Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Tool Chest with an Arts & Crafts Legacy

comments (28) November 4th, 2010 in blogs, videos

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
thumbs up 259 users recommend

Video Length: 6:54
Produced by: Jon Binzen


Growing up in Illinois, Trevor Hadden often spent time in his father's home woodshop, so he was familiar with woodworking tools and techniques. But when he found himself spinning his wheels after high school, he decided to get some deep training in the craft. Through the Baulines Craft Guild in Northern California, he found Michael Cullen (whose carved furniture was on the back cover of FWW #184 and featured in a companion slide show), and soon began a tuition-based apprenticeship at Cullen's Petaluma, California shop.

As the apprenticeship unfolded, Hadden discovered that Cullen and the program he ran were directly linked to the Cotswold group of furniture makers, members of the English Arts & Crafts movement who left London in the 1890s for the English countryside and learned to make furniture by hand as well as to design it.

How they did it
See exactly how Trevor Hadden's stunning tool chest came together, in the latest issue of Fine Woodworking magazine.

The links went this way: Hadden's mentor, Michael Cullen, had studied in the 1980s under English furniture maker David Powell at Leeds Design Workshops in Easthampton, Massachusetts. David Powell had apprenticed forty years earlier in the shop of the celebrated Edward Barnsley in southern England. And Edward Barnsley was the son of Sidney Barnsley, who, along with his brother Ernest Barnsley and their friend Ernest Gimson, formed the core of the Cotswold group.

Hadden became fascinated by this lineage and immersed himself in books on the English Arts & Crafts movement. He admired the aesthetics as well as the philosophy behind much of the Cotswolds furniture, and he felt a particular affection for Edward Barnsley, whose life and work he explored through Annette Carruthers's outstanding book, Edward Barnsley and his Workshop.

When it came time to build the culminating project of his apprenticeship, Hadden decided to make himself a tool chest. In the process of building it, by incorporating elements derived from Arts & Crafts furniture and from tool boxes built by Michael Cullen and David Powell, Hadden has made a handsome tool chest that is also a reflection of the rich legacy of training he has inherited. See it on the back cover of Fine Woodworking #216.

More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture
Hank Gilpin: Exploring the American Forest
Doug Mooberry: Kinloch Woodworking
Michael Hurwitz: Planks into Poetry
Brad Smith: Story of a Stool
Hank Holzer and Judith Ames: Labor of Love
Michael Fortune: The Clever Chair
John Cameron: A Musician in the Woodshop
Allan Breed: The Past Recaptured
Kintaro Yazawa: Joint Wizardry
Grant Vaughan: Subtropical Virtuoso
William R. Robertson: Micro Maestro


posted in: blogs, videos, tool chest, apprentice, trevor hadden


Comments (28)

sclead sclead writes: I love making beautiful things. I am not much of a hand tool user. Don't misunderstand, I think hand tool skills are great and useful but I'm so busted up that a lot of the motions to use hand tools leave me in a lot of pain.
I am trying to find ways to get to those beautiful fits and finishes in ways that don't leave me wanting to curl up and cry.
After saying all of this I think it is very important that young people who would become true crafts persons should learn the use of hand tools and become highly skilled with them as they are and always will be the go to after the machines and cnc equipment.
Posted: 5:04 am on December 29th

DMontalbine DMontalbine writes: Love the cabinet, your grand-children will love the story as much as i did.

Posted: 12:54 pm on June 18th

German159 German159 writes: Great video, very inspiring.

rolling tool chest

Posted: 12:49 am on January 8th

JoeTee JoeTee writes: Beautiful work of art....I enjoyed watching the short show regarding Trevor Hadden's history. Better than attending Stanford! Envy abounds...in a very good way!
Posted: 11:29 am on February 25th

picaraza picaraza writes: Blue gum eucalyptus? Really?

@Evando,
Petaluma is not far from the madness. People commute from there to work in San Francisco every day.
Posted: 5:27 pm on December 3rd

Maveric777 Maveric777 writes: I sit here in amazement after watching this. I am truly inspired.
Posted: 8:45 am on November 29th

avi8er avi8er writes: Are there any plans available for this greaqt tool chest ?
Posted: 11:36 pm on November 24th

starvncarvn starvncarvn writes: I hope someone becomes inspired enough to do a search of ( if there is`nt some directory already ) all of the wood and metal craftsman of this caliber and where they live so others like myself could visit and mentally emerse ourself in it all, if only for a short time to last a lifetime.
Posted: 10:08 am on November 14th

starvncarvn starvncarvn writes: How can one remark to your journey without a large measure of awe to that rich history, as I sit here composing this, I can only wonder at all of your friends and relatives who must be as proud of you and your journey and ( almost ) compair it to joining the milatary or preisthood only better. As not only can they be emensly proud of what you`ve become but might one day own one of your pieces of ( in actuallity americana - sort of, insofaras your work is done by an american master craftsman )work and to think of how many of us actually have anything MADE BY A FAMILY MEMBER, not many.
I had arrived at that realization some time ago and since then have made it a point to make something for each family member who expresses a want for something.
God bless you sir
Posted: 9:57 am on November 14th

jvelez jvelez writes: I enjoyed reading and watching the article and the true life story on flash, this is inspiring!
Posted: 9:56 am on November 13th

rorywood rorywood writes: superb and inspiring!- what a brilliant linkup of barnsley,arts and craft movement,english handwork transported to usa and the older and more modern world.
Posted: 12:20 pm on November 11th

