Monthly Archives: August 2021

ATC Part 2 – Glue and Skirts

Day 2 of the Anarchist’s Tool Chest (ATC) build. To start todays blog, I’m going to talk a bit about the workshop at Lost Art Press (LAP). This place is very special. Yes, special, special in a really good way. The folks at LAP have poured a lot of love, energy and obviously money into this place. The attention to details and the design choices complement this old structure. Each space in the first floor and the outside machine shop are setup with woodworking and efficiency in mind. They have turned a smelly, dank old bar into a beautiful and fully functional residence and workshop where they can ply their trade. It’s a real pleasure to work in such a historical and functional space. I would not hesitate to go back and take another class at this magical place. The people, the smell of wood and general atmosphere are very inviting. Also, they have the best coffee and pastries. The pastries come from local bakeries and are delicious. The are many local restaurants to choose for lunch and dinner. This place was such a pleasure to visit.

Back to my project at hand, the ATC build. Yesterday, I had mostly chopped out the dovetails for all four sides, they just needed some cleanup and fine tuning. This is a very satisfying process, seeing your hard work literally coming together. I had to wait my turn for glue-up as two other students were ready first and the shop only has so many clamps and one instructor.

Box Glue-up – Lots of clamps

After my box was in the clamps, it was time to start laying out the skirt boards these wrap around the bottom of the chest and help protect it from coming apart and the case from day-to-day use and abuse. The choosing of the sides and the marking are pretty much the same as the box itself, except the tails are on the sides 90 deg out from the front to help hold the box together (on the box the tails were on the front and back boards).

By the end of the day all 5 students had their boxes glued and stacked up ready for the next days activities. I had my skirt pieces marked and one corner chopped out.

Tomorrow, Part 3 – More Skirts and Some Mistakes

ATC Part 1- Dovetails, Dovetails, Dovetails

The Anarchist’s Tool Chest (ATC) is the first book written by Chris Schwarz and published by Lost Art Press (LAP) in 2011. Ths book had a major impact to my woodworking mindset. Before the ATC, I was primarily a power tool user and used hand tools as an afterthought.

For those of you that are concerned about the word “Anarchist’s” (because it has been used in a negative context before) in the title, here is Chris Schwarz’ explanation: This is not scary at all unless you sell cheap flatpack stuff made of termite spit.

My interpretation of the Anarchist part of the title speaks to the philosophy of shrugging off the mentality of buying expensive (or cheap) poorly made disposable big box furniture and acquiring a set of high quality tools and making furnishings (and shop appliances) and chairs yourself that will outlast the maker. In other words, “Anarchy is a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body”. This frees the woodworker from the current state of systems put in place by organizations or corporations who would like you to buy their products and dictate what you should buy or if you desire, how you should make things.

Getting to the ATC, I noticed that LAP was having a class on the ATC in August 2021, taught by the excellent Megan Fitzpatrick. I decided I would love to build the chest for myself and I signed up for the class as soon as registration was open. I secured my spot in the class and got an AirBnB across the street. I was set. Because of Covid-19, we all had to be vaccinated, which is good as cases were increasing while I was there.

Roubo Clamps with makers triangle

After introductions of the instructor and students, the first day was examining the boards for the sides, putting the cabinet makers marks on the pieces (the triangle that indicates the orientation of all the pieces as seen in the image above) then marking and chopping out the 28 dovetails on the main box. This was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from Megan and I think I have improved my dovetailing skills as a consequence.

Chopping Dovetails

The day ended with most of the dovetails cut out.

Next up ATC Part 2 – Glue and Skirts