Just in time for the holidays, we have received our first shipment of our USA-made canvas tool rolls, which are available for immediate shipment. The tool rolls are made by the same factory that makes our workshop waist apron, so the build quality and stitching is immaculate.
The price is $39 plus domestic shipping. Also, I’ve been meaning to mention that we now offer free shipping on orders more than $100. (Maybe you need three tool rolls?)
These tool rolls are based on one that I used many years ago to schlep my tools all over the world. Most tool rolls are not designed for small hand tools; they are instead designed for a huge graduated set of wrenches or auger bits. This tool roll is designed for smaller tools: chisels, knives, marking tools, rulers, awls, cutting gauges, screwdrivers and the like.
The tool roll has 18 pockets, so it will hold a lot of stuff. The longest tool it will hold is about 11” long – plenty long enough for most tools.
The tool roll also has two foldable flaps that cover the handles of your tools and prevent them from falling out during traveling. The whole thing cinches together with a webbed cotton strap and two nickel O-rings. Once cinched, your tools are protected.
This tool roll is great for travel. Or for protecting your tools in a tool chest. We are thrilled to offer this tool roll as part of our line of canvas gear. We have two more canvas products coming next year that will be great for owners of a tool chest or tool cabinet.
You might have noticed that we’ve been having problems getting three new products up in the store and running smoothly. Well they are now up and available for immediate shipment. We released them simultaneously so you can save on shipping if you planned on buying more than one. Here’s what’s new:
‘Henry Boyd’s Freedom Bed’
For many years I have been obsessed with Henry Boyd, an early Cincinnati woodworker who invented a revolutionary bedstead, built a sizable furniture-making business that shipped work all over the country, helped enslaved people escape to freedom and then almost disappeared from history.
There’s been a little written here and there about Boyd. The Smithsonian has one of his beds (as does The Golden Lamb in Lebanon, Ohio). But this guy was so badass that there should be a school named for him. Plus a marker where his factory stood. And an exhibit on his life at the history museum (and there is now, thanks in part to Suzanne Ellison).
Years ago, Suzanne started digging into public records on Boyd because we knew we wanted to do a book about him. And what Suzanne found was a story that contradicted the fables about Boyd that have been spread around. And the real story – of an enslaved black man who survived and thrived despite all odds – is even more impressive than the fables.
To bring Boyd’s story to life, I sought out Whitney LB Miller, a local TV journalist, friend and woodworker. Whitney has the traits of every great author I know: an unfailing work ethic, incredible courage (because writing a book will change you), and a personality that is large enough to breathe life into characters on a page.
Whitney gladly took on the important task of both writing about and illustrating Boyd’s life for “Henry Boyd’s Freedom Bed.” The story is intended for children ages 3-8, but I think anyone would enjoy the tale – plus the three pages of biographical information on Boyd at the back of the book.
This book is – I hope – an important step in reassessing, acknowledging and celebrating the unheralded work that people who were black and enslaved played in the history of our country’s furniture. Boyd should be a name known to every woodworker, and I hope this book helps change that.
We have another book in the works that takes a more hands-on look at the achievements of enslaved black woodworkers. It has been in development for several years now. More information on that book is to come.
You can read all about the Boyd book (and a deluxe edition that is available) here.
‘Workshop Wound Care’
Woodworking is a hazardous pursuit – that goes without saying. So what is incredible to me is that there isn’t much guidance about what you should do when you hurt yourself in the workshop.
Yes, there have been a couple articles in woodworking magazines during the last couple decades. But these have been somewhat shallow and are most likely buried by 10 years of woodworking magazines in basements across our country. Good luck digging them up when you hurt yourself.
Scrapes, cuts, bruises and worse happen every day in the workshop. What we need is a quick and authoritative field manual. Do (this) when you (hurt that). And that’s why “Workshop Wound Care” by Dr. Jeffery Hill was born.
Dr. Hill is an emergency room physician and a woodworker. He knows exactly how you are going to injure yourself. And he knows what to do to help you get better fast.
When I first read Dr. Hill’s manuscript I was struck by how basic the first aid gear is that he recommends. You can get almost all of it in a quick trip to the drugstore. There’s nothing exotic or terribly expensive. And there’s not a lot of it, to be honest.
In fact, after reading Dr. Hill’s book, I threw away a lot of stuff in our shop’s first aid kit.
It’s a no-nonsense guide that quickly tells you what you need to do in almost every situation, from the most minor to the most dire. This book is important. At the least, it will help you heal faster and get back to work. And it might just help you save a severed digit. Or someone’s life.
