I’ve received this question about 20 times since June 15 – including from my wife – so I suppose I should deal with it head-on instead of simply demurring.
Is Lost Art Press going to start a hand-tool magazine, whether printed or digital?
The answer? Not right now, at least.
The primary reason I left Popular Woodworking Magazine was because I had so many projects piling up here at Lost Art Press that I estimated it would take me five years of working nights and weekends to tackle them. And that’s just too long a gestation period for books that I consider to be essential to the growth of handwork in the 21st century.
I’m not just talking about the Roubo translation. That itself is a mountain of a publishing project, but that’s only one mountain in an entire range of monumental peaks.
Why have I been quiet on these? Because we are still inking contracts. But you can expect that we will have at least three new products before the end of the year – a DVD I’ll announce next week and two or three books that are unlike anything in print today.
The DVD is from me (sorry!) and is part of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” The other titles are from other authors, people who should have written books long ago.
As we get these projects underway, you’ll hear more about them here. Promise.
Now about that hand-tool magazine: I’ve been in media – and media alone – since 8th grade. I’ve worked in almost every department except advertising, which I would stink at, and circulation, which is a tricky business.
I’ve launched two start-ups in my career – The Kentucky Gazette newspaper and Woodworking Magazine. Both of which are now shuttered. Those failures taught me a lot about what it takes to make a magazine that makes money and makes me want to read it.
1. All your waking hours.
2. A lot of money. And a willingness to lose money for a few years as you pull the magazine onto its feet.
3. A willingness to deal with unethical distribution schemes.
4. A willingness to throw away about 60 to 70 percent of your newsstand copies that don’t sell.
5. A certain level of optimism mixed with stupidity — I call it stupidimism. This trait helps overcome Nos. 2-4.
At this point in my life, I want to spend all my hours producing a hand-tool canon of high-quality books — a foundation that I or others can build upon. I want to get us beyond sharpening, basic plane use and hand joinery.
What’s beyond that? An entire world.
So I guess I’m asking for some patience. After I get this corpus of work complete and the technology catches up with my ideas, I think I’ll be ready to dive into the world of periodicals again. Or there’s always that llama farm.
— Christopher Schwarz