The Last of the ‘Roman Workbenches’



We are down to 30-something copies of the letterpress version of “Roman Workbenches.” This book is currently in production and will ship sometime in April 2017.

Brian Stuparyk at Steam Whistle Letterpress and I are trying to create a book that is as perfect as the technology will allow, but no more. Using a sheet-fed proofing press, there are limits to how precisely you can get 16 pages to line up on both sides of a 19” x 25” sheet.

Brian is a maestro with his Vandercook press, so I know that the pages will be in near-perfect registration. But we’ve been negotiating with the bindery, which is accustomed to laser-line precision. That’s not what we’re after with this job.

As with anything handmade, there are small (very small) imperfections that accumulate to produce an object that is not technically perfect, but is aesthetically so. So a page might be 1/32” out of register. Another page might have its image tilted a fraction of a degree. These things are not visible to the eye. They can only be measured with precision tools. But they can be sensed.

Will we succeed? I have every faith in Brian. We’ve worked on a couple of very tricky jobs together (and many non-tricky ones). “Roman Workbenches” is going to be something to see.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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3 Responses to The Last of the ‘Roman Workbenches’

  1. jwatriss says:

    Wow… That sold (almost) out fast…

  2. alanbtx says:

    Chris – Two thoughts. I am told that when the Navajo weaved a blanket they included a purposeful mistake – so the soul could get in. And sometimes, the enemy of the good is the perfect.

  3. mje1066 says:

    When my friend Gary was working on an addition to my house, he told me that every Japanese temple had an intentional error in it, to avoid the sin of hubris. We are both fans of Japanese-inspired Craftsman design, so I accepted this. I learned the real meaning of this about once a week when I’d come home after work, and he’d say, “…we have another Japanese temple detail I have to discuss with you…”

    Incidentally, any idea when we might see the offset printed version of this book?

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