5 Things We Aren’t Doing

Here’s a quick update on things that are not happening in the shop at Lost Art Press.

I know this is a weird topic for a blog entry. But I was asked these five questions dozens of times during Woodworking in America and recently via e-mail.

We Are Not Opening a School
While we are looking for a large building for our inventory that will have a shop, a loading dock, living quarters and space for experimentation, we have no plans to open a school. I enjoy teaching, writing and building furniture. But running a school is a huge administrative task.

When we get our building, I hope we’ll have the space to allow other woodworkers to come there and collaborate with us on book projects. But it won’t be a school.

We Aren’t Hiring Employees
So who the heck is Ty Black, my so-called “shop assistant?” I never want to manage people. I’m done with that. But I am happy to work with others. Ty is a local software engineer and woodworker who works with me three days a week. He helps me with my projects. I help him with his. Some days I teach him something about handwork. Other days he teaches me something about improving my shop processes. He is definitely not an employee. I don’t pay him. I don’t tell him what to do. From henceforth I shall call him “helper monkey.”

We Aren’t Starting a Hand-tool Magazine
I’m done with running magazines and newspapers. They are crazy businesses that I have lived and breathed since 1990. I want to make things that in 100 years will still be used daily.

We Aren’t Becoming a Custom Furniture Business
I’m building a lot of furniture and selling it, but it is all in service to the writing and the publishing. After building 10 Roorkhee chairs for customers, I know a ton more about this unusual form. And I have campaign chests in mahogany and teak that I’ll be selling as the campaign furniture book progresses. And a buttload of boarded chests for “The Furniture of Necessity.”

But I’m not in the business of making (especially) workbenches and tool chests. I’d probably starve.

We Aren’t Exploring Other Crafts
Yup, blacksmithing, weaving and other traditional crafts are interesting. But we won’t be publishing books on them because we aren’t tuned in to them. We know traditional woodworking. We eat, sleep and breathe it. We know what needs to be published for other woodworkers. I couldn’t say what a blacksmith needs.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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32 Responses to 5 Things We Aren’t Doing

  1. lostartpress says:

    No 7: We also aren’t offering an online school. If I had my way, I would never appear in video. You’d never see a photo of me. You’d never hear my voice. I’m a writer and builder. And I think I look like a lab animal.

  2. Matthew Groves says:

    Nothing said about a brewery…hope remains.

  3. tsstahl says:

    I really did laugh out loud.

    My only other comment: never say never.

  4. Kevin costa says:

    Brew and grub?

  5. Julien Hardy says:

    Okay, okay. Sorry !

  6. Dan Pope says:

    Brew and grub? – He is a consumer not a provider.

  7. Ben Birdsill says:

    “I don’t do business that don’t make me smile.” – Stephen Stills

  8. John says:

    When you get your building I hope it has ceilings high enough to hang saws like in the old plate at the top – and 16 – 10 foot Roubos!

  9. Keith Smith says:

    Most importantly, where do I get a helper monkey?

    • Christopher Hawkins says:

      I am lucky to have a wonderful high school senior help me. I pay him $10/hour. He does work I don’t want to do and I teach him what I know. We both think it is a good deal.

  10. billlattpa says:

    Does your assistant have to defeat you in single combat to become master? Or is that a sith lord?

  11. Christopher Hawkins says:

    Well done grasshopper. Knowing what you don’t want to do is a powerful insight that can keep you from chasing the next shiny object that comes into your field of view.

  12. pauls49 says:

    I think “friend” has a nicer ring to it than “helper monkey”.

  13. Ches Spencer says:

    It is important to know who we are, and just as important who we are not! Keep up the good work and thorough research.

  14. Rob says:

    How would a student take a saw down without guillotining himself in the process? Misjudge it slightly and it’d be La Place de la Revolution 1793 all over again.

  15. Scribe says:

    “Helper monkey” is a tad demeaning. Perhaps he’d prefer “Kato”.

  16. John says:

    Saws are raised and lowered using the same hooked poles used to open and close the windows. I worked in a shop with windows, tool racks, and poles like that as a boy – a print shop not a woodshop.

  17. rodtermaat says:

    All good things to hear. I value the path you are on and even though it is not mine I learn from and benefit frim following yours.

  18. mike siemsen says:

    I have to agree with Megan, that shop is damn clean, not just the saws, the whole place!

  19. Devon says:

    I thought Ty’s title was; “Young Ward”. Now I am more confused…

  20. burbidge says:

    When you say, ‘living quarters’, do you mean a scenario akin to the models’ dorm in Zoolander, only full of research woodworker types?

  21. John says:

    Watch those guests – went to my shop this AM and found a 10 year old boy and his cat sleeping on my bench. Family staying with us after a house fire. Grandson likes time with me in the shop so I suppose the bench suited him as a sleeping place.

    Thinking of old shop ways I suggest calling him “Mr. Black”.

  22. Frank says:

    well spoken mr. Schwarz!!!

    i was laughing very hard…

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