Woodworking and Nightmares

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Last night I had my first nightmare about writing. I was given 30 minutes to write a poem about the churches of my hometown in Fort Smith, Ark. It was to be published on the front page of the newspaper, and I was writing it on a manual typewriter where the keys had weird symbols on them instead of QWERTY.

I wrenched awake at 4 a.m. while trying to rhyme something with “Garrison Avenue.”

The experience made me remember a conversation I had last year with some woodworking friends. Even though I’ve been woodworking every day for almost 20 years with plenty of stressful moments, I’ve never had a woodworking nightmare that I can recall.

You would think that woodworking would be perfect for the “nothing goes right in a process” dream. Boards are too short. Joints are too gappy. Finish won’t cure. But I’ve never had anything like that.

Are there typical woodworking nightmares? You know, like the near-universal one where you take an exam for a class you never attended? Or you’re falling, being chased or caught enjoying a Justin Bieber concert?

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Countdown to a Great Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event

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There are just 32 days until the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing Co. in Covington, Ky., and it promises to be one of the more interesting ones I’ve ever attended.

For starters, look who is going to be there on March 11-12, in addition to the always-strong Lie-Nielsen staff:

Konrad Sauer of Sauer & Steiner Toolworks.
Scott Meek of Scott Meek Woodworks.
Raney Nelson of Daed Toolworks.
Caleb James of Caleb James, Planemaker.
Steve Voigt of Voigt Planes.
Mateo Panzica of The Lazarus Handplane Co.
Aaron Moore of Walke Moore Tools.
George Walker of “Design Matters” and “By Hound & Eye.”
Megan Fitzpatrick of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Plus, John and me from Lost Art Press.

Could it get any wilder? Yes, it could.

I’ve just received confirmation that David Savage, one of the United Kingdom’s leading designers and makers, is flying in for the show and our book release party at our new storefront. This is David’s first trip to Cincinnati, I believe, and so we plan to destroy his good health with lots of bourbon and succulent swine.

Oh, the beer at Braxton is incredibly good, and the brewery is stumbling distance from the Lost Art Press storefront (what a coincidence).

So if you are in the market for a plane or want to bend the ear of Mr. Savage or Mr. Walker on furniture design, don’t miss this show. It’s free.

This week I’ll start posting a list of where to stay and eat. Cincinnatians are passionate about good food, good alcohol and hospitality. And there are lots of places to send your family while you guzzle beer and play with some incredible tools.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Personal Favorites, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Coming Soon: A Documentary on the Plates for ‘The Anarchist’s Design Book’

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Vermont artist Briony Morrow-Cribbs produced the 12 beautiful copperplates for my new book, “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” and soon we will post a documentary on the intense hand-work process she used to produce the plates.

The short film is being made by my cousin Jessamyn West, also of Vermont, with still photos from my aunt Liz West. Aunt Muffet, as she is known to me, took the above photo of Briony with the plate for the six-board chest. You can check out her Flickr feed here.

You’ll be hearing more about the plate-making process in the coming weeks. And if you are coming to Covington next month for the book-release party and Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing Co., you’ll be able to see all 12 plates first-hand and close up.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Lost Art Press Storefront, The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

How’s Your German?

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Thanks to everyone who replied. We received more than 25 offers of help. I’ll start sorting through them tonight.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Get Help at Lostartpress.com

LAPFinalOK, I’m trying not to sound like a stupid airbag recall letter here.

We take customer service stuff dang seriously at Lost Art Press. We try to get back to everyone in less than 24 hours unless we’re on a bender. Heck, we do everything we can so that you don’t have to ask: “Where the heck is my stuff?”

As we approach fulfilling 30,000 orders in a year, we want to keep things personal, quick and easy for you (and us).

In the next few weeks you’ll start to see some highly trusted people on our site who we’ve hired to make sure you get what you need and to solve any stupid problems. So to get your questions answered quickly, here’s the drill.

  1. Do you have a problem with your order? If so, send an email to help at lostartpress.com. We all monitor that inbox around the clock and will make sure you get your pdf, or we will change the mailing address on your order because you don’t know your ZIP code (not judging!).
  2. Do you have a woodworking question related to our books? Please post it in the forum. You can access it through our site here or directly through the forum’s host here. John and I are on this site every day. If we can’t answer your question, someone else will. The forum is not some ploy to sell ads to pay for our massive underwater server farm. We don’t have sponsors. We don’t have affiliates. We think that stuff is garbage. The forum is there for a free exchange of ideas. It costs us a lot of money every month to maintain. Use it. Or don’t.

And, of course, there is this creaky old blog that you can use to hurl invective or offer advice on ceiling fans.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Discussion Forum, Forum, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Advice on Workshop Walls

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I’ve set up several workshops from scratch, and I’ve studied a lot of modern shops and how they are put together.

If you get to frame your own walls, I recommend a couple easy modifications that can make life easier. First, when framing, add blocking throughout so you can hang heavy cabinets with ease. For the wall between the shop and the office shown above, I’ve added two layers of blocking at 71” from the floor so I can hang a nail cabinet and a second supplies cabinet on the back wall of the shop.

Also good to consider: You don’t have to use drywall/wallboard. In my current shop in Fort Mitchell, I sheathed the studs with 1/2” OSB instead of drywall. It cost a bit more, but it was worth it. Thanks to the OSB I can pretty much put a screw anywhere for light-duty hooks and pegs.

I didn’t bother to tape the seams. I just hung it and painted it.

The secondary benefit to the OSB (and not taping it) is that shop maintenance is easy. Whenever I want to add electrical circuits or change their voltage I remove the screws for the OSB panels and do any electrical and plumbing work behind. Then I rehang the OSB. You can’t easily do that with drywall.

OSB is also much stronger than drywall. I used drywall on one wall of my shop and it has gotten beat up and penetrated (accidentally, I swear) a bunch.

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Today the storefront was officially christened as a workshop. John and I moved the first workbench and tool chest there so I can build the transom windows. That was a major step for my psyche.

— Christopher Schwarz

 

Posted in Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized | 43 Comments

To the Stables

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Last night I freaked out a little in my pants. Like a knot in a becket it was.

My sphincter’s implosion upon its poor self came about when I looked up from the stud wall we were building in the new storefront and I realized 100 people would not fit in that room.

We’re getting ready for the March 12 opening, and when I set up an RSVP system I capped the number at a ridiculous number of attendees – 100. That’s the maximum the fire marshal will allow on the premises. But I thought we’d get 40 or 50 at most.

But no. We have 100 people showing up. As of now we have the front room complete, the back room, the bathrooms and the courtyard. I think it’s still too tight.

So I fetched the sledgehammer and we opened up the bricked-over door to the stables in the courtyard. That gives us a 23’ x 20’ room to which I will lure people with pizza and alcohol.

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Also today (sphincter disengaged), the window installers put in the new windows in the shop along Ninth Street. The light in the shop just became even more wonderful.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized | 18 Comments