Over the last 18 months, I’ve taken two different classes at the LAP storefront— Chris’ stick chair class and Megan’s Dutch tool chest class. As a repeat customer, I had a much better sense of what to expect from my second class than my first, and Megan encouraged me to share some of it with prospective students. So here it is:
What you see (here on the website) is what you get. If you harbor any suspicions that Lost Art Press is a big business masquerading as a tiny storefront to boost sales, relax. It’ll be Megan or Chris that unlocks the door in the morning and fixes the coffee machine. That unfamiliar lady walking through the shop is not the assistant manager of digital marketing. It’s Lucy, Chris’ wife. So the vibe of the blog posts and the books is the vibe of class. Ample historical asides and double entendre. No liability wavers or in-class marketing.
Class will be consuming. Class hours are generally 9 a.m. -5:30 p.m., with slack on both ends to accommodate people who need a bit more time. Don’t count on significant breaks besides lunch. And unless you’re made of bouncier stuff than me, don’t be ambitious about squeezing in work emails and calls after class; you’ll be tired, and, more important, you don’t want to miss the chance to go out for drinks and/or dinner with classmates and the teachers.
When in doubt, wait to buy tools. You’ll get a tool list ahead of class that will list a few things you really do need to bring and a lot of things that you can bring or borrow. While it’s tempting to splurge on new tools ahead of class, consider that you’ll know a lot more about those tools after your class. You’ll have tried tools owned by Chris, Megan and your fellow students, and you’ll develop some opinions. (For example, Megan is partial to her No. 3 smoother, but one swipe with it told me it’s too small for my hands.)
Covington is kind of great. You’re headed to Covington for a woodworking class, but Covington is a lot of fun too. Unless you’re a local, get an Airbnb, Vrbo or nearby hotel. You can walk everywhere. Megan and Chris will give you good advice on lunch and dinner, and you won’t go wrong if you follow it. The pickings are more slim for breakfast. Coppin’s in the Hotel Covington opens at 7am. Nice but a little on the fancy side. The Bean Haus opens at 7am too, and is cheaper, but the food (eggs, breakfast sandwiches) is only so-so. Spoon opens at 8 and serves decent premade breakfast burritos and sandwiches ’til the kitchen opens at 9.
Come for the learning, not the project. If you’re like me, you’ll want to fuss over mistakes during class and try to get your tenons/dovetails/chamfers/surfaces perfect before moving on. Don’t. You can be a perfectionist at home, and you can make another chair/chest/whatever later. The class project just a MacGuffin for the lessons, so while you’re in class, be a learner—watch what other folks are doing, try different ways of doing things (even if you suck at them), and eavesdrop when the teacher is advising others or showing them how to fix a mistake. Working for several days straight on a project in the company of other learners is a very rare treat. Don’t waste it obsessing about some tearout.
– Sambhav N. “Sam” Sankar
Editor’s Note: You can read up on some of things we love about Covington and Cincinnati in this post, that we do our best to keep up to date. (I added a few new favorites last Sunday.)
32 thoughts on “What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Visit”
It looks like you going to be playing the most expensive game of musical chairs ever!
Thanks for the travel tips and class advice. Heading to Covington for an April class with much excitement.
I’ll add one suggestion. Make sure your phone has lots of free space so that you can video the demos. (Of course, check with your instructor first. Chris told us at the beginning of the chair class we were welcome to take videos.) But while you’re taking the video, look at the instructor, not the phone. Going back over the videos I took has been really helpful. And I get to laugh at Chris’ jokes again.
Thank you Sam for your advice and tips. I have taken one class at LAP and agree with you. Cheers.
It’s good to see Chris hasn’t changed his style. Sounds like the same basic way he taught at Kelly Mehler’s place in Berea and here in Kansas City.
One suggestion, I took a table class in the summer and used the bench nearest the window for better light. I got cooked in the morning, so maybe if you get a chance take one away from the window and bring plenty of water.
