Lately I’ve been thinking that the spirit of Joseph Moxon isn’t so happy with me. Maybe Old Joe – a printer by trade – isn’t happy about being known by moderns as a vise sold at Woodcraft. Or he isn’t happy about being called out for stealing images from André Félibien.
In any case, I have this spooky feeling because our publication of Moxon’s “Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works” has been cursed from the start.
This book was supposed to be out in February 2022. But it suffered every possible delay in the printing process. First a paper shortage. Then the printing plant was shut down due to COVID-19. Then the plant was held hostage by Russian ransomware. Then I honestly believe the pressroom forgot about the book sometime in early May.
When we finally received our printing in June, there was a significant mistake in it. Some of the pages were missing. And so, for the first time ever, we had to pulp (aka recycle) the entire print run. This was a $25,000 mistake.
We have now reprinted the book. And we are reaching out to everyone who bought the defective book to send them a free replacement. Because of all the problems above, I estimate we will break even on this project about the time my grandkids go to college (I don’t have any grandkids; my kids aren’t even married yet).
So if you want a gorgeous, not-entirely-cursed version of this very important woodworking book, order one here. I am still glad we did this book project. Moxon should always be in print. And it should be available as a durable hardcover that will last generations (20th century versions of Moxon are literally falling to pieces because of their cheap glued bindings).
Thanks for your patience with the process.
Hats Are Coming
In happier news, we have a run of so-called “dad hats” in the works that should arrive in two weeks. These are fashion-backward hats. Cotton khaki twill with an adjustable brass buckle. The embroidery is in black thread and is done here in Covington just a few blocks away.
We are also working on a special tool for Christmas. (It’s definitely not a Ouija board.)
— Christopher Schwarz
9 thoughts on “The Ghost of Joseph Moxon”
I have a copy. The work involved just bringing it to fruition is enough. I will keep my imperfect one that I just started reading, thanks. Sell my ‘replacement’ copy, to offset a smidgen of the loss. Sorry it was such a painful gestation!
I reviewed this book in our Dupage Woodworkers newsletter.
I bought two of the now rare imperfect Moxon reprints. (I have two bathrooms). I expect these to be extremely valuable some day, and I also don’t need replacements.
Speaking of delayed printing, I finally got the 2021/22 American Furniture annual, and it has a great review of your Krenov book. That’s got to be a little exciting.
If/when a local distributor picks this up in Canada I’ll be sure to recommend to my library. The last time I did they they ordered 5(!) copies of the stick-chair book.
That’s a great library!
I was very surprised. I expected a copy to get bought (no reason not to and they’ve got an OK selection of woodworking reference). When I got the email about it being available I figured I’d check and maybe put a hold on it if I had time to read through it, but my jaw dropped a bit when I saw how many copies they bought.
Did you play poker with a tarot deck? That’s the only thing I can think of for that spectacular run of bad luck.
Thanks for publishing quality books. You really do perform a service to the woodworking community.
Your email seemed to imply that several pages were missing. My copy has page 169 so I was wondering if there were other missing pages besides 169.
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