Download a Free Excerpt of ‘The Intelligent Hand’


The Intelligent Hand” is entering the final stages of print production at the plant in Tennessee and we are on track to ship the book in mid-October.

Until the book ships, we are offering all customers who purchase the book a free pdf download of the entire book at checkout. The pdf is hi-resolution and searchable. Even if you don’t enjoy reading books on a screen (and I do not), the pdf is handy for taking along on a trip or for searching.

IH_dustjacket_FINALAlso, like all our digital products, we offer it without DRM (digital rights management). So you can easily integrate it into your personal library without passwords or having to be connected to the internet when you read it.

As of now, the hardcover book and pdf cost $50. When the book ships, the price for the book plus the pdf will be $62.50.

For those who might be unsure if this book is their cup of tea/coffee/Red Bull, we offer this hi-resolution excerpt of the first section of the book. It’s short, but will give you a good taste of what this book is about. It is, by the way, a massive book – 302 pages – and a visual treat of photos, line drawings, watercolors and historical images. Click the link below, and the download will begin:


Because of my deep personal interest in this book, I was the art director and page designer for this title. As David poured his heart into the text, I went all out with the images and page design to create something I am (and I rarely say this) particularly happy with.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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23 Responses to Download a Free Excerpt of ‘The Intelligent Hand’

  1. Andrew Brant says:

    Great job with the book design. It’s noticeably awsome


  2. David Nordrum says:

    …you had me at “he drives a Morgan to work”


  3. jpassacantando says:

    I’ve written about The Intelligent Hand before and feel compelled to do so again. Of the books that have most inspired and fueled my woodworking, two capture the spirit of “why” and these are The Soul of a Tree and A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook. Two more capture both the spirit and the how to: Anarchist’s Tool Chest and Anarchist’s Design Book. If my house was on fire and I had to run out with time to grab just one book it would be Anarchist’s Design Book, although the challenge is that it is the only book that is in my shop covered in wood shavings and tools.

    Having just finished reading the electronic version of The Intelligent Hand, I have to say that this one is a close second. The author, David Savage, comes across as an irreverent and fierce teacher, pedantic even, as all the best ones are. The book is part memoir, part how to, part beginners’ classic design course and part coffee table art book. The pictures of Savage’s sketches and watercolors of his designs are so beautiful as to be distracting to the reader. You find yourself staring at the curves like a boy who just saw his first picture of a naked woman.

    What is suspicious to me is the steady and heavy run of amazing books coming out of Lost Art Press: Roman workbenches, Hayward, Hiller, Moxon, Estonian woodworking, Hand and Eye… the list is amazing. Nothing can be that good. So Covington, Kentucky has my nomination for the new Area 51. Yes, I think aliens may be publishing these books.

    And for you crabby people out there, who may, like me, share roots from NJ and you just can’t stand a review that is entirely positive, let me say this. It’s not all perfect at Lost Art Press. The hats suck. Mine shrunk and makes me look like I am missing the front part of my skull. I love trucker hats and these are the opposite. So don’t get the hat. But if you want to feel that childlike wonderment again, get The Intelligent Hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Justin says:

    I am sure this will get deleted but I have to try. I absolutely love everything that Lost Art Press does, it’s business model and the way that it communicates with it’s audience – but I have to be honest…..Most non-professional woodworkers, that is to say a large portion of the LAP audience are really not interested in the political leanings of LAP or the authors they work with. It’s no secret that Chris leans liberal and that is totally fine; but why alienate those of us who have conservative leanings by making things political at every opportunity??

    I doubt a single person in the LAP audience cared one way or the other about Jennie Alexanders sexuality (though we very much cared about the woodworker) but somehow we kept hearing about it. In order to have a chance to win a first printing of the Anarchist Design book (something I would have liked to try) it required that we donate to support the ideals of a policy that many of us don’t agree with (illegal immigration). Now I open the excerpt from this new book and before I can even get past the forward I have to hear that the author was a socialist?? (failed socialist actually, no surprise there) and then hear that he would have rather had the book filled with the work of an African student because it would have [basically] upset the mostly white male audience?? Not because it was the best but because it would have been upsetting to the status quo?

    If he was interested in upsetting his white male audience he succeeded because I for one, am upset.

    Other than that I love LAP and hope that perhaps one day things get a little less political.


    • HI Justin,

      Thanks for your message. We are not averse to criticism. In fact, we become better because of it. I rarely respond to messages such as this, and I probably will regret it. But you seem like a reasonable person….

      1. Jennie Alexander. I wrote one post defending her life choices against a torrent of hate mail I’d received. Whether you agree with her choice or don’t, I think tolerance and acceptance is the least one can offer a woodworking icon who made some unusual life choices.

      2. We are liberal? This always throws me for a loop. Our authors cover the spectrum. Mary May quotes scripture in “Carving the Acanthus” and dedicates the book to God. Joshua Klein spends an entire book ruminating on the life of an early pastor and how that spiritual connection has changed his view on life. Don Williams is Don Williams (read his blog). Other authors are less overt but are obviously lefties or righties. Hell, I would never call myself a liberal. I dislike big government, big churches, big corporations. That ain’t classic liberalism.

