Full Chisel Blog

July 9, 2011

The Anarchist’s Tool Chest – Review

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Reviews,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:39 am


The Anarchist’s Tool Chest

By Christopher Schwarz

Lost Art Press

In the first draft of this review I wrote: ‘I am probably not the best person to review
this book as much of the material I am quite familiar, but that is not going to
stop me.
’, but a friend pointed out that because of my experience I would
be an ideal person to review this book, so here I go. This work will appeal to
the professional woodworker to help focus their hand tool skills and refine
their tool collection.  And someone just getting into the glorious realm of hand tool work, and this publication will be a real boon.

And the name of the book ‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest’ I find intriguing as is Chris’ personal story of his journey and how he came to consider himself an anarchist.  His
decision to reduce his hand tool collection to that which is needed and nothing
else, he could have just as well entitled the book ‘The Ascetic’s Tool Chest’.  But that doesn’t have the same punch.

The concept is brilliant, using period inventories and tool lists; Chris has shown that much can be done with fewer proper tools and the correct knowledge to use them.  And all of this is couched in the overall project of actually building that Anarchist’s Tool Chest itself.

This work will benefit those who are considering hand tool use, those who already use hand tools and those that are just taking up woodworking.  This book may keep people
from over populating their tool kit with tools they really don’t need and will probably never use.  It is a proper set of tools presented with a reasonable philosophy.

I enjoyed reading the book, I do disagree with Chris on a couple of issues as I always have, but those are of little importance here.  His style of writing is easy to follow,
sometimes funny with a few self deprecating comments thrown in to the mix kept
me entertained.

Read this book and see where you fit along the anarchist continuum.  Revolutionaries unite.  Anarchists untie.  I would say join the Anarchist’s Woodworking Club, but there isn’t one nor will there ever be one. If there were The Anarchist’s Tool Chest would be its codex.

Stephen Shepherd





  1. I thinks it’s “Dyslexics Untie”. My brother in-law’s daughter made that sign for his shop.

    By the way,Stephen, your two books I received are both excellent. Haven’t had a huge amount of reading time lately, but hope to digest them and deliver a review at some point. Entertaining, for sure!

    Comment by Tico Vogt — July 9, 2011 @ 10:32 am

  2. I love this book, it truly captures the type of woodworker I aspire to be… I don’t need all these tools, they are just becoming clutter.

    Comment by Anthony — July 15, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  3. Thanks for the post. I also love this book. @Anthony you said it right, it captures the type of woodworkers aspire to be.

    Comment by rolling tool carts — July 30, 2011 @ 1:53 am

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