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The Warrington Chest. Patternmakers Tool Chest and Tools 1888.

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workshopted

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2 years 9 months and 43 days ago (I'm good with numbers) I was lucky enough to be the winning bidder on this remarkable tool chest and on the day of its arrival at my home I decided to open the chest (for the very first time) with one hand whilst holding
a video camera in the other; very nearly a big mistake because what I saw almost made me drop the
camera! The sunlight coming through my living room window was shining directly on the gorgeous
marquetry work of the inside of the lid and the tills revealing all the colours of the veneer work in
all of their beauty. I felt like I’d just opened a treasure chest!

I’d bought what proved to be a unique piece of workmanship, and furthermore, it contained a time
capsule of tradesman’s tools from Victorian times. This is the story of what has come to be known as
“The Warrington Chest” and the people behind it... I love it!

The tool chest was made by Ernest Warrington a young 18-year-old Sheffield foundry patternmaker in 1888. The chest was placed in storage in 1955 but was now being sold complete with all of the original maker's tools and realising its historical importance I managed to beg and borrow enough money to buy it - auction lots of chests and tools are often bought by someone who breaks them up to sell on eBay, and I was determined that this remarkably important find was not going to suffer the same fate.

Because of the obvious historical importance of the chest and the Warrington family tools within (think Seaton chest but 19th rather than 18th century) it seemed essential to me that everything should be recorded in a book. I contacted my friend, Andy Tuckwell, a fellow TATHS member, and antique woodworking tools enthusiast, and over the next few months, we were able to gather together a wonderful team of co-authors and contributors, and together after many hundreds of hours of painstaking research we finally came up with the book and it's now been published by the Trades & Tools Historical Society.

The list of co-authors and contributors below reads like a who's who in the list of woodworking and antique tools enthusiasts, and all of them did it just for the love.

My thanks and gratitude go to Andy Tuckwell, Hugh Thompson (research and writing) Nick White (technical drawings) Jack Metcalfe (marquetry work) Simon Barley (Sheffields 19th-century industrial history) Jane Rees (editor), and Derek Jones (proofreading).

_______________________

You might all say, okay, so you got a book, but what are you telling me for? Answer: I'm telling you because I want you all to help spread the word about the book - and to dig deep into your grubby little pockets and buy the book!! Big Grin!


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Adam W.

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I do have a question though.

On the lid, there is some marquetry in the quadrants. Is that boxwood and is it one piece or made up of several pieces ?
 

workshopted

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I do have a question though.

On the lid, there is some marquetry in the quadrants. Is that boxwood and is it one piece or made up of several pieces ?
I believe it to be all one piece... The other woods used in the marquetry work are, Ebony, Flame Mahogany, Tulip, Holly, Pitch Pine, and Satinwood. The little handles on the till drawers are made of ivory.
 

Adam W.

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That's amazing. Have you provided enough information in the book to be able to make a replica ?

I have half a mahogany chest in the workshop that I'm slowly getting ready for a lid and I was looking for something special marquetry wise and this fits the bill nicely.

Shane Skelton recommended Jack Metcalfes' book the other day and it's on my list as well.
 

paulrbarnard

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Looks good. I have the carcass of a toll chest I built about 17 years ago. Probably time to start fitting it out. This book should be a nice encouragement. I just bought a copy.
 

NickM

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My copy of this book arrived today. I haven't read much of it yet, but from a quick flick through it looks great. Well done to everyone involved.
 

workshopted

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That's amazing. Have you provided enough information in the book to be able to make a replica?

I have half a mahogany chest in the workshop that I'm slowly getting ready for a lid and I was looking for something special marquetry wise and this fits the bill nicely.

Shane Skelton recommended Jack Metcalfes' book the other day and it's on my list as well.
The chapter on technical drawings was handled by, Nick White, a retired architect, and an ex-chairman of TATHS - and as you would expect from a person with that background the drawings are very good indeed. Your question is an interesting one though because we all discussed this during the making of the book... It was decided, wisely so in my opinion, that providing the exact info on the making of a replica was not the aim of the book - bearing in mind that someone might wish to alter the dimensions somewhat to suit their individual needs we could have opened up a real jar of worms on that one... Grin!
 

workshopted

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My copy of this book arrived today. I haven't read much of it yet, but from a quick flick through it looks great. Well done to everyone involved.
Many thanks, my friend - it was the result of some great teamwork by some very talented people.
 

workshopted

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Looks good. I have the carcass of a toll chest I built about 17 years ago. Probably time to start fitting it out. This book should be a nice encouragement. I just bought a copy.
Many thanks, Paul, and good luck on that tool chest project of yours.
 

workshopted

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The chapter on technical drawings was handled by, Nick White, a retired architect, and an ex-chairman of TATHS - and as you would expect from a person with that background the drawings are very good indeed. Your question is an interesting one though because we all discussed this during the making of the book... It was decided, wisely so in my opinion, that providing the exact info on the making of a replica was not the aim of the book - bearing in mind that someone might wish to alter the dimensions somewhat to suit their individual needs we could have opened up a real jar of worms on that one... Grin!
 

MCTWoodwork

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@workshopted wow, the tool chest is amazing! Such beautiful craftsmanship - at only 18yrs old as well ! Great work on the discovery & the book. I'll be sure to order one at the end of the month ;)🙌👏
 

workshopted

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@workshopted wow, the tool chest is amazing! Such beautiful craftsmanship - at only 18yrs old as well ! Great work on the discovery & the book. I'll be sure to order one at the end of the month ;)🙌👏
I think that you may be pleasantly surprised by the extensive provenance re the chest within the book - but sadly, the young man who made it died of consumption at the age of 28.
 
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