Discount Classes for the New Hand-tool Anarchist


During the last 10 years, my students have gotten younger and younger each year. When I started teaching, most students were retired and well-off. These days, most of my students are younger than me – including many in their late teens and 20s.

Many of them make great sacrifices when it comes to taking classes in handwork. Most can barely afford the tuition. Many have young families to support. And a fair number are scraping by with poor tools.

I remember what that was like. I took my first woodworking class when I was 24, and the only way I could swing it was because the class was at a publicly funded university.

For 2015, I am teaching two classes  – one in the United States and one in England – that are aimed at helping young adults get started in handwork. I have worked with two schools – the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and the New English Workshop – to produce a special (almost crazy) class for new woodworkers. I have slashed my teaching rate to almost nothing; and the schools have slashed the tuition. So these classes will be a small fraction of a normal one-week class. We are also arranging for accommodations that will be free or almost free – camping in some cases. And we are going to attempt to cook communally as a class to save money.


But the money and the “stinky hippie” part of the class is only a small part of the story. This will be a class that will begin when you register and commit to the week. We’re going to work with all of the students before class begins to help them build a basic tool kit made up of high-quality vintage tools that we will tune up during the class. After tuning up the tools, we’ll learn to use them to process stock (we are attempting to get the wood donated), and then we will build a simple and stout tool chest.

I call it the Tool Chest for New Anarchists. It will be nailed together much like a six-board chest, but is based on historical examples that have survived more than 200 years.

So when the class ends, you will have a chest that is full of sharp tools that you know how to use to make all the basic woodworking joints.

And you will likely need a shower. Or at least a delousing.

The class in England will be July 13-20, 2015. The Marc Adams class will be Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2015. I’m telling you this now so you can get your ducks in a row. Ask for time off. Prepare an opportune disease. Or whatever it takes to allow you to attend. Registration for the class in England is already open and costs £95.00 for the whole week (go here for details and to register). I don’t have final details on the cost for the Marc Adams class yet.

I’ve posted the day-by-day activities below.

Note: You can be any age to take these classes, but be prepared for long days, odd smells and puerile behavior (mostly by me).

— Christopher Schwarz

Registration and Building your Tool Kit.
Once you are registered and have committed to the class, we’ll help you build an inexpensive tool kit before you arrive. Some of the tools will be vintage (we’ll help you find them). Some will be from the home center. All of them will be good enough to last you a lifetime without upgrading.

Day 1: Tool Restoration and Sharpening
We’ll fix up the vintage tools in your kit and sharpen everything using inexpensive sharpening media. By the end of the day your tools will be ready to work.

Day 2. Wood and Handwork
You need to know wood intimately in order to work it with hand tools. This day will be a crash course in understanding wood from a joiner’s perspective – stuff you will never find in books. At the end of the day we’ll use that knowledge to begin processing the rough stock for a tool chest.

Day 3. Basic Joints
We’ll begin building a tool chest using rabbets, dados and nails – when properly made these chests can last 200 years. You’ll learn about fasteners and how to use them properly. How to understand and use glue – it’s a complex topic. And you’ll learn to use a smoothing plane so you’ll never have to buy sandpaper if you don’t want to.

Day 4. Details and Finishes
We’ll add details to the tool chest using curves, bevels and mouldings – all made with simple hand tools. You’ll learn to install hinges and locks. And to apply a simple oil-varnish blend finish that we’ll make on-site. This beautiful finish requires no spray equipment or expensive brushes. Just a rag, a Mason jar and a paper bag.

Day 5. Advanced Joinery
We’ll begin cutting dovetails so you can have sliding tills in your chest. And we’ll cut a mortise-and-tenon joint to make you a wooden try square. At the end of the day, you’ll load up your razor-sharp tools into your finished tool chest and head back home ready to build almost any piece of basic casework.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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50 Responses to Discount Classes for the New Hand-tool Anarchist

  1. Ben Lowery says:

    Reblogged this on b19y and commented:
    Any budding woodworkers out there, take notice. This is an amazing opportunity.

  2. Chris Haynes says:

    That may be the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. Cheers to you for setting this up. Wow

  3. hughjengine says:

    Good stuff.

  4. Al Navas says:

    Reblogged this on GlassAct.

  5. Josh says:

    This is great. Are you taking donations towards the class?

    • Josh,

      Thanks for the offer. We will be accepting user tools for the students in the near future. Need to get a good list first. Now where would I get such a list?

      • Chris,

        Once you get the list, be sure and let me know. I would be tickled to donate and or make some tools for the class. This idea is wonderful!


      • wwtom says:

        I likewise stand ready to make a contribution of one or more tools, to help one of the younger woodworkers get started in this great craft.

