Sunday, January 8, 2012

Three Artifacts, Part 2: The Book

The second item I received was another artifact of craftsmanship; a tome of modern woodworking.

The Anarchist's Tool Chest was self-published by the author, Christopher Schwarz, through Lost Art Press, LLC. Schwarz is not only the author of the book, he is also a co-owner of the small publishing company he helped create in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky with Lucy May and John Hoffman. He is also the former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine where he worked for fifteen years.

Schwarz was forced to leave the magazine, not by a power grab or some corporate conspiracy but by his own convictions. He decided it was better to live on a four figure income than to slave away his days working at a corporate job where he was expected to make a profit rather than produce the highest quality of work; an idea that we can all relate to.

I first read about Chris Schwarz and this book while I was living on eighty acres of farm land in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. I moved to Arkansas from Austin, TX with my girlfriend Darcy, our dog Charlie, and our two cats in an attempt to get "back to the land" for an undetermined amount of time.

So when I read about Schwarz sticking it to the man (politely) and writing a book sticking it to mass-produced particle board furniture garbage, I knew that it would be something worth reading. I was and currently am the key audience for this book.

I began collecting antique tools about two and a half years ago. The first real tools that I ever bought were a 1 1/4" ship auger and a drawknife from an antique dealer in Denton, TX. I was obsessed with Dick Proenneke's Alone In The Wilderness at the time and was looking to recreate the tool set that he took with him into the wild country of Alaska to build his cabin. I wanted to be able to build my own home (or at a least a rustic stool) out of wood using simple tools.

This path lead me to rediscover The Woodwright's Shop and I then began to discover modern toolmakers who were still concerned with craftsmanship and quality. I don't think I knew what quality was until I ventured down this path.

I think this episode of Roy's show perfectly sums up well...everything. Watch the episode The Spirit of Woodcraft from The Woodwright's Shop.

No comments:

Post a Comment