Shiny is not sharp
Smooth is not flat
Shaker is not simple
Tools are not skills
Ornament is not beauty
Nails are not cheap
Polyurethane is not a finish
Grinding is not hard
Design is not art
Dimensions are not necessary
Sharp is not visible
Paint is not evil
Micrometers are not woodworking
Form is not function
IKEA is not benign
PVA is not necessary
Dovetails are not the goal
Glue is not joinery
Accuracy is not precision
Anarchism is not violence
Aardvarks are not anteaters
Keyboards are not woodworking tools
Forums are not magazines
Branches are not lumber
Shakes are not fatal
Pocket screws are not the devil
Workbenches are not a certain height
Handplanes are not a religion
Bevels don’t give a crap if they are up or down
XXXXX will not affect the finish
— Christopher Schwarz
You can download a pdf of this (thanks to Jared Tohlen) here:
59 thoughts on “Things That are Not”
Love it! I’ll print this out and post it in my workshop.
Wow. 3 a.m. (Says the woman who woke up at 5:30, after 3 hours of sleep…)
I know! I didn’t expect to get up so early and learn, from Chris no less, that Aardvarks are not anteaters. Come on Schwarz! Nobody wants their mind blown at 4 in the morning!
Poking pedantry at this hour is entertaining. = )
Or as I would normally say “Brilliant”
THIS is scary dude! Read your red/green post and started to comment on it, involving childhood, E A Berg chisels, a 13th century village church, no nonsense design, evolving skills vs amount of tools and so on… It was way too long as a comment, and I thought – not really of any interest to very many. So I deleted it. And now you come up with this. Sentences/statements as simple, strong, sharp and beautiful as your furniture, and pretty much pinning life description as I was about to, yet in a much more to the point fashion. This is where one can tell that you, good sir, are the writer. You are as used to work sentences with confidence as you are lumber, and it shows!
Woodworking is not a hobby
Miller/Coors/Bud is not beer
Arts & Crafts is not scrapbooking
LOVE the list!!!!!!
Looking forward to getting the “Joint book”!!
Thanks and Happy THANKSGIVING,
Skills are not bought
Tools must not be new
Finish is not always required
Buying furniture is not a sin
Standard is not better
Metric is not better
…unless it’s from Ikea! 😄
This is fantastic. Is there any chance of this becoming a poster? If not, I’ll just print it out.
I second this. Could be a great thing to hang in the shop, at home, etc.
I think they want out of the poster business.
True, I do remember them saying that. No money to be made in posters. I’ll just have to print it out 👍🏼
Josh, check the bottom of the post again for the poster to print out!
Jared, thanks for putting that together. It looks phenomenal (and exactly how I would expect it to look if LAP made it). I’ll definitely be stopping by my local print shop to have one made!
Were you channeling your inner Frank Zappa….
Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is THE BEST
Knowledge is not know-how
“XXXXX will not affect the finish” is simply not true.
Yup. Whiffed on that one. — DCW
You guys obviously don’t read the forums much.
On the forums, everything will ruin the finish. Using wax on your tools. Assembling during a waxing moon. Using oil before shellac. And on and on.
Many woodworkers become paralyzed out of fear that the finish has to be done in a CDC clean room after autoclaving their highboy.
You are right, I do not read the forums. I also do not usually leave comments like this on blog posts. I just had a reaction to the blanket statement. I then thought about what you said and context I’m which it was said and tried to delete my comment. Oh well. I still stand by what I said ( I’m just glad I didn’t mention the “defining art” comment. Wink wink nudge nudge.)
There was no context for my statement, so of course it caused trouble.
I do not read the forums at all. I cannot afford the loss of IQ that results from the activity.
Not to mention XXX, that might actually ruin the finish.
Only if you’ve drank too much wheat grass.
I like this. I’m not sure I understand what “Shakes are not fatal” means, but perhaps overthinking it…
…perhaps the after effects of excessive alcohol intake
Shakes: Small splits in the wood that open during drying.
Thanks for clarifying!
My hands shake from a stroke,,,,,,”shakes are just frustrating ” Both the hand and splits in wood kinds
Metric is not better… No. It is just an international standard which makes it a lot easier to fit different components together from suppliers from different countries.
