Three People, Four Years, Five Thousand Hours

With sonorous stentorian solemnity I say to myself, “It is in, it is in.”

The complete draft of “To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo on Marquetry”  – 94,000 words of translated Roubo, 350 Roubo illustrations, 15,000 Donwords and well over a hundred photographic images (actually I submitted about a thousand to select from) – now resides on the desk of Monsieur Christophe du Schwarz.  The end is still a long way off, but this is a huge hurdle for everyone involved.

There will be corrections. There will be additions. There will be subtractions. But now we know that there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope it is not an oncoming train.

I just spent my first Roubo-free weekend since I can remember. It was very, very nice. I built a Japanese planing beam from a perfect 8×10 southern yellow pine timber out at my mountain-side Fortress of Solitude, listening to a college-level course on Austrian Economic Theory punctuated by the angelic voices of Eva Cassidy, Alison Krauss, and Jennifer Warnes.  Now that is self indulgent escapism at its best.

Once Chris and Wesley Tanner, the book’s designer, and everyone else at that end of the rope get their hands on it, my nose will be back to the grindstone.

Currently I am reveling in the first glimpses of the 90 percent of our second Roubo volume that has been translated. (Waiting until now for this treat has been perhaps my second greatest exhibition of self control, the first of course being the time I was all alone with a prominent and particularly loathsome politician and refraining from wringing his scrawny chicken neck.) It is very, very good, but I have come to expect nothing less from Andre Jacob’s text and Michele’s translations. Reading deliberately through the recitation on the iconic bench of Plate 11 is a long passage I am savoring, and I expect you probably will too.

In one sense this second volume will be easier, as we are now in full groove, but in another it will be more difficult because of 1) the esoteric jargon-laced verbiage – it is mostly about tools, after all (as one note from Michele exclaimed, “Philippe, help!  I don’t even l know what these things are called in English.”), and 2) the sheer scale of it. Like Chris’ Roubo holdfast which could double as an anchor for a large ship, this volume will be huge. For example, the main chapter on tools and techniques will run almost 250 pages in illustrated translation. All tolled, :To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo on Furniture Making” will be about 60 percent larger than the marquetry book. I could not see Chris when I told him that, but he might have reached for the antacids immediately thereafter.

I know this is just the calm before the storm, when the editorial process reaches through the ether and grabs me by the throat. But for now, it feels pretty good.

— Don Williams

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to Three People, Four Years, Five Thousand Hours

  1. Well done Don!

  2. Eric R says:

    Bravo my friend !
    You have earned a well deserved rest.
    (even if it is relatively short)

  3. David Pruett says:

    Don – I don’t do marketry, but I may buy that book just because I appreciate you and the rest of the team so much. I know I will be buying the second volume.

  4. Nathan says:

    I am absolutely thrilled to hear that there is at least one other woodworker out there who studies the Austrian School of Economics! If there any way you could tell us which course you are taking?

    • Don Williams says:

      It’s the series from Liberty Classroom, Tom Woods new venture. i am now working my way through the two series’ on the History of Western Civilization..

      • Nathan says:

        Thanks, for letting us know, I’ve heard some good things about that, and I may sign up for a membership to Liberty Classroom at some point.

  5. Reblogged this on tekArtist and commented:

    Can’t wait to read this!

  6. I can’t tell whether the bench is holding up that beam or whether the beam is holding down the bench.

  7. Niels says:

    Congratulations Don! Bravo!

  8. John Cashman says:

    Five thousand hours? I’ll bet you could earn a better living from working in a Southeast Asian sneaker factory. So please accept my heartfelt thanks for all your hard work. This will be the first LAP book I will try to buy in the leather-bound version. Hopefully I will see you at a SAPFM meeting again someday to get it autographed.

  9. Larry Bush says:

    after your title “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” I suspected you to be a Rothbardian. Good to come out of the closet– are we soul mates or what?? (just kidding). I have been waiting for the evidence; voila’!! Hope to meet you soon.
    sent from a friend in Texas


    • Don Williams says:

      Actually that was Chris’ book, not mine. He might be an anarchist, I am a minarchist. I am more a Hayekian than a Rothbardian.

  10. Scribe says:

    Thank God it was a college-level course on Austrian Economic Theory. The high school-level stuff is so pedestrian…

    • Don Williams says:

      Now that is laugh out loud funny! thanks. All of Austrian Economics is pedestrian, provided you are strolling though sorghum…

  11. Graham Burbank says:

    ok, the veneer geek within me is drooling in anticipation.. Admittedly, with all the hounding and pestering I have given chris with regards to the oh so top-secret H.O.S. toolbox work, I don’t deserve this masterwork you have been transcribing into readable english. But I do hope you will accept my gratitude, if not just my order (read $$$) when it hits the presses.

  12. Bill Strang says:

    what, a syp stick with center heart and no checks? must be green.

  13. Allen Crane says:

    Any idea how much the edition will cost, the production run, and ETA yet? I know it will require socking some funds away on a regular basis…can’t wait to have a copy in hand!

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