We’ve just added our Lost Art Press Bandito shirts to our online store. The shirts are $25 and are available in sizes M to 2XL. These are the shirts we printed for Woodworking in America. They were a big hit, but we came back with some in each size.
Once these lieutenant green shirts are sold out we will offer the Bandito shirt in a wide variety of sizes, color and even styles.
We’ll also be putting up the “By Hammer and Hand” posters in the store later this week – we just have to wait for the special mailing tubes to arrive in the warehouse.
David Savage delivered a fire-and-brimstone lecture to the students in his Rowden workshop on the business of the craft during tea one morning and then left the bench room with a flourish.
One of the students turned to me and asked: “Are all British craftsmen this eccentric?”
I didn’t know how to reply at first. Later that day, however, the answer came to me: Actually, all really good instructors are like that.
During my two weeks at Rowden in the deepest, darkest Devon, I got to interact with a type of woodworking student that is rare these days: the long-term pupil who wants to make a living at the craft and has invested his or her last cent to pay for the instruction.
You might expect them to be 100-percent joyful to get to work under such expert tutelage for six days a week over 12 months. But that’s not exactly what I encountered.
Instead I saw the same wariness, skepticism and frustration that I experienced while training as a newspaper journalist at Northwestern University. During my four years, I nearly despised my instructors and still call my torturers by name 25 years later. Roger Boye. David Nelson. Richard Schwarzlose. Leland “Buck” Ryan.
They seemed to delight in trashing my work, telling me I should drop out and never offering a word of praise during four hard years.
As it turns out, they were giving me an education that I couldn’t appreciate until I’d left the school and worked professionally. They knew something: The writing business chews people up, and the only way to survive is to be the best – both technically and ethically.
You can’t deliver those sorts of lessons to hobbyists during a one-week class. It’s a miracle that my students had the drive to work 50 hours straight on some mind-bending piece of woodwork. I couldn’t beat them up because I was just so grateful that they cared enough to attend.
So what about the hard lessons? Who will deliver them?
In my shop, it’s me. Nothing is good enough unless it’s better than what I’ve done before. I sharpen my eye for good work by visiting museums and furniture exhibitions. So I have to raise my own bar and jump over it.
Most days I wish David Nelson were in my shop telling me my work was like a puddle of dog urine. I could then seethe and fantasize about putting Nair in his jockstrap.
But those sorts of fantasies aren’t so healthy when you are both the torturer and the victim.
Can you help us Find a WINNER? Go here. I have just been fitting the handles to my own new tool chest. Near the end of the job, fitting components with screws is satisfying and tricky. One slip and the surface is scarred. Overtighten and the screw head is burred or worse it snaps off. Done well, it depends on preparation, good pilot holes, choice of screws and screwdriver.
There are dozens of screwdrivers in my box, gathered over the years they are used for a multitude of indelicate tasks. Opening tins of paint is a favourite. Yet a really good screwdriver should be very carefully fitted to the screw head. Do this well and it will sit in the head of the screw, gain purchase and drive the so and so home with no damage to the job or the screw head. Happy days.
This is the head of a well prepared screwdriver see how the worn end is reground to exactly fit the slot and see the two small chamfers on either side of the blade this is to suit the width of the screw head, stopping it projecting beyond the chamfered screw head and scuffing the countersink in the job
This is the set of screwdrivers we have picked to go in the cabinet that Chris Schwarz made and Jon Greenwood has prepared. They are cabinetmaker style handles in beech; boxwood would have been posher but it has no effect on the job.
There is another class of screwdriver that is maybe better than these. these are gunsmith screwdrivers. Here the blade is not tapered as in the blades above but parallel where they fit the screw. So, more contact with the screw but more expense. The blades above came off eBay and with a small amount of work from Jon Greenwood will be usable for years. Just remember all screwdrivers get worn out just now and again, so dress the end to fit the screw you are using.
These screwdrivers are for slotted screws. We found a nice set of Posi drivers from DeWalt that will be arriving soon for more general work. These cost us about £16 from one of the sheds.
A lot of trouble with Posi drivers is again that they get worn, and rather than pick a new one out of the box we bash on with the job, burring over screw heads. So this little set will enable our young Woody to help avoid that. Many of us at Rowden have taken to using a small cordless drill to do all the small screw driving around the shop.
I would like to put one of these drivers in the box as well but I don’t think we have one spare. Though this is a hand tool box I think we all use these now pretty well all the time.
Remember folks these tools are going into a tool box made by Chris and being GIVEN away in a competition. Closing date is end of November. You must be under 25, a Woody or would-be Woody. Write to me tell me why we should give it to you and send some images – that’s all it takes. Here are the details. PASS IT ON PLEASE