Coming Soon: ‘Welsh Stick Chairs’ by John Brown


A rare first edition of “Welsh Stick Chairs.” We’ve had to acquire three copies in order to find one suitable for our scanning project.

I am thrilled to announce that Lost Art Press is bringing the classic “Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown back into print with a high-quality North American edition.

I have read “Welsh Stick Chairs” more than 20 times, and it has had an incredible influence on my life.

John Brown introduced the world to the Welsh stick chair (in fact, he might have coined the term). And that style of chair set me on a path that eschews fancy furniture and embraces pieces that were made by the end users, most of whom were amateurs.

Further, John Brown was the first person to put the words “anarchism” and “woodworking” together in his columns in Good Woodworking magazine. This bold move gave me the courage to let my own anarchist flag fly in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”

I am not alone. Thousands of woodworkers all over the world discovered a different way to look at the craft through John Brown’s writings. Every time I encountered one of his die-hard fans, they would ask: Why haven’t you brought “Welsh Stick Chairs” back into print?

The answer was simple: We didn’t own the rights.

But thanks to John Brown’s heirs, particularly his son Matty Sears, we have obtained the rights to print “Welsh Stick Chairs” for the North American market. (A second publisher retains the rights in the U.K. and Europe.)

We will do this book justice.

We are resetting the entire book from scratch using the original fonts. This will make the text as crisp as possible. For the photos, we will scan original first edition books (the original photos have been lost) and use high-tech scanning tricks and a very advanced printing press to produce images that will look as good as the originals.

The new edition will look a lot like the first edition. The cover will be a heavy and rough paper. The interior pages will be heavy, smooth and coated. The only change we will make to the binding is that we will sew the signatures together for added durability.

We don’t have a price yet – we are shooting for less than $30. And we expect to release the book in June. Why so fast? I have been working on this book for quite some time. Only now can we talk about it publicly.

“Welsh Stick Chairs” will serve as an excellent companion to our forthcoming book on John Brown by Chris Williams. Their book, which should be out in 2019, will explore John Brown’s woodworking career and the path his chairs took after the publication of “Welsh Stick Chairs.”

It is my sincere hope that this pair of books will inspire future generations of woodworkers, and that the works of John Brown will never be forgotten.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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23 Responses to Coming Soon: ‘Welsh Stick Chairs’ by John Brown

  1. Derek Long says:

    I’ve been trying to find an affordable copy in decent condition for years. Thanks for reprinting this.

  2. therealdanh says:

    Great news! I’m looking forward to reading this important book. Thanks for putting this project together.

  3. erikhinkston says:

    Oh my gosh! Exciting news… I’ve had this search on eBay forever looking for a decent affordable copy. Also appreciated, the short wait. Fantastic! Thank you

  4. Richard Mahler says:

    As is so, so often in book collecting, if a book is out of print, no matter the edition or condition, anyone who has one for sale will ask twenty or more times the cost of the original sale price. That you will re-publish Welsh Stick Chairs is wonderful news since it will make possession affordable for those who want it for its original purpose, not as an investment, and to some degree shut down opportunism that is rampant in the book trade. I somewhat understand why you will put a paper cover on it like the original, but I am pleased that the signatures will be stitched; as a bookbinder who uses traditional methods of hand binding, I will redo the cover in acid-free boards and fine leather for a lifetime of future use.

  5. Jonathan Schneider says:

    I have high blood pressure for sure.
    Many times I have fought myself to not pay crazy money for an original copy.

    • Richard Mahler says:

      I have no problem with anyone making a little money, but it rankles when someone comes across a used book, perhaps pays little or even nothing for it, discovers it is out of print and decides to wait for the sucker with deep pockets! We see this on ebay all the time – and it pleases me no end that they rarely sell when the price is exorbitant. I have been known to pay a hefty sum for true antiques that I know to be rare and more than two hundred years old, but as a matter of principle I will not otherwise. In the world of collecting it does pay to know your books, know your price, and above all, wait patiently for a seller who is not criminally insane. To the patient person it will happen in time; and if you run out of time why will you care?

  6. St.John Starkie says:

    Does this stop you selling it in the U.K. and Europe?
    Or does it just stop you publishing it here?

  7. Chad Groenhout says:

    Preorder available?

  8. says:

    Chris, I have a 1990 edition, which has a John Brown signature dated 1990. It was printed in the UK. I do not know if this is “the real deal” but if you would like to give it a look you would be more than welcome.

  9. . houtslager says:

    Please put me down for this version , as I have all of John Browns articles when he wrote for WoodWorking UK , so will you ship to me in Europe, as of now I’m not sure which country I’ll be working in – UK, NL or in France. Karl W

  10. LAP:

    The above announcement is great news and a chance to acquire a durable LAP copy of Welsh Stick Chairs. While I am sure you have everything you need related to the Welsh Stick Chair project, if not, I would be very happy to donate the following if it might prove of any assistance toward your efforts.

    I have a 2009, like new copy of the Welsh Stick Chair book published by Stobart Davies and printed by Bell and Bain Ltd, Scotland. Both the quality of the printing and the photos appear very good.

    I am not a book collector and would rather have a durable LAP copy of this publication on my shelf.

    Kent Ryan


  11. craig regan says:

    Time to get the #54 tuned up

  12. Scott Nichols says:

    I will need a larger book shelf if you keep releasing these awesome books.

  13. CAW says:

    My birthday is in June. If this does indeed get released in that month, you will have made this year a good one, even though on paper it has already been one of the most difficult in my entire life.

    Looking forward to this. Thanks for printing and reprinting quality reference for woodworkers who care about these kinds of things.

  14. djmueller says:

    An elegantly simple cover, worthy of a cover
    letterpress imprint, in honor of John Brown.

  15. studioffm says:

    John Brown was an original, I have nothing but fond memories of him and his work

    david savage

  16. haurykjo says:

    If only you could accomplish this with Brawer’s “Elegance Under Canvas”. Exorbitant scalper-level pricing on that Campaign Furniture tome.

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