First Look: The H.O. Studley Toolbox

This morning we began shooting photos for the new book “Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley,” and I shot this short video with a narrative by Don Williams, the author of the book.

There’s not anything more for me to add, except that these photos were taken by me with my Canon G12. The photographer, Narayan Nayar, is using his Leica M9 for the book’s photos.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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27 Responses to First Look: The H.O. Studley Toolbox

  1. Dave Jeske says:

    You’ve already sold me on the book. I’m in line! Wow, what a privilege to be able to examine and document this work of art for current and future generations of woodworkers.
    Keep teasing us!

  2. Tony says:

    +1 on the absolute privilege to see this item and share it with the public in more detail.

    I’ll own a copy of this book when it comes out, too.

    Narayan, if you read this – what lens are you using?

    • Narayan says:

      I usually only shoot with 2 lenses but for this shoot I used quite a few. On the M9: a 50/1.4, 70/2.0, 90/2.8, 90/4.0 (Macro) on the chest, and for various other purposes (mostly process and context photos) a 35/1.4, 28/2.0 and 24/2.8. I brought a bellows and a 65mm lens for extreme closeups but we were incredibly pressed for time.

      I’ll write more on the photography once I get a chance to go through the (many) photos.

  3. tjic (@tjic) says:

    I’ve got the Taunton poster of that toolchest on my bedroom wall. Last night I dreamed about making my own copy some day…and today this blog post. Unreal! Can’t wait.

  4. tjic (@tjic) says:

    2013 !?!?


  5. Talking about a tease. Sure know how to lead a fellow on. Guess we will just have to wait. What a beautiful piece of work.

  6. Ryan says:

    Question: Can you reveal who now owns the Studley Toolbox? I always read that it was last sold to “a private collector in the midwest”, but never a name.

    2013!? You’re killing me!

    • Gues Teh says:

      That is why they are called a “private collector”, as they wish to remain private.

      Not trying to ruffle your feathers, but really…

      • Ryan says:

        No feathers ruffled.

        Well, usually “private collector” is a term used as opposed to “public institution” – like the Smithsonian, etc.

        If a car sale is done “private party”, this just means “not a dealer”; I don’t think it necessarily implies a need for secrecy on the part of the owner.

  7. Freddy Roman says:

    I wish it was 2013 for the fist Roubo book would be out and then Virtuoso. Come on year 2013!!!


  8. Tom Knighton says:

    I know what *I* want for Christmas in 2013 now!

  9. flwoodrat says:

    Gentlemen, whilst you may lust for the tools and treasures of others, I not so secretly dream of someday having their vision and talents. Unfortunately, at my age and limited abilities I probably won’t live long enough to see the end of that journey. LOL.

    • Peter Pedisich says:

      Never give up hope! I haven’t, and I started woodworking later in life. I had a neighbor – an old German-speaking woman who started taking college classes at 92, she would walk 1 mile to get the bus. Every journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I started getting into hand tools just as my eyes started going downhill…go figure!

  10. Where did you reach first? Which tool was photographed first?

  11. I can’t stop watching this damn video.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Clocked screws. I’m guess he even got that right.


  13. Turnus says:

    I noticed that too, Jonathan.

    Today the guy would be dosed with anti-ADHD anti-OCD meds today and end up drooling on his desk in a government bureau.

  14. Niels says:


  15. abt says:

    Tool case? Where? I kept looking for a tool case and all I saw was a shrine. Very nice.

    And photos shot with a Leica M9 , impressive case shot by first class gear. Can’t wait to see the photos.

  16. Scott S. says:

    Did the guy ever get around to making a piano?

    Though I forgot the name, I remember vividly the photos from Fine Woodworking–long before I ever thought about woodworking as a hobby.
    It never hit me years ago, but the thing really is tiny compared to what is in it.

  17. Larry Barrett says:

    I have had the FWW poster hanging over my desk since it was first published, and admire it every day. Comparing the chest as it is now to the original FWW poster, it is evident that some repairs have been made, for instance to replace missing ivory or mother-of-pearl inlay. Can you provide any insight into who/when this repair work was done?

    • Jeff Burks says:

      The repair work and restoration was done at the Smithsonian. There are before & after photos on the Fine Woodworking website. The poster has been reissued since that time with an updated photo that includes the repairs and most of the missing tools. The sliding bevel is new since that photo was taken.

  18. Robert Judd says:

    Who else should be responsible for bringing this masterpiece back to life? No other name pops into my head other than Don Williams. When two masters meet a century apart the echoes of that meeting resound into eternity. Bravo.
    Bob Judd

  19. Doug Shannon says:

    Anybody know what the music at the end of the clip is? Very similar to the Maine’y fiddle folk that Lie Nielsen always use? Me likey and wish to hear more…

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