The question “why” rests deep in the marrow of my bones. I can’t help myself. When someone says something can’t be done, or someone gives me a directive I don’t understand it wells up and begs an answer.
I think that’s why I connected on such a deep level with the philosophy Chris Schwarz expounds in The Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Because it answers questions I didn’t even know I was asking and put language to things I was thinking long before I picked up the book.
The work of the aesthetic anarchist (as I understand it) is to choose quality and purpose over the expedient and fashionable. To challenge the prevailing narrative of planned obsolescence with planned permanence.
It is, in short, to choose put down roots somewhere when all the world is dust in the wind. I can get on board with that.
Another way to think of it is cognitive dissonance, not within one’s own self, but within one’s culture. The simple act of eschewing the fiberboard, flat-pack world for something more substantial bears witness that this something more substantial is actually possible.
But such anarchy doesn’t reside in books and ideas alone. The proof is in the shavings. Anarchy rests on the finely sharpened points of your rip saw. It sits at the end of your chisel, waiting to be unleashed. Somewhere in your wood stack there is a declaration of independence waiting to be signed in sweat and sawdust.
These are the things I’ve been thinking about with every choice I’ve made in constructing the (baby) Anarchist’s Tool Chest. I’ve been plugging along (albeit slowly) on this chest, and at every turn I have had to ask myself questions like “do I really want to shell out for blacksmith made hinges?” “How much am I willing to spend on paint?” “What about nails?”
And every time I ask a question like this I ask another question right behind it: “Do I want this to be around when my grandchildren are old enough to have their own grandchildren?” All of a sudden the answers become pretty obvious.
It’s like my grandfather used to say: “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing better than IKEA.”
Or something like that.
Anyway, I’ve made some real progress. The lid is dimensioned, embellished with a tasteful thumbnail moulding and waiting for battens. The rot strips (made out of some spare walnut) have been epoxied and screwed to the base. I’ve started fitting out the inside tray runners and I’m ready to make some trays.
In the meantime I bought some milk paint in a deep, bold blue from a local antiques store.
I found these there as well. They’re reproduction, but they’re sturdy.
I did go all out on hinges from Nathan’s Forge based on a good recommendation from a fellow woodworker. I’ll post those when they arrive.
Until then, I’ve got some gluing and hammering to do.