The Beard is Not Enough


So this week I sat down with my image consultant and he had some harsh words for me: “You need a ‘thing’ to set you apart from other woodworking bloggers, podcasters and television personalities.”

I asked: “A thing?”

“Yeah. Charles Brock has that patchwork hat. Roy Underhill has his hat and suspenders. Scott Phillips has his similar hat and suspenders. Norm Abram – tool belt. David Mark has tattoos. Tommy Mac has his muscle shirts., and….”

I say: “I have a beard.”

“Sorry,” he said. “Unless your beard is equal to or greater than Peter Follansbee’s, then it’s just hardscrabble. Plus, he has cornered the market on the tie-dye T-shirt and shorts thing. So don’t even bring those up”

“Ugh,” I said. “What do you recommend?”

“You could wear a cape,” he suggested. “Maybe array tools on the interior?”

I countered. “What if it gets caught in the jointer or the table saw? That could be dangerous.” I paused. “Look, I don’t like to have my face appear on the blog or on video, what about a mask? Like a luchador?”


The consultant had a good point: “In this day and age, dressing like a Mexican wrestler will get you excoriated by the liberals or deported by the conservatives.”

We locked eyes.

“Fancy wristwatches?”

“Mario Rodriguez.”

“Unusual fingernails?”

“David Charlesworth”

“A vicious temper?”

“I’m not touching that.”

“Large mammaries?”

“Look, I already said I’m not touching those.”

“Copious body hair?”

“Hmmm. How much body hair do you have?” the consultant asked. “Do you have to shave your back?”

“No. I pluck three hairs from my right shoulder,” I said. “Two from my left.”

“A huge afro?”

“Bob Ross.”

“Bob Ross is dead!”

“But Bob Ross’s afro is so awesome it has been retired.”

And that’s where my time was up with the image consultant. His recommendation: Mount a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to perform a statistically significant survey of what my gimmick should be.

Maybe a huge rodeo belt with a pterodactyl holding a carving gouge….

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in Satire, Uncategorized, Yellow Pine Journalism. Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to The Beard is Not Enough

  1. adamwelker says:

    A giant belt buckle with a built in tallow dispenser.

    All you man!


  2. How about a snaggle toothed shop assistant (maybe also and eyepatch) who scurries around your feet with a bench brush and dust pan?


  3. walkerg says:

    Whatever you decide on it should include glitter.


  4. Travis Lee says:

    I say, look to the the Bandito for your image! Mustachio + Sombrero, and maybe a sleeveless T-shirt.


  5. steverennells says:

    Dude… you have an image consultant? I think that alone sets you apart from the others on the list.


  6. sandflea says:

    Tattoo on your forearm of the compass from the Lost Art Press logo.


  7. Dan says:

    How about a Roubo wig?


  8. fitz says:

    You already have two things: rubbing your nipples and “absolutely.” You’re set.


  9. kendewitt608 says:

    You have way too much time time on your hands to post this


    • steverennells says:

      Nah, he’s probably at that whiskey bar…


      • colsdave says:

        Show me the way
        To the next whisky bar
        Oh, don’t ask why
        Oh, don’t ask why

        For if we don’t find
        The next whisky bar
        I tell you we must die


  10. boclocks says:

    I am an image consultant. My advice, as the genie said, “beeee yourself”!

    Oh, you already do that. You’re fine, no problem.

    Just in time to have a beer!


  11. Don’t you you already have a bottle opener belt buckle that apparently other men are not welcome to use without *cough* permission?


  12. In case you ever need a copyeditor. Statically should be statisically.


  13. pathdoc70 says:

    How about eyeglasses with rhinestones around the rims. Nope. Alternative Medicine guru Depak Chopra,M.D. has those. Really Chris, you are already one of a kind and very recognizable to woodworkers of all types. You do not need any devices. Seriously.

    Mike O’Brien


    • bsrlee says:

      Eyeglasses with rhinestones is Dame Edna Everidge aka comedian Barry Humphries, since the 1970’s. Look it up if you dare.

      I think the hair flick and the furtive nose pick are (TM) Schwarz video mannerisms.


  14. An arcane publishing company, welded to your ass? Nobody’s got that.


  15. tpier says:

    Your signature is your stare towards the ceiling when talking to people


  16. Having a woodworking schtick just sounds weird. I don’t know about this consultant of yours…

    IG: @thekiltedwoodworker
    Twitter: builtinakilt


  17. I have explained time and time again, and even offered to let you have this gimmick free of cost, but since you’re reaching out to an image consultant, I’m going to have to charge you if you use it. Your schtick could be….

    … Getting progressively more drunk on quality liquor during the span of a book or video.

    Tell your people to get in touch with my people.


  18. David Misita says:

    Apart from your VERY distinctive voice and cadence, your signature is being the Anarchist. I think that persona alone sets you apart. Of course, you could always get the symbol tattooed on your forearm, or face (ala Mike Tyson).

    You could also take up a habit of wearing funny t-shirts with quirky woodworking slogans: Don’t hide from hide glue . . . etc.


  19. So the large mammaries ship has sailed?


  20. Jeff Hanna says:

    Two words Chris: man bun.


  21. volzwgn says:

    Perusing the internet for images of Christopher Schwarz; a significant number show you in an Oxford collar dress shirt, mostly blue but some white. This is already YOU, it just needs to be reinforced by repetition. Sleeves rolled up or buttoned… your option. Satire or no satire it’s still YOUR image…


  22. cricklebee says:

    DUDE… a kilt

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  23. ctdahle says:

    I’d recommend LC King “Pointer Brand” dungarees, Redwing boots, French blue oxford dress shirts with button down collars not quite properly ironed, and, to keep them guessing, a different color of socks each day.


