Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest

IMG_7955The amazing tool chest/tote pictured above is a project I am incredibly excited to be a part of. It is the Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest and it will be given away at the upcoming Woodworking In America conference in Winston Salem, NC, September 12-14, 2014. The chest came about through a discussion I had with Mark Harrell, of Bad Axe Tool Works, back around Memorial Day of this year. In passing, I mentioned an idea I had to make a collection of tools available to honor our late friend, Fred West. The idea took off.

To understand the basis of this idea, you have to understand a bit about Fred. He is the main reason that I am a plane maker today, and I know there are many other tool makers who can say something similar. Fred was the very first person to ever buy one of my planes. He saw something in those early examples that no one else did, and I will forever be grateful to him for the push into this direction. You will not find a single person who did more for the hand tool market then Fred. For many of us makers, he was far more than just a customer; Fred was a confidant, a prototype tester, an idea man, and the biggest fan and motivator anyone could ever ask for. He was one of the most generous people I have ever met, often buying new tools just to give to someone whom he thought needed them. Unfortunately, he lost a hard fought battle with a rare form of cancer this past January. The world was made better by Fred’s presence in it, and he is dearly missed. IMG_7957 When Mark and I first started putting the ideas together for this commemorative tool chest, we knew it had to include a broad spectrum of other makers and that it needed to somehow pass on Fred’s generous spirit. We contacted our friends and fellow makers and put together a set of tools that will benefit a woodworker of any level. We also decided that it made the most sense to just give it away. We contacted Megan Fitzpatrick, editor of Popular Woodworking, to see if it would work out to give it away to someone at Woodworking In America. She agreed and has been a tremendous help in organizing this entire thing. We also contacted a close, mutual friend of Fred’s and ours, Andrew Gore, to make the chest. Andrew blew us all out of the water with what he created. IMG_7968 I’m so thrilled with all the other tool makers that agreed to help us honor Fred. Here is a list of them and the tools they have included in the chest:

IMG_7959 As I mentioned already, the chest will be given away at Woodworking In America next month. The value of it all is over $5000. The chest will be on display in my booth on the Friday and Saturday of the show. Be sure to stop by and check it out. For more information on how WIA attendees can enter the drawing, please check out the Megan’s post on the Popular Woodworking Editor’s Blog. I truly hope that this chest, the tools in it, and the generosity of everyone involved in this project shines through and truly honors the memory of our friend, Fred. IMG_7960

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