People claim imperial measurements are more natural and relates better to human anatomi and so forth. This might very well be true, but to that truth also comes the fact that an inch is not just an inch. It would be very different between for instance the US, Korea and Denmark – the latter one having had an inch be 2.67cm’s vs imperial standard of 2.54cm’s. Not even the Scandinavian countries could agree to a common standard, hence the system was abandoned and gradually the metric standard took over most of the world. Inherent to the metric system is also the property of multiplying or dividing by 10 to reach another level of units, which makes it a lot easier to calculate than the fractions of the imperial system – simply move the . and , left or right. No – it’s not better. Just different. Food for thought would be that if the US should eventually choose to go metric, it would be the end of agonizing conversions, except for historical reasons. Proportions are still the same, only scaled by a different factor. …still. I am old enough that I still order a 4×8” and not a 100x200mm, when I talk to the guys at the lumber yard. Length is always metric though. Also here are remains to be found from the old days, since standard lengths go in increments of 30cm/300mm – roughly a foot.
For international trade – metric is king, simply because it is the most spread… For the rest of us? Who gives a flying !#&%? It is a standard and a tool, regardless of which one you choose, it has worked for ages and still does today.
Funny… I’ve never heard the same fuss about the English language being the predominant world standard 😉
Ergo: Dimensions are not necessary
Exactly – proportions and relativity will do just fine.
I think that many times just one dimension is important. My rabbit wire was two feet wide so all the proportions of the rabbit hutch were predicated by that width…
To travlincarpntr’s point:
Often people conflate imperial units of measure with the ‘fractional’ method of subdivision. Fractions are the complaint. Ask a machinist if there is any practical benefit of ‘metric’ to their normal decimal inches. Now consider 2-11/16 ‘metric’ centimeters if such a thing were canonical.
To a machinist, one thou is a convenient unit of measure, whereas a .01mm is overly precise for many applications, and the equivalent .0245mm is more cumbersome.
That is the point exactly. Metric is 100% compatible with the decimal system as opposed to the imperial system. You would never use a 16th or anything else of that order in the metric system. Everything is /10, /100, /1000, /10000 and so forth. Of any unit. Whether km, m, dm, cm, mm, cubic meter, liters, tons or anything else. 1 liter is 1x1x1dm = 10x10x10cm = 1000ccm.
The machine tolerance in your mentioned spectrum is usually set to 0.02mm, although very precise would be 0.002mm. (2/1000s mm) Borderline light penetration between a flat object and a straight edge.
pressure is not force
But, but, but what will we argue about if all this is true?? 😉
You’ve packed a lot of wisdom in a few words. Thank you.
Good design can be art, but you are right that most of it is not inherently. This is a great list. Also, the paint on the storefront is fantastic. You are really living living your ideals, and that is a rare thing. Thanks for being a good example. Enjoy your turkey!
I feel like a “Disobey me” needs to follow up your name here.
Also, I’m going to lay this out and send you the PDF. Do what you will with it.
Thanks. Feel free to share it. I’ll put it up at the end of the entry for people to download if they like.
Making firewood happens
The cruel reality of the aardvark, those weird American relatives are no family. In fact all their family has moved away long ago.
Far be it from me to contradict the anarchist woodworking god, and posting from the deep south of Africa, but “aardvarks are anteaters” …
Indeed, Wikipedia says it eats ants. Also: “The aardvark is sometimes colloquially called “African ant bear”, “anteater” (not to be confused with the South American anteater), or the “Cape anteater” after the Cape of Good Hope.”
Hell, I eat ants from time to time.
The line relates to Orycteropus afer not being Myrmecophaga tridactyla.
But that’s not as catchy.
Don’t they (mostly) eat termites?
You are not special
You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake
You are not your f***ing khakis
Absolutely (but I didn’t want to steal from Tyler Durden).
True Words Of Wisdom !
I remember reading a well written review of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” not too long ago and having an aha moment like “Yes, I do want to get serious about woodworking and this is why.” I used to be in a punk rock band (we weren’t good) but I think the best punk rock thing I ever did was walk out of an Office Max and over to the hardware store to get some pine boards and build my own stinkin desk that wasn’t a particle board piece of crap with a CD rack and all kinds of other “value added” nonsense.
It’s not pretty, not flat, it’s screwed and not countersunk, it’s not a lot of things I wish it was. But it’s light, it’s sturdy, it works, and it’s the only piece of furniture I’ve ever kept for more than a few years. Now several years later I’m building things again and it’s all kind of crystalized in my mind thanks to writing like this from LAP. So I really appreciate the ideas you’re putting out there about woodworking.
I’m not so sure about the ardavark pont. I’ll have to ask my 8 year old. Wildcrats is very educational.
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