Studley Tool Chest Article
Fine Woodworking Magazine,
May 1993 - Issue 100
Reprinted with Permission
from Taunton Press
If the workmanship in a tool chest is any
indication of the maker's talent, then the craftsmanship of Master carpenter
and Freemason H. O. Studley must have been awe-inspiring. Brother Henry O.
Studley (1838-1925) built this magnificent wall-hung chest while employed by
the Poole Piano Company of Quincy, Massachusetts.
In an oak clamshell box adorned with rosewood, ebony, pearl and ivory, Studley
kept both tools he made and a collection of the finest hand tools made prior
to 1900, including a complete set of woodworking tools as well as machinist
and stonemasonry tools. To pack the 300-plus tools into a case only 19 1/2
inches wide, 39 inches long and 9 1/2 inches deep, Studley devised a jigsaw
puzzle arrangement of flip-up trays, fold-out layers and hidden compartments.
Maine native Pete Hardwick originally owned the chest, which had been in his
family since it was bequeathed to his grandfather by Studley. Hardwick
acquired the chest from his brother by trading a 1934 Ford sedan for it. A
good trade? It would seem so: Just one tool - the Stanley No. 1 plane housed
in the ebony archway in the upper-left part of the chest - was appraised at
$700.00 in 1993. This tool chest was carefully restored to its original
splendor and glory, loaned to the Smithsonian Institution, then displayed in
the National Museum of American History as the centerpiece of woodworking and
other tradesman tool chests. Studley's chest then changed hands again (for an
undisclosed $$$ amount) to another private collector.
The Taunton Press, the publisher of Fine Woodworking
Magazine, first ran a photo of the chest in 1988 and printed 20,000 limited
edition posters. These posters now reside in many homes and fine
cabinet/woodworking shops all over the country.
They have recently reissued this beautiful poster for sale at their website
Watch the YouTube video about the
Studley Tool Chest: