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The new tool chest

A.J. recently made mention of the new portable ShopBot CNC router. It got me thinking about tool chests.

Everyone is, by now, familiar with the H.O. Studley tool chest. It's a small wonder and a masterpiece on many levels. The workmanship is far beyond anything most modern woodworkers are capable of, especially considering that the chest was crafted primarily using its contents which represent one of the most highly prized collection of rare hand woodworking tools to be found anywhere. It is also suggests a mastery of space as the 300-plus tools are carefully and ingeniously arranged in a package not much bigger that the average briefcase.

Today's tool chest is more likely to contain a laptop computer and the portable CNC router than the fine hardwood and steel chisels, saws and planes Studley's chest holds. I can't help but wonder how the whole idea of woodworking has become more about computer programming and software learning curves than chopping a mortise or planing a true edge.

Sometimes I get the feeling that this transition occurred without my even noticing it. One small advancement after another and the next thing you know, your job applicants need a degree in technology far more than they need journeyman's papers.


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