Where to Purchase the ‘Book of Plates’

BOP_mockup3The following retailers have indicated they will stock “l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” when it is released in November. The only seller that has added the product to its web site is Classic Hand Tools in the United Kingdom, where you can place a pre-publication order for the book.

Lee Valley Tools
Tools for Working Wood
Highland Woodworking
Classic Hand Tools
Henry Eckert Tools

And, of course, domestic customers will be able to purchase the book through the Lost Art Press store.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Roubo Translation, To Make as Perfectly as Possible | 6 Comments

A Quick Sweatshirt Poll


We are in the last stages of developing the design for our first Lost Art Press sweatshirt and need to order the full-zip hooded sweatshirts for the screen-printing.

To make sure we don’t order the wrong mix of sizes, could you take this poll?

The sweatshirts will be black, American-made, with a full zipper up the front and a hood. If you ordered a sweatshirt, what size would you order?

I’m sorry to say these are the only sizes available to us in the brands we have selected, they do not offer 7XL or “Chipmunk.”

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Products We Sell | 6 Comments

Lost Art Press on WVXU-FM


Though I enjoy traveling, I am always thrilled to return home to the Cincinnati, Ohio, area where Lucy and I have lived since 1996 (she’s a third or fourth generation local; I’m the transplant). After 18 years here, I’m a huge fan of the city’s history, architecture and woodworking heritage.

While outsiders see the the city as a cultural backwater or (at best) the setting for the television comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati,” I see the place through a different lens. The food, building stock and (yes) the beer are utterly intoxicating for someone who loves those sorts of things.

And writers (Lucy is also a writer) can actually afford to live here. Amazing.

Recently I was invited to an interview with Lee Hay, who hosts a radio program called “Around Cincinnati.” We talked about Lost Art Press, woodworking and how it relates to my love affair with Cincinnati. It’s a short interview – 10 minutes.

Check it out here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Personal Favorites | 4 Comments

Even (Some) of the History is Correct!

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.32.12 PM

Today, we got Jode Thompson’s final cover art for “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! A Novel with Measured Drawings” (thank you Jode – it looks awesome!).

But because I’m too much of a tease to share it with you – yet – I thought perhaps you’d like to look at other bad-ass women on motorcycles in the 19teens-’30s, thanks to Suzanne Ellison, who sent me the link.

Above is Sally Halterman, the first woman to have a motorcycle license in Washington, D.C. (Impressive and all…but she’s no Verdie – try riding a bike with a wooden leg, Sally! That said, nice boots.)

Below, the heels win. (It’s a 1933 shot of a woman trying out a Douglas on display.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.43.46 PM

And here’s a woman who really could have been Verdie in 1917 – she’s a WWI dispatch rider (note the fellow in the sidecar hitching a ride). Verdie lost her leg riding a motorcycle during that war.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.47.23 PM

For a look at a wide range of women, motorcycles and women with dogs on motorcycles (plus a bonus priest and a bathing suit shot or two), click here.

And now I must get back to writing cover copy you simply can’t resist for “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!”

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. Bonus shot from 1973…about which I’ll say nothing. Because they scare me, and could very well still be alive.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.52.36 PM

p.p.s. And here’s an interesting read about Britain’s women dispatch riders in WWII (again, thank you Suzanne).

Posted in Books in the Works, Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! | 5 Comments

From (Fictional) Workshop to Trump Hotel


The picture above is the clock tower of the Old Post Office building at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and 12th Street in Washington, D.C. Calvin Cobb’s workshop is behind the clock faces – so in his shop, he says, time runs backward.

But in reality, time marches relentlessly forward, and for the Old Post Office, that means stepping into new life as a hotel. Donald Trump is in the midst of developing the former government building into a luxury hotel, slated to open in 2016. It certainly beats razing the 1899 Richardsonian Romanesque structure.

And I suppose Calvin would be pleased – presumably, there is actual woodworking going on inside the walls of his old workshop as workers ready the hotel space for visitors.

The building, designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, was D.C.’s main post office for only 15 years; in 1914, the postal service relocated to a larger building near Union Station. What then became known as the “old” Post office was saved during the 1920s/1930s redevelopment of Federal Triangle only because there weren’t enough funds to tear it down (or perhaps because enough people realized how politically inexpedient it would be to spend money razing a perfectly sound building in the midst of the Great Depression).

In the early 1970s, there was another attempt to tear it down, but it was quickly (in political time) squelched by an ardent group of preservationists; in 1973, the Old Post Office was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, a multi-stage renovation project commenced that resulted in a mix of federal office space and three retail levels (and eventual addition of an annex).

But it wasn’t successful. By 2000, the vacancy rate on the retail space was 80 percent, the annex was closed and there was no income.

Since then, there have been several efforts to renovate the space, including the “Old Post Office Building Redevelopment Act of 2008″ (H.R. 5001), which eventually led to movement (following a lot of maneuvering by various agencies including the General Services Administration (GSA)…which is too complicated to boil down into just a few sentences).

In early 2012, the GSA announced it has chosen the Trump Organization as the potential redeveloper for plans that included a conference center, restaurants and 250+ hotel rooms, as well as a small museum dedicated to the history of the building, and the agreement to preserve the historic integrity of the building. And the National Park Service retains control over the clock tower and observation deck.

