Despite what seems like common sense, John and I like to keep our retail network small and personal. We enjoy working with people who share our philosophy on craft and business. Those people are few and far between.
Recently we began working with Best Made Co., a retail and online store headquartered in Tribeca in New York City. After initial conversations, it became obvious that our businesses were well-matched. Best Made Co. offers really nice tools, knives, books and outdoor clothing.
We are pleased and honored to be associated with Best Made Co. They currently carry three of our titles: “With the Grain,” “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and “By Hand & Eye.” Be sure to check them out next time you are in the city or online.
I hope to stop by their retail store at 36 White St. during a visit to Brooklyn in January for a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event.
— Christopher Schwarz
9 thoughts on “Lost Art Press Now Available at Best Made Co.”
I wonder if local law enforcement has gotten to the point they ignore people walking out of that store on to the street in NYC with a very large axe with a panted handle…… Seems kind of odd to sell some of that stuff in a flagship store in the middle of Gotham…. But everybody says ” if you can’t find it in New York , you don’t need it.”
Hope the partnership works for the both of you.
I’m a bit surprised about this announcement.
Best Made Co. sems to me, at least, to be somewhat disingenuous, riding the trend of the hand-crafted and artisinal. But crucially, for vanity’s sake. They seem to partake in, as what one blogger called it, “the fetishization of the prosaic.”
I guess it started with the painted axes, more art object than anything else, being marketed as a way for city dwellers to commune with their inner woodsman while telling all their friends, “hey, look at my fancy painted, overpriced, art axe.”
While this fetishization of tools is nothing new and something many of us are guilty of (just take a look at the collectible tool market), it seems different somehow when these objects are “curated” rather than simply sold.
This in no way diminishes the power of the Lost Art Press publishing company — an institution that I believe to be sincerely unpretentious and happily, at times, self-deprecating. It seems something born out of a true passion, something inseparable from its founders and its readers. Something that would exist whether people were buying the books or not.
Best Made Co. is less about passion — it appears born out of something more commercial, something that is far less (dare I say) anarchistic than it’s carefully groomed and slickly marketed exterior may initially convey.
star -thumbs up – whatevah
I originally typed out a comment – quite similiar…. They had a axe in last month’s popular mechanics magazine – I visited the site – so I guess I will say it …. It seems like hipster marketing at its finest – or marketing to guys who wear three collared shirts – in pastel – with their collars ” popped ” all at the same time. It’s almost like they would be far more credible if they weren’t smack dab in the middle of NYC – the hipster hub. Don’t get me wrong – some of the artisanal pickles and hand made whatevers – it’s really , really good for America . People do see value in hand made things made the right way, and that is fantastic for the mindset of the populous of our country – it could be the start of the end of the disposable market place….. But a painted axe for three hundred plus – it’s about something besides being handmade…. It’s clever marketing to those with disposable cash. And that is also okay in America. But I won’t be buying a painted axe – maybe another Bad Axe saw…. But to each his own.
The inspiration to make things comes from many places – books, tools, processes (think CNC or handwork).
To label some as good and some as false isn’t my style.
The owners of Best Made Co. are genuinely enthusiastic makers. They treat their customers very well. And their business model is sensible.
Personally, that’s good enough for me.
I need to agree with Chris on this one. I have bought many things from them, not an axe, and the colored axes are not my cup of tea, but they do what they do for them. They have aligned themselves with folks who are recognized experts in what they do, Francis Mallman and Chris as a recent example. They build by hand, have their own hand built cabin in the Catskills and are, as Chris said, enthusiastic hand builders and craftsmen. Also VERY good people to deal with.
Chris and David,
Well said. Looks like I was too quick to jump to conclusions. I guess I’m just a bit jaded from my years in the advertising / branding / creative world. Too much knowledge about what goes on behind the scenes — and what brand leaders really think.
However, I’m sure I’m not the only one to think as I did. Perhaps it illustrates a disconnect between the sincere supportive nature of Best Made Co.’s founders and the way they are perceived by an increasingly skeptical public.
It does seem to come off as somewhat ‘hipster’, which has become something of a pejorative these days. Like the little tool box with the miniature vise, the teeny hacksaw, and then a massive fret-saw… If they sold proper tools like, say, Garrett Wade does (and, granted, that company isn’t without its share of froo-froo) they might seem more, for lack of a better word, ‘authentic’.
Selling axes with a fancy painted handle for $300 comes off as trying to make the hobby something elitist, especially when this is a company that’s not really known for woodworking. Lie-Nielsen has expensive tools, but they’re known and used extensively in the craft. These axes look like they’re meant to hang on a wall, not actually be used.
It’s all a matter of perception, though, and I’m certain that spreading your publications further and wider can only be a good thing. For all that this company is beating on a different drum, ultimately it’s not very different than the one this hobby moves to…
Chris, I would be careful here. BMC sells a $188 “work shirt.”
I believe they are (now) selling rebadged Council Tool Velvicut Axes. Specifically the Velvicut 4# Premium Felling Axe and Velvicut 2# Premium Hudson Bay Axe. See here: http://www.counciltool.com/DisplayCategories.asp?pg=displaycategories&category=79 and the discussion here: http://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/the-hipster-logger.191485/, and especially here: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/887629-Best-Made-Base-Camp-X-Axes
The original axes Best Made Co painted were by Snow and Nealley, it seems.
A story about BMC: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/garden/01peter.html
To sum up; BMC’s approach is close to The J. Peterman Company (parodied on Seinfeld). Both mainly sell the story and not the product. BMC feels fluffy, urban, trendy, fashiony, metrosexual (now turned lumbersexual! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/14/lumbersexual-beard-plaid-male-fashion).This sort of gloss hipster thing can easily stick to the products BMC sells.
I leave you with a J. Peterman Company quote from Wikipedia: “When a man puts on this authentic French farmer’s shirt he may very well find that his hands look bigger….Is that woman over there giving him the eye and nodding toward the haystack? Yes, and he knows what to do.”
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