I’m not getting any prettier, so I might as well do this now before I start having to wear a paper bag over my head. This month and next, we are shooting a long-form video that explains how I build a stick chair using American woods with a variety hand and machine processes.
I’m a book learner. I learn how to do things by reading, thinking and then practicing. But I know there are a lot of readers who might see “The Stick Chair Book” as intimidating. Especially if they learn best by watching video or live demonstrations.
And that’s why we are making this video. We are doing the production all in-house – the shooting, audio and editing. As a result, we are able to do things I would never have dreamed of with a hired video crew. The first chapter of the video documented our trip to the lumberyard and shows exactly how I pick the lumber.
To make sure we get all the visual details right, I am building four stick chairs for the video (two in oak and two in walnut). And there are chapters on history, inspiration for your own chair designs and (of course) some goofy stuff because I am a cornball.
We are also editing the video as we shoot. Shoot, edit, shoot, edit. So we can correct mistakes as we go. As a result, I hope we’ll have this video ready for sale in mid-August. As always, the video will be offered as streaming or download with no silly DRM (digital rights management).
In addition to the video, buyers will also get a drawing of the full-size patterns for this chair (a design which is not in “The Stick Chair Book.”)
We are also going to experiment with an introductory price for the first 30 days to see how that goes.
For those of you who love books, don’t worry. We are not about to become Lost Art VHS. Books are our passion. But now that we have the technology to execute video and audio to my satisfaction, it’s silly to not take advantage of that for a few special projects.
OK, back to the bench. These four chairs aren’t going to build themselves.
— Christopher Schwarz
33 thoughts on “Coming Soon: Build a Stick Chair Video”
Wonderful! Sign me up. Another great idea from Lost Art Press!
Please don’t end it like the Mike Siemsen video 🙂
There is zero chance of that!
I’ve read the books, practiced on one chair which looks like a fawn taking its first step. I do like the addition of visuals. Can’t wait as the timing will be perfect for my next attempt.
Chris, can you talk a bit about the vise(?) at the end of the bench?
I think it’s a benchcrafted hi-vise (https://www.benchcrafted.com/hivise).
That is a Benchcrafted HiVise. Also traditionally called an etaux.
Thank you Chris, I will look forward to purchasing the video. With respect, I do have one request from those of us who wear hearing aids and have hearing discrimination issues with multiple simultaneous sounds. My request for all of us hearing impaired folks is to not have any competing background music during the audio ( dialogue) portions of the videos, so that we can hear your instructions clearly. That would be most helpful and very much appreciated.
We are trying to balance competing needs. As of now there will be some background music, but it will be much lower in volume than it has been in previous videos. And the video should have subtitles.
If it is intolerable, I’m certain we can release two versions. One with background music and one without.
A brief comment from yet another chap who’s hard of hearing to the point of having had to wear hearing aids for the last four years: background music can be just fine.
To expand on that a bit, what in my experience is important, beyond the basics of making sure that the speaker voice is always well and truly on top of any concurrent background noise or background music, is that when there is no speaker voice, the music can be turned up a bit, but not too much; if it goes up to the point that one feels the general volume has been raised, the reaction tends to be to turn down the volume, and then when the speaker comes back on, the volume will be too low, words will be missed, and the viewer’s temper frayed.
Another important aspect of any sound editing is to not just do it with the help of good speakers or headphones, but also to verify the results through some pretty low-grade speakers; if it works on the built-ins of a ratty laptop or on a cheap transistor radio (or the equivalent thereof), it’ll be fine also through that $500 pair of noise-cancelling headphones! And if possible, get someone well into their middle age to pass final judgment. Nowt wrong with the young’uns, but their hearing’s too darn good.
If it’s well done, I like background music very much (not least your usual choice thereof – more banjo to the people!), and think it enhances things a lot, but in my opinion it should never try to become the star of the show or steal the scene. In brief, the key concept is background.
My wife would say the same thing, Michael. And, I have other woodworking friends who would agree. Background music or other chatter means they can’t hear what is being said by the presenter.
Looking forward to the video. I’ve built two stools and two Irish chairs from the book and now that I have a second laser I hope to be able to get the legs right on my next attempt! I did tapered tenons on the chairs and although the mortises started straight they did not end up that way!
I’m absolutely going to buy this. The instructions and photos in The Stick Chair Book are great, but seeing someone actually performing the actions works a whole lot better for me than trying to picture it in my head. I’m not very good at making still pictures in my head. Mental video is that much harder. Watching the wood selection process will be worth the price of admission all on its own. That part intimidates me as much as any assembly step.
Besides, Chris and Megan are the best comedy duo since Laurel and Hardy.
I will be first in line to buy. This format will suit certain people incredibly well. Can’t wait.
