The carnage of Black Friday is now over, and as you try to assemble some of those purchases, your toolbox likely runneth over with tiny metal allen wrenches. But what if you need a beefier tool for the job, or, for that matter, just love working with your hands? Never fear, this infographic is here. Just in time for the holidays, here’s your new workbench porn: The Chart of Hand Tools, Pop Chart Lab’s incredible family tree of everything that saws, hammers, drills, chisels, wrenches, planes, and awls.
As any reader of Co.Design knows, Pop Chart Lab is no stranger to cataloguing insanely complicated infographics about everything from beer to professional wrestlers. Even so, charting the many classes hand tools was a special challenge to Pop Chart.
“As with any Pop Chart Lab project, there is a corollary between relative breadth of subject and our desire to chart it,” says Pop Chart’s Rachel Mansfield. “We always knew that the world of tools was one of wide variety and scope, so there’s been talk of a tool chart for some time.”
The problem, though, was that no one at Pop Chart really knew very much about tools. Earlier this year, though, that changed, as Pop Chart decided to start selling and designing frames and poster rails alongside their award-winning visualizations. Opening a workshop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to handle the workload, the Brooklyn-based chart experts found themselves increasingly obsessed with all of the tools their team of four skilled carpenters used on a daily basis.
The major challenge for Pop Chart was figuring out how to arrange all the tools. They played with a number of ideas, but ultimately it occurred to them that tools could be divided into groups based upon their function.
“Some tools divide, others manipulate, still others hold things in place, and there are even tools to make marks so that you can swing at the right spot,” says Mansfield. Delineating tools by their function allowed Pop Chart to organize that which is almost unorganizable (trust me on this): the contents of the average toolbox.
Asked to quantify their newfound fascination with tools, Pop Chart got philosophical with us: it’s all about the recursive beauty of design.
“Whether a hammer or gouge or hand plane, a lot of inspired thought goes into making each tool just right,” says Mansfield. “But in turn, a tool is a part of a larger design continuum, where it then goes on to be used to create something new, like a table or a work of art. Design can’t happen without the right tools, yet these themselves are works of impeccable craftsmanship. And so it continues.”
Starting at $32, The Chart of Hand Tools is available for purchase now as a signed and numbered print on Pop Chart’s website.