In many of the picture of the Lost Art Press shop our “tool walls” show up. They’re hard to avoid, given that they’re in back of Christopher Schwarz’s workbench, and take up half of the back wall of the shop. And every time they show up, we get questions about them – so here are some answers.
The walls are actually heavy wooden sleeves that fit over three “boarded bookcases” (from Chris’s “The Anarchist’s Design Book“), made from pieces of not-great cherry that we’d had for at least a decade.
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The walls are simply enough pieces of 3/4″-thick (or thereabouts) cherry butted together (with a small gap – about a dime’s width) to make up the width of the bookcases (which are about 36″ wide), long enough so that they leave a small gap at the bottom (of about 1″) to allow access underneath to lift.
Clinch-nailed across the bottom on each wall is a piece of 3/4″ cherry, with another flush to the top; these hold the vertical boards in place. Glued and screwed to the back edge of the top is a panel that spans the top of the bookcase plus 3/4″ (3/4″ x 14-1/2″ x 36), with another piece (about 4″ wide) glued and screwed to it that sleeves over the back.
At the two front corners are two triangles (gussets?) screwed in place with (quelle horreur) Pozidriv (I think) screws. The ones on the sides are countersunk; the ones on the top are not. And I’m fairly certain the boards were used fresh out of the powered planer. In other words, these are pretty much slapped together out of available stock. And we finished them with two coats of shellac. But they hold a lot of tools and they look nice, as long as you don’t examine them too closely. We add a new nail or Shaker peg whenever a new tool needs a tool-wall home. Or we make a simple rack if that’s the best storage solution, and screw that to the wall.
Please note that only our non-personal tools live on these walls. If it’s hanging out in the open, it’s fair game for students, contractors, spouses… The stuff we don’t want people to use? Stashed in our tool chests.
I argued for some kind of hinged or sliding doors, so that the bookcases behind the tools would be easier to access, but I lost (so if I have to get into one of the bookcases, Chris has to help me – I can’t lift those myself…and Chris lifts them by himself only if absolutely necessary). For as often as we need to remove the walls, it was too much work/trouble. So, when we have an open house and need to access the bookcases (where we display the Lost Art Press books), we remove the tools from their various hooks, nails and pegs, lift the walls off the bookcases and stow them in the back, then hang the tools back on the walls until we’re ready to cover up the books again. Not only does this give us a place to store the shared tools, it protects the books from dust and workshop bruises.
And come Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, we’ll be lifting off all three walls for the first time since December 2019 if memory serves – from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. that day will be our first open house in more than a year, and we hope to see you here!