I am looking forward to this! I’ve read the stick chair book cover to cover but there is a lot of information to take in. Being able to watch a video for some of the more complex tasks will definitely help things click. Thanks for doing this!!!
I confess. I picked up a lot of things from the daily videos of your recent chair class. I watched a few several times. I think a start-to-finish video is a great idea.
How will this be different from your old video No Fear Chairmaking that I bought and followed to make my first chair?
This is a far more involved chair with an undercarriage, a glued-up armbow and saddling. The only technique used in both videos is drilling the mortises for the legs.
I, for one, am looking forward to this video. I see this as an amazing opportunity. Thanks, Chris.
Yay! I do build things from books, but I find I make less mistakes when I can see a technique done on video especially something that seems as challenging as a chair. I will buying this along with the book. Thanks and keep up the great work!
A little off topic, but I’m hoping one of your editions of the stick chair journal will be on a settee, or double-seated chair, as John Brown called his.
I am impressed when someone can simply read a woodworking book or how to that they have never made before and understand it all. Videos, or seeing it in person, helps me then understand the book, or the instructions. Glad you are doing this
I, too, am primarily a book learner – what you say: read, think, and practice really sums it up for me. For example I got so much more out of reading (and mulling over) the AWB than I did watching your Roubo Workbench: By Hand & Power video. Not because the latter wasn’t informative (it sure was that, and in spades) or enjoyable (I took great pleasure in watching it) but because the former was just that much better a fit with how my mind seems to work.
That said, though, and as I think I mentioned in a comment to one of the recent chair class videos, when you, as it were, get to see the illustrations to the book start moving, because they are the same tools, at the same bench, in the same room – and in this case even wielded by the same guy – going through as near as the exact same processes as makes no difference … well, then yer talking! That’s a cake of which I’d like a slice.
In other words, and same as everyone else who has already commented: I’m looking forward to this. A lot!
Hey, re the very first sentence – you’re just getting more distinguished! And, as you’ve gained experience, you have moved into a fabulous blend of teaching/sharing and hopefully earning a satisfying living. I think the video is a great idea and will complement the book(s) just fine.
LAP, I really like the part about picking out lumber. I go into a lumber yard, big box star, what ever and I start to sweat and can not talk. Ralph
Cornball?? You seemed like a normal goofy goy to me when we shared a bench in Portland, Or.
Each time I pick up The Stick Chair Book I am so pleased with what you’ve done in the book – thoughtful, thorough, inspiring and written as true to yourself. (Same is true for the Anarchist’s Design Book and many others you’ve written.) Makes learning about stick chairs addictive, with added catalysts like impeccable design, layout, photos and choice of words.
I know I’ll probably not make it to a class in Covington, living in Montréal and working in the far far north (think beyond the trees), and I am jealously aware that I’m missing out on something good. Now having a video to refer to will help diminish my envy! And then there’s the Stick Chair Journal to look forward to as well…
Also, a big thank you to others who have commented here, mentioning other resources that I wasn’t aware of.
Looking forward to it!
Your recent stick chair class videos were great teasers. I fly long and too frequently so I appreciate the flexibility to download onto my laptop. Books and videos, these amateur hands need all the help they can get! Thanks!
I laughed at Lost Art VHS. You guys are all kinds of on fire right now and it is a sight to behold. Keep ‘em coming Lost Art Press. You are doing good work. John Brown would be proud I think.
Bought and read the book on John Brown. Check. Bought a Scorp. Check. Sharpened my drawknife. Check. Made a shaving horse. Check. Drilled the holes through the wrong side. Check. Now the seat bottom is the seat top. Thankfully this was a rocker for my 1 year old grand daughter. But it’s the first chair I’ve ever made and the precursor to my foray into making a stick chair. Now, I’m Waiting for the video before I do anything else.
A complete side track. By high school, I had already come to really enjoy reading. For English, we had a lot of books to read. The teachers really bad mouthed the use of Cliff Notes books. As such, I dutifully obliged. I was an A student in math and science but more of a B student in English and history (no surprise I became a scientist). My brother was a year behind me. He had just completed a book from his English class and I was assigned the book. As such, he gave me both the book AND the Cliff Notes. I read the book and since I had the Cliff Notes I used them as well. Come test day for my class, it was suddenly obvious to me that teacher was completely pulling exam questions from the Cliff Notes and I aced the exam. I was happy and pissed at the same time. Yes, I had been reading the books but struggling on exams. Now with Cliff Notes, the exam was easy. It seemed unfair. Of course, I discovered this well into my senior year of high school. Turned out the teachers were lazy (who knew) when it came to making exams and I think that is why they didn’t want us reading Cliff Notes.
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