‘The Joiner and Cabinet-Maker’ Historical Reprint Ships Next Week

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After fighting printing plant delays for the last eight months, we received good news on Friday. Our historical reprint of “The Joiner and Cabinet-Maker” was complete and being trucked to our warehouse in Indiana – weeks ahead of schedule.

It should arrive Monday or Tuesday. Then the warehouse will start shipping out the pre-publication orders shortly after.

After the book arrives in the warehouse, we’ll also begin selling a special bundle of the historical reprint of the book plus the edition we originally published in 2009 with historical essays and expanded construction information. Look for details and special pricing on that some time next week.

— Christopher Schwarz

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New Chapter: Boarded Low Bench

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I’ve completed the last new project chapter for the expanded edition of “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” Now, I need to clean up the new chapters that are related to design and shop mentality and the writing will be complete.

Briony Morrow-Cribbs is working on the copperplate etchings, and I am now figuring out how to stitch the new book together so it flows well and makes sense. We are on track to have the revised edition out by the end of the year.

In the meantime, here is a new chapter that owners of the first edition may download for free. It’s a chapter on a low boarded bench.

I Greco-Roman wrestled with myself over whether to include this chapter. The project is beyond simple – the only joints are the nails. The bench itself is the opposite of fine furniture. But after building five or six of these benches, I concluded that they have some important lessons to teach – lessons that some of us skip.

You can download the new chapter here:

ADB-Low Boarded Bench

And what would a blog post be without caveats? Here they are:

  • This is a rough draft. It might contain typos or small factual errors. If you see one, please point it out in the comments. If you want to edit my “tone,” then you must first build a time machine, travel back to 1981 Arkansas and stop Mrs. Hatfield from teaching me to write.
  • The drawing is a CAD rendering. Briony’s will be gorgeous and handmade.
  • And yes, the chapter’s comment on farts is true.

I am thrilled to be done building the six new projects for this book (though I really wanted to include an additional four that would have spawned a trilogy).

— Christopher Schwarz

Here are links to the other new chapters:

Boarded Settle Chair

Staked Armchair   

Staked High Stool

Mule Chest

The Island of Misfit Designs

Staked Low Stool

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A Change in Plans/Color for ‘The Joiner & Cabinet-Maker’

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There was a mixup at the printing plant, and they ordered the wrong color paper for the cover of our special reprint of “The Joiner and Cabinet-Maker.” While we had ordered a dark green for the cover, the printing plant used a dark blue instead.

Our choice today was: Pulp the entire press run or use the blue cover.

While I would have rather had a green cover, I despise waste. And so we have decided to go with the blue cover. Apologies if you hate blue. If it is really and truly a problem, please contact help@lostartpress.com and we’ll cancel your order.

The book looks really good – even in blue. And the rest of the printing job is great as well.

I don’t have an update on when the book will ship to our warehouse, but I am guessing it will be a couple weeks. I’ll post an update as soon as I have it.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Free Excerpt from ‘The Solution at Hand’

sah_cover_mockupHere’s a free PDF peek at a handful of some of the 157 hand-tool-woodworking helpers  in Robert Wearing’s “The Solution at Hand: Jigs & Fixtures to Make Benchwork Easier,” excerpted from the Marking Aids and Cramps chapters (along with the author’s introduction and the table of contents).

 

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Two Cherries Carpenter Pencils

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This will end up in the 2019 Anarchist’s Gift Guide, so consider this Christmas in August.

I’m no carpenter, but I use carpenter pencils all the time for rough layout and (after planing them in half) for leveling the legs of chairs. Most of the carpenter pencils from the home center are miserable physical specimens. The lead is crumbly or comes pre-fratcured. The wood is spongy and offers no support. These examples get tossed.

During the last two weeks someone stuck an extra-long carpenter pencil in our shop’s communal pencil cup. My best guess is a student left it behind (finally, our first profit from offering classes). The pencil stuck up above all the others. It was red. A few days ago I grabbed it and have now claimed if for my own.

It’s a Two Cherries carpenter pencil, and it’s the best one I’ve ever used. It’s 9-1/2” long, which makes it feel more like a magic wand. Its wide faces are gently rounded. The wood carves beautifully. The lead is soft but can be knifed to a fine point.

