The latest issue of Quercus Magazine is an important one. In the March/April 2022 issue, Editor Nick Gibbs pays tribute to chairmaker John Brown. It’s a heartfelt, first-person account of his work and friendship with JB, and it fills in a lot of interesting details about their working relationship.
Most importantly, it is an unromantic account, much like Chris Williams’s outstanding book, “Good Work.” As JB’s life recedes into the past, I have watched a lot of mythology get built up around his name, his words and his work.
I never met John Brown, but the people whose stories I trust come from his family, his close friends and his working associates, such as Gibbs and Williams.
As Gibbs writes, JB was a complex character. Occasionally contradictory at times in words and deeds. So Gibbs’s account is very much worth reading. As a bonus, it is beautifully written and is accompanied by essays from Williams, myself and Kenneth Kortemeier.
I won’t spoil it for you. If you are interested, please do pick up a copy.
In addition to the John Brown tribute, the issue is filled with a lot of practical hand-tool information. Some of it quirky, some of it fun. One of the things I like about Quercus is the variety of points of view, both geographically and skill-wise. Oh, and Gibbs likes the written word, so the balance between images and words is my speed.
No, Gibbs didn’t pay me to write this. Nor did he ask. In fact, I’m a little salty with him right now because he is putting me on a future cover. As many of you know, I would rather do naked somersaults down the middle of Main Strasse in Covington with lit sparklers in my butt than have my face appear in print. But I don’t want to be all like “Stop. Don’t. Come Back.”
— Christopher Schwarz