So if all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to visit Calvin’s workshop when the space reopens – whether or not you can afford the room rates.

But you’ll be able to read “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! A Novel with Measured Drawings” well before the Old Post Office Building is once again open to the public.

We’re 99 percent there, and will have everything off to the printer within three weeks. Linda Watts is making the final corrections to the measured drawings and finishing up design work on the end papers. Illustrator Jode Thompson is putting the finishing touches on the drawing that will become the dust jacket, Roy is working on copy for the back of the dust jacket, and Chris and I are writing copy for the dust-jacket flaps.

By tomorrow evening, I should be able to export a soup-to-nuts PDF of the project for final review, then it’s off to the printer and then to you.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

Posted in Books in the Works, Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

More Unprofitable Shop Posters!


Because our poster experiment last week was so unsuccesful (I think six people sent me photos of their Hayward shop posters), we’ve decided to do it again – this time with original images from my collection that were already scanned and cleaned up for other projects.

Both images are French. One is Juliette Caron, who is said to be the first female “compagnon” (that’s French for “woodworking jedi”). She was so notable that there was a line of postcards showing her at work – I have two of these postcards and this is my favorite.



The other image is of a beautiful French atelier – I love the benches and the bowsaws hanging above each student’s area.


Both have been optimized to be printed at 18” x 24” at 300 dpi and are about 10 mb each. One reader noted that you can get these printed in black and white for only $2 at Staples. Dang. Color is $13.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Downloads, Personal Favorites | 18 Comments

Discount Classes for the New Hand-tool Anarchist


During the last 10 years, my students have gotten younger and younger each year. When I started teaching, most students were retired and well-off. These days, most of my students are younger than me – including many in their late teens and 20s.

Many of them make great sacrifices when it comes to taking classes in handwork. Most can barely afford the tuition. Many have young families to support. And a fair number are scraping by with poor tools.

I remember what that was like. I took my first woodworking class when I was 24, and the only way I could swing it was because the class was at a publicly funded university.

For 2015, I am teaching two classes  – one in the United States and one in England – that are aimed at helping young adults get started in handwork. I have worked with two schools – the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and the New English Workshop – to produce a special (almost crazy) class for new woodworkers. I have slashed my teaching rate to almost nothing; and the schools have slashed the tuition. So these classes will be a small fraction of a normal one-week class. We are also arranging for accommodations that will be free or almost free – camping in some cases. And we are going to attempt to cook communally as a class to save money.


But the money and the “stinky hippie” part of the class is only a small part of the story. This will be a class that will begin when you register and commit to the week. We’re going to work with all of the students before class begins to help them build a basic tool kit made up of high-quality vintage tools that we will tune up during the class. After tuning up the tools, we’ll learn to use them to process stock (we are attempting to get the wood donated), and then we will build a simple and stout tool chest.

I call it the Tool Chest for New Anarchists. It will be nailed together much like a six-board chest, but is based on historical examples that have survived more than 200 years.

So when the class ends, you will have a chest that is full of sharp tools that you know how to use to make all the basic woodworking joints.

And you will likely need a shower. Or at least a delousing.

The class in England will be July 13-20, 2015. The Marc Adams class will be Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2015. I’m telling you this now so you can get your ducks in a row. Ask for time off. Prepare an opportune disease. Or whatever it takes to allow you to attend. Registration for the class in England is already open and costs £95.00 for the whole week (go here for details and to register). I don’t have final details on the cost for the Marc Adams class yet.

I’ve posted the day-by-day activities below.

Note: You can be any age to take these classes, but be prepared for long days, odd smells and puerile behavior (mostly by me).

— Christopher Schwarz

Registration and Building your Tool Kit.
Once you are registered and have committed to the class, we’ll help you build an inexpensive tool kit before you arrive. Some of the tools will be vintage (we’ll help you find them). Some will be from the home center. All of them will be good enough to last you a lifetime without upgrading.

Day 1: Tool Restoration and Sharpening
We’ll fix up the vintage tools in your kit and sharpen everything using inexpensive sharpening media. By the end of the day your tools will be ready to work.

Day 2. Wood and Handwork
You need to know wood intimately in order to work it with hand tools. This day will be a crash course in understanding wood from a joiner’s perspective – stuff you will never find in books. At the end of the day we’ll use that knowledge to begin processing the rough stock for a tool chest.

Day 3. Basic Joints
We’ll begin building a tool chest using rabbets, dados and nails – when properly made these chests can last 200 years. You’ll learn about fasteners and how to use them properly. How to understand and use glue – it’s a complex topic. And you’ll learn to use a smoothing plane so you’ll never have to buy sandpaper if you don’t want to.

Day 4. Details and Finishes
We’ll add details to the tool chest using curves, bevels and mouldings – all made with simple hand tools. You’ll learn to install hinges and locks. And to apply a simple oil-varnish blend finish that we’ll make on-site. This beautiful finish requires no spray equipment or expensive brushes. Just a rag, a Mason jar and a paper bag.

Day 5. Advanced Joinery
We’ll begin cutting dovetails so you can have sliding tills in your chest. And we’ll cut a mortise-and-tenon joint to make you a wooden try square. At the end of the day, you’ll load up your razor-sharp tools into your finished tool chest and head back home ready to build almost any piece of basic casework.

Posted in Woodworking Classes | 48 Comments