Today the painters finished their job on the Lost Art Press storefront. There were a lot of details to manage, and a lot of cold weather to weather. But a crew of six guys spent the entire day going over every nook of the building, calling to each other to rework a detail or cover up a bare spot.
I’m quite pleased. And my neighbors are even more pleased – they’ve been interrupting the painters all week to tell them what a good job they are doing.
While I’m happy, I’m also trying to keep up. Today I built a new transom window for the side of the building that faces south. And I have two more transom windows to make. I also have to add a coat of wax to the front door and seal up the threshold below the new front door. And… the list is endless. Old buildings are fantastic obligations.
Despite my long to-do list, the next couple days will be all about cooking and eating for me. Thanksgiving is the only holiday I take seriously. It’s not about commerce. There are no greeting cards or gifts to buy. It’s just about getting together with the people you like and sharing a meal.
I hope you have the same sort of day – no matter where you live.
— Christopher Schwarz
Sometimes I think my taste in furniture comes from the fact that I’m easily startled. I’ll sometimes spit a mouth full of toothpaste onto the mirror when my wife appears behind me in the bathroom.
I don’t want to be alarmed or injected with adrenaline when I look at a chair, table or a sideboard because of its car-like surface finish, carving, inlay or dizzying grain patterns.
Furniture should be as natural as your fingers. Your hands are logical, unadorned and familiar. Yet when you choose to examine them closely you will be amazed at every aspect of their mechanics and form.
So when I look at furniture, I mentally divide what I see into pieces that are “red” and those that are “green.” This is all standard color theory stuff that you can learn about in an introductory psychology class.
Colors in the “warm” spectrum – red, orange and yellow – tend to excite us. Colors in the “cool” spectrum – blues and greens – tend to relax.
The first time I visited Winterthur Museum – Henry Francis du Pont’s amazing collection of high-style furniture from the entire timeline of American history – I felt like I needed a stiff drink afterward. While there are some fine vernacular pieces in the collection, the entire experience left me wrung out and on edge. That was a red day.
Seeing one carving by Grinling Gibbons inspires awe. Seeing an entire room of his work induces nausea.
I don’t mean to pick on Winterthur. It’s one of the most fantastic furniture collections on the planet. To be fair, I get the same unpleasant blood buzz in European castles and manor homes. There is only so much of the stuff I can endure.
Contrast that with my first visit to the Aiken-Rhett House in Charleston, S.C. The 1820 house is opulent in many ways, but much of that is muted by the fact that many rooms were empty of furnishings during my visit. For me, what’s most remarkable about the house are the slave quarters and work areas on the building’s ground floor. And the work yard.
We weren’t expecting Vol. III of “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years” on joinery to show up until at least next week. But it landed in the warehouse yesterday and employees are busy scheduling an assembly line to ship out all pre-publication orders next week.
Vol. III on joinery (and the forthcoming Vol. IV on the workshop and furniture design) are the two volumes I’m most excited about. The joinery book contains almost everything from Hayward’s book “Woodwork Joints,” plus much more additional information on designing and cutting joinery that isn’t in “Woodwork Joints.”
At $37 (which includes domestic shipping), we think this is a bargain. You can order it here from our store if you live in Canada or the United States. If you live overseas, you can check in with the following sellers.
Vol. IV on the workshop and furniture design is due out early in 2017 – probably in February or March. The entire book has been designed by Meghan Bates, and Managing Editor Kara Gebhart Uhl is working on the final copy edit now.
Vol. IV will be the final volume in the series. All four books will be the same height and width, use the same paper and cover cloth. So they’ll definitely look like a set when grouped together.
For those of you waiting until all four volumes are available thinking that we’re going to offer a special discount on the set, don’t hold your breath. The price can only go up from here.
— Christopher Schwarz