We have added shades to the bench room that fix this problem entirely. They stop the heat and let in diffuse light.
The shades work great. I had the window bench in September and, admittedly not being summer, the sun wasn’t an issue.
That’s great I really enjoyed my time there.
Great advice thank you for sharing it.
Thank you, “Sam.”
spent a long weekend in Covington for an Andy Glenn demo…….great shop, wonderful people, terrific city…….never any classes there, but 12+ at Kelly Mehler’s in Berea including one with Chris……expect long, wonderful workdays, but even more wonderful classmates, and evening dinners and libations…………even if the project you ultimately make sucks, it’s the best time and money you will ever spend….do it now !!
This was a great blog post. You nailed it. I took a chair class and what you wrote is exactly what I was thinking as well.
That’s a really nice summary, Sam, touching on what you should do and what not to! Sounds like a great time, thanks for sharing.
I heard a rumor that Bean actually has four legs and all the photos posted are either taken at tricky angles or have been edited to perpetuate the illusion that he only has three. Care to chime in on this one? Not that I can trust whats said though, seeing as you’ve obviously been “read-in”.
I paid full price for my classes and I generally dislike cats so you can trust me when I say that Bean is certifiably adorable, manifestly three-legged, and thanks to recent surgical bills, worth his weight in PM-V11 steel.
We have another black cat who also visits with students from time to time (Wally the Treat Whore) – he has 4 legs.
Any kind words for me should really be aimed at all the people associated with LAP (including Lucy) for what they’ve done to make classes at the storefront so welcoming and special. And that in turn reminds me to offer one more piece of advice: as soon as you walk in, start getting to know your fellow students and learning from them too. Anyone who makes the pilgrimage to this particular storefront in Covington is your spiritual sibling. Don’t leave without sharing meals, knowledge, email addresses, and inside jokes. (Yeah! I’m thinking of you Whitney!)
Learning new things or simply being reminded of techniques forgotten is a blessing. Never pass up the opportunity to learn and better yet share that knowledge. If you share it you will learn even more.
Just to let everyone know I had my Airbnb booking for April cancelled by the owner of the apartment. I was told in an email that the City of Covington has enacted a moratorium on short term rentals with penalties for violating the new statute.
I’m sorry that happened to you. FWIW, the owner isn’t being completely transparent. Those owners who applied for licensing as required by city law are not affected. The city is cracking down on unlicensed rentals.
Thanks for the additional info…after I got notified I went back on Airbnb and was able to book another short term rental on Main St (which made me wonder how I could find another rental…until I read your response)
Come he’ll or high water I not going to miss this class!!
Interesting. We have an AirBnB booked for May. We’re staying in Covington for a few days before heading up to Oxford to see my nephew graduate from Miami University. I wanted to show my wife, sister, and brother-in-law the town because I liked it so much. I hope our host applied for the appropriate licensing.
Hope you stop by for a meal or a beer!
I was definitely planning on being a hop-on. Thanks for the encouragement.
Our rental just got cancelled too. I made another booking with Jeremiah, the same host I stayed with when I was there in September. I’m pretty sure he’s on the up-and-up as far as short-term rentals. It sounded like Chris knew who he was.
On re-reading I think I wasn’t completely clear. A previous rental got cancelled and I made a new one with Jeremiah.
Hi, I wonder how did you manage to enroll not on one, but 2 classes? Did you sell your soul to the devil?
I submitted my email for the special chair class, and didn’t get it, I tried to enroll on the chest class, I was waiting, the system say, you can enroll in 7..6…5…4..3..2..1.. and I pressed the button instantly and it was full already.
Frustrating to say the least.
He got in via waitlist on one of them
In my class last September (not Sam’s class), one person was pre-enrolled because he was in a Covid-cancelled class, two of us clicked in the correct split-second, and three people were from the wait list. So don’t give up hope!
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