Sunday, 8 May 2011

Organising the Chaos.

hAny body who has taken one of our Windsor Chair Classes at the Melbourne Guild Of Fine Woodworking - will know that I arrive with all my tools for the class in a 'Ged Clampett' mix of milk crates, drawers out of my tool cupboard and the odd card board box. Fine edged draw knives and the like just don't mix with other metal tools and running a class with 6-8 people means multiples of  most tools. I had to have a better means of transporting my tools.

I have a thing for quality old tools. I have a thing for most quality things actually, but that's another story....
A few years ago I finally had the opportunity to buy a very special old tool chest. The tale of the chests life is for another time....yes, it's a long story, but I had planned at some stage to replicate it.

Fast forward a few years and it appears I'm not the only one who has a love of these great old chests. Hand tool enthusiast, writer and editor of Popular Woodworking magazine Christopher Schwarz has just released his book on the subject, The Anarchists Tool Chest ( Find it here - ). Well, the book is about so much more than the chest itself, but you get the picture.
I decided to put together a chair makers tool chest. Nothing superfluous, just hand tools for making windsor chairs.
What had started as a thought to produce a chest from scratch, changed when I found a old one on the net one evening. When I say a chest, it was a shocker, covered in paint, rotted plywood floor and lid and the rot was creeping into the carcass. The price was right though, $40.
But there was something about it. For a start the all sides were single boards and the corners had hand cut dovetails. Marking gauge lines still visible.

So the paints been stripped, rotted ply gone, later addition brass corners and handles removed. Now just to cut out the rot you can see in the bottom edge, centre and replace the timber. Then comes a new solid wood floor, and mapping out where and how I can fit a chair class worth of tools into this old chest.

After removing all the rubbish, the chest is starting to reveal a little more of it's original persona. More about that soon.

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