Now Available: ‘The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years’

At long last, we are now offering the first two volumes of “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years” for sale in the Lost Art Press store. The books are at the printer now and are expected to ship in March 2016.

If you want to skip the backstory and place your order, click here. There you can order the volumes for $45 each or $80 for the set.

During the last eight years, we have culled, organized, scanned, edited and re-edited these articles to create these two hardbound volumes totaling 888 pages. This is not simply a quick reprint of old magazines. We have reset all of the type. We have scanned and cleaned every image (there are more than 2,000 drawings and photos). The entire project took many hundred hours and a dozen people all over the country.

The first volume is on tools and the second is on techniques. The volumes are organized as follows:

Volume I: Tools
Setting Out Tools & Chisels
Boring Tools
Veneering & Inlay

Volume II: Techniques
General Techniques
Miscellaneous Tools & Techniques

You can download a complete (and searchable) list of the articles in these two volumes here.

Like all Lost Art Press books, “The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years” is produced and printed entirely in the United States. It is printed on smooth acid-free #60 paper and joined with a tough binding that is sewn, affixed with fiber tape and then glued. The pages are covered in dense hardbound covers that are wrapped with cotton cloth.

Below is my introduction to the first volume, which explains the long journey we have traveled to get to this day.

An Introduction to “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years”

There is little doubt that Charles H. Hayward (1898-1998) was the most important workshop writer and editor of the 20th century. Unlike any person before (and perhaps after) him, Hayward was a trained cabinetmaker and extraordinary illustrator, not to mention an excellent designer, writer, editor and photographer.

Add to all that the fact that Hayward was, according to Robert Wearing, a “workaholic,” and you have a good picture as to why we spent almost eight years laboring to bring this book to life to honor his work.

As editor of The Woodworker magazine from 1939 to 1967, Hayward oversaw the transformation of the craft from one that was almost entirely hand-tool based to a time where machines were common, inexpensive and had displaced the handplanes, chisels and backsaws of Hayward’s training and youth.

While Hayward didn’t mind machines (he wrote the book “Light Machines for Woodwork” (Evans Bros. 1952) after all), he never stopped filling the pages of his magazine with information on hand tools, joinery and finishing that is difficult to come by today, even with the Internet to help us.

The early 20th century was an important time in the history of handwork because we finally had automated machines that could turn out well-made woodworking tools at prices that the working class could afford. With these machines, firms such as Stanley and Record flooded the world with tools that allowed almost anyone to be a woodworker. (It was, of course, these automated machines that almost killed hand-tool woodworking, but let’s set that aside for a moment.)

Hayward and his contributors took great pains to teach readers how to use these hand tools, whether it was a jack plane, a Stanley 45, a metallic side-rebate plane or a quirk router. This sort of information was rarely written down, and much of it was lost in decaying magazines or cemeteries.

The book you hold in your hands, the first of several volumes, seeks to reprint a small part of the information Hayward published in The Woodworker during his time as editor in chief. We have tried to organize it into sections on tools, techniques and projects that you will find useful. But most of all we sought to capture the spirit of Hayward’s tenure at The Woodworker without excessive editing or watering down of the text.

As a result, you will find stylistic inconsistencies throughout. Should a tool we call a “straightedge” be written as “straight-edge,” “straightedge” or “straight edge?” All three appear in the text, as do a thousand other inconsistencies that we could have unified into some homogenous whole.

But we didn’t. The English language and the tools it describes are always in flux. And so we reproduced all of the text exactly as it appeared when published. Yes, some of it might seem sexist in the 21st century. Some of the words are spelled oddly. And sometimes simple articles are dropped, as was common at the time (“Take gouge and mark…”).

Like it or not, writing is like that. Writing styles, punctuation and even grammar rules change. So we left the text as-is for you to interpret and enjoy.

That is not to say we had an easy time editing this project.

The genesis of this book occurred before John Hoffman and I formed Lost Art Press. We were frustrated with the books available to teach us the details of handwork. We decided to chase after republishing Robert Wearing’s “The Essential Woodworker” and some of Hayward’s classic writings. Getting Wearing’s book revised and republished was easy – Wearing is still alive and he was happy to help.

But Hayward had died in 1998, so things were more difficult than we could have imagined.

In the end, we made a deal with the current owners of The Woodworker magazine to republish the articles in this volume. That was the easy part. Which articles? And how should we present them?

A group of us took on the project on nights and weekends. Megan Fitzpatrick, Phil Hirz and I spent weeks combing through the original texts, compiling the articles that were important and organizing them into something you could read without buying 27 years of rare magazine issues and boiling them down for yourself.

After a couple years of work, Ty Black took on the monumental task of scanning the text and processing all the classic images from the magazines. This process alone took almost a year.

Then we had to double-check all the scanned text and images against the originals. John spent months of his life at the computer comparing the scanned text to the originals from Hayward’s typewriter.

And then it needed to be designed so you could easily digest it. Graphic artists Linda Watts and Meghan Bates both spent months puzzling together all of the text and images into what you have here.

There were many more steps, but I won’t bore you with them. What’s important to know is this: We tried to reproduce faithfully the articles that Hayward wrote and edited. There are stylistic inconsistencies. If you care about these small details, this book is not for you. Return it to us for a full refund.