      3. The book auction. Yeah, I got some complaints because I auctioned a personal book to help immigrant children. No one complained when I made workbenches for disabled veterans. I think compassion should go in all directions.

      4. David Savage and socialism. Bottom line: We let our authors be themselves. They can quote scripture. They can discuss socialism. As long as it relates to woodworking and is thought-provoking, we’re going to be OK with it.

      I hope this helps explain our approach a bit. We love woodworking. Woodworkers come in all stripes (usually interlocking in a plaid-like arrangement). I don’t care who you voted for. I don’t care if you like this president or the last one. Those things are dim blips on my personal radar. I care about the craft and preserving it. If a writer’s personal views slip into their writing – right, left or weird – I simply let them be themselves. Check out our entire catalog (YES! IT’S A SALES PITCH) and I hope you’ll see this.

      All best,



  5. Daniel Roy says:

    If it’s not too late: Foreward, Roman numeral page VII, right hand column, add a space between two words ‘Davidand’.


  6. Clifford Logan says:

    This book needs to come with a warning label. Funny thing about books, really great books, they have that effect on a person that is hard to convey, but one knows it when you read it. The kind of book which screws up your plans and sense of time for the afternoon or day. A book which, upon opening seem as an old friend you haven’t seen for a while stops by and one has to put a pot of water on for Tea and all the good intentions of getting something done for now just slips by.
    I read the free download of The Intelligent Hand and I was there, listening to my old friend talk about life and working with your hands and a life well lived. As soon as the pages stopped, I ordered a copy. Hopefully, on the day it arrives I will make a cup of Tea, sit down and listen to my old friend finish his story. Damn the To do list.


  7. Daniel Roy says:

    Page 22, middle of page delete ‘was’, ‘ What Ford was did was to create a system of activities.


    • Daniel Roy says:

      Page 20: Right had column, middle of page, change ‘bought’ to ‘brought’. ‘I bought in (usually kiln-dried) material’. Also, two sentences further on, change ‘kiln-dries’ to kiln-dried.


  8. Jeremy Broun says:

    Apart from a cringeing opening line in the forward that suggests that books for beginners are boring (which implies a kind of exclusive superiority and divisiveness from the start), I see one of the chapter headings is called ‘Alan Peters – the miserable mentor’. I’m sorry to say that much though I admire a few examples of David’s work over the years and have chosen them for their merit in my own publications and films, it is not uncommon knowledge in England that David spent a very short period with the late Alan Peters, who was a good professional friend of mine and the impression I got from Alan Peters was that David Savage did not come to learn from him! So the use of the word ‘mentor’ is somewhat disengenious. The title is cheap click-bait. Alan was far more generous and modest and I and many others learned from him many years before Mr Savage appeared and would say he was far from being a miserable mentor. I feel this choice of chapter title alone is disrespectful and misleading about one of Britain’s greatest furniture makers who is sadly no longer with us.


    • Did you read the chapter? It explains the history between David Savage and Alan Peters in detail.

      And I didn’t say books for beginners were boring. Hell, I write books for beginners. Here’s what I wrote:

      “Ninety-five percent of the woodworking books out there deal with 5 percent of the things that happen in a workshop. Woodworking books – even great ones – are biased toward providing information for beginners.

      “This makes good business sense because there will always be more white belts than black belts. But it also creates a body of literature that is boring for anyone who already knows how to cut a dovetail, sharpen a handplane or use a router.
      Plus, it is my belief that the dearth of advanced and challenging reading material prevents many of us from progressing past the well-documented basics. There simply isn’t a beaten path between learning to flatten a board and becoming Sam Maloof.”

      I can’t find the word “boring” in there –- or even the insinuation.


      • Jeremy Broun says:

        You used the word boring in the context I refer to: quote from your foreward: ‘there will always be more white belts than black belts. But it also creates a body of literature that is boring for anyone who already knows how to cut a dovetail, sharpen a handplane or use a router’.
        What is worrying also that you miss my point completely about the impact of a title when you ask whether I read the chapter! You use the word intelligent but it is spely inelligent on the PDF URL.


  9. Jeremy Broun says:

    I’m sure your book will be a good read for many and looks interesting from my quick browse, but I do suggest you amend the title ‘Alan Peters – the miserable mentor’ if the book is still being edited. Its disrespectful to the late Alan Peters OBE and a malignment of his character to ignorant people. Alan should be remembered for the positives and huge inspiration he gave to woodworkers worldwide, not to mention tireless effort. He suffered diabetes and had to deal with a workshop fire. For what my opinion is worth I think it demeans you and David Savage to sum up such a vastly more generous man in such a short negative term. David did not spend long enough with Alan Peters to know the man. I am one of the judges of annual Alan Peters Award For Excellence in England which is a major British award and I knew Alan since 1976 and I speak out because Alan deserves to be portrayed in a better light. I think many people here would agree with me and perhaps be less bold to say it. It is irrelevant that I have not read the chapter (obviously I don’t possess the book) but through your online advertizing many people will read just the title in the list of contents and its just plain and simple poor form that a book that alludes to be about high standards and way above the average woodworker!


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