I’ve been reviewing tools and machinery for 20 years now, both in Popular Woodworking Magazine and on my various blogs. But that long career of reviewing equipment ended in January of this year.
When it became obvious that John Hoffman, Raney Nelson and I were going to start Crucible Tool, I told editor Megan Fitzpatrick that I could not write any more Tool Test entries for the magazine or for the website. It simply isn’t fair, by any stretch, for me to both make tools and criticize tools made by other makers.
As a result, you aren’t going to see any more reviews from me (Yay! Or Boo! Take your pick). I’ll still have my opinions about toolmaking, and I’ll still be happy to share my ideas for what a proper woodworking tool should do. But I’ll no longer praise or condemn makers by name.
I know that some of you are also wondering what this tool company means for Lost Art Press. Will we publish fewer books? Will I outsource the editing to other people?
The answer to both is “no.” We will continue to publish four titles a year (five if we can manage it). I will continue to be the person who edits every word of every book to make sure things make sense and flow smoothly. What will be different (and it has been for a couple years), is that I have found people I trust to help with page layout, indexing and copy editing (finding the last typos).
When we started Lost Art Press, I did all of those functions so we could save money and keep our prices reasonable.
So Lost Art Press isn’t changing one iota because of the birth of Crucible Tool.
A few other people have asked what the h#$& kind of hubris-flavored Kool-Aid I’m drinking to think that I could work as a toolmaker. I could attempt to answer that question, but I prefer to let the tools we’re designing and making to answer that question.
Finally, one more personal detail I’d like to mention. We’re going to remain a fairly small company, I’m sure. Though Lost Art Press ships more than 30,000 books a year, we are still just two people with laptops. Crucible is not intended to become a company that sets out to make the complete core set of hand tools (such as Veritas or Lie-Nielsen Toolworks).
We think there are a lot of tools that need to be made that aren’t currently on the market. Manufacturing those tools will keep us busy for at least the next five years and probably beyond. We probably will have to hire employees eventually and we might grow more than I anticipate. But our core philosophy is not to steal market share away from anyone. We think there’s a lot of room for other toolmakers to supply the needs of woodworkers.
And now we’re going to test that theory.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. Several of you have asked for details about our launch event on Sept. 15. We will have hours and an RSVP system set up in the next week or so. So thanks for your patience.