  6. Well played sir.

  7. jonathanszczepanski says:

    Ahhh, If I was only young and uneducated… Well, I got half of that right.

    Great idea, and good for you, the Marc Adam’s School, and the New English Workshop.

  8. doolspin says:

    Finally a class within 500 miles of me! This poor, 20-something, pseudo woodworker will be there!

  9. ctaylor22014chtaylo5 says:

    Paul Sellers has published at least two videos on making “poor man’s” planes from a home center 2 x 4 and a chisel. You can also find him on you tube. They are free to watch as are many of his project videos.

  10. theindigowoodworker says:

    Kudos Mr. Schwarz. It’s not something that I thought I would ever see anyone do. It’s fantastic that you’re doing this and it’s nice that you can afford to do it. I hope more follow your lead in the future.

  11. This is a very generous and fantastic thing you are doing. It gave me goosebumps to read it. How awesome an opportunity for new woodworkers!

    Keep up the good work!

  12. tsstahl says:

    Kudos to you and the hosts. I’d love to be there as I am only one flat state away from Marc Adams school. Though my skill level warrants it, I’m in the category where if I want a tool, I can save up for it without resorting to Ramen and canned corn for a month of Sundays. I’d feel guilty about signing up.

    Looking forward to the list to see if I can help in some way. Call me if there are any last second cancellations. 🙂

  13. Joel says:

    Sounds great! I remember you mentioning this idea earlier… glad to see it coming to fruition. I may be at the Marc Adams class. Sept/Oct is the perfect time to be in Indiana.

  14. tombuhl says:

    This is a grand endeavor, Chris and all involved. Appears a lot of thought went into the project and that many basic assumptions about offering a woodworking class had to be looked at freshly. Here’s to the power of sharing and imagination!

  15. toolnut says:

    You know, it might make a good video. It would compliment the Naked Woodworker and make it accessible to those that can’t make the trek but still want to learn.

    • As long as it isn’t in Smell-O-Rama….

      • toolnut says:

        Maybe not actual Smell-O-Rama, but you could include a “room freshener” to hang from the TV that is embedded with a musk-like B.O. Smell.

      • toolnut says:

        Sell it as “recreating the experience of actually being there”. Plus, an endorsement from you would help boost sales. Something like: “It’s the only oderizer I use in my shop.”
        As for the sno-cones to Eskimos, find the right flavored syrup and it would be a piece of cake. 🙂
        (Have a great day!)

  16. carpenterman says:

    YOU Sir, are an inspiration!

  17. Jim Steel says:

    What is cost in USA class?

    Jim Steel

    On Sep 25, 2014, at 8:00, Lost Art Press wrote: Chris Schwarz posted: ” During the last 10 years, my students have gotten younger and younger each year. When I started teaching, most students were retired and well-off. These days, most of my students are younger than me – including many in their late teens and 20s. Man”

  18. Holy crap, I want to do this!

  19. rondennis303 says:

    Chris –

    God Bless! Although I am fortunate enough to be part of the retired crowd these days, I hope there will be a special place for you in the woodworker’s hereafter for doing this.

    I was not able to afford classwork back in the 1960’s & 1970’s when I first became interested. I would have considered such a true blessing.

  20. What an incredibly kind thing to do. This is an awesome idea. As an unskilled, early 40-something, wanna-be woodworker with little cash flow, this is something I’d love to be able to take advantage of with one or both of my sons. It would be a great opportunity to start them in the craft…


  21. stevevoigt says:

    You are a mensch, Chris. Mazel tov.

  22. Kevin says:

    This is awesome.

  23. slherbert says:

     Chris. This is one of the nicest things you could do for aspiring woodworkers.  I now fall into the older and better off category and I wish something like this was available when I was starting out.  See you at woodworks!

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  24. Like many others, I’m happy to see this happening.
    As someone who doesn’t use gent’s tools (joke), I really appreciate all the work you’re doing to take woodwork out of the upper class. This includes the Anarchist’s Tool Chest and the Naked Woodworker. But most of all these classes.
    Here’s to craft over consumerism.
    Thank you.

  25. joesainz says:

    Hrmph – I think I need to take myself out of the “new” category, but I would LOVE to be there. Can I help in some way?

  26. Doug Dale says:

    Let me know what you need for tools and I will help with whatever I can, I have a few vintage planes, spoke shaves, carcass saws etc. I can also deliver to the school when needed. Just let me know, Thanks for doing this. Doug Dale

    Sent from my iPad


  27. jbakerrower says:

    My tools are not good enough to donate and I’m certainly not rich, but I could spare some cash to help fund this class – just tell me how. Starting at 65 I don’t expect to ever make much of a splash in the woodworking world so I’ll help others get this wonderful start. However, if you ever do a cheap class for just retired, Grandpa’s Workshop wannabes, I’d be first in line.

