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Dave Lehnert
07-14-2011, 5:16 PM
I am a little confused about the book "The Anarchist's Tool Chest"
Is it a book like the Workbench book with plans to build a tool chest or ????

Michael Titus
07-14-2011, 5:53 PM
It's more than just plans to build a tool chest. About 50 pages is a meditation on building furniture to last vs. buying furniture that won't last, and about buying from fellow craftspeople rather than from large corporations (the Anarchist portion). Another 250 pages lists and describes how to use essential hand tools. Another 100 pages on how to build a tool chest. Also appendices on which tools past craftspeople thought were essential (Moxon vs. Seaton, etc.), sources for refurbished vintage hand tools, etc.

Jim Matthews
07-14-2011, 6:43 PM
That sentiment (pay a little more, to keep your neighbors employed) is one I hope catches on.

I'm not opposed to big manufacturer's so much as big retailers - they suppress quality along with prices. Choice suffers as an unintended consequence.

paul cottingham
07-14-2011, 9:11 PM
It is a terrific book about woodworking culture for lack of a better word. Why we do it, which tools help us do it, and why we might want to do it with hand tools. I've read it twice already. (I guess I'm a slow learner...) He makes compelling arguments for hand tool use, and for traditional woodworking (whatever the heck that means.)

Chris Fournier
07-14-2011, 9:40 PM
Where does the anarchy start/stop? Is a tube amp more virtous than a solid state amp? Are you an anarchist if you build furniture with Grizzly machinery and swipe a few handplanes across the machine prepped boards? Should you refurbish or buy new quality handtools? Handtools do not an anarchist make, although an anarchist may well have some. He may also bury school buses below ground and fill them with dry goods and water...

If you are holding down a middle to upper class life style working for the man, I hope that you take pleasure in your handtools, they should provide some solace from the daily grind but you aren't dangerous enough to be an anarchist now are you? I know that I'm not.

Shaun Mahood
07-14-2011, 11:40 PM
Chris, have you read the book yet? I thought it was a worthwhile read even beyond the woodworking knowledge.

There is actually a very good section explaining why he chose the word (and the blank stares he got when he told people). A lot of his arguments resonated with me. I have a tendency to see where the mainstream is going and flee in the other direction (in some parts of my life). He discusses the move away from market driven craftsmanship and towards mass cheap consumerism.

He also made a point in there about traditional skills having to be kept alive by skilled amateurs, since there is not much of a market for them anymore. I'm sure a lot of his points have been gone over many times, but I definitely enjoyed it.

And if my post didn't make sense, I'm claiming that I meant to do that!

Jason Coen
07-15-2011, 1:06 AM
Where does the anarchy start/stop? Is a tube amp more virtous than a solid state amp? Are you an anarchist if you build furniture with Grizzly machinery and swipe a few handplanes across the machine prepped boards? Should you refurbish or buy new quality handtools? Handtools do not an anarchist make, although an anarchist may well have some. He may also bury school buses below ground and fill them with dry goods and water...

If you are holding down a middle to upper class life style working for the man, I hope that you take pleasure in your handtools, they should provide some solace from the daily grind but you aren't dangerous enough to be an anarchist now are you? I know that I'm not.

This is the second time I've seen you deliberately mischaracterize Chris's use of the word "anarchist", and I'm curious as to your motivation. Did Chris Schwarz once steal your lunch money? Are you just generally distrustful of people from Arkansas? Don't like those with German surnames?

Ed Looney
07-15-2011, 9:56 AM
I haven't read the book but if Chris is proposing to start a traditional hand tool revolution against the cheep MDF furniture making establishment, then using the word anarchist is perfectly acceptable. In fact the concept of hand built by a local craftsman is quite "revolutionary" in today's furniture and cabinet industries.

Ed Looney

Chris Fournier
07-15-2011, 10:29 AM
No I have my lunch money in pocket and I too have a German ancestory. The word anarchist is used here for effect, sizzle let's say and I'm poking fun at that. It's a very effective "hook" so to speak.

