Update on the Book Formerly Known as ‘The Furniture of Necessity’


Almost every book I’ve written has started out as one thing (a manual on how to use crappy store-bought workbenches) and ended up as something else (“Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use”).

My latest book is no different. It began as examination of furniture forms that have remained unchanged for the last 500 years, what I call the “furniture of necessity.” And at its core, the book is still that.

But as I dug further back into the historical record I began to see a bright string that begins with the furniture of the 12th century, snakes through every century and is tied with a bow to Danish Modern – then it unravels and falls apart with Bauhaus and biometric forms.

Most of all, I found the writing of this book has given voice to my own furniture designs, something I’ve been reluctant to do as a magazine editor or book publisher. (As an author with more guts than brains, however….)

Anyone who has ever visited my house knows that it is filled with many pieces that reflect my stripped-down aesthetic. I don’t like ornamentation. And I try to remove myself as much from the piece, paring things down until I get some heavy Buddhist feedback.

(By the way, I also own some historical pieces – I was an Arts & Crafts collector back in the early 1990s. And I have things that friends have made – potters, painters and other furniture-makers. So it’s not like a scene out of “2001: A Space Odyssey” but in wood.)

I’ve now written this book three times in its entirety and thrown out my two early versions (please don’t ask for them; they are the same place as my first novel). Each time, my point of view shifted as I was willing to walk out a little further on the ledge. When I was in England for 16 days in August, I started rewriting the opening line of the book and didn’t stop until… well, I haven’t stopped.

I have only two short chapters to write. Briony Morrow-Cribbs is working on the copperplate etchings. And then I’ll design the book. It might sound like a lot of work, but this is the easy part.

The most recent thing I’ve been working on is the book’s title and the cover logo. One evening in Sheepwash, Devon, I realized the name of the book I was writing was “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”

And so it is.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Expect this book in January 2016.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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46 Responses to Update on the Book Formerly Known as ‘The Furniture of Necessity’

  1. erikhinkston says:

    Looking forward to this one, once named I imagine the title seems a perfect fit.

  2. I’m in. Been waiting for it since you first mentioned the project.

  3. maross1248 says:

    I have followed your journey on this book through this blog. I eagerly await its completion, as the content I have seen thus far appeals to me.

  4. mysticcarver says:

    As with the others I am eager to read this tome! I have followed it through all your blogs and even as close as yesterday looked up an old blog of yours to get some reference for something I am working on now….and crossing my fingers that you will still have that in the book too!
    If it matters for anything I do like the name!

  5. Richard Garrow says:

    So looking forward to the finished product. I know it has been a long time in the making.
    Thank you for your continued support of the craft. I am building quite the library to pass down to my grandchildren.
    All the best Chris

  6. abtuser says:

    pre-pre-ordered (looking forward to…)

  7. Tobin says:

    Love the stylized french triangle as the next ‘A’, where has that been this whole time? Brilliant, simple, unadorned, perfect. So excited for this project.

  8. Patrick says:

    You know, that would make a great hat. (Just in time for Christmas too!)

  9. joesainz says:

    Very much looking forward to the book. I’ll be the curmudgeon and say that the title feels a bit like a cop out, however.

    • LostArtPress says:


      After four years of writing this thing, I honestly don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about the title — especially those who haven’t read it.

      So I see your curmudgeoness and raise you.

  10. Im happy about this! It will go with the other books I have read and put up to be preserved!

  11. calebjamesplanemaker says:

    Wow. That is way better than what you started with. Total win. I was getting worried. 😉 >

  12. Trevor Murch-Lempinen says:

    Excellent Chris… you got there in the end – to the design book to follow on where you left off with the Anarchist’s Tool Chest… can’t wait to read this one!

    And I agree with your sentiments on the title TOTALLY!

  13. therealdanh says:

    Call it anything you like, it’s your book. I will pre-order as soon as that option is available. The designs and prototypes created as the book evolves are heading in a new direction. It should be a great book.

  14. jim4570 says:

    Been waiting for this one since you announced it. Don’t care if you call it “Arky piddling in the dark”, I would still buy it. If you call it that, it won’t go on the good bookshelf though…

  15. Sergeant82d says:

    Another vote firmly in the ‘can’t wait to pre-order it’ camp. And I love the name!

  16. John Hippe says:

    Great subject. Great title. Great graphic. Can’t wait till I can read it!

  17. hughjengine says:

    First novel? How many have you written?

    I read Roy’s over the weekend; great fun, thank you.

  18. Rachael Boyd says:

    just do your job and we will be here to buy it when its ready, and not before. what the title again?

  19. Ryan Garcia says:

    Love the stylized anarchy “A” symbol. I hope it’s utilized on the cover.

  20. Sometimes you just have to let the process take you where it’s gonna take you. Looking forward to this one!

  21. KampWood says:

    You first novel was totally : The Romance in the Router: a romance novel with 50 router jigs.

  22. Alvin says:

    I like it. I like “furniture of nessisity” better based on what I know of the book. That having been said , the new title makes more sense. Build a chest snd fill it with tools. Build furniture with those tools. Wait, arent we missing a book? One about builing a small cabin workshop by hand? The Anarchists Cabin. Lol. No matter the title im in, and im shure after reading it will make all the more sense. You all do excelent work

  23. Gene ORourke says:

    It may not matter… but that logo is quite similar to the “Download Adobe Acrobat” logo: http://www.adobe.com/legal/permissions/icons-web-logos.html

  24. Paul says:

    Knowing your work I’ve been following with you for years and I always try not to judge a book by its cover!

    Keep it up,
    Paul F

  25. proclus153 says:

    I like the new title, especially since it seems to me that the direction the book has been taking lately is, at least philosophically, a continuation of the ideas in the ATC. I’ll definitely need a copy.

  26. Does this mean it will no longer contain plans for an outhouse?

  27. Will this be available for pre-order?

  28. Gerald says:

    I gotta admit, “The Furniture of Necessity’ never really grabbed me. I was even thinking I was going to sit this one out. No chance now, I’m all in.

  29. Excellent title. It has sounded for a while that the book had gone from a study of historical vernacular styles and construction to a design book based on them. Buried the lede though 😉 “One evening in Sheepwash, Devon, I realized … ” Wonderful.

  30. Sam Morgan says:

    Any chance of a “Name that book” competition, with free T-shirt to the winner? Looking forward to January, and thanks for your work.

  31. When I was studying journalism I was tought to use as few words as possible to convey a thought. So I deleted my prior paragraph …


  32. jmwagle86 says:

    Thanks for the early announcement, going to start saving my money now!

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