  28. Lance Granum says:

    Chris I’ll donate a vintage Bedrock plane to a needy student in the usa preferably a vet of the armed services of your choosing I may be able to actually give a full set of tools to the needy new woodworker once you publish the list. I have a few hundred planes that sit on shelves I have been supplying my own apprentice woodworkers with tools but this class is a great cause you have my email so send me the list of tools and I’ll try to put the set together the sooner the better for me so I don’t have to move these to the new shop.This Old Workshop.Com would like to come and video tape the class and the presentation of the tools we are donating to the woodworker you choose so keep us up to date your friend Lance Granum Managing Editor This old Workshop

  29. Andy in Germany says:

    A briliant idea and I’d love to come. Unfortunately I looked at my calender and found that that is one of the weeks set aside for my final project, the cumlination of three years of carpentry training.
    I think that may be the definition of irony, especially as I’m using a lot of the principles you’ll be teaching, in a workshop full of large and expensive state of the art machines…
    I think this is one of the things that makes me determined to keep trying to work in traditional woodworking: you’s never get this level of generosity and support from the machine based industry.
    So, if it isn’t a cheeks question, will there be another?

  30. dbfowlersf says:

    Chris – this is a great thing you’re doing. Wish I could join – not in my 20’s for 20 years now, but only a few years into woodworking, and I’ve learned much from your books, videos, and blogs. If you’d be interested in accepting donations to offset some of the costs for this worthy endeavor, please let me know the best way to contribute.

  31. This is what we have been waiting for! Thank-you so much!
    I hope the registration comes trough as we are not from England and the side doesn’t want to comply .
    So in high hopes to seeing you next year,
    lovely greetings from Slovenia

  32. If this class is ever available down South, I would love to be there.

  33. scyphersj says:

    I have several duplicate tools that are just taking up space for right now . I would be willing to ship them to you or a location chosen by you. They are all functioning and I have used most of them myself in the past but really just how many rabbet or smoothing planes can you use at one time. I think that what you and the affiliated schools are doing is a great idea. I applaud you all for literally putting material gain aside and offering a chance to people who have the desire but lack the financial ability to pursue this kind of professional help. Good luck and as soon as you have a list let us know if we can help.

  34. abtuser says:

    I have a decent, if irregular, source of inexpensive but usually good for fix-up planes. I’d be willing to donate if the timing and availability is right.

  35. robbiekarmel says:

    if you could possibly bring this to Australia (Sydney???) I know a lot of people who would be very very interested!

  36. 12hr and 36 minute drive from Jax Fl. I will be registering as soon as the details are posted.

  37. tyleriowan says:

    This would be so awesome! I like the reference to younger woodworkers like myself. I’m 25 and I’m scraping by with student loans up to my eyeballs but would feel extremely privileged to be able to attend a class like this. Can’t wait to hear more about this!

  38. I have a couple of 39″ workbenches……..

  39. fachento says:

    Bravo, Sir! If at all possible, I’ll be putting this on my to-do list — I just bought and read your book “The Anarchist’s Toolchest” and thought ‘how cool would it be if I could find a class that would help me get serious about this without having to worry about putting food on the table for my wife and kid.’ I’ll be keeping close watch to see if I can get in on this class in Indiana. Thank you Chris!

  40. Josh Freitas says:

    I’m ridiculously interested in attending. I’m from the Twin Cities, MN but I would definitely find a way to make it down to Indiana for the week. I’m 22, newly married, and working full time as a laborer/apprentice carpenter for a remodeling company while attending college classes in the evenings to finish my bachelor’s degree. I spend as much of my free time as possible reading hand-tool woodworking books, watching episodes of The Woodwright’s Shop and wishing I had a space (and the time) to start using hand tools, as I grew up using power tools with my dad in his garage shop and used only power tools in my high school woodworking classes. I can’t wait for the rest of the details to be posted so I can apply and hopefully attend. This is a fantastic idea and I would be honored to be one of the students there for it. Thanks for looking out for the young, aspiring anarchists, Chris!

  41. This sounds awesome, and I am very interested in attending. I’ll definitely be watching for the Marc Adams registration!

  42. Harold says:

    What is the size of the tool chest?


  43. gilleseg says:

    I am currently working on my first work bench. I’m making it out of home center lumber. I have been trying to teach my self wood working, with lost art press books and. YouTube. I am having some success, but would love the opportunity to go to a class and really learn. I live in NW Ohio and I have been trying to fingers beginner classes this would fit the bill.

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