Those familiar with Schwarz's many books, articles and DVDs will know all-too-well that he is cantankerous, opinionated and deeply idiosyncratic. However, he is also erudite, practical and discerning. This is probably why, over the past decade or so, he has become the great apologist for the merits of hand tool woodworking in the 21st century. Because of this great service to the craft, we can forgive him of all his quirks.
After all, the sheer amount of unfettered passion he has for woodworking reveals itself again and again in the pages of this book. Schwarz's introductory chapter reads like a manifesto—he aligns himself politically with the early American anarchists' movement—but as you read on, it becomes clear that the book is actually a love story. It's not a love story about his love of woodworking, but rather his love of the people who do it. In fact, Schwarz's promotion of hand tool work is really his way of putting "people" back at the forefront of woodworking, whether as a "craft/trade" or as a "hobby". Indeed, he hardly makes any distinction between these categories. He respects it all and wishes to see it all flourish.
Even if you're not interested in Schwarz's social views, the book still has a great deal to offer. It's main section is an encyclopedicexamination of pretty much everything you've ever wanted to know about Western woodworking hand tools. With this book, Schwarz cuts through the detritus and gives solid advice about what woodworkers should spend their money on and which tools are a waste of time and cash. I'm sure The Anarchist's Tool Chest
will become a favourite among woodworkers, much like the books of James Krenov, Tage Frid and that ilk were for previous generations.
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