My point is that if you are railing righteously against MDF and factory furniture, it's a bit lame. I make my own furniture and use handtools everyday by the way. It's just that I find the ferver with which we woodworkers rally behind this flag a bit much. We are the same people who go on endlessly about import machinery (complaining that the cheap goods we buy are indeed cheap...) and watch our inexpensive Chinese manufactured flatscreen TVs while eating prepared meals out of boxes. It's this dichotomy that I'm poking fun at.

Were it not for factory furniture and MDF 90% of our neighbours would be sitting on floors. We like making furniture, some for fun and some for profit. Regardless it is a great activity but it isn't any more noble or contrary/anachronistic than cooking from scratch with local produce.

Mike Henderson
07-15-2011, 10:32 AM
I have not read the book. My problem with anyone advocating a reaction to factory built furniture is that we're preaching to the wrong people. The people who will read that book are ones who will likely build heirloom furniture. To change anything, you have to preach to the people who BUY furniture and convince them that heirloom furniture is a good investment.

My own belief is that Ikea style furniture sells because it meets the needs of the people who buy it. They want a piece of utilitarian furniture, at a utilitarian price, and they expect it to last for maybe 20 years, when their kids are grown and leave the house, or when they change the style of their furniture and dispose of the old furniture. As such, Ikea furniture exactly hits the mark.

But there is a small market for heirloom furniture and expanding it would be good for those of us who build furniture for clients.

Mike

george wilson
07-15-2011, 10:46 AM
Except for my wife's Art Deco jewelry box and table,posted in FAQ,and a nice couple of tables,I don't make complicated.heirloom furniture. Just never could get into it. So,we have some cheap,home assembled little storage thingys in the bathroom that I'd LIKE to make better ones,some day,but probably never will. A few other junky items that my wife brought home(never consults me!) I'd also like to toss. I guess furniture isn't that high on my priority list,when there are INTERESTING things like tools and guitars out there.:)

Pam Niedermayer
07-15-2011, 11:04 AM
I don't have opportunity to make all that much furniture either. My family in Virginia has always been into buying hand made stuff, and as they're died, I've accumulated more than enough quality stuff. In fact, I'd have to sell several pieces to make room for a new piece. I've got this four poster of walnut that's gorgeous, but it's only a double; so now my quandary is whether or not to repurpose the wood, maybe for a table.

Pam

Ed Looney
07-15-2011, 11:09 AM
No I have my lunch money in pocket and I too have a German ancestory. The word anarchist is used here for effect, sizzle let's say and I'm poking fun at that. It's a very effective "hook" so to speak.

My point is that if you are railing righteously against MDF and factory furniture, it's a bit lame........

Were it not for factory furniture and MDF 90% of our neighbours would be sitting on floors.

Chris
Sorry you misunderstood my intent. My purpose was to support the use of the term anarchist. Secondly I must disagree with with your assertion that 90% of the people would be sitting on floors if it weren't for MDF. If that were true then 90% of the people had to be sitting on the floor prior to the creation of MDF.
I will assert that Craftsman furniture was one of many revolutions in woodworking. The concept of exposing the joinery as a design element was if not any thing else a rebellion against the traditional furniture establishment where joinery was necessary yet so unattractive that must be hidden. Likewise today's furniture produced with man made materials by mechanization is the establishment. So the proposition of going back to the old school of hand tools used by someone locally who works with "real wood" is a bit of anarchy.

Ed

David Weaver
07-15-2011, 11:14 AM
My own belief is that Ikea style furniture sells because it meets the needs of the people who buy it.


Bingo, and nobody who is short on money and trying to make ends meet (or even if they're not) needs to be made to feel guilty for not wanting to pay someone gobs of money to put together a piece of utility furniture when the ikea furniture will do just fine.

There is an overabundance of people in the hobby woodworking world, and in the book-writing world, who like to play holier-than-thou because they decide they like to make something with their hands, and feel that other people should feel obligated to participate in the same thing.

Maybe we should all refuse bread that doesn't come from wheat that was in shocks at one time, or meat from animals who haven't been fed by hand with a shovel.

People can make those decisions on their own. If they like expensive hand made furniture, that's great. If they want to spend their money on TVs or save it, and buy ikea furniture, too, that's great - they don't need the likes of us telling them how awful they are and how they're moving the world toward soylent green.

