Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest

The Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest was built in memory for my good friend, and avid woodworker Frederic Hadleigh West of West Chester, PA.  Fred passed away January 11, 2014 after a long faught battle with a rare form of cancer.

Background:

In the fall of 2012, I attended the Woodworking In America conference in Cincinatti, Ohio as a commando team member for Mark Harrell of Bad Axe Toolworks.  It was here that I developed my lasting friendship with Fred West. Fred and I would maintain this close friendship until the day he died. I have to say that I’m not alone here. He had the same impact with many others.

Fred was an avid woodworker and loved handtools. Beyond that, he was the supreme supporter for toolmakers and furniture builders alike. He supported all. Hated none.  This was indicative of the Fred that I knew.

One of Fred’s caring and giving attributes was that he loved surprising people with gifts–tools, books, you name it. Fred loved giving. Not only with gifts.  But through friendship and kindness. It is something he will always be remembered for.  There are countless people out there who were fortunate recipients of this kindness.

Fastforward:

In the spring of 2014 I was contacted my Mark Harrell and Scott Meeks of Scott Meek Woodworks.  Both of these guys were also close friends with Fred.  The idea was presented to me about creating a Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest, in honor and memory of our dear friend. The chest would then be filled with the finest woodworking hand tools available.  It would then be given away to an unknown, unsuspecting woodworker at then 2014 Woodworking in America Conference in Winston Salem North Carolina. Giving tools away to an unknown woodworker? Sounded just like a move out of the Fred West playbook. It was time to pay it forward.  I told them to count me in.

In the following months, I designed and devoloped the Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest.  American Made. Functional and beautiful. Quality built. And pushing the limits of aestetic design. All concepts that Fred encouraged me to fullfill in my woodworking endeavors.

WIA 2014 in Winston Salem NC was a fantastic event.  Lots of fellow woodworkers had an opportunity to hear the story of Fred West.  The tool chest was present at the booth of Scott Meek Woodworks for all in attendance to come see, touch, and experience.  Congradulations to the winner, Carl Hein, from Winston Salem North Carolina.  He walked away from WIA with beautiful gift.  A pay it forward tribute to our dear, and fellow woodworker, Fred West.

The winner, Carl Hein, of Winston Salem North Carolina.

Read more about the Fred West Tool Chest at the Popular Woodworking Editors blog.

Andrew Gore