Looking for 1890


I hope to never smell 100-year-old beer again. It’s nasty enough to turn you into a wine drinker.

This week we cranked up work on the new Lost Art Press building – trying to remove every layer of material that wasn’t original to the building.

We filled a dumpster with 30 cubic yards of debris – a bar built about 1995, an entire layer of studs and drywall that was attached to the original plaster and flooring. I’m going to have dreams about flooring. There was just so much of it: tile, cement board, a 1/4” subfloor, another layer of tile and then another subfloor. We kept going until we got to the layer above the joists.


We found doors and original windows beneath all the modernization – plus the stovepipe for the heating system, which will be perfect for a wood-burning stove.

Raney Nelson of Daed Toolworks sorted out the electrical – he removed the 1930s wiring and all the outlets tacked to the plaster. Megan Fitzpatrick of Popular Woodworking Magazine likes to destroy things. She’s quite good at it. She took down the stud walls and laid waste to the purple tile floor.

Woodworker Justin Leib and John (the other half of Lost Art Press) drove down from Indianapolis to wreck the CDX plywood bar with sledgehammers. Toolmaker Andrew Lunn helped on every phase of the project.

As we pulled the bar from its moorings and removed the flooring behind the bar, the nastiest beer smell filled the room. I love beer and I love wood. But when you soak wood with beer for a 100-year period, the result will make you gag. So don’t try it.


And when the space was clear, we put it to use. Photographer Narayan Nayar (he did “Virtuoso” and the photos that open the chapters of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest”) helped the destruction and then stuck around to help with some photography for “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”

With any luck, the space will be habitable enough to show on March 11-12, 2016. That’s when the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event is coming to Braxton Brewing Co., which is right down the street from us. We’ll have a booth at the brewery, but we’ll also open up our storefront and have some sort of event. Details to follow as we get closer to March.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in Lost Art Press Storefront, The Anarchist's Design Book, Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Looking for 1890

  1. Paul Sidener says:

    That looks like hard work, and you made some progress towards your dream. Congratulations.

  2. Papa Osborn says:

    I enjoy seeing what it was and what it will be. Keep the pictures coming…

  3. Hard work, but as a long time messer arounder with old buildings I wonder where your masks are? Seriously, enough bad stuff lurks that you should take some minimum protections anyway. If you have to escalate to bunny suits call professionals.

    • raney says:

      These photos are about a day and a half in… There were some masks during hardcore demo.

      Not to be outdone by my Nixon proboscis, Megan showed up with full plague Doctor accoutrement. Schwarz, of course, had a wicked forced-air guy Fawkes prototype that he hand poured from beeswax and pine tar.

      Personally, I bought the bathysphere was overkill, but john likes to demo naked so it was a welcome addition

  4. Martin Green says:

    Coming along nicely Chris

  5. Ryan Starkey says:

    Looks like the space has great potential, and I’m glad you have friends close by to help. I’m wondering if there was any flooring/building remnants that will be re-purposed for furniture? (probably not purple tile, I’m thinking old boards)

  6. tpobrienjr says:

    What a project! It helps to have handy friends handy.
    Thank you for writing “With any luck,” instead of “Hopefully,”.

  7. Looking good. It’s fun to watch the progress. I hope to visit someday.

  8. Rachael Boyd says:

    its the work I love, your doing a great job. but I don’t see any masks.you need masks.

  9. kendewitt608 says:

    Wine might be a good choice.
    Some French ones that are 100 years are very drinkable.

  10. Picturesque building. (I resist saying “cute.”) I love the symmetry, especially the two diamonds in the roof tiles. It looks like a building in which “Lost Art Press” would be housed. Looks like fulfilling work.

  11. Brian Clites says:

    Happy ya’ll are making such tremendous progress! Keep up the great work, and looking forward to seeing it completed this spring!!

  12. Mark Smith says:

    You made great progress, and are doing what you should – restoring a fine old building. Doubt I’ll every see it in person, but will enjoy the photos you post.

  13. Bob Easton says:

    What a fabulous building! You folks chose well. Every time I see pictures of it I´m delighted for you … and how you’re making it better. All the hard work is worth it!

  14. Niels Cosman says:

    Also: Flooring is the worst. I’ve renovated three kitchens in the past year and been astonished and horrified by the geological strata that we’ve had to excavate. The last one was probably a monoltic 3+ inches layers of ply, vinyl, linoleum, concrete board, construction adhesive, screws and nails etc. The upside to having to remove it all is you gain some extra headroom. 🙂
    Bathroom demo can be more even more horrific when you add heavy layers of tile, concretes and metal meshes into the mix. Nightmare.

  15. abtuser says:

    Keep the photos coming. Great to see the progress.

  16. gabe845 says:

    “Hey, why do we need bunk beds?”

  17. Oh the joy of a due demoletion! Would have given just about anything to have been a part of your “history making” event…a walk back in time. Hope to visit some day soon.

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