Ed Looney
07-15-2011, 11:18 AM
I have not read the book. My problem with anyone advocating a reaction to factory built furniture is that we're preaching to the wrong people. The people who will read that book are ones who will likely build heirloom furniture.
Mike

Mike
Perhaps the book was not intended to be a sermon preached to the choir but rather sheet music for the choir. The harmony is much better if we are all singing the same tune.

Ed

Chris Fournier
07-15-2011, 11:23 AM
Chris
Sorry you misunderstood my intent. My purpose was to support the use of the term anarchist. Secondly I must disagree with with your assertion that 90% of the people would be sitting on floors if it weren't for MDF. If that were true then 90% of the people had to be sitting on the floor prior to the creation of MDF.
I will assert that Craftsman furniture was one of many revolutions in woodworking. The concept of exposing the joinery as a design element was if not any thing else a rebellion against the traditional furniture establishment where joinery was necessary yet so unattractive that must be hidden. Likewise today's furniture produced with man made materials by mechanization is the establishment. So the proposition of going back to the old school of hand tools used by someone locally who works with "real wood" is a bit of anarchy.

Ed

No I understood that you were pro anarchy Ed. There's no point in holding up previous manufacturing methods in furniture as anarchy. At any given time in human history, post industrialisation, there has been crap mainstream furniture. Once upon a time veneer, plywood etc were viewed as crap - today, we cherish the thought of these quality materials in our furniture! The Craftsman furniture movement was indeed reactionary but in no way was it available to the mainstream - it was exclusive and expensive. If it was for anarchists, they would have been very well heeled anarchists. Frankly, anyone who has poured their creative efforts and money into designing and building quality and contrary furniture (even at the factory level) could not be considered an anarchist because they are infact "the haves", not "the have nots".

Reading my post over it would seem that I consider anarchists to be from the poor huddled masses and not the upper classes. This is not a trerribly strong position I suppose.

Ed Looney
07-15-2011, 11:59 AM
I agree that if someone wanted Stickley furniture they paid a premium price. However I would bet a cup of coffee that within a year or two of the beginning of the Craftsman furniture phase Sears offered mass produced factory made Mission or Craftsman furniture in their catalog. However that does not change the fact that the Craftsman revolution forever changed the concept that joinery was ugly and utilitarian and must be hidden from view. If it weren't for that bit of anarchy we might possibly be hiding our craftsmanship behind moldings today.

Ed

Joel Goodman
07-15-2011, 12:08 PM
The Craftsman furniture movement was indeed reactionary but in no way was it available to the mainstream - it was exclusive and expensive.

The Arts and Crafts was a movement that espoused honest craftsmanship instead of lots of decoration. It was utopian in nature and was concerned with design as well as how the objects were produced. The factories or workshops were often organized on "utopian" principles.I think you are oversimplifying to call it elitest --- all utopian movements are as folks barely getting by rarely have the time or energy to philosophize. I think it was more like the 60s back to the land movement without the drugs, and with a stronger esthetic sense. See below from Wikipedia.

"Instigated by the artist and writer William Morris (1834–1896) during the 1860s[1] and inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900), it had its earliest and most complete development in the British Islands[2] but spread to Europe and North America.[3] It was largely a reaction against the impoverished state of the decorative arts and the conditions by which they were produced.[4]
The philosophy was an advocacy of traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It also included advocacy of economic and social reform and has been considered as essentially anti-industrial."

Brian Kincaid
07-15-2011, 12:11 PM
I never did make it over to the Anite Fern Stickley gallery. Then one day I had some time and http://www.anitafern.com/ (Store closed)
:( Bummer
-Brian

David Weaver
07-15-2011, 12:29 PM
.. we might possibly be hiding our craftsmanship behind moldings today.

Ed

Some of us still prefer that look, and think it's infinitely more tasteful.

Mike Davis NC
07-15-2011, 12:36 PM
I cook from scratch with local produce.

Chris Fournier
07-15-2011, 1:03 PM
Honestly, Ikea furniture represents exceptional value. I am not loathe to own it or have my wife buy it but resigned to the fact that it is often attractive and functional. The price point is such that you can simply replace entire rooms when your fancy moves from light to dark. The Ikea stuff that we have replaced is often 7 to 10 years old and good enough to actually pass on to others (caveat, we have no kids and we didn't buy their lowest cost lines). There is not a single piece of Ikea furniture that I wouldn't like to replace with my own work but as others have pointed out, it is either not practical at this moment timewise or there are other more interesting priojects to do.

