The Mahogany that Finishes the Book


It has been two years since “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” was released, and so I am an unpleasant person to be around.

During the last 24 months I have been distracted or devoted to the task of publishing books from other authors. I’ve been teaching classes on three continents. I’ve filmed four DVDs. I’ve written a dozen articles for magazines and more than 300 blog entries.

But no books.

So I’m doing what I always do when I write a book. I gather all the material I need, I ignore the world around me and I start typing.

Today was huge. I managed to gather all the wood I need to finish my book on campaign furniture with a trip to Midwest Woodworking.

I needed about 160 board feet of mahogany to build the remaining three projects for the book, which are now drawn in SketchUp and outlined on my laptop. Four 16’-long boards from the racks at Midwest did the trick. And this beautiful stock is now sitting in my basement, waiting patiently as I finish making a bowsaw and tidy up some loose ends for upcoming classes.

Why the heck am I telling you this?

Because I’m about to go underground. From now until Dec. 31, I will be slow to respond to e-mails. I’ll be blogging less (thanks in advance to Jeff Burks for picking up my slack). And I’m dialing down my teaching schedule for the next two years.

So if you have an urgent question, you might want to ask some of the other excellent hand tool bloggers out there. If you want to take a class with me, you might want to look at what’s on the calendar for the next few months (see the right rail of this blog). And if you are waiting for the campaign furniture book, know that I am forsaking all others for you. Well, really it’s for me. I don’t care if you buy the book, I’m writing it for me.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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22 Responses to The Mahogany that Finishes the Book

  1. bavakian says:

    That’s the right way to get the book finished. Plus, we are tired of waiting for you to finish the book. 😉 We want to read it.

    P.S. I hope you enjoyed the Lagunitas IPA I gave you at WWIA in Pasadena last year.

  2. Joshua Allen says:

    Good luck! I’m looking forward to the next book, and I don’t even make furniture.

  3. Allen Rudolph says:

    Good luck hurry back

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Jim Muhaw says:

    Looking forward to the new work. All the best Chris and put the pedal to the metal!

  5. Tom Dickey says:

    You will be missed! First Village Carpenter now you. I wish you clean cuts and easy work.

    • lostartpress says:

      I’ll still be blogging — just not every dang day.

      • robert725 says:

        I have thought about this for a couple of days and am concerned. I really enjoy your writing, both in terms of subject and unique and irreverent style. That’s the thing that makes me want to check your blog daily for your new posts. I’m not a fan of the posts consisting of quotes from past writings. Even those that are not long-winded seem off to me somehow. This is free advice, and often that is worth what you pay for it – but I would hate to see you cavalierly piss away a loyal audience by not giving us what we came here for.

        On the other hand psychology tells us that a rat properly conditioned will continually mash the food button if food appears totally at random to the number of times the food button is mashed.

        • lostartpress says:


          I knew this post would be misinterpreted.

          I am dialing back – not stopping – my blogging and teaching. Instead of four or five posts a week from me, you might see two.

          Still a good value for your blogging dollar I think.

          This blog has evolved several times in the last five years. And it will continue to evolve. And get gill slits. Or a prehensile tail.

  6. cmhawkins says:

    Do you still intend to write the Furniture of Necessity? If so, do you have an estimate of when it will be finished. I’m very much looking forward to it.

  7. I think Jeff should write a bio on here so we can get to know who he is. Because many of us have no clue, besides the fact he has been posting on here since May, 8th.

    • fitz says:

      Jeff is the most preternaturally gifted researcher I’ve ever met, and he’s a carpenter (and excellent photographer).

    • raney says:

      What Megan said. Jeff is not a public face, but If you are at all interested in the history and accurate archeology of woodworking from the past, Jeff is doing as much for that as any three other people I can think of. He’s single-minded, brilliant, and he doesn’t sleep. That is a good thing.

      You don’t need to read everything he posts as its posted if it isn’t immediately interesting to you (I don’t have anywhere near the time to keep up myself) but its ALL information we benefit from eventually.

  8. dndculp says:

    Sorry I’ll miss you in Port Townsend this year. It’s our 50th wedding anniversary and we are spending September in England. Tim Lawson agreed to teach me the language before we leave.
    Can’t wait to start building campaign furniture so get it on!

  9. gburbank says:

    Thanks for the shots from the land of the dinosaurs. Iron age woodworkers appreciate classic heavy metal like that Martin slider. Most folks today would be hard pressed to identify a stroke sander. Oh, and the wood! Truly drool-worthy. Makes my wallet ache…

  10. gburbank says:

    On the writing front, do you build while taking notes and shoot photos in one go, or build one, figure out what you missed the first time, then “rinse and repeat?”. I thought the process through, and wondered at the inturruptions to the build that stopping to photograph and take notes would bring to the working process.

    • gburbank says:

      Oh, and the damn spelling errors!

    • lostartpress says:


      I take notes while I build and photograph every step — way more than I need. Then I write it up using my notes and photos to guide me.

      If the piece involves some wacky stuff (e.g. leatherwork), I’ll try to build the project again if I have time.

  11. g2-87cc707f0aa4e62f4a92f77f89ccba9d says:

    I love your photos and I’m glad you post quite a few.

  12. shopsweeper says:

    Nothing like an Emmert for inspiration.

    Oh what ideas thy steely jaws have devoured
    Masticating form and digesting wood entire
    That innovation itself might emerge cloaked in grey iron

  13. Chris, do you think you’ll do the trestle table class again? You didn’t say much about it so I didn’t know if it was successful or not. I was hoping to sign up for it next year.


    • lostartpress says:


      I haven’t held the trestle table class yet. It’s July 8-12.

      I don’t know if we’ll do it again — it has been difficult to fill. So it might not be a popular enough topic to repeat.

      • My bad Chris. I think I mixed up your trestle table and campaign chest class. I looked into taking both but the dates don’t work for me this year. I wish I could pull off next month. I think it’s a great idea (maybe too ahead of it’s time).

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