tools?! No thanks.’

“I’m not sure what changed my mind, but I’m grateful for it. The descriptions of necessary tools woodworkers should have and the appropriate attributes of them will be an invaluable reference for me (and others, I’m sure) as I build my tool set (not a collection).

“What I liked more about the book, was the anarchism argument. Although I never thought of it as anarchy, it’s a value system to which my wife and I have subscribed to for years. Ever since I got of out college and built my first crappy pine bookcases (which I submit are less crappy than the Ikea alternative I could have afforded at the time, since mine have survived five moves), to growing our own vegetables and making our own curtains and curtain rods, we’ve been living it.  There is a fierce and fulfilling independence in making/growing what we need…and living outside of the corporate/government structure…and rejecting purchases intended to be thrown away…so yeah, kinda like anarchy.

“Your argument on time vs. money gave me serious pause (as in, I lost sleep thinking about life after reading the section). That, and some of the other ethics sections are some of my favorite passages of anything I’ve read in a long time. It’s books like these that reinforce my rejection of fast-food, consumer culture and embrace the craftsman ethos. Unfortunately, it seems you’re the David fighting the consumerist Goliath…but unlike the parable, you’re building an army, and I (along with others, it seems) have enlisted.

“Finally, I finished the book about a week ago, but keep laughing to myself repeating some of the phrases from the book, such as, ‘poop a cupcake.’

“That is not to say I don’t have some complaints about the book:

“1. Reading this book is addictive…and it makes me want to go to my shop and work; but I want to keep reading the book too…this creates an internal conflict, and I blame you.

“2. Where was this book two years ago when I started down this woodworking path? When I was searching for quality hand tools, found garbage, and submitted (briefly) to the power tool vortex of noise and dust?

“3. I’ve lost about 4 hours of sleep this week staying up reading and thinking about this book.

“4. More and more I want to quit my cube-dwelling job and make stuff full-time. It’s not realistic for me yet…but one day, maybe I’ll have the skills and knowledge to cut loose.

“Thank you for an excellent resource, for reminding me and others that we need not subscribe to popular, unhealthy habits, and for an entertaining book. I look forward to future Lost Art Press publications.”

— Adam Godet

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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13 Responses to Thank You for Writing ‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest’

  1. This is the closest commentary I have seen yet to my own take on the book. The ideology is long overdue in the gadget-obsessed woodworking world, and Adam Godet sounds like a guy I want to share a (homebrew) beer with. I, also, now feel like I have wasted the past few years buying tool-shaped objects, dealing with imprecise, loud and dangerous power tools, and breathing too far too much sawdust. Meanwhile I have been depleting my savings on tools which I now want out of my shop after seeing the light. Thanks for sharing this comment, and thanks again for writing the book for us.

  2. Robert says:

    No hesitation what-so-ever, I got even more than I expected out of this incredible resource.
    I really appreciate the information on proper tool selection.

  3. Scott W. Kay says:

    Amen! to everything Adam said. Took the thoughts right out of my head…point for point. He’s not the only one with both practical and soul-searching responses.

  4. Liz Jones says:

    I purchased the book less for the tools and instruction and more for the ideas put forth in the review I read. I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint, and I may well take up woodworking in earnest, once I’m done with all the other things on my list. Adam’s review is spot on.

  5. millcrek says:

    I have not bought or read the book but now it sounds like I’m going to have to.

  6. Nate Hinkle says:

    The book is great. It’s good that you posted this review. It’s beneficial for those who have not read the book to see the real substance behind the book. The errors and “bad-mannered” comments are what they are…bi-products of something relevant. I understand some will not appreciate either, but it shouldn’t detract from the core message, especially not when it discourages others from hearing that message.

  7. Sean says:

    nothing to do with the post, but I thought the picture was hilarious. It reminded me of Mark Mofeitt, last night on the radio, describing how ants wage war. If ants, why not dividers?

  8. Jonathan Crone says:

    Well, honestly, from my end of things, I’ve found the book wonderful, but also slightly depressing…

    Why? I walk into my workshop: see all the, um, ‘treasure’ I’ve accumulated that is
    clogging the joint up, and I’m realizing how some of it has just a big pile of dust on it.

    selling it off is going to be a right proper pain in the ***…
    And worse: I have to hope that when I’m trying to sell it off, that there are enough people who haven’t read Chris’ book and are suckers to buy the items off of me 🙂

  9. Jared Latham says:

    Could not agree with Adam more. When I read the book, it so strongly reinforced my beliefs on “anarchism” that for the entire time I read it, and for some time after, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face with a sledgehammer. I love that my favourite parts of the book weren’t even about woodworking. Definitely didn’t see that coming.


    I guess I have bought into the buy, throw away a bit, but on the other hand; I have been buying
    used books for more than 60 years now. My problem, no one that buys this book is willing to
    part with it, so I am going to have to wait for next months budget to allow me to pay full price
    and order the book. Yes, unlike congress, i try to make my budget balance. At my age, I am
    72 yrs young, I have learned patience, if nothing else, so I can wait.

  11. Wow i have to say this is what actually caused me to finally decide to purchase the book. This is the way i have lived my life and as a professional woodworker it has made me happy yet not rich. This day in age people dont want to pay for quality. They dont understand the differance between something that is made by hand. Hopefully this book will help change things. Every small success means something in the end!

  12. Joe Wilson says:

    I couldn’t agree with Adam more!!

  13. Kim A Howarter says:

    I ordered the book prior to it being published and enjoyed reading it and several parts multiple times. I also purchased the DVD that you just released and watched it twice plus some. Great stuff if I may say so. As someone else said, I wish I had found this 2 years ago when I decided to begin my woodworking adventure by building a bathroom vanity. Now that I have found and read the book, I enjoy doing wood work without the noise and dust issues. Although I occasionally use power equipment. Unfortunately now that I purchased a bunch of power tools, I have to go slowly in purchasing the hand tools needed.

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