I simply can't fault Ikea for the materials that it chooses to use either. Hell, if we all had to have our own handmade furniture lumber would be in short supply and terribly expensive.

Pam Niedermayer
07-15-2011, 1:10 PM
I thought A&C furniture, and houses for that matter, were designed to be produced with simple power tools; and, therefore, was anything but elitist, more of a middle class thing.

Pam

Pam Niedermayer
07-15-2011, 1:14 PM
...People can make those decisions on their own. If they like expensive hand made furniture, that's great. If they want to spend their money on TVs or save it, and buy ikea furniture, too, that's great - they don't need the likes of us telling them how awful they are and how they're moving the world toward soylent green.

Seems harsh, David. Probably most people haven't a clue as to how their furniture is made or whether it will last or anything but how it looks to mostly untutored eyes. They simply haven't been told, so how could they make informed decisions.

And I've got to say, there are an awful lot of pieces being given away on Craig's List, so many are learning this the hard way: if you buy crap, it's yours forever, broken legs and all.

That said, I don't much like holier than thou arguments either.

Pam

george wilson
07-15-2011, 1:22 PM
Maybe it should be "craftier than thou." In the 60's it was "folkier than thou." :)

Chris Fournier
07-15-2011, 1:26 PM
I thought A&C furniture, and houses for that matter, were designed to be produced with simple power tools; and, therefore, was anything but elitist, more of a middle class thing.

Pam

I think that A&C was a reaction to all of the florid Victorian stuff that was choking your "everyman". I don't know that the design was originally intended to suit manufacturing necessarily but it was intended to celebrate and modestly adorn the basic elements of the furniture making craft. I also think that "middle class" connoted a very different socio economic group in the teens and 20's of the past century than it does today. Not really comparable I'd venture; they were fewer and far better off than "everyman".

David Keller NC
07-15-2011, 2:54 PM
People can make those decisions on their own. If they like expensive hand made furniture, that's great. If they want to spend their money on TVs or save it, and buy ikea furniture, too, that's great - they don't need the likes of us telling them how awful they are and how they're moving the world toward soylent green.

True enough - everyone is allowed to make their own decisions, but I think Pam has hit the nail on the head (forgive the pun). Ikea doesn't advertise their furniture as "made with termite barf, put together in ways that will not stand up to everyday use for very long, but it's cheap!". And indeed, many of the younger folks that I've talked to at work were quite surprised to hear me say that most of Ikea's products were poorly built to last a long time.

One particular quote was "You mean their coffee tables won't last very long? But they look so cool!"

What this strongly suggests to me is a triumph of marketing over substance, the core principle of which is to downplay and obscure the negatives associated with your product, and emphasize an air of exclusivity. Sort of a classic "Sell the sizzle, not the steak".

Another factor that comes into play is that many, many of us will simply insist that the law of "you get what you pay for" can be broken if one is clever enough. The new show "Extreme Couponing" comes to mind. Sadly, there are exceptionally few examples of breaking this rule that will stand up to objective scrutiny.

David Weaver
07-15-2011, 3:55 PM
My point is simply that a lot of folks will go through life not having any interest in clinging on to items that will "last a lifetime and be able to be given to kids", and trying to insist they live life a certain way and spend their dollars in a way that would please the person leaving the message is just like static on a radio to them.

I cannot insist someone spend a lot of money on furniture any more than instisting they *must* have hand forged knives in the kitchen, all clad pots and pans in their cupboards, and a full wet shaving setup with goods only made by artisans in japan or the western world.

It just makes little sense to bend someone's ear about how they should act or what they should buy in what is a very narrow part of life (non-upholstered furniture items), when it may be something they don't care about at all.

That's not the case for us, but i have enough distaste for people who are insistent and judgmental about other things I don't care about (must haves in kitchen counters, appliances, etc, or clothes...) to realize that I would be doing the same thing if I was endorsing the wishes of the little "club" that I'm in.

