New Chapter: Mule Chest


I’ve finished the first rough draft of the chapter on the Mule Chest for the expanded edition of “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” This chapter is offered as a free download for those who already own the book.

The chapter is offered on the honor system. If you own the book (either the hardbound or pdf), then please download this chapter and enjoy it. If you haven’t bought the book, know that downloading it will make your glue curdle and your finishes wrinkle.

ADB Mule Chest4

Other important things to note about this chapter:

  • It is a draft. If you find errors, please let us know in the comments.
  • The illustrations are not the final and beautiful ones that will be provided by Briony Morrow-Cribbs. The illustrations in the text were made by me. And I suck.
  • The opening photo isn’t the final photo. It’s just a quick snapshot I took today without my photo lights.

But other than that, all the information you need to build a mule chest is there.

I’ve published three additional new chapters, which you can download using the links below:

Boarded Settle Chair

Staked Armchair   

Staked High Stool

In addition to the project chapters, the expansion of “The Anarchist’s Design Book” will contain more personal stories, a chapter on designing chairs for an individual sitter and some new research on glue.

The expanded edition should arrive in January 2020. When it is released, we’ll provide a way for everyone who owns a copy of the original edition (no matter where they bought it) with a way to download the new content for free.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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41 Responses to New Chapter: Mule Chest

  1. Drew says:


    Any idea what the price might be for the expanded version?


    • Nope. We set the price based on the printing quote – not on a target retail price. My guess (don’t hold me to this) is it will be $3 or $4 more than the current edition.


  2. hgordon4 says:

    Awesome. Thanks for providing these as you go along.
    -pg 30 “blowing out the backside… doesn’t have a closed quote,
    -pg 34 top pic description… I think it should be “Once” you finish one row…
    -pg 37 first line… “when” not “went”
    -pg 47 paragraph 3 line 3… I think that “plaint” is supposed to be “plinth”?


  3. Steven Vlahos says:

    Thank you!


  4. Great stuff, sir.

    In the “Cutting Rabbets” section, “front, back, plinths etc.” I would do as “front, back, plinths, etc.”. I would adjust the spacing on etc. so that it’s not right up against the giant A (I forget what those are called).

    In the second paragraph, second sentence should be, “There are a dozen ways to cut them.”

    I prefer the Oxford comma, but I think AP style is against, so I should just keep my mouth shut there. 🙂


  5. Fred Beck says:

    I cheated and peeked. Still meandering through the Anarchists Tool chest. It has a way of making me stop and feel less alone in my thought process. Like, I’m annoyed at how we’re traveling the same path. I stop every hour now and look at the shop and wonder if I can put down a wood floor…….. it’s a garage too…….. sometimes…………………
    Anyway I think at the rate I’m going I’ll be able to pick up the next edition of design just as it comes out. I have a hard multifaceted fight -deciding what the read, how much time to sharpen tools, how much time to build, how much building for the shop or the rest of the house…. the hobby is consuming me from all sides.


  6. brentpmed says:

    “we’ll provide a way for everyone who owns a copy of the original edition (no matter where they bought it) with a way to download the new content for free.”

    And THAT is the reason I will continue to buy LAP whenever I can.

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Nickels says:

    Great additions to the ADB for sure! I skimmed over the mule chest chapter and it’s something I would love to make in the future. I realize it is not yet completely edited so I will post the errors I found here: (hoping to be helpful, not critical!)

    The third paragraph reads: “Much ink has been spilled on the origin of the word “mule” in relation the chest.” should be “in relation to the chest.”

    On page 30, the 8th line down: “This strategy avoids spelching (aka splintering or “blowing out the backside).” there should be an end quote for “blowing out”.

    On page 34 the caption for the picture: “One
    you finish one row of nails, pull up the tape and move it to the next location.” should be “When you finish…”

    On page 35 the first paragraph: “After the divider is nailed in, hunt up a scrap of pine to finish the job at the back of the carcase.” consider “hunt for a scrap of pine” or “gather up a scrap of pine”.

    On page 35 the very next line: “The scrap can be narrow – its width doesn’t matter.” should be “it’s” with an apostrophe.

    On page 35, the 10th line down: “There are a dozen way to cut them.” should be “ways”

    On page 42 “No matter what hinges you use, here’s how I recommend you attach them.” probably should end with a colon “:” instead of a period.

    On page 42 the very next line “First screw the hinges to the underside of the lid,” should probably have a comma “First, screw the hinges…”

    On page 47, the 10th line down: “In the name of style. Here are two mistakes I made as I worked my way through this design.” Starts with an incomplete sentence that doesn’t need to be there.

    On page 47, the very next line: “I made the drawer divider flush with the interior panels – not flush with the plaint and front panel.” I could be wrong, but I think it’s “plinth” not “plaint”..?

