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Best Traditional Woodworking Books & DVDs: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz

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Blog entry by WoodAndShop posted 07-30-2014 08:55 PM 1555 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In my above video I share a must-have book for new and seasoned traditional woodworkers: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz. You can see the original review on my blog post here.

“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is one of my absolute favorite books on the subject of traditional woodworking. Chris Scwharz displays his unfiltered humor, and no-nonsense approach to modern day woodworking anarchism: (1) build your own quality furniture instead of buying throw-away furniture and (2) stop collecting too many tools. A simple chest of heirloom quality tools is sufficient to build furniture that will last several lifetimes.

The pages are filled with unbelievably detailed research on what to look for when buying your woodworking hand tools. The chapters are broken up by different woodworking hand tool types. The book wraps up with plans & instructions on how to build the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Chris Schwarz has created a literal movement of people who are building these tool chests and filling them with quality woodworking hand tools.

Here is the Woodwright’s Shop episode where Chris Schwarz shows the Anarchist’s Tool chest to Roy Underhill.

I am especially grateful for Christopher Schwarz’s advice on “what not to buy”. This book has become a reference guide to me, that I return to on a regular basis.

I recommend that you read “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” through once (with a highlighter) and then keep it close by as a reference manual.

The beautiful bound cover & pages are nice enough to display in my living room…although it rarely gets far from my workbench.

You can buy “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” book at this link.

You can also buy the accompanying DVD at this link. In the DVD Chris actually pulls all of his tools out of his strong yet beautiful “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and gives a brief explanation about why he purchased each tool. Here’s the DVD trailer:

I give this book 5 chisels up…way up!

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-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials: http://WoodAndShop.com



6 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5119 posts in 2464 days


#1 posted 07-31-2014 06:28 AM

I don’t know…I read the book a while ago and thought the writing and editting were fair. It didn’t really seem to be a book about the tools or the chest but about the author’s angst. I am glad the book was a gift as I don’t think it is a book I would have purchased…as there are more effective treatments of the subject in other books.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View WoodAndShop's profile

WoodAndShop

145 posts in 261 days


#2 posted 07-31-2014 02:12 PM

Thanks for your comment Mark! Thank goodness there are so many different books & movies for all the different tastes. What have you found to be your favorite woodworking books?

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials: http://WoodAndShop.com

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5119 posts in 2464 days


#3 posted 08-04-2014 09:54 PM

I’ve a few books I refer back to occaisionally like Bob Flexner’s book on finishing and a book by Tage Frid but
I think I’ve come to the realization that I need to make more sawdust if I actually want to get good at woodworking…kinda like you can look at a map all you want but that won’t get you anywhere :-) ! I think my most enjoyable source is here at LJ’s. People such as yourself, Joshua, put amazing amounts of effort providing some golden tutorials and how to’s. Even reviewing the postings here can be inspirational.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View WoodAndShop's profile

WoodAndShop

145 posts in 261 days


#4 posted 08-05-2014 02:55 AM

Hey Mark, I’m a total believer in what you said. Woodworkers need to stop endlessly reading about how to do something and just try it, then refine it. And thanks for the compliment.

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials: http://WoodAndShop.com

View Marty Backe's profile

Marty Backe

176 posts in 1523 days


#5 posted 08-13-2014 06:58 AM

Nice review. This is one of my favorite books too. And I love his writing style – makes me laugh out loud some times. Wish I had read it 20 years ago.

View WoodAndShop's profile

WoodAndShop

145 posts in 261 days


#6 posted 08-13-2014 02:46 PM

Thanks Marty! It sure is a great book. Thanks for your comment.

-- Joshua Farnsworth - Free Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking Tutorials: http://WoodAndShop.com

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