Better in Person


Good news: All of the orders for “The Anarchist’s Design Book” shipped out today. We thank you for both your patience and your impatience. We hope the book will be worth your wait.

I barely remember our book-release party on Saturday for the “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” That had nothing to do with alcohol (I think I had time to drink only two beers all night) and had everything with too much social stimulation.

But the one thing I do remember is a line I heard over and over: “The pieces from the book look much better in person than they do in photographs.”


The problem isn’t the photos. Narayan Nayar’s pictures of the pieces are outstanding. Instead, I think the comment relates to the unfamiliar forms and raking legs, which are difficult to depict in two dimensions. It’s the same parallax problem that plagues joint stools. The legs never look like they are angled the same. Sometimes one pair looks vertical and the other looks oddly raked.

So if you want to see some of these pieces in person, I recommend you make wire models of them using scraps and clothes hangers. Or stop by the Lost Art Press storefront on April 9 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. In addition to all of our books, we have special T-shirts, stickers, posters and other merchandise that won’t work in our online store.

I’ll be there, as will my daughter Katy, who will be selling her Anarchist’s Daughter Soft Wax (we hope to be able to make enough to sell it online soon).

In the meantime I guess I better make some rectilinear Morris chairs to get back some furniture cred.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to Better in Person

  1. Ruben "Rube" Villanueva says:

    So excited. Can’t wait to get the tracking info so I can watch it’s progress to my house.

  2. brentpmed says:

    Chris, the pierced element on the 6 legged table looks bat-like to me, then the negative space makes me think of holly and berries. (amateur eye, trying to learn) What is the derivation of this element? I really like it

  3. brentpmed says:

    Sorry if that came across too familiar, it just occurred to to to ask: Do you prefer Mr. Schwarz, Christopher, or Chris, or hey free IPA?

    • “Chris” or whatever is fine by me. Mr. Schwarz is my grandfather.

      The pierced pieces are based on patterns from the Mughal empire. Think Indian subcontinent.

      Most of the tables I’ve seen like that have Gothic piercings, but I wanted to mix it up a bit.

      • brentpmed says:

        Ok, thanks. Just looked at about 1,000 Muhgal empire architecture images. Now I see the “mosque with finial” shape and the reverse cyma, they made amazing use of negative space. My mind recognized the shapes, but couldn’t quite put it in context. I appreciate your adding to my architectural vocabulary.

  4. trainman0978 says:

    Instead of Morris chairs ( which I know was a joke ), I would love to see you do your exploration model on Danish modern.

  5. I am ready for a rectilinear or danish modern morris chair.

  6. Sergeant82d says:

    My wife wasn’t excited about the backstool I built, before it was finished, for the same reasons you explain here. The angles, rake, only three legs, etc. Once completed however (with Peter Galbraith’s black over red milk paint and oil routine), she likes it well enough to ask me to build 9 more, plus two more with arms and a higher backrest, for our large farm table (that I built two years ago).

    In other words, while initially unfamiliar, they are a comfortable and practical type of furniture. Many thanks for bringing them to the public light, Chris!

  7. Jim Eckman says:

    I’ve built chests in 1/2 and 1/3 scale. One easy way to explore the forms for those of us with the one shop condo. (I sleep in the living room)

  8. charlie says:

    My wife is the “gatekeeper” of all furnishings in our house. How do I convince her a staked saw bench would make a great sofa table?

    Domestic Dilemma

    • Make one! They only take a day. Once you see it “in the round” the form seems obvious and natural.

      • Dan Zehner says:

        Design one in your favorite 3D solid modelling tool and have a scale model 3D printed! A picture says a thousand words, so a 3-dimensional representation would say 31,622 words by my maths.

  9. narford84 says:

    I’ve been interested in what furniture first came to Oklahoma during the land run. What do I find, staked and campaign style furniture. Being Native American I wanted to see what kind of furniture my family would have first encountered during that time. I used to think all they would have encountered was stuff from f troop.

    • Settlers could have had anything. You read accounts of people moving West with full dining suites in high styles (sometimes abandoned during the journey). If they built stuff for themselves, I am sure there would be a good number of nailed and staked pieces.

  10. edfurlong says:

    So does this return to 90 degree angles mean you will no longer be sing excerpts from “The Rake’s Progress” as you build?

    Seriously, I love the tapered legs, raked angles etc because of the lightness they provide visually without compromising strength. As much as I love Arts and Crafts forms, the visual heaviness of some of the pieces has always been a challenge. Keep to your compass bearing; it has worked verry well so far!

  11. Noel says:

    I find interesting the idea that these pieces don’t photograph well, mainly because I’ve been taken with them from the first, at least as I’ve seen them on the blog. Forgive the naivete, but the forms seem so simple that I imagine them as “possible” to make (given my relatively light experience), and awfully interesting, to boot.
    The first time I ever saw a Windsor chair build (maybe in Pop Wood many years ago?) I was completely taken by the form, but daunted (past tense here is grammatically correct, but really should be present tense…) by what I saw of the process.
    The staked chairs immediately made me think “I can make that” while still tingling that aesthetic pleasure center in my brain.
    Long way of saying I love the photos and can’t wait for the book. And if they’re even better in person, I can’t wait to make one and prove it.

  12. What on earth? According to the tracking my book went from Indiana to Pennslyvania and is now sitting in Federal Way, Washington??? It is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow and I live in Tennessee.

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