We are ultimately doing nothing more than marketing ourselves if we plant a "need" in peoples heads to have something that really isn't at all necessary for life and the pursuit of happiness ... something that ultimate is also just more high dollar stuff to keep track of, insure, move, fight over, yell at the kids about touching, knocking, etc.

(i may be in a bad mood today....or every day).

Sean Hughto
07-15-2011, 4:30 PM
You're arguing against a straw man. Schwarz is not telling people how to act or what to buy. He is sharing the personal fulfillment he gets from knowing how to use tools to create your own artisanal works. Termite barf has divorced many from the awareness that the means to create such satisfying works exist and the fulfillment that can come from such self-reliance, not to mention living with quality items. Inshort, he has learned to appreciate quality in furniture and derives satisfaction from self-reliance in creating it. Look for future titles:

An Anarchist's Home Brew Beer Making Supplies
An Anarchist Moonshiner's Still
An Anarchist's Backyard Garden
An Anarchist's Pottery Studio
An Anarchist's Artisanal Goat Cheese
An Anarchist's Guide to Home Beekeeping
An Anarchists Quilting Basket
.... okay you get the point.

Mike Davis NC
07-15-2011, 4:53 PM
Thanks Sean, very well said.

Why do people think an author is trying to tell them how to live when he is only saying how he lives?

David Weaver
07-15-2011, 4:55 PM
Well, i haven't read schwartz's book to know that I'm arguing against a strawman, I guess I figured I was arguing against the sense that people will all come to the same conclusion on something that's ultimately opinion-based. A lot more people in my neighborhood seem much more content to pay someone for items than to get any satisfaction out of building things for themselves. But I believe someone commented at the beginning of the thread that pounding the drum to a bunch of woodworkers is like doing a proof for basic arithmetic operators to a bunch of math majors.

I haven't ever, and will not ever, tell someone what they should learn about or what they should buy when it comes to something like furniture. Or even that they should realize the same sense of self-satisfaction that I might, because they may rather sit on the floor with their kids, or sit in the bleachers at a kids sporting event and have no interest in doing anything other than buying the lowest possible furniture cost.

I'm not offended by termite barf and ply unless it's fresh and offgassing large amounts of formaldehyde - something I had quite a bit of experience with getting too much of in a commercial cabinet factory.

I do wish more of the woodworking writers would stick with woodworking and less with trying to make hobby woodworking a social event or an exclusory (of other things) lifestyle choice, which is the reason I wouldn't order a book like that to begin with.

David Weaver
07-15-2011, 4:57 PM
Thanks Sean, very well said.

Why do people think an author is trying to tell them how to live when he is only saying how he lives?

See above quote, my comment is less about the author (haven't and won't read the book) and more about the folks who decry the end of the world for people not appreciating hand made things enough.

Sean Hughto
07-15-2011, 5:04 PM
I haven't ever, and will not ever, tell someone what they should learn about or what they should buy when it comes to something like furniture.

Yeah, and neither does Schwarz.


Or even that they should realize the same sense of self-satisfaction that I might, because they may rather sit on the floor with their kids, or sit in the bleachers at a kids sporting event and have no interest in doing anything other than buying the lowest possible furniture cost.

You may not tell people what they SHOULD do, but I assume you will tell friends and family about things that you think might make them happy so they can try it if it strikes them, right?

Mike Davis NC
07-15-2011, 5:05 PM
Well, I guess I have to agree with you there. I make things because I enjoy making them. Most of them are given away to people who seem to appreciate them. I could never make enough to supply everyone and wouldn't want to work that hard. Enjoy what you do, do something else or don't do anything at all. It's all up to you. I only preach when asked. The world may end but i don't think it will be for a lack of handmade items nor the appreciation of such.

Peter Cobb
07-15-2011, 10:24 PM
Anarchism's an emotionally charged word that generates tearout by going, substantially, against the grain. It may prove to damage the book more than the piqu it generates due to changes in what the word means to us today. Expecting someone in 2011 to accept 1906 definitions of words is "mildly obtuse", as t'gaffer would say.

