116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A unique piece of woodworking history will be on display in Cedar Rapids from Friday through May 17. At the same time, hundreds of woodworking enthusiasts will gather in Amana.
The Henry O. Studley Tool Cabinet and Workbench will be on exhibit at the Scottish Rite Temple.
Built by Henry Studley, a Massachusetts piano and organ maker born in 1838, the chest holds around 300 tools in a space that takes up about 40 inches by 20 inches of wall space when closed.
'By many observers, this is the most elegant and beautiful tool cabinet ever made,” says Don Williams, a retired senior furniture conservator for the Smithsonian Institution. 'It is renowned in the world of woodworking and craftsmanship.”
He is bringing the chest and workbench to Cedar Rapids on loan from their anonymous owner.
Cedar Rapids is the only stop for the exhibit. Williams chose Cedar Rapids to coincide with Handworks, a woodworking hand tool convention in Amana Friday and May 16.
'All the premiere makers of fine woodworking tools in the world will be here,” Williams says of the event.
He says part of what makes the toolbox unique is its attention to detail. The tools must all be in their exact spot for the cabinet to close properly.
'The precision and intricacy, combined with the fairly exuberant artistic design and expression, are really what make it pretty special,” he says.
A limited number of tickets are being sold for the Cedar Rapids exhibit.
Each ticket will be for a 50-minute window. Sixty visitors at a time will have an opportunity to observe and photograph the Studley cabinet and workbench and interact with the project's principals.