A Glimpse at the Sausage Factory

CF_6x9_test_scan2 CF_6x9_test_scan

Just like woodworking, publishing is a fractal. You can get lost in the tiniest of details inside of details. And when I say “lost,” I mean the good kind of lost. Like this.

Most of my career has been on the newspaper and magazine side of publishing, where the level of detail work isn’t (and cannot be) in the same league as a designer such as Wesley Tanner, who designed “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry.” But I’m coming around.

Today I flushed out some rough ideas for the cover of “Campaign Furniture.” These are rough. And did I mention they were not smooth? Rough. The idea is to make the cover look like the top of a traveling chest or trunk. Corner guards are placed at the corners and there is something in the center – either an Anglo-Indian pull or a plate with curved corners and the title of the book.

Yes, I might add screws to the pull or plate. Or I might not muck it up with too much detail. Everything is hand-drawn, which will work nicely with the dies that do the debossing on the cover.

I’ve also been sorting through all the color choices that are possible with this cover. Right now I’m leaning toward a cotton cover that will be a color called “mudpie” – it’s a brownish-red and looks like a lot of the 19th-century British woodworking books on my shelf. The stamp will likely be something coppery or gold-ish. Maybe. Or black.

Or I’ll put a giant smiling narwhal on the cover that’s pooping rainbows.

It could go either way.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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30 Responses to A Glimpse at the Sausage Factory

  1. jonathanszczepanski says:

    A rainbow-pooping narwhal?! You just blew my mind man.

  2. fitz says:


  3. I like the narwhal idea. It says so much about you and your approach.

  4. tpier says:

    You never can have too many rainbows.

  5. Love it! Narwhals are always good.

  6. If, for some odd reason, you decide against the narwhal, I vote for the plate bearing the title.

  7. “Everything is hand-drawn.” Well maybe, but the most glaringly obvious thing about the mock up is that not everything is drawn freehand. The small circles look like they were drawn with a template and the straight lines were drawn with a ruler. Hard to say about the 1/4 circles in the corners, but they look like they were drawn with an aid too. The text is obviously ruled and looks like a font that has been scaled by a computer rather than by eye.

    I might be mistaken for a purist. I’m anything but. “Authenticity” has its place, as does fakery. The most interesting realm for me is actually the hybrid. A knowing hybrid though is a different thing than an accidental hybrid. That latter might more appropriately be called a bastard, which again is a thing that has it’s place, or so my momma always told me when I cried about my lot in life. Just sayin’.

  8. Narwhals are people, too.

  9. I just knew I wasn’t going to make it through the entire post without hearing potty talk.

  10. gburbank says:

    The votes seem to favor the narwhal.

  11. +1000 for the narwhale. Maybe a special edition.

  12. I vote for the name plate with title, the pull looks a little cartony for me. I’m really hoping Lee Valley stocks this soon, the idea of collapsible furniture blows my mind.

  13. Jim Woodward says:

    Here I was going to be all helpful and suggest a practical idea for Chris and everyone has already voted for Rainbow Pooping Narwhal on the cover. Chris – I say put the title cover plate on the front cover (with a rainbow pooping narwhal holding it there instead of screws if you want – LOL) and put the Anglo-Indian pull on the back cover. Just my two cents but I think it would look good and give a sort of symmetry between the front and back covers.

  14. carpenterman says:

    I heard they used Elephants and Camels to carry campaign furniture, did they use Narwhals too? perhaps to get across the water? Of course, now everyone will be disappointed if the whale doesn’t make it onto the cover somehow – (clocked of course)

  15. KampWood says:

    You should add to the narwal idea and have it riding a unicorn.

  16. Konrad Sauer says:

    Bye Buddy – hope you find your dad!

    (and I vote for the pull)

  17. Sean Hughto says:

    The cover should be made from teak with brass inlays, of course.

  18. Dave Reedy says:

    Would that be a European or an Asian Narwhal?

  19. John Kneidel says:

    Narwhal please… as long as you clock the rainbows

  20. rondennis303 says:

    The Narwhal comment definitely got a chuckle, giggle, snigger & titter!

  21. Kevin Thomas says:

    Just make sure any screws are clocked.

  22. That’s a handle? I see a guy with a big mustache smiling…..or a birdseye view of a well endowed woman playing NES. Is this a Rorschach test? I do terrible on those.

  23. bsrlee says:

    Pukka British Red with black print, brass nameplate. No narwhals, no Rorschach tests.

  24. If the idea is to make the cover look like the top of a traveling chest or trunk then shouldn’t it follow that the back cover would be the bottom? Further if the book is to look like chest or trunk then a chest with one pull is rather hard to move around. Just something to think about..

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