We now have “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” back in stock in our Indiana warehouse. This is the 12th printing of this little 6” x 9” book, which allowed me to quit my corporate job and has helped fund all of the books in our roster in some way.
I owe thanks to all the readers who have bought copies – for themselves, friends and relatives. I’m told that the book has helped people quit their jobs, renewed their love of woodworking and shown them a path in the craft that doesn’t require a warehouse full of machinery.
And I also tip my hat to the critics, many of whom never read the book, but were so turned off by the book’s title that they foamed at the mouth. Your rabies made other people curious.
The Bad Idea
Earlier this year I went to Chicago to visit my friend Narayan Nayar, who took some of the beautiful photos in the book, and we went out for tacos (one of five meals we ate that day). As the snow fell outside of the Oak Park taco joint, I laid out some of the book ideas that had been brewing in my head for the last 12 months.
Narayan is a good listener and lets me wind it all out without interrupting. Some (OK, many) of my book ideas are daft. And when I pitch ideas to other people they come in with the long knives before I can explain myself.
One of the book ideas was a 10th anniversary edition of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” The front of the book would get some mild updates. The back of the book – on building the chest – would be completely redone. I’ve built so many of these chests that I’ve come up with many simpler ways to do some of the operations. I’ve made small changes to the skirts and lid. The chest is now easier to build and looks better.
Plus, the new edition would also contain plans for the Dutch tool chest. It was my original goal when writing the book to have two tool chest plans. Just like I had two workbench plans in “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” But “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” got so lengthy after building one tool chest that I decided to omit it.
I published the Dutch tool chest in Popular Woodworking Magazine in a short article. And lots of other people have built it – it might be my most successful project. But I’ve never gotten to fully explain the design (there was no room in the magazine article), its origin and its many variants.
After I pitched all this to Narayan, he asked me a question. That question made something click in my head. Narayan joked that he actually could hear the click from across the table.
The anniversary edition will have to wait – maybe for the 15th or 20th anniversary. Narayan’s question set me off on another book idea that has consumed all my evenings since.
— Christopher Schwarz