You can now place a pre-publication order for “The Anarchist’s Design Book” in the Lost Art Press store. The price is $47, which includes free domestic shipping.
If you order before Feb. 15, 2016, you also will receive a pdf download of the book. (After you check out you will receive a follow-up email with a link.) Also, the first 1,000 copies that we sell will be personally autographed. The book is expected to ship at the end of February, weather and factory schedules permitting.
“The Anarchist’s Design Book” is 456 pages that are sewn for long-term durability. The book is 8″ x 10″, casebound and sheathed in thick hardback boards that are covered in cotton cloth. We’ve also painted the edges of all the pages with a black paint to protect them from moisture and damage – a detail common on early books.
Like all Lost Art Press books, “The Anarchist’s Design Book” is produced and printed entirely in the United States.
What’s the Book About?
Most of the American furniture we celebrate as the pinnacle of design is overbearing, over-embellished and a monument to waste and excess.
It also represents the furniture of people you probably dislike.
These high styles of furniture took hold in North America in the 18th century and persist to this day as both cult objects for collectors and as rites of passage for artisans. These are precious pieces that are auctioned, collected, reproduced and written about in exhaustive detail.
Or, to put it a slightly different way, the people who could afford this furniture also owned mega-farms, factories and (sometimes) entire towns. This is not a knock on their wealth. But it is a simple way of asking a question that rarely gets asked among amateur makers: Why would you want to imitate the taste of your boss’s boss’s boss?
“The Anarchist’s Design Book” is an exploration of furniture forms that have persisted outside of the high styles that dominate every museum exhibit, scholarly text and woodworking magazine of the last 200 years.
There are historic furniture forms out there that have been around for almost 1,000 years that don’t get written about much. They are simple to make. They have clean lines. And they can be shockingly modern.
This book explores 11 of these forms – a bed, dining tables, chairs, chests, desks, shelving – and offers a deep exploration into the two construction techniques used to make these pieces that have been forgotten, neglected or rejected.
You can build an entire houseful of furniture using these two methods – what we call “staked” and ”boarded” furniture. They are shockingly simple for the beginner. They don’t require a lot of tools. And they produce objects that have endured centuries of hard use.
But this isn’t really a book of plans. “The Anarchist’s Design Book” shows you the overarching patterns behind these 11 pieces. It gives you the road map for designing your own pieces. (Which is what we did before we had plans.)
All 11 pieces shown in the book are hand illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs, who produced full-page copperplate etchings that were then hand printed. And there are monkeys.
You can place your order here.
— Christopher Schwarz
Note: We do not yet have a complete list of retailers that plan to carry the book. We do know that Classic Hand Tools will carry it in the United Kingdom. When other retailers sign on, we’ll let you know here.