A Free Download Now and Forever
April 15, 2024 8:25 AM   Subscribe

“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is now available as a free download! Written by Christopher Schwarz and first published in June 2011, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is revered by many as a philosophical tome as well as a how-to book. The book includes instructions for building your own tool chest, as demonstrated here by MetaFilter's Own™ and JimCoin™ creator bondcliff!
posted by slogger (17 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
Awww hey I saw this on Instagram last night and I'm so happy Chris has gotten to the point where this makes sense for him and his business. It's weird watching your cousin become kind of niche-internet-famous (but I'm sure he thought that about me also).
posted by jessamyn at 8:41 AM on April 15 [19 favorites]

I've got a paper copy of this book and I can spill a terrible secret: Mere access to a build-yourself-a-toolbox book is not enough to cause a toolbox to get built.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:20 AM on April 15 [26 favorites]

Wait... so no bomb making advice?
posted by sammyo at 9:39 AM on April 15

posted by sammyo at 9:39 AM on April 15

Wait... so no bomb making advice?

That’s in the cookbook.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:54 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]

Wait... So no recipes to feed your hungry mutual aid group?
posted by Reverend John at 10:28 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]

As noted in the linked post, several of his other books are also freely available. I highly recommend them, particularly The Anarchist’s Design Book. I’ve managed to make a few pieces of furniture based on the ideas in there. I was surprised at how sturdy the ones based on boarded construction with cut nails turned out. Making these books freely available is very kind of him.
posted by sillyman at 10:36 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]

So glad that Lost Art Press is finding the audience it needs to support the community behind these books and this culture of woodworking. I grew up with shops full of machines but realized that I would probably never have the space for a cabinet saw, and if I want to do woodworking I needed to think differently. Christopher Schwarz has been a wonderful guide on that journey. I even took a tool chest class from him about ten years ago. Just a really inquisitive and patient soul (who has connections to this site, by the way, though I'm not sure he counts as a mefi's-own.)
The other books in the Anarchist series are excellent as well (and seconding the fascination with the six-board chest and wrought nails).
posted by St. Oops at 10:57 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]

Mere access to a build-yourself-a-toolbox book is not enough to cause a toolbox to get built.

While you're getting the free ATC pdf, be sure to purchase a pdf of The Essential Woodworker by Robert Wearing. The Essential Woodworker covers all the basic technique and constructions of furniture and boxes.
posted by brachiopod at 1:08 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]

Roy Underhill would love that tool chest.
posted by clavdivs at 7:04 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

I remember that episode, now. want to go watch it. I'm making this post my watermark of the official statement that I'm officially getting old. I will favor my own comment, I will vow to keep up with PBS and contemplate the subconscious.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]

so the chest is well dovetailed for the bottom is nailed and the 50 or 60 chests that Schwartz examined was to protect the bottom of the chest from damp and water from various workshops. the practicality for protecting one's tools in a not so worker friendly environment.
posted by clavdivs at 9:45 PM on April 15

That the bottom of the chest is nailed on specifically to allow replacement of rotten boards seems unlikely to me. Rot affecting the bottom boards would also (and sooner) affect the bottom edges of the sides, and an environment sufficiently wet to cause rot would also destroy the tools inside.
posted by jon1270 at 4:39 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

The back boards of old (European) case furniture are generally nailed on - I think it's the added battens raising it off the floor that were intended to be replaceable.
posted by brachiopod at 7:35 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

I have not made a tool chest like this, but I think nailing the bottom has a few advantages separate from rot issues. It’s relatively easy, you can use whatever widths of boards are available, the nails are accommodating of wood movement, and the recommended (preferably square, otherwise cut) nails hold like the dickens.
posted by sillyman at 12:22 PM on April 16

My Dutch tool chest is on raised battens for this reason. The "anarchist" chest is dovetailed all around and the bottom is nailed on rather than floating in a groove as one might make a drawer or something, to make it more easily replaced.
posted by St. Oops at 12:23 PM on April 16

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