Noted woodworker, teacher and author Robert Wearing (1921-2020) died peacefully on April 27 at age 99, according to his son, Dave Wearing.
Wearing was “interested in wood to the end,” Dave wrote in an email.
Wearing was the author of many important books on woodworking, including “The Resourceful Woodworker,” “Making Woodwork Aids & Devices” and “Hand Tools for Woodworkers.” Lost Art Press had the privilege of republishing Wearing’s “The Essential Woodworker” in 2010 and compiling a collection of his best hand-tool appliances for “The Solution at Hand” (2019).
Wearing’s career as a craftsman began after his service during World War II. He was formally trained at Loughborough College (now University) in Leicestershire, England. After graduating, he went on to teach for 50 more years and write countless articles on woodwork and several well-received books.
During our relationship with the Wearing family, we have published two short biographies you might like to read. One, from 2011, was written by Wearing. The other, from 2017, was written by Kara Gebhart Uhl.
“The Essential Woodworker,” originally released in 1988, was the third book Lost Art Press published. It was also our introduction to the rough-and-tumble world of book publishing. After Wearing readily agreed to have us republish the book, it was up to us to get the original materials back from a former publisher.
They were uncooperative, despite the fact that they didn’t own the rights. After a scuffle, they admitted they had lost all the original materials, including the drawings and photos. (This, we have found, is a common problem – or perhaps a tactic – employed by corporate publishers.)
So we recreated the book from scratch with the guidance and support of Wearing and his son David. We reset all the text and restaged all the photos to produce our edition.
“The Essential Woodworker” has always been a strong seller. As I write this, its seventh press run is at our Michigan plant. The only book that has sold better for us is “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”
John and I owe a huge debt to Wearing and his son Dave. They supported and encouraged us at every turn. They took a leap of faith in 2010 when they signed on with a tiny publisher that no one had heard of. Without a doubt, we owe a lot of our early success to “The Essential Woodworker,” which is still a strong seller – a testament to its excellence as a clear and concise path to enter handwork.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. We hope to continue our relationship with the Wearing estate for as long as it is willing for us to remain the publisher. It is entirely too soon for us to enter into negotiations, but we don’t expect to run out of stock on any of his titles in the near future.