In my above video I share a must-have book for new and seasoned traditional woodworkers: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz.


“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is one of my absolute favorite books on the subject of traditional woodworking. Chris Scwharz displays his unfiltered humor, and no-nonsense approach to modern day woodworking anarchism: (1) build your own quality furniture instead of buying throw-away furniture and (2) stop collecting too many tools. A simple chest of heirloom quality tools is sufficient to build furniture that will last several lifetimes.


The pages are filled with unbelievably detailed research on what to look for when buying your woodworking hand tools. The chapters are broken up by different woodworking hand tool types. The book wraps up with plans & instructions on how to build the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Chris Schwarz has created a literal movement of people who are building these tool chests and filling them with quality woodworking hand tools. Here is the Woodwright’s Shop episode where Chris Schwarz shows the Anarchist’s Tool chest to Roy Underhill:

I am especially grateful for Christopher Schwarz’s advice on “what not to buy”. This book has become a reference guide to me, that I return to on a regular basis.


I recommend that you read “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” through once (with a highlighter) and then keep it close by as a reference manual.


The beautiful bound cover & pages are nice enough to display in my living room…although it rarely gets far from my workbench.

You can buy “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” book at this link.

You can also buy the accompanying DVD at this link. In the DVD Chris actually pulls all of his tools out of his strong yet beautiful “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and gives a brief explanation about why he purchased each tool. Here’s the DVD trailer:

I give this book 5 chisels up…way up!