In the last year, Lost Art Press release a book and a DVD on H. O. Studley tool chest and workbench.
H. O. Studley – The person
Based on the history facts, H. O. Studley worked in the organ making business for a good part of his professional life, at least that involved woodworking. From the best that the records can show, the collection of tools that is in the chest was collected/acquired based on the trade that H. O. Studley worked. And the chest was built based on this set of tools.
I’ve ordered my copy of the book in June 2015 and as I write this, I’m on my second read. Not that I’m a slow reader, just taking my time to read this type of book.
I really liked the organization of the book covering how the story come true for Don Williams, the process he and many contributor took from the first call to the publishing of the book itself.
I really liked the history chapter describing what is known from the person and his surroundings based on the very little record that could be found. Many questions are still left unanswered to this date.
There is also sections about the caretakers of the chest since the death of H. O. Studley up to now, the details of the chest, the artistic side and the workbench.
Narayan Nayar is the photographer on this project as on many other project involving Lost Art Press projects. The pictures are fantastics and covers well the level of details that this project required. It also conveys the highest level of details that the description required of this type of work.
The description are great, but the visual really helps explain the level of details that it has for all the different pieces of the chest and the chest itself. Job very well done.
The description of the chest itself and it’s components are done with such details, that it might not please everyone. There is a section of the book that details exactly that. I’m am not saying it is bad, just be aware. This book is meant to be a very detailed explanation, both textually and visually of the chest and it’s components. And it also covers all the nooks and crannies that could be covered.
It is one of the reason that the realization took so long and they took there time. 5 years in the making of the book and it’s material. I would agree that for this chest, it is all worth it.
And there was also a workbench that appears in some of the pictures that shows H. O. Studley and the chest. Not much is known about this workbench and it is believed that the based that is photographed in the version that we got is not the original to the top. It is believed to be accurate in style for the top, and fits in size based on the imprints from below the top.
The hardware found on the top resembles closely some hardware that is made by some manufacturer. The vice comes to mind, at least from my perspective. It is the element that struck me the most when I saw the pictures.
The DVD/movie, also published by Lost Art Press, covers visually the authors perspective and who got involved. Some of the material was also covered at the woodworks event in 2015, where the chest was in exposition so that a limited set of people could see in person the chest and workbench.
The interviews are really well done and coveys the authors perspective into the process of writing the book and what was involved in the process.
This combination of both the book and DVD is really well worth it, specially if you got many questions about the poster that first captured many woodworkers attention when published by Taunton a few years back. To me, this book and DVD area really worth the time and investment if the chest interest you