Little America


i can’t see myself at thirty i don’t buy a lacquered thirty, caught like flies preserved for tomorrow’s jewelry again

I know it doesn’t look like much, but this is the spot where I will die someday – tools in hand, God willing.

Today Mike and I almost completed installing the underlayment for the new shop floor. We have just one more sheet to install, but it’s a tricky one. As we were shimming things up, the room filled with the sound of a big diesel engine.

The dude was here to help remove the sign from the exterior of our building.


While dispatching the sign took only 35 minutes, it was a significant psychological step for me. Neighbors gathered to watch the purple plastic “Blaze” sign come down in pieces. And with the sign gone, it finally felt like it was our building.


Today I also received shipment of our solid-oak flooring – 54 bundles of the stuff. It will acclimate in the new shop for a week before installation. Then the guys at Lovell’s Hardwood Flooring will do the rest. And thank goodness. I have to start building two tool chests starting Saturday.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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31 Responses to Little America

  1. Jarrod Stone Dahl says:

    Just looking at that pile of flooring hurts my back, don’t ask me why. But, I do know it’ll be sweeeet when it’s all done.

  2. You HIRED someone to take down that sign? A hack saw blade taped to a long stick of poplar would have done the job.

  3. fitz says:

    Wow — It’s looking splendid! And I now feel like a slug in comparison. As always.

  4. jbakerrower says:

    I don’t know… ‘Blaze’ sounds like it could be an appropriate name for a woodshop… Outside is very nice! Inside will be soon.

  5. tpobrienjr says:

    It’s beginning to look Very Grand Indeed.

  6. That looks fantastic to me. A place of progress and of memory. Of work and of whimsy. Like a separate world.

  7. waltamb says:

    Chris, I used to install flooring for a living. If you want the bundles to acclimate, you need to
    1) place them up off the floor by a min of 4″.
    2) place stickers in between each layer of packs.
    3) keep the packs from touching each other by 4″.
    Another small/big thing is that the temp and humidity must be exactly as it will be during occupancy.
    Q: Did you put a vapor barrier under the sub floor like Tar Paper of something?
    We would leave bundles in customers rooms for as long as they could stand living with them there.

  8. I’m guessing that piece spans 15 feet in length and 8 feet in height. Don’t go hurling any shots of whiskey at the mirror without a second mortgage lined up.

  9. ptross says:

    great progress! I’ll be waiting to see what the room turns into. good solid materials, good building character, sounds like a good start!

  10. Just. Awesome. I want to live somewhere that I want to die one day.

  11. Eric R says:

    I won’t lie. It’s getting exciting.
    That place is going to be really nice when you are done.

  12. capie001 says:

    This is getting REALLY interesting, Chris! Inspirational, these entries!!
    Perhaps your Lost Art Press Storefront blog category could contain ALL of this buildings’ restoration activities, from the day when you initially considered buying it? Will be easier for us to get the whole picture.
    Cape Town

  13. Ryan Starkey says:

    I love the progress and I’m excited for you Chris, Looks great!

  14. Will you be ready by WIA? (I’m sure you’ve mentioned this already)

    • We will be ready on March 12. I published a list of days we will be open earlier this week. The second Saturday of every month. I don’t think we will be able to be open during WIA because we will both be there.

  15. edfurlong says:

    Looking Great–Love the Bar–what kind of wood is it and is it stained? Just curious.

  16. Farmer Greg says:

    You’re keeping the white ceiling fan with the CFLs, right?

  17. gfabbott says:

    There was apparently a tradition in the west of throwing money behind the bar, a savings plan for the bar owner. Have you taken a peek behind the bar yet?

  18. Glad you were able to save the bar shelves behind, the woodwork is awesome. Nice looking neighborhood around you, love the Victorian architecture

  19. durbien says:

    Were there any old patrons sad to see the bar go, or was the community glad to be rid of it?

  20. robertlivingstonmd says:

    Any zoning issues you had to address for the workshop? (apologies if you’ve already addressed this in earlier posts)

    • No. It’s a commercial building in a mixed-use zoning area. The only hurdles come from our historic preservation district – when we make changes to the exterior we have to file paperwork. So far they have been very helpful.

  21. I enjoy watching your continuing progress.

  22. It’s fun to watch your progress. Like a slow motion home improvement show. : )

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  24. Jeffry says:

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me.

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