28 Months Later


There is a point with every new house when it finally feels like home. Today is that day at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky.

Thanks to the help of countless friends, our storefront is officially a nice place to work. The clamps hang on the walls (thanks Brendan). The garage out back holds our few machines (thanks 347 people who helped with this project). And we have a coffee maker (thanks Nespresso).

On Saturday morning, we are launching the first woodworking class here at our storefront. We are vehemently not a school – we don’t have a name for it or a formal organization. This is just one of the many small things that we hope to do to give back to the woodworking community and Covington.

Interestingly, the tipping point that made the storefront feel like home had nothing to do with restoring the building, adding electrical service or draining my savings for two new roofs. Instead, it was the arrival of Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan Gaffney as everyday co-workers.

In general, group shops can be tricky. There’s always a turd or 10 who ruin it for everyone else. Someone who clogs the dust collector and walks away. Someone who tilts the table saw blade 2° and walks away. Someone who dulls all your chisels. Or puts a cold drink on your finished project parts. Or…. I could go on.

I’ve been working with Megan for about 20 years. She’s a slob, but a thoughtful, empathetic rule-following slob. And so she is easy to work with in the shop. I’ve only been working with Brendan for about six months, and he’s an energetic woodworker who is – like Megan – simply a totally decent person.

Each of us has different way of making a living. I publish books and make furniture and tools. Megan is doing a lot of editing (for me and others), teaching and furniture making. Brendan is making furniture, tools and is working for Lost Art Press, helping with maps and technical illustrations.

In six months, this could all be different, but that’s OK. What I can say is that there will definitely be woodworking going on here, much to the bemusement of the 9th Street streetwalkers and the delight of the elementary kids who watch us everyday after school.

We’re also glad that our readers are part of this, whether they take a class, visit us on our open days (the second Saturday of every month) or commission a piece of furniture. Though furniture making is usually a solitary pursuit these days, it doesn’t have to be.

You just need the right people.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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37 Responses to 28 Months Later

  1. nrhiller says:

    “I’ve been working with Megan for about 20 years. She’s a slob, but a thoughtful, empathetic rule-following slob.” No wonder I like her so much!

  2. Niels Cosman says:

    I was expecting rage-zombies in Covington based on the headline (click-bait-fake-news), very disappointing. Also congratulations!

  3. johncashman73 says:

    9th Street Streetwalkers doesn’t flow off the tongue. It’s the redundancy. Please think of a more mellifluous name, and them come up with a sticker and patch to help with marketing.

  4. keith says:

    Chris, you are definitely “living your dream.” Congratulations on all that you do.

  5. Scott Albert says:

    Well done. How wonderful to find yourself exactly where you are, inspiring for sure.

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  7. mysticcarver says:

    Living your dream for sure! And I love living it vicariously through your ave everyone else’s posts about your little slice of heaven up there in Covington! I was up there once for a WIA and met both yourself and Meghan and I truly hope to be able to go up there again sometime soon.

  8. obewank says:

    Good luck….all the best………….in spite of all the less than perfect interactions with former students you have experienced- like me, who only coveted your stupid hammer, you have far too much to offer to not teach-at least once or twice a year…..do it for free or do it for a large profit, but do it……………we, little woodworkers, out here in no mans land, need teachers like you………..dale

    • Ha. Dale it wasn’t you. Promise.

      I just needed a good long break.

      I’m a good assistant instructor and will be fetching coffee and the like for students at the classes.

  9. I can’t tell you how excited I am about all of this (including the mechanical library). Good vibes abound.

  10. You have a lot to be thankful for….I am very happy for you.

  11. rons54 says:

    I certainly hope that despite not being a school, that there will be many more classes offered by Megan, yourself, and guest instructors. I wanted to be in the Dutch tool chest class but the timing was just impossible. Looking forward to the March open Saturday at least.

  12. I’d happily make the trip to Covington to take a week-long class…

    Oh, crap. Sorry, I’m supposed to mention this after this weekend, not before. Dammit. Forget I said anything…

  13. The image of onlooking schoolchildren is particularly awesome. Generational stories in the making.

  14. mcqacp says:

    Ok sorry to hijack the storyline here but what is the glass door saw dust bin above the clamps? Am I seeing that right? Why?

  15. Tom says:

    Turd is one of my favorite words.

  16. Someone needs to mail this man a Chemex!

  17. Simon miller says:

    After the ATC and ADB, and Crucible and the work coat, all signs of an appreciation of the best quality I might have expected a La Pavoni coffee machine rather than a Nespresso. Ok they’re pricey but they make fabulous coffee. I bought mine used and refurbed it. It’s stunningly beautiful compared to a Nespresso, you are not limited to particular coffee, not much to go wrong.,judging by the lump hammer, holdfast and especially the dividers,mid Crucible made a coffee machine it would be a La Pavoni.

  18. Home is where the heart is. And home is where the shop is…

  19. Goerge says:

    Reading this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Much like a very happy Christmas feeling.
    So very happy for you all!

  20. Mike Siemsen says:

    Welcome home! When will you actually occupy the apartments and truly be home?

  21. chucknickerson says:

    You. Have. Earned. It.

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