“When you come to think of it, settles were the only form of traditional oak furniture that were not used for dining; they were for resting, conversing and drinking. As such, they were sociable, not hierarchical. Unlike other forms of seating, settles did not embody the social hierarchy in which great chairs were reserved for those of the highest rank, joint stools served for (almost) everyone else and forms were for the lowliest – servants children and women.”
— John Fiske, Antique Collecting magazine, September 2013, and “When Oak Was New: English Furniture and Daily Life 1530-1700.”
PS: Apologies for the diarrhea of posts today. I’m emptying a backlog of entries I wrote while I didn’t have consistent Internet access.
We receive frequent letters from readers who are frustrated with the way we publish books. Our deadlines sometimes slip. Projects that we think will take a year end up taking two or three years. Some projects disappear off the radar and reappear later.
One frustrated reader suggested we should change our company’s logo to a marijuana plant because that is surely what we are smoking.
When John and I started Lost Art Press in 2007 we decided that our internal corporate motto would be: “It’s done when it’s done. No sooner.”
This is important to me because I came from the corporate world where deadlines were more important than quality. A book took exactly two years from concept to delivery. Exceptions were rare.
While this is a great way to keep your revenue predictable, your employees paid and your lights on, it is my opinion that quality can suffer in this system.
When I explain this, some respond with this logical retort: Why don’t you stop writing and focus all your energies on getting other author’s books published?
My answer is two-fold: If I did this it would damage my mental health, and many times I’m not the problem. When a manuscript comes in, I drop my personal projects and work on the outside author’s project. So when you ask, “Why isn’t the Felebien translation done?” my answer is, “Because the translator is still working on it.”
We don’t pressure our authors to turn over a manuscript until they are happy.
So it might surprise you to find out that the only book I have in my hands to edit is Andrew Lunn’s book on sawmaking. Everything else is at some other stage of the process. So if you’ll please excuse me, I really need to read about setting saws.
When Jim Tolpin and George Walker first presented the idea of “By Hand & Eye” to me it was going to be a book filled with big ideas plus exercises that you would perform right in the book itself.
After I tried many ways to make this happen at a reasonable cost, we decided that “By Hand & Eye” would instead present the big ideas in a nice hardbound format and explain the exercises that you should do on a separate sheet of paper.
Some readers did the exercises (and had their eyes opened). Others skipped the exercises and were confused or frustrated.
To remedy this, George and Jim have been hard at work for more than a year to create a workbook to accompany “By Hand & Eye.” We are in the final stages of production with this workbook, and it’s been a fun and enlightening project.
Called “By Hound & Eye: A Plain & Easy Guide to Designing Furniture with no Further Trouble,” the workbook is an illustrated cartoon journey through the world of pre-industrial design geometry. It stars Journeyman and his pizza-loving dog, Snidely, as they untangle the world of points, segments, arcs and the three-dimensional world using nothing more than a compass, straightedge and pencil.
After each new idea is introduced, you are shown how to perform the exercise yourself right in the workbook.
As someone who has edited the book and done all the exercises, I can say only this: It is genius.
You can perform all the exercises in an afternoon. And even though I’ve been steeped in this geometry stuff for years, I experienced several eye-opening moments while performing the exercises. Reading about it is one thing. Doing it is another (like woodworking). Also fun: George and Jim have given their work the look and feel of a middle-school workbook, complete with slightly corny jokes.
The workbook will be inexpensive (less than $20), printed in the United States and will be our first softbound book. (Sidebar: We considered many other options, including spiral binding and other exotic binding technologies. They were nice but incredibly, stupidly expensive.)
The workbook is being hand illustrated and hand lettered by Andrea Love, who animated and produced this charming video for “Hand & Eye” that you might recall. She’s in the final stages of inking all the pages of the workbook. Unless something goes completely off the rails (likely involving an alien abduction), “By Hound & Eye” will be released before the end of 2015.