The core “Virtuoso” team is currently returning to a normal orbit after the fourth (and ostensibly last) pilgrimage to the Studley tool chest. As Chris has described elsewhere, after this visit I can finally check off a nagging item on my “Virtuoso” to-do list: getting the tool chest off the wall.
Writing up a list of to-dos has preceded every single trip to the tool chest, (which, if you’re wondering, is located on floor 7–1/2 of the ACME Corporation headquarters in West Alahampshiresippi). For our first visit, the tasks were largely centered on achieving as much breadth as possible with a brute-force documentary survey of the chest and every single item in it. Subsequent trips focused on specifics such as joinery or inlay, the bench and its vises, specific tool groupings and “non-documentary” photography.
The list for this last trip may have featured the fewest number of things to get done, but the list was perhaps the most logistically ambitious. The to-dos for this trip included getting the chest off the wall, photographing the closed chest at 45° rotations, staging various “ensemble” shots of the chest and its accompanying bench and shooting a video. I also brought a new, higher-resolution camera this time and wanted to redo a select number of shots from earlier trips just to have a few more pixels to work with.
In 2.5 days we set up four or five distinct “sets” for still photography and video, captured views of the chest that very few people have ever seen, and then packed everything up. As with every trip to North Texassourington, we left exhausted, exhilarated and inspired.
While we’ve posted many informal videos since we began this project, the video footage we shot this time will be released in concert with the book (details TBD). The video will feature the wealth of knowledge and some of the stories that Don has accumulated in his research on Henry O. Studley, his tool chest and his bench. I also spent some time in front of the camera droning on and on about the approach I took to the project and my perspective on the chest as a designer, woodworker, and photographer.
My favorite parts of the video footage, however, involve Don and I ’fessing up about which single Studley tool we would “keep” were we not the fine, upstanding individuals that we are. We had different answers that won’t be revealed until the video is released, but feel free to guess. There are only a few hundred to choose from.
— Narayan Nayar