I ordered the book, not out of a wish to burn the core of society down, nor to be preached at, just to see what Schwarz' list of essential tools looks like and maybe be guided by it. It's currently sitting in customs with my holdfasts and R Wearing's book, hope to have them released soon and not "deported" due to an inflammatory title.

I like thought provoking books, and have enjoyed the opportunity to discuss these thoughts with other people (like-minded or not). I don't like to be preached at, or told what to do. But I've learnt it's a good policy to ask, mull it over and let it smoulder in my head for 2-3 days. What's still there after the smouldering is probably worth taking into account. I've found If I get worked up about something I haven't thought over properly, I usually manage to make a fool of myself.
Ben Franklin said something like "I don't like to give advice, the wise don't need it and fools won't heed it".

All the best to all,

Peter

Harlan Barnhart
07-15-2011, 10:35 PM
I didn't buy it. I'm too busy making furniture and tool chests of my own design. Maybe I'm too much of an Anarchist to buy a book about it... It sounds like a good book though.

Peter Cobb
07-15-2011, 10:38 PM
Harlan, if you only want the design of the chest, he published it on his blog. (think it's a 2 page pdf)
Cheers,
Peter
PD Nope 1 page link (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B6iDY4jOXahUNzFhYWM2NTUtOGUzOS00OTIzLTgzYTI tYjI3ODQ0NjlkMTIy&hl=en&authkey=CNCl8awH&pli=1)

Bob Glenn
07-16-2011, 9:45 AM
I ordered the book after reading the start of this thread. A bit expensive, but it is worth the money. I'm about half way through and it is an enjoyable read. I'm not a total neander but thought I was fairly knowledgeable about hand tools. However, I am picking up lots of good bits and pieces. There always more to learn. BTW, it is a nice cloth bound book and came signed by Chris. Worth the money IMHO.

Chris Fournier
07-16-2011, 10:29 AM
Anarchism's an emotionally charged word that generates tearout by going, substantially, against the grain. It may prove to damage the book more than the piqu it generates due to changes in what the word means to us today. Expecting someone in 2011 to accept 1906 definitions of words is "mildly obtuse", as t'gaffer would say.

I ordered the book, not out of a wish to burn the core of society down, nor to be preached at, just to see what Schwarz' list of essential tools looks like and maybe be guided by it. It's currently sitting in customs with my holdfasts and R Wearing's book, hope to have them released soon and not "deported" due to an inflammatory title.

I like thought provoking books, and have enjoyed the opportunity to discuss these thoughts with other people (like-minded or not). I don't like to be preached at, or told what to do. But I've learnt it's a good policy to ask, mull it over and let it smoulder in my head for 2-3 days. What's still there after the smouldering is probably worth taking into account. I've found If I get worked up about something I haven't thought over properly, I usually manage to make a fool of myself.
Ben Franklin said something like "I don't like to give advice, the wise don't need it and fools won't heed it".

All the best to all,

Peter

Peter, I would align myself with your observations which are very well expressed in your post. Particularly the first paragraph and the Franklin quote! I do manage to charge right to the Fool making behaviour more often than not.

Tony Shea
07-16-2011, 6:35 PM
I do wish more of the woodworking writers would stick with woodworking and less with trying to make hobby woodworking a social event or an exclusory (of other things) lifestyle choice, which is the reason I wouldn't order a book like that to begin with.

I've gotten about half way through the book as well and have really enjoyed it. Really is my kind of reading material as it isn't someone just telling me step by step how to build something. Which is why I really enjoyed Krenov and Nakashima writings. I like to hear other's feelings when it comes to anything they do, be it woodworking, hiking, fishing, etc. I don't want to know how to do these things over and over again. The market is filled with instructional books.

And for the begining woodworker I think this book is an asset in their tool buying endevours. I was was that guy, shopping at local hardware and big box stores picking up tools that I thought would make me a better woodworker. If only I had some better guidance such as this book I could have saved a bunch a cash.

This book, and especially its' title was bound to flare up discussions. I think this is in part what this title was meant to do, as well as spark someone's interest into buying the book. So far I think it has been a wonderful read and would reccomend it to anyone interested in working with hand tools. It's also a great inspiration to get me started on a tool chest or tool cabinet, haven't decided which yet. To each their own.

