A Morning Traversing Teak


“I sit on a man’s back, choking him, and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by any means possible, except getting off his back.”

— Leo Tolstoy on authority, “Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence” (1886)

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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38 Responses to A Morning Traversing Teak

  1. Julien Hardy says:

    Excellent get-off-my-back hint. Though Tolstoï seems a bit overkill for the purpose.

  2. Ralph Smoyer says:

    Do you find teak to be very destructive of tool edges? When I worked with it in a commercial wood shop we had to do much more sharpening than normal. Ralph

  3. Patrick says:

    Did you work on your taxes today?

  4. Getting ready to do the same for some outdoor furniture. Unfortunately the stuff I have seems to be made of tuffer stuff. Luckily my irons are sharp and I have a case of beer in the fridge.

  5. B Jackson says:

    Patrick beat me to it. I am at the end of my day prepping returns for different kinds of folks. Reading that, I said, “Must be tax time in the Schwarz household.”

    Then another thought hit me – how much time have you been spending with Don Williams lately?

    And should I have said anything about prepping returns for other folks who pay me to put the numbers in the right places?

    Don, FYI, I don’t have a scrawny neck. It takes a burly build to handle routers and planes.

  6. Bob Davidson says:

    Talking about campaign furniture makes me think of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Young British Soldier”, the last stanza of which is:
    “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

  7. Graham Burbank says:

    notice the raking side light here, natural daylight low and to one end of the bench. Thoughtful planning for plane-ing!

  8. David Cassidy says:

    U r 2 pithy my man. But I love every post as if it were my own

  9. I think you bench went all hipster. It looks like it just grew a teak beard.

  10. scribe6 says:

    Finally finished toothing your benchtop?

  11. michael says:

    How did you make those saw benches in the corner there? I see those all the time in your photos.

    • lostartpress says:

      John Hoffman – the other half of Lost Art Press – made them for me years ago. They are handy.

      They are made like Windsor chairs – just tapered tenons into a tapered socket. Very tough.

  12. andrew smith says:

    If you haven’t read his book “THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU”, you should.

  13. abtuser says:

    I’m thinking a lot of French Silk pie was made on that bench…

  14. Jonas Jensen says:

    Do you burn the teak shavings in a stove, or are they composted in the garden or hauled away by the garbage service?
    I try to reuse as much of my wood as possible, which means that shavings go to the stable, so they are used for the horses instead of straw. I just have to make sure there are no stray nails or foreign objects on the floor before sweeping.
    Brgds Jonas

    • lostartpress says:


      I like to use them as mulch or compost when possible. However, I try to be careful. Black walnut kills plants and sickens horses. I have to look up the data on teak before I spread the shavings.

    • Steve says:

      Another supposedly good use for clean wood shavings is to pack your root vegetables for cellar storage. It keeps them out of contact with each other and can help regulate moisture and temperature.

  15. billlattpa says:

    “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general rule.”
    I don’t know, but it somehow applies here.

    • D R Nieforth says:

      This the first time I recall a woodworker forum quoting Conan The Barbarian . He was admittedly quite handy with a blade.

      • billlattpa says:

        Not too many people have a need for obscure Robert Howard quotes. I don’t know if I got it word for word but I know it’s pretty close to the mark.

  16. Rob says:

    Hi Chris,

    Is this teak Tectona grandis? Plantation grown or old growth ?

    Presumably this species is not discussed in ‘With the Grain’ ?

    Do you not feel a trace of self-contradiction in building a teak chest while simultaneously publishing a book which ‘encourages you to use the trees in your neighbourhood’ ?

    Cheers, Rob

    • lostartpress says:

      “Is this teak Tectona grandis? Plantation grown or old growth ?”

      It was cut about 40 years ago in Sri Lanka and has been sitting in a warehouse since then.

      “Presumably this species is not discussed in ‘With the Grain’ ?

      Do you not feel a trace of self-contradiction in building a teak chest while simultaneously publishing a book which ‘encourages you to use the trees in your neighbourhood’ ?”

      Oh what is the HTML for “eyeroll?” This board has been waiting to be used appropriately in a piece of furniture that is designed to last a long, long time. In a furniture style that frequently used this species. With really great hardware.

      If I were making a birdhouse out of snakewood, or drawer pulls from baby panda bones you might have a point.

  17. Derek MacInnis says:

    I spit out my lunch at “baby panda bones!” Thanks for the laugh!


  18. smbarnha says:

    When did you move your bench away from the wall, Chris? I’m assuming it helps with multiple people in the shop.

  19. B Jackson says:

    Having lost my breakfast out my nose onto the keyboard in a snort of laughter, I can understand why we’re supposed to say something half-useful.

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