Coming Soon: Letterpress Tool Chest Plans

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As part of the fifth anniversary of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” we are printing 1,000 signed copies of plans for the chest that are hand-drawn and printed via letterpress.

The project is in conjunction with Steamwhistle Letterpress in neighboring Newport, Ky. As I type this, Brian Stuparyk and his mom are pulling copies of the poster from the Vandercook 425 press and allowing the dark blue ink to dry.

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The posters will be $20 apiece (that price includes domestic shipping in a rigid cylindrical mailer) and each one will be personally signed by me. We are making these prints as affordable as possible as a “thank you” for all the people who have bought the tool chest book – allowing me to quit my job without having to live in a cardboard box. They should be available in our store for ordering next week.

The construction drawing of the chest was handmade by Randy Wilkins, a film set designer and the man behind The Designer’s Assistant blog. The print includes all relevant dimensions for building the full-size chest, plus specifications for the hardware.

Our intent was to make the print useful enough (and affordable) so you could use it in the shop. But it is also nice enough that you could tack it on the shop wall or even frame it.

The tool chest print is also our trial run for large-scale letterpress work for the book on Roman workbenches that I’m writing. The process during the last few months has been a real education for me in processing images and type so they could be reproduced on a polymer plate for the Vandercook proof press.

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Earlier this week I spent an afternoon at Steamwhistle as they set up the press for the run, which will take several days. Brian hand-mixed the ink (blue with a little black) to suggest a blueprint. One of the many nice things about letterpress is the texture of the result. You can feel every line of the drawing in the paper. It is nothing like traditional offset lithography.

These are printed on smooth 100 lb. cover stock, which is rigid and durable. The finished size of the print should be about 17” x 22”, a typical size for an engineering print.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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21 Responses to Coming Soon: Letterpress Tool Chest Plans

  1. Brian Clites says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to place an order for one

  2. miathet says:

    That is so cool can’t wait

  3. As an engineer I can say there is nothing more satisfying than a hand-drafted technical drawing! A skill that has largely been forgotten due to CAD software!

  4. Paul Korman says:

    Great idea, Cant wait to hang one over my chest (tool chest that is). I’d love to have on for my Dutch tool chest too! A picture is worth 1000 words and conveys the construction and complexities of the chest to the non woodworker.

  5. jbgcr says:

    I’m old enough to have done blueprints in my apprentice days. We drew pencil on paper on a translucent paper. This was sandwiched in a frame under glass with a light sensitive paper. We took this out in daylight for a few minutes. Then the light sensitive paper was rolled in a tube and placed over a bowl of ammonia to “develope”. The print was blue with white lines – a real “blue print”. The blue line on white paper came later. Blue prints have not survived as they weren’t stable and had a short life. This print would look good to me as a real “blue print”

    • Yes. We know. It is a suggestion.

    • steveschafer says:

      I’m old enough to have made blueline prints (and I think I have the ammonia scars in my lungs to prove it). Everyone called them blueprints. In 1990, we switched to using a xerographic printer. Everyone still called them blueprints, even though there was no longer anything blue about them at all.

  6. tombuhl says:

    I love the look and feel of letterpress prints. Framing it would be nice, but how does one make a proper frame? I looked around for a good book on the topic and came up empty. Thanks.

  7. Will any of these prints be made available to international customers through your regular distributors?

  8. Will you be making any of these available to international customers through your regular distributors?

  9. wldrylie says:

    Only 1000? Are you sure that’s enough? I hope I get one. I’ll make a nice walnut frame for mine, if I can manage to snag one. It would make a nice addition to the red cover edition and dvd.

  10. Chris, that look awesome!! The only problem is you come out with new amazing stuff to often, I can’t keep up… I have a few of your books, and I wish I could get a few more… Keep up the great work. Interesting to see your progression since the beginning, a bit like a rock star haha… I’ve been following you on and off pretty much since the beginning.

    Cheers

  11. I should have gotten a haircut before the shoot!

  12. AdamO says:

    I hate that you guys make everything so awesome… I feel like a drug addict, I can’t wait for my next fix.

  13. dkratville says:

    When you click on the link to the Letterpress site, the image that greats you is just sooo fantastic! I’m definitely going to try and buy one of the tool chest drawings!!

  14. charlie says:

    Can you still buy a poster even if you never purchased the book?

  15. nordichomey says:

    The print is neat. What is cool is how you introduce us to who and how the print is made! Especially like the technology used to find the right color!

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