Harlan Barnhart
07-16-2011, 7:24 PM
Thanks Peter, that's good to know.

Tom Vanzant
07-18-2011, 12:04 PM
I believe the cottages were once listed as a kit in the Sears & Roebuck (maybe M-W) catalog. You picked the cottage and its features, ordered it and it arrived on-site at the specified time. You supplied the labor to assemble and finish out, an earlier version of sweat ethic.

Gary Roberts
07-19-2011, 9:59 PM
Mike
Perhaps the book was not intended to be a sermon preached to the choir but rather sheet music for the choir. The harmony is much better if we are all singing the same tune.

Ed

Ed: you hit the clinch nail on the head. I may debate the philosophical aspect of the book (which I have just finished reading) but the overall jist of it is that hand tools can be good, not necessarily as a replacement for all power tools, but as an adjunct for the home craftsperson or the pro who chooses to concentrate on hand tool made stuff. If your head is already pointed in that direction, the book can give you some of the umph you need to continue developing your skills.

Back in the A&C days, there were companies who made inexpensive versions of the high class stuff for the masses. At least one even made what we now call knock-down furniture to increase the freight load to the local furniture store. Another sold their product as prizes. Stickley was at the top of the heap even then. Who said Ikea invented something new? They just do it on a bigger scale.

Will the book spark a new revolution? Doesn't matter to me. The more books and DVD's out there on hand tool woodworking, the happier I am. Some are tops and some are not but each one pushes us back to considering when to use hand tools and when to power up the band saw. I'm retired and so can work on what I want, when I want. Years ago I worked in an architectural cabinet shop and we worked to the clock. The faster the product was made to spec, the more money we made and vice versa. Power tools did the heavy work and hand tools did the finish assembly work. That was before the days of nail guns.

I like Tage Frid, you like Ian Kirby and nobody really likes packing crate furniture except for poor college students.

Bill Moser
07-22-2011, 5:09 PM
Just finished it today. My favorite quote:

"Amongst the pines, Eastern white is the most hand-tool friendly. It's shockingly friendly -- like wearing a tube top friendly."
Besides the wacko wit (which is right up my alley), there's a lot of good information here, from choosing, using, and caring for tools, to building a tool chests. The "anarchist" theme seems to me to be pretty similar to the "quality" theme of Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". I love making furniture, but being basically still a newbie after ten years or so of this hobby, I'm still very slow at it. The coffee table I just made took me almost 120 hours to make. So I still buy more furniture than I make. I recently bought a small dining table, with four chairs, for about $650. That's crazy cheap. I'm not proud of buying the set, or the bedroom set either, but if I made the equivalents myself, it would take me a long, long time...

David Weaver
07-22-2011, 5:42 PM
for about $650. That's crazy cheap. I'm not proud of buying the set, or the bedroom set either, but if I made the equivalents myself, it would take me a long, long time...

and you can still make them, and now you can take as much time as you'd want to make them because the pressure's off.

Sounds like a good solution. Better than building something yourself with $1000 worth of materials and then compromising on it just to get it done.

Bill Moser
07-22-2011, 6:02 PM
and you can still make them, and now you can take as much time as you'd want to make them because the pressure's off.

Sounds like a good solution. Better than building something yourself with $1000 worth of materials and then compromising on it just to get it done.

David - that's a good point. My next project is a TV stand to match the coffee table. The current stand is a crappy knock-down blanket chest I got at some big-box place about 15 years ago, with two chairs serving as speaker stands. I won't be buying a mass-market stand in the interim -- things will stay this way until I build the piece myself, on my own time.

Eric Brown
07-23-2011, 8:15 AM
I just ordered a copy of both the book and the $10 DVD.
Decided I would wait until the second printing so that the mistakes could be corrected.

Looking forward to seeing it all.

Eric

Peter Cobb
07-23-2011, 11:29 AM
I just ordered a copy of both the book and the $10 DVD.
Decided I would wait until the second printing so that the mistakes could be corrected.

Received my copy on monday, finished it on thursday. I liked it.
The humour is right on for me and it's basically Schwarz' autobiography to where he is now, with great recommendations of a fully competent but not bloated woodworking tool set.
Hope you enjoy it.
Cheers,
Peter