Studying Studley’s Tools


One of the frustrating things about my documentation of Studley’s tools, but still useful in projecting future observations, is the ambiguity about how his tool collection was assembled, and in many cases modified or fabricated.  My notes on the subject during the examinations are not glib — they are in fact quite thorough — but neither are they as complete as possible.  Or to paraphrase another project, my written and photographic notes, while extensive,  are not “as perfectly as possible.”  In fact there is no doubt that much about the tools and the man that is un-knowable at this point in time.

These lacunae come into clear focus as I continue writing the manuscript for VIRTUOSO: The Henry O. Studley Tool Cabinet and Workbench.  “Yes,” I mutter to myself, “I can see that this was modified, you dope.”  My conversations with myself are at best self deprecating.   More usually they are caustic and cruel.


The really good news is that I am compiling an extensive and detailed list of “things to check out” during the final visit, and I have have grafted on a few extra days to work alone, with just a bright light and a microscope to examine everything at a new scale, with new questions.


I will spend a lot of time looking microscopic details of things like the moldings along the handle of the mallet along with any further fabrication details (cast? machine from solid stock? brazed from plate stock?), the domed coin-knurled knobs that are everywhere…

While I won’t be able to provide a microscope for you to observe the cabinet or tools in the May 2015 exhibit, I hope to squeeze every bit of information I can out of the collection for you to enjoy along with me.



For  information about the once-in-a-lifetime three-day-only exhibit of the Studley ensemble, you can find out more here.