Jonathan Fisher. Begin the Begin


People often ask: “Where do you get your ideas?”

And people often ask: “Do you really like to travel so much?”

The answer to each question is wrapped up in the other question. Then dipped in batter. And deep fried. The truth is that traveling is impossibly stimulating. The world is made of wood, and if you will allow yourself to be consumed by it, it will reward you with both insight and a way of life.


For the last two days I have been immersed in the world of minister Jonathan Fisher, an 18th-century Renaissance man who traveled to the wilds of Maine in the name of God and tamed them in a way that has touched generations of people in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Thanks to woodworker Joshua Klein and Thomas Lie-Nielsen, I’ve spent the last two days examining Fisher’s tools, furniture, paintings, house, lathe, workbench and camera obscura (for starters).

I could write a few sentences about Fisher here, but they would be weak. (Here’s an all-too-brief account.) Fisher was a polymath in a way that no blogger could condense or compile. He was astonishingly industrious. He left a long legacy of tools, furniture, maps, architecture, drawings, schools, paintings and writing that all give an amazing glimpse into the early American mindset.

He was, in fact, the prototypical American. He did everything. And he tried to do it well.

During the coming weeks I hope to post photos of Fisher’s tools and work here on the blog. I think you will like what is to come. His efforts represent what many of us hope to achieve in our own lives. But when you look at Fisher’s body of work, you can say only one word.


So stay tuned.

— Christopher Schwarz


About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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7 Responses to Jonathan Fisher. Begin the Begin

  1. kendewitt608 says:

    The wikipedia entry for this guy is IMPRESSIVE !


  2. Very nice Chris!

    Thanks for posting this.


  3. Really looking forward to this!


  4. bengstrom says:

    Have you checked out the Jonathan Fisher collection at the Farnsworth? They have an extensive collection of art and objects by Fisher.


  5. Clay Silsby says:

    Thanks for introducing many of us to Jonathan Fisher and Joshua Klein. Looking forward to more.


  6. hughjengine says:

    Is there going to be a book out of this?


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