We hope that you will enjoy “The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years.” But we mostly hope that it will inspire you to pick up the tools and get busy. As Hayward said in 1980:

“I think that books are useful, but I certainly think that, like anything else, the skill to do comes from actually doing. Books can guide you, explain about techniques, tools, materials, – present ideas, steer you away from pit-falls… Books include a great deal of valuable information but it is up to the reader to apply that information.”

We could not agree more. Hayward says his first project was a coffin-shaped bed he built for the family cat as a young boy. And after his eyes had failed him and he could not write, edit or build furniture, he received a visitor in the 1980s who said Hayward was “in his 80s, painting the guttering of his house.”

I hope to go to my ultimate reward in the same way.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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26 Responses to Now Available: ‘The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years’

  1. erikhinkston says:

    Done, Very happy to get this! I’m looking forward to the rest of the volumes. Well done all…

  2. Brian Clites says:

    Three gargantuan books released in just one month!?! What a start to 2016! Great job John, Chris, and Megan!

  3. Stefan Rusek says:

    YAY! This is truly fantastic!

    So this is volume 1 & 2. And I’ve seen references to additional volumes. What are these other volumes and do you have a rough idea of when they might come out. From the looks of it these two books will be great on their own. I’m mostly asking out of interest and curiosity.

    • I hate to talk about it because the next volumes are probably two years off (we have to finish “Roubo on Furniture,” “Woodworking in Estonia,” “Carving the Acanthus,” “The Art of the Saw” and Alan Lacer’s as-yet untitled opus on turning).

      The next Hayward volume will be “Joinery,” followed by “Furniture and its Details.”

  4. mrogen says:

    Chris, John, Megan, Phil et al, all I can say is Bravo, Bravo!
    I’ve been looking forward to this since you (Chris) first mentioned it. Although I kept thinking to myself what if it takes a real long time and I’m not able to read it? You know reading it for real not some Devo inspired rendition of it.
    So I thank you very much for getting it done. And allowing me to enjoy it.


  5. Derek Long says:

    Looking at the list of articles included in these two volumes, all I have to say is “wow.” Here’s my money. No, here, please take more.

  6. steverennells says:

    Many of the articles have duplicate or very similar titles. Does each article include the original publication date? It might be interesting to see if his thoughts or techniques changed on a given subject and the original pub date would help track that progression.

    • The articles are not listed with the publication date. There is overlapping information presented but there is a reason for it that you will figure out for yourself when/if you read the articles.

      • steverennells says:

        I’m not at all familiar with Hayward but I placed my order based solely on your enthusiasm for the man’s work. I found and bought six of his Evans titles at an incredible $2 per title. “Tools for Woodwork” wasn’t included, but “Woodwork Joints” was – I will be digging into these until your volumes arrive.

  7. Hello Chris, Will these amazing books be on sale in the UK? I have 20-30 copies of The Woodworker magazine when Charles was the editor and can appreciate how good these new volumes will be. Well done to you and your team for this mammoth task. Jamie Ward

    • Jamie, if you email Classic Hand Tools they will stock it.
      Chris & John, thank you for doing this.What a great tribute to a fantastic British institution by an American publisher.

    • Hey Jamie,

      We haven’t asked our retailers yet about carrying it, but I would be surprised if CHT didn’t pick it up.

      If they don’t for some weird reason, we’ll get another distributor in the UK for it. The British market should like this book….

  8. laterthanuthink says:

    Hi Chris. Having never heard of CHH before, I was doing some research and came across this image while watching a youtube video about the man. I recognize the saw bench!

  9. Josh says:

    Holy cow – LAP is on fire! Pre-order in.
    And by the way, in case you blinked Chris just built an ATC in like 45 minutes or something.

  10. JimM says:

    To LAP Team- What a great project that you haven executed! It is totally amazing the work you guys churn out to serve the hand tool woodworking community. What an entrapanuerial spirit you all have! Looking forward to get my volumes and THANK YOU.

  11. wfariss says:

    Just looked at the dovetails of the chest picture on Instagram. How big do you make the tails? What is the spacing? I think you have mentioned this in the past, but I can’t seem to find the citation. Thanks.

    • There is no set spacing. In the book I think I used 12-13 tails. When teaching the chest we use seven tails (it saves a day of chopping).

      For that particular example, the half pins are 5/8″ wide (so they duck behind the top skirt). The full pins are 3/8″ wide. And I used seven tails at each corner. They are fairly big to my eye. If time were not of the essence, I’d use 10.

  12. Deniseg says:

    Thank you for all the great reading coming my way.

  13. Agree with all the sentiments above. As a beginner this set is something I look forward diving into and using as Hayward to guide and prevent

  14. Marty Backe says:

    Since there’s no extras for pre-ordering, why would I want to pre-order? I’m not be snarky, just curious what my incentive would/should be in doing so.

    I’ll buy it now for convenience but only if the card isn’t charged until the order is shipped (being that it could be two months from now). I couldn’t find any FAQ on your site which defines when credit cards are charged (you might want to add something).

    In any case, looking forward to the books (including your latest, which I did buy).

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