A few customers have requested an excerpt from “The Anarchist’s Design Book” to help decide if it’s a book that would suit them.
So I’ve assembled this short pdf. It includes the table of contents, the preface, the introduction and about half of the chapter on making a sawbench. This will give you a taste of the writing style, the book’s core ideas and the level of instruction in the chapters.
You can download the pdf excerpt via this link:
— Christopher Schwarz
13 thoughts on “An Excerpt from ‘The Anarchist’s Design Book’”
Thank you!! I was wishing for just such an excerpt and will definitely be getting a copy a soon as funds allow!
It’s a book that would suit you.
For those wondering if they should buy it, let me just say a couple of things.
First, there are already a couple of screaming hot reviews from authoritative sources, people who don’t often write gushy stuff. That tells you that something unusual is happening right there.
As for me, a weekend hack, I think it is my single most important woodworking book I own. In terms of sheer eloquence and inspiration, it forms a trinity with Nakashima’s “Soul of a Tree” and Krenov’s “Cabinet Maker’s Notebook.” But it is also a serious “how to” and covers fundamentals that I wish I had started with. If I could only have one woodworking book, “Anarchist’s Design Book” would be it. Having acquired it with already a couple of shelves of woodworking books in my possession, it is still my instant favorite. It’s that good. The only thing is, as stunningly beautiful as the physical book is, it’s not on the shelf, it’s getting trashed on my bench in the garage, right where it should be.
Hope that helps.
“Furniture of Necessity” is an interesting term. In my travels I found many cultures that had little or no furniture. Stayed in a modern family home in Japan where there was a table in the kitchen but no other furniture – a board on blocks to sit cross legged around to eat – mattresses on the floor to sleep. A family house in India with 27 people and the only piece of furniture was a bed used for guests or wedding nights only. And Africa where I stayed with people that didn’t know what furniture was. They however each had one piece of furniture, a carved wooden “pillow” which they coveted and carried everywhere. I, however, like the comfort of furniture and will buy this book.
By hand. A stone dovecote in Cornwall, England.
Image reminds me of tone range/tone control from the days of film.
Maybe we got carried away in the 90’s with all the router-centric miracle jigs that promised to make us maters of the craft (if we could just learn how to set them up!). I see this book not as a snub to high style furniture but a push back to every router jig gizmo on sale at your local woodworking store. Thanks for restoring some sanity to woodworking.
Very nice dedication.
This excerpt is amazing. I am sold. I can’t wait to read. Simple, concise, profound, efficient, thoughtful prose.
Thanks for sharing Christopher. As someone who remembers many happy days working along side my long gone but still very much loved & remembered grandad I think this book may well give me the confidence to try and become an anarchist. I have for years read the glossy woodworking press & it made me feel I could not achieve results that would do just to the craft but fear of failure is worse that actually failing. Time to re-watch your video on your tool chest and start assembling some tools of my own. Please keep up the good work.
Love the ideas behind this book. Do you ever have a fear that the more people read it the more furniture of necessity will become a prevalent style? Not to oversell your personal reach but what happens if manufacturers catch the trend and mass produced these forms? I haven’t read the book yet (my birthday is in a month!) but I gather your intent is more about equipping woodworkers/designers/creators to build furniture that is useful and that they actually like. This is not supposed to sound like a criticism I am just in a phase where I am doing some shop projects (workbench, tool chest) and trying to keep even those things tied to my personal identity and style and so I fear that some of the designs I have for future furniture projects will all end up derivitive and played out. How do you look at the designs of others and learn from them but still design from your own sensibilities? Is everything truly derivitive?
If furniture companies made real staked and boarded furniture, I’d be thrilled. Chances are, however,they won’t make things that are designed to last generations.
So the purpose of the book is to give individuals that ability with a minimum investment of tools and skills.
What happens to designs once they are out in the public eye is really beyond control. All I can hope to do is inspire others to build stuff that eclipses the manufactured, self-destructing termite excrement that passes for furniture in most homes today.
The book was written by The Schwarz! What more coaxing does one need?
Good point. Or as Yogurt says in Spaceballs, “May the Schwartz be with you.”
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