    Lastly, I find it a bit confusing/troubling how on page 27 you say “feel free to use an inexpensive softwood or hardwood for all the components.” but then on page 37/39 you say “I’ve had joints such as this survive for many years with no problems when I used white pine. And I’ve seen them self-destruct when it was a hardwood such as oak, walnut or cherry”.

    Again, hope this helps!


    • Thanks! Much appreciated.


    • emjayb says:

      Your comment about using “it’s” on page 35 is incorrect. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” and as such does not fit into that sentence. “Its” was correct as written.


    • Dave says:

      As someone who has done this for a living, nicely done John Nickels! The note below is correct: page 35 “its” should not have an apostrophe since it’s not a contraction.


    • tsstahl says:

      “On page 34 the caption for the picture: “One
      you finish one row of nails, pull up the tape and move it to the next location.” should be “When you finish…””

      ‘Once’ also works there and is the word I would have chosen. Using ‘when’ implies finality of a sequence and using ‘once’ is more directional. This is purely my chain of thought and is not a criticism of you or Chris in any way. Ain’t words fun? 😉

      On page 35 the first paragraph: “After the divider is nailed in, hunt up a scrap of pine to finish the job at the back of the carcase.” consider “hunt for a scrap of pine” or “gather up a scrap of pine”. Skeeter’s style guide tells us that south of the Mason Dixon line, it is ‘hunt up’; North of MD it is ‘hunt for’, or ‘scare up’. 🙂 Chris hails from the second, lesser known Kansas (Arkansas), I believe.

      On the its thing. As Dave says, the possessive (the width possessed by the scrap) form is ‘its’. I always screw it up because “it’s” is a finger memory word on the keyboard.


  8. Pascal Teste says:

    I had a peak at the mule chest chapter, and looks great! I see you have a nicely trimmed beard, good man. Thank you for your generous offer of giving free downloads for owners of the original book, but I will wait and purchase your new one when it comes out.


  9. Many an educated Canadian would be up in arms (snowballs) about the misspelling of “color”, but as I am a Linguistic Minimalist (and also don’t know how to spell it with a “u”, I’m going to not make a big deal about it.


  10. Jake says:

    “If things are too tight, jack off the underside of the panel…” Chris, my seventh grade sense of humor can’t keep a straight face with this line…


  11. Richard Garrow says:

    Thank you Chris, I have the first edition of your book and after you finish this one I am going to get it as well. I do not comment much but I check my emails everyday for something from you. I do really enjoy your writings thank you.


  12. DJ says:

    Thank you!


  13. You are very generous. I’ll be at the front of the line when the new edition is ready.


  14. ikustwood says:

    You are simply awesome . I feel so incompetent when I see all the work that you can achieve! Bravo to you and everyone at LAP.


  15. p. 34 photo caption: “divider has to be square to the front of the carcase and dead square up and down between the dividers” do you mean “between the panels”?

    Also (p. 32), “jack off the underside of the panel”… is that the typical term for a thickness reduction? I’ll have to start using that one more.


  16. Max Von Childress says:

    Based on your research, is the mule chest similar to the 2 drawer shaker blanket chest? Is the mule chest smaller? Thanks Chris for all that you do for the profession!


  17. Glenn Frazee says:

    The chapter is called Chapter X, but the page headers further on say Chapter XX. Not sure if this is just a placeholder or not.


  18. John Koenig says:

    LAP: Converting the efforts of internet comment section grammar vigilantes into crowdsourced editing. I like it.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Noel says:

    As a horrible proofreader, I’ve nothing to add to the (so very nice) copyediting comments, but did want to say that the Anarchist Design Book is amazing as-is, and I can’t wait to place the expanded copy alongside the original. Between the content, the printing/binding quality, and the commitment to treating your customers like actual people, getting the new version seems de riguer.

    You know, it’s basically just, come for the woodworking tips, stay for the world view…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Brian Morgan says:

    On page 37, should “went” be “want?”

    It’s a very good book, looking forward to getting the revision. (I just can’t retrain myself to prefer reading on screens!)


  21. Justin says:

    I loved reading this Chris. Any plans to add explanatory text on how the the drawer slides/glides or fitting of the drawers?
    Thanks and I am very eager to get my hand on the new expanded edition!


    • Hi Justin,

      There are no drawer glides or slides or runners. It’s just a box that slides in a box. The topic could stand some more discussion, but I send most people to Robert Wearing’s “The Essential Woodworker” for this stuff. It’s difficult to improve upon.


  22. Roger Hillers says:

    Were there ever handles on the sides, rope or otherwise? …would make easier moving and loading on mule, etc?


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