  24. brijasher42 says:

    Given your Le Laboreur jacket is “so comfortable that it has become my new bathrobe. I wear it while editing, cooking, reading, whatever.”, I would say that is your ‘thing’.


  25. jpassacantando says:

    This may be your best blogpost ever. Laughter pushing out tears. And then the comments… the guy who corrects you on the spelling of “statistically” and then misspelled it, Fitz… as always, and, also, it’s official, tell your girls they can never call you uncool. Why? Because you used the mask from Mr. Robot in a blogpost!


  26. Jermwood says:

    I agree with David Misita. You’re the Anarchist. The punk rocker of the woodworking world. You don’t need to be concerned with image. You’re too punk rock for that.


  27. seanhynes says:

    That’s two good belly laugh’s you’ve gotten out of me today, thank you!
    (This was the first, the second was your disco moves at the end of the ‘No Fear Chairmaking’ video which I finished watching today).


  28. admiralbumblebee says:



  29. How about an eye patch or monacile? You could switch it from sides from time to time and see f anyone notices.


  30. toolnut says:

    A puffy shirt.


  31. Thick round solid gold pirates earring in octagonal cross section! Goes great with the beard, and should be sufficient to cover distant future funeral expenses.


  32. Bill Shortis says:

    What about something more Gandalf like – maybe a staff! And a catch phrase, maybe – “Fly you tools”.


  33. charlie says:

    You fotgot the Tom Fidgen blue and white in your list.


  34. Maybe your thing should be wearing lifts, that way EVERYONE will see you.


  35. Starius says:

    I think your gimmick should be anti-gimmick. It’s so meta. You could craft a large wooden mallet or hammer, give it a catchy name like “Sledge-O-Gimmick” and go around smashing all gimmicks in sight.
    Wait a sec…. maybe Gallagher already did this. (And I think his brother even stole that gimmick from him.)

    Oh well, back to the drawing board.


  36. You have your baritone voice, its enough. –


  37. mcdara says:

    To quote a movie (typical), “How do you measure yourself against other golfers (wood guys).
    Answer: By Height”


  38. shopsweeper says:

    I have a teenage daughter so I don’t need an “Image Consultant”.

    Your new look:
    No shirt at all. Shirts are just one more decision to make – its a trap, don’t fall in.
    A brown apron. Suede if possible. Bonus points for Kudu.
    And $300 Japanese selvedge denim jeans. Roll ONE leg up into a cuff. Let the other one break down.
    Hair: use a dab of A. Daughter Soft Wax to mold up an Alfalfa coiffure; parted in the middle (but no cowlick – that was far too provocative).
    Shoes: replace those somewhat disreputable old black shoes with some British Tricker’s (Roberts in black with the double sole would work for you). Tricker’s Outlet has seconds for $260 USD (best value in new shoes in the world, possibly).
    Bonus points for a “R.I.P. Rainy” henna tattoo on your right shoulder.


  39. nbreidinger says:

    Face tattoo.


  40. mbholden says:

    You already have a gimmick, you’re that “Divider Guy”


    • tsstahl says:

      After years of asking ‘how much for the dividers?” at flea markets and getting blank stares, I gave up and call them ‘compasses’.

      Last year at one of my frequent haunts, I asked “how much for the compass?”, the guy tartly replied “those are dividers”. I distinctly remember hearing a rim shot. Anyway, that person is now forever ‘the divider guy’ when I see him at the flea market. Thanks for the memory trip.


  41. Dumont69 says:

    Hard to beat a cassock for a gimmick……


  42. paul6000000 says:

    Parrot (or small monkey).


  43. seanhynes says:

    Embrace Roman woodworking, toga and sandals!


  44. kaisaerpren says:

    your “image consultant” needs to retire, you already have a gimmick and a distinctive face. and Enda says “NO Capes!”
    be well


  45. kohalabeeman says:

    Try having honeybees give you your ‘Wax’ for finishing all your projects with ?? That would Bee a sweet deal , fresh bee’s wax on a fresh project ! Not to mention all the joy you wood bring your watchers from your getting stung ! And honey for all the coffee drank in the work shop ,too.


  46. Chris, your image to me is not some guy with a beard or glasses – but a guy that loves classical woodworking, and helps spread that love for all to experience. Who says f**k the norm of publishing: cheap bindings, cheap paper, harsh deadlines for contributors, and topics that are selected merely based on increased revenue streams. The guy that sweated it out hand-planing some thick cherry for the perfect roubo bench. Your image will forever be as the man that spawned renewed interest in classical woodworking!

    As a millennial (as much as I don’t like the term) I can say that we love to question the status quo. Why do we do what we do – and specifically when it comes to woodworking. Is it merely to enjoy the end product, or can we perhaps enjoy the experience as well as the end product of our labors. Sure I can break out the plunge router and crank out a mortise, but there’s something about grabbing the marking knife, chisel and mallet that is tranquil. Through your labors with LAP books like the Woodworker Series, and Essential Woodworker has transformed my life to enjoy the process in everything I do now. Thanks.


  47. skilledno says:

    How about a 38″ high workbench?…..


  48. mje1066 says:

    I suggest you look to the Koteka worn by the men of certain New Guinea tribes. I guarantee it’ll set you apart from other woodworkers. But you might have to modify your workbench.


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