In the Works: The John Brown Book


My tattered folder of John Brown columns that I’ve carried with me since 1996.

I am pleased to announce that Lost Art Press will publish a book on the life and work of the late John Brown, the Welsh chairmaker who is a personal hero.

The book will be written by Chris Williams. Chris, a Welshman, apprenticed at age 16 as a carpenter and joiner and met John Brown in the early 1990s. He worked with Brown for many years making chairs until Brown retired from the craft.

As the plan for the book stands now, it will be divided into three parts. The first part will be a biography of Brown based on interviews with family, friends, fellow woodworkers and Chris’s personal experiences with Brown. The second part (we hope) will be some of Brown’s best columns from Good Woodworking magazine. We have yet to secure rights to republish these columns, but that is in the works. The third part of the book will be Chris demonstrating how Brown built his chairs.

While the fantastic book “Welsh Stick Chairs” also does this, Chris will explain how many details of the chairs had evolved since the publication of that important book.

We have secured the blessing of almost all of Brown’s children for this book, which was important to me personally.

The road ahead for this book is a long one because we want to give it our very best. In the meantime, we’ll share many of the details we encounter in our research here on the blog. If you don’t know much about John Brown’s work and you read this blog, we think you’ll enjoy the months ahead.

Next up: I’ll write a blog entry about how John Brown entered my life (which was through the written word; I never met him). Then Chris will tell the story of how he came to work with Brown.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to In the Works: The John Brown Book

  1. Superb! Look forward to it.

    Elliott Driscoll


  2. Awesome! I’ve been drawn down the stick chair path myself as of late so I’ll be eagerly awaiting this one.

  3. This makes me happy

  4. Tico Vogt says:

    Good work.

  5. I’d love it if you could weave the bio through the other sections and somehow connect the bio to the other work being described. I’ve read other books like that and it really invests you in both a lot more I think.

  6. nbreidinger says:

    Wow, one comment on your previous post and then this! Thanks!

  7. Hurrah! Thanks for honoring/saving another of the pantheon of greats.

  8. stjones911 says:

    Woohoo! LAP is the perfect publisher for this project. Can’t wait to see it.

  9. Julian Heath says:

    I came across his book whilst preparing to build my own chair. I was totally won over by the charm of it and was thrilled when i realised that the photographer for the book (who is mentioned in the introduction) is the father of a friend and i had met him several times. He’s quite a wonderful character himself and still owns the chair from the book, that he received in part payment. I’m hoping that i can meet up with him at some point to chat with him about the experience ( he is a great storyteller).

  10. Dennis Heyza says:

    This is fabulous news! The only downside is that you won’t be reprinting all the Anarchist Woodworker articles. An acquaintance in the UK was kind enough to send me copies, but high quality reprints would be so much nicer.

  11. Fantastic news. I’ve always wanted more of his writing after finally getting my hands on a copy of Welsh Stick Chairs. Can’t wait.

  12. This gives me hope for the china!

  13. otto0880 says:

    N.B. the excellent Kenneth Kortemeier who was John Brown’s first (and only) apprentice – he spent six months living with Brown in Wales – is teaching how to make a John Brown chair in August 2017 at the new Maine Coast Craft school.
    August 7-12 – John Brown style Welsh Windsor Chair making

  14. tsstahl says:

    Hmmm, never heard of him; book sells for two bits shy of $300 bux on Abebooks. I’m thinking I really missed out on a quality learning experience. Looks like I’ll have a boomerang chance. 🙂

  15. otto0880 says:

    use – it’s $18.92 in the 2009 edition

  16. jayedcoins says:

    This sounds like it’ll be a great read!

  17. rodtermaat says:

    Don’t forget about Drew Langsner. I know he had a few stories the time I was there including one of his chairs in the dining room. Hopefully, I will make the list for his last chair class next year. rod in Nebraska.

  18. Kevin Adams says:

    Chris, I remember years ago as we were corresponding about John Brown and chairs, you volunteered to send me copies of all of his articles from “Good Woodworking” magazine. Who does that for someone, I wonder? You did and I also treasure them. Thanks…looking forward to this book and the work you are doing in general…let’s drive those legs home!

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