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.)