Building a Tool Chest with Chris Schwarz

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Chris Schwarz and taking five days of his time to work with him and others to build a Tool Chest out of his “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” book.

In short: I had a blast, met some great people, and made most of a tool chest.

The class was held out in the awesome Port Townsend School of Woodworking where I’ve taken a few classes before.  It’s always a wonderful trip out there, and the setting is amazing.  Nestled in the back of the Fort Worden State Park, the shop where instruction is held is nice and open and well stocked with benches and tools if you don’t have your own.

This class had ten people who in the end were described as “off the hook wackos” and I agree.  If by wackos you mean great guys, with quirky senses of humor who are willing to work hard and help each other, then yes.  We’re wackos, and proud. :)

Chris was just the guy you read on online, smart, educated and willing to share what he’s learned. He’s also humble, and opinionated at the same time but willing to present his ideas in a way that allows for self exploration rather than dogmatic repetition of steps.  He’s willing to teach, but willing to learn as well, which I find to be a admirable trait in a person.  A lot of people on the internet love to hate him for having contrary opinions, but I think they’re misguided and close minded (On the internet? What? No way?!).

I had a lot of the skills I needed already to build this chest, but in this class I learned how to use those skills better and picked up some new tricks for things like dovetails, mortising, sawing and more.  I made some great friends there, and got to know some I’ve met before (Rob, I’m looking at you) much better.  All in all I had a great time, and was sad to leave the class.

Here are some pictures and posts that other people took:

Chris Schwarz @ Lost Art Press – http://blog.lostartpress.com/2013/09/08/photos-from-the-tool-chest-class-in-port-townsend/

Joiners Apprentice aka Rob – http://www.thejoinersapprentice.com/2013/09/anarchy-in-pt.html

Tim Lawson – http://timlawson.smugmug.com/PTSWPT/2013-Images/Build-a-Toolchest-Sep-2013/i-xTq8dmW

And here are some that I took:

Here is what I managed to accomplish in five days of work with lots of help from Chris, Rob and the class.  It's really solid, and I'm pretty proud of it.

Here is what I managed to accomplish in five days of work with lots of help from Chris, Rob and the class. It’s really solid, and I’m pretty proud of it.

A picture of part of my drive.  I commuted to the school from Seattle every day, which took about 2 hours each way and a ferry ride.  I was called crazy, and insane for doing this, but it really wasn't that bad.

A picture of part of my drive. I commuted to the school from Seattle every day, which took about 2 hours each way and a ferry ride. I was called crazy, and insane for doing this, but it really wasn’t that bad. 

The front doors to the school.  And yes those doors are literally bomb proof.

The front doors to the school. And yes those doors are literally bomb proof.

The class was a good mix of doing (lots of doing) and learning from Chris.  It was very hands on and I learned a lot this way.

The class was a good mix of doing (lots of doing) and learning from Chris. It was very hands on and I learned a lot this way.

Bill really got into his work.  (sorry, couldn't resist).

Bill really got into his work. (sorry, couldn’t resist).

My shell glued up and the skirting put on.

My shell glued up and the skirting put on.

One of the single most important things I learned from this class was the "french" cabinet makers mark.  Once I wrapped my head around it, I found it to be very useful.

One of the single most important things I learned from this class was the “french” cabinet makers mark. Once I wrapped my head around it, I found it to be very useful.

Jim Tolpin dropped by at lunch one day to give a bonus lecture on the "By Hand and By Eye" subject matter.  I've decided that Jim Tolpin is kind of like Obi Wan Kenobi (from A New Hope naturally).

Jim Tolpin dropped by at lunch one day to give a bonus lecture on the “By Hand and By Eye” subject matter. I’ve decided that Jim Tolpin is kind of like Obi Wan Kenobi (from A New Hope naturally).

Great person, great teacher, and a very fun guy to go get drinks with.

Great person, great teacher, and a very fun guy to go get drinks with.

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. lostartpress September 14, 2013

    One of the things I learned during the class was that four IPAs on an empty stomach is a sub-optimal idea.

  2. Badger September 15, 2013

    Yeah, that sounds like a bad idea. I like the Pour House, but it’s too easy to disregard the food thing.

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