I realized how fond I was of it when Megan tried to take it from me today in the machine shop. I resisted.

I know it costs more than the free crap they give you at the hardware store. Most good things do.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in Anarchist's Gift Guide, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Transit Cases for Campaign Chests

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One of the rarer forms of campaign furniture is also one of the simpler and rougher forms.

Because campaign furniture was designed to travel, it often was transported in a specially fitted case, box or canvas bag. So instead of strapping your mahogany chest to an elephant, you would first put the chest into a painted and iron-bound case. And then strap that to your elephant.

When you arrived at your destination, you removed the nice piece of furniture and then used the exterior case as storage. You could fit out the case with a brass hanging rod, curtains or shelves. Other upgrades included using elm for the ends of the cases or rounding the corners, according to the furniture catalogs of the time.

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I’ve seen surviving exterior cases for campaign chests only once in the wild. They were in an antique store in Charleston, S.C., and had been refinished and polished.

So when I had a customer ask me to build some transit cases and a campaign chest, I jumped at the chance. In fact, I think I was a little more excited about building the transit cases than the chest itself (I’ve built many campaign chests).

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The chests are simple to construct. I used poplar as it is inexpensive and strong enough (and what the customer decided on). The top and bottom boards are rabbeted all around. The ends of the cases are screwed to the top and bottom boards. The rear of the case is filled in with shiplapped backboards that are nailed on. The doors fit inside the rabbets on the front edge. This clever detail prevents the doors from rubbing on their neighboring doors above or below.

The flat-panel doors are assembled with mortise-and-tenon joints. The hardware is steel. As the customer was on a bit of a budget, I used zinc-plated hardware. I stripped the zinc with citric acid and then colored the steel with gun blue. The hardware looks good and saved the customer about $2,000 over blacksmith-made stuff.

We painted the cases a dark green that matched a transit case I own for a Duro chair. And then I nailed on thin steel strapping on all the corners to protect the cases and conceal the screws. The strapping was custom made by my local sheet-metal fabricator (just $20 – yay for the still-industrial Midwest).

Finally, I screwed on poplar cleats for feet that have beveled edges. These cleats allow you to drag the case across the floor easily.

The cases look quite handsome and (I think) were worth the extra effort. The only downside is that one of my other customers saw the cases and asked me to make one for him to fit his Roorkhee chairs and ottomans. So I think I have a lot more of these cases in my future.

— Christopher Schwarz

If you are interested in campaign furniture, I wrote a book about it called “Campaign Furniture.” Also, check out the website for Christopher Clarke Antiques. They are the best sellers and historians of campaign stuff that I’ve met.

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New in Our Store: ‘The Solution at Hand’

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Becoming proficient at handwork isn’t just about muscle memory and learning to sharpen. It’s also about building a handful of effective “appliances” (jigs, fixtures and the like) that assist your saws, planes and chisels for repeatable work.

One of the foremost experts on these appliances is Robert Wearing, who wrote extensively about them for Woodworker magazine and published a number of books on the topic. Earlier this year we approached Wearing about collecting the best of the appliances for handwork into one new book, and he agreed.

The result is “The Solution at Hand: Jigs & Fixtures to Make Benchwork Easier,” a 200-page hardbound book of our favorite jigs from Wearing’s career. The book covers a wide swath of material, from building workbench appliances for planing, to making handscrews (and many other ingenious clamps), some simple tools that you cannot buy anywhere else, to marking devices that make complex tasks easier.

You can now place a pre-publication order for this book, which will ship in October. It is $24. If you order before the book is released, you will receive a free pdf of the book at checkout.

In all, there are 157 jigs, all of which are illustrated with Wearing’s handmade drawings. The book is designed as more of a reference book than something you read straight through. Already after editing the book, I now find myself returning to it and thinking: I know Wearing had a solution for this problem. And he did.


“The Solution at Hand” is 200 pages long and is in a 6” x 9” format (like Wearing’s “The Essential Woodworker”). The pages are casebound, sewn for long-term durability and wrapped in hardback boards that are covered in cotton cloth. As always, our books are produced and printed entirely in the USA.

— Christopher Schwarz

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