And just in time for prime hat season (?), we have a new khaki twill hat that is embroidered with the English A-square featured on the front of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” This is a dad hat in look, feel and fit. Fairly roomy. Six panel. And it has an adjustable strap for pinheads. We looked at a ton of hats, and this one rose to the top for comfort and fit. It is made in China (sorry we cannot find a USA hat that satisfies customers). The embroidery was done by a family business here in Covington. One size fits most.
Lately I’ve been thinking that the spirit of Joseph Moxon isn’t so happy with me. Maybe Old Joe – a printer by trade – isn’t happy about being known by moderns as a vise sold at Woodcraft. Or he isn’t happy about being called out for stealing images from André Félibien.
This book was supposed to be out in February 2022. But it suffered every possible delay in the printing process. First a paper shortage. Then the printing plant was shut down due to COVID-19. Then the plant was held hostage by Russian ransomware. Then I honestly believe the pressroom forgot about the book sometime in early May.
When we finally received our printing in June, there was a significant mistake in it. Some of the pages were missing. And so, for the first time ever, we had to pulp (aka recycle) the entire print run. This was a $25,000 mistake.
We have now reprinted the book. And we are reaching out to everyone who bought the defective book to send them a free replacement. Because of all the problems above, I estimate we will break even on this project about the time my grandkids go to college (I don’t have any grandkids; my kids aren’t even married yet).
So if you want a gorgeous, not-entirely-cursed version of this very important woodworking book, order one here. I am still glad we did this book project. Moxon should always be in print. And it should be available as a durable hardcover that will last generations (20th century versions of Moxon are literally falling to pieces because of their cheap glued bindings).
Thanks for your patience with the process.
Hats Are Coming
In happier news, we have a run of so-called “dad hats” in the works that should arrive in two weeks. These are fashion-backward hats. Cotton khaki twill with an adjustable brass buckle. The embroidery is in black thread and is done here in Covington just a few blocks away.
We are also working on a special tool for Christmas. (It’s definitely not a Ouija board.)
I’ve had a few students show up for classes with brand-new full-length leather aprons. In August. Cool. But not cool. After about 5 minutes of handwork, the aprons came off.
Canvas shop aprons breathe better, but they are still too hot in the spring, summer and autumn, especially if you do a lot of handsawing and planing.
That’s why we decided to make a waist apron instead of a traditional shop apron. I stay much cooler while working in this apron, even in the crazy heat.
Our apron is made in the USA and is designed to take a serious beating. The pockets are reinforced so your tools don’t rip through the canvas (a common problem). And the apron is not so big that you feel like a contractor who has a mobile workshop around the waist.
I’ve been using our waist apron every day for months now and could not be more pleased. It’s so comfortable and lightweight I’ve forgotten that I’m wearing it and have gone to lunch with it on.
If this sounds like a shameless plug, forgive me. But thanks to designer Tom Bonamici and the crew that stitched these aprons, they have exceeded my every expectation.
If you’ve read this far, here is a morsel of news to reward you: We are working on a compact tool roll using the same canvas and design principles.
It took us only 15 years, but we finally have our T-shirts exactly how we like them. Lightweight, long enough, breathable and made in the USA.
These gray heather shirts are 90 percent cotton and 10 percent poly. They fit true to size (we have a size chart in our store). Plus they are made in Tennessee and printed right here in Covington.
Megan and our summer intern, Harper, worked with our supplier to comb through dozens of brands to find the ones we liked. We narrowed it down to a few different brands and brought those in for testing. These shirts were far and away everyone’s favorite.
This shirt color and logo will be our standard shirt for the next couple years. When we sell out of a size, we will be able to quickly and inexpensively resupply because our screen printer is just a few blocks away.
The logo is screen printed in navy blue and is our “skep” (beehive) logo design by Joshua Minnich. The skep and the bee have long been symbols of woodworkers, who are busy bees. Our skep and bees have no connection to the Mormon church or Masons. There’s nothing wrong with either of those storied organizations, it’s just that the association between bees and woodworkers pre-dates either of them. (Sorry if this paragraph seems weird. People are always asking if the symbolism is connected to something outside woodworking.)
These shirts are $27 – a great price for a nice USA-made shirt. You can order yours here.
If you live overseas or are allergic to the gray hue, don’t despair. You can simply download this logo via this link and take it to your local print-on-demand shirt dealer. Or you can buy special printer paper that allows you to make a T-shirt transfer. Please just don’t put the logo on a thong. Or if you do put it on a thong, don’t send us a photo.