GWUNKER GWUNKER writes: The craftmanship of Trevor Hadden's work is unbelieveable. I could only wish to have some of his talent. I am sure we will continue to hear of his work and see articles from him throughout his career. The one thing I was curious about were the sliding doors. I wonder if they can be removed if they ever got damaged?
Finewoodworking, I love all the videos you have available. I really learn a lot from them and appreciate the wood workers sharing their talents with us.
GeorgeW.
Posted: 8:48 pm on November 10th

Jet757Mech Jet757Mech writes: It's nice to see a dial caliper in Trevor Hadden's tool chest. My friends tell me that I'm being way to anal, using a dial caliper to measure lumber!
Posted: 6:48 pm on November 10th

BobWas BobWas writes: Great Story
I was wondering if anyone knows where we could get plans for the workbench he uses
Posted: 5:49 pm on November 10th

arooster arooster writes: This is a great story of what you can do with hand tools.
The cost of this would be worth it. I loved seeing it.
Posted: 12:28 am on November 10th

JeffB JeffB writes: What an exceptional tool chest. I love videos like this on FWW.com. Keep them coming.
Posted: 9:54 pm on November 9th

Alban Alban writes: Great video, very inspiring.
Posted: 6:50 pm on November 9th

2Herbs 2Herbs writes: I don't think we have heard the last from this fellow. What a commitment.


Posted: 1:09 pm on November 9th

brownman brownman writes: Although I wasn't a woodworker then I spent some time in the Cotswolds back in the 70's. Perhaps some of the best and most beautiful English countryside. Listening to this story was for me a close encounter "of the wood kind". Thank you for sharing. May each of us now pause to reevaluate our love and dedication to this work. Or at least be inspired to build a new tool storage place with a little more reverence.
Posted: 12:35 pm on November 9th

Johs Johs writes: Wonderfull piece!
A piece of art. Was glad to hear the coments on the "monastic" lifestyle one leads through such a process. I am quite sure there is a connection between the lifestyle and the ability to stay in "the zone" throughout the proces, cutting no corners, and ending up with - a masterpiece!
I went through a similar period, when building my own boat (although it was not a masterpiece), and have missed that passion ever since. Enjoy those days and make sure you tell us about your next project.
Johannes
Posted: 12:29 pm on November 9th

Tom93311 Tom93311 writes: What struck me was thinking about the costs involved - the tuition, being unemployed for a year and then having to pay for those wide boards of walnut and other exotic material. I suppose that what Mr. Hadden must have spent was equivalent to one year of college education and in return he has something concrete, quantifiable and a marketable skill which I hope he is able to leverage into a career if he so chooses. Good for him.

Wood like Walnut is pretty expensive in California - I would guess the costs must be equivalent to a year at Stanford.
Posted: 11:03 am on November 9th

chawrun chawrun writes: I watched the video through once in order to get an overall feeling and perhaps determine some form of impact on me and compare it to work that I do in my small but humble shop.

I then watched the video again, but this time to guage and apprececiate more fully the skill and patience that went into the making of the tool chest.

Trully a craftsman is all I can add.
Posted: 8:00 am on November 9th

JoeAlpeza JoeAlpeza writes: What a great story.
Posted: 7:57 am on November 9th

Evando Evando writes: I envy this guy. He will certainly live much more than a hundred years. Far from big cities madness and working with the most wonderful material provided by nature.
Posted: 6:22 am on November 9th

Evando Evando writes: I envy this guy. He will certainly live much more than a hundred years. Far from big cities madness and working with the most wonderful material provided by nature. His capricious and marvelous work is the consequence of that.
Posted: 6:21 am on November 9th

Evando Evando writes: I envy this guy. He will certainly live much more than a hundred years. Far from big cities madness and working with the most wonderful material provided by nature. His capricious and marvelous work is the consequence of that.
Posted: 6:20 am on November 9th

josesperb josesperb writes: A beautiful story that shows us the vocation of a carpenter, learning, organization, and love for their tools.
Posted: 5:30 am on November 9th

groom groom writes: I really enjoyed watching this topic as a great deal of the content has a special meaning for me. I live no more than 10 miles from the Barnsley Workshop and visit it regularly, recognising many of the pieces shown here. This beautiful toolchest demonstrated perfectly the honesty shown by the work produced during the Arts and Crafts era.
Posted: 3:44 am on November 9th

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