I just received our shipment of replacement engraving cutters, and we are ready to ship them out.
Please read the following carefully so that you get your cutters as quickly as possible.
First, do you need replacement cutters? Take a close look at the photo above. If the tips of your cutters are rounded like the cutter on the right, you are fine. Those work perfectly, and you do not need replacement cutters. If, however, the tip of your cutter is pointed like the one on the left, you need new cutters. Go to step 2.
Please send the name and mailing address you used to order your cutters (if you have your order number, that would be helpful, but it’s not necessary). Email this information to: email@example.com. Please do NOT send the information to help@lostartpress, Megan or me. It might get lost. And there will be delays in processing it.
Once we get your information, we’ll check your order in our system and mail out your cutters.
Apologies for this glitch. And thank you for your patience with us.
The second batch of engraving tools have blades that are too pointy for my liking. And so we are switching to a round cutter.
This appears to be a recent problem with the manufacturer of the blades, so not everyone’s tools have been affected. Take a look at the photo above.
The cutter on the right is the original and correct pear shape. This is what we got with our first batch of blades. The cutter in the middle is too pointy. It will still work fine, but it’s tricky to polish the inside surface of the blade because of the tight angle.
And finally, to the left is the cutter we are switching to.
If You Have a Pointy Blade This will take a week or two to resolve. So I hope no one has any emergency, life-or-death engraving needs…. Once I get the round cutters, we’ll post a way you can notify us. Then we will send you replacement cutters – free of charge.
For now, however, it would be great if you didn’t bombard firstname.lastname@example.org with requests for replacement cutters. They have their hands completely full at the moment and don’t have replacement cutters to send you.
This book should arrive at the warehouse any day now. Is the cover cloth going to be that bright green? I hope not. But if it is, we’ll include a warning label. Retail $33.
“By Hammer in Hand” letterpress poster by Brian Stuparyk
We should receive our press proofs today. Unless something is dog-a-whumpus, these will sell starting in mid-November. We ordered 500 (probably too many). Retail $25.
This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time. I record all the things I build in an antique “Daybook” – an old accounting ledger. I also write down design changes for my chairs, how much they sold for, the exact finish I used and where the customer lives. It is an invaluable record of my work.
You can’t buy a decent ledger shaped like this anymore, so we decided to make one. The “Workbook 2024” is a 64-page ledger printed on lovely #60 smooth and undyed paper. The pages are sewn and casebound in thick, cloth-covered boards. (We are using the same printing and bindery plant that does all our color books.) The book measures 4-1/2″ wide x 11-1/4″ tall.
The interior pages are printed with blue and red lines that help you organize your information. And, because we can’t leave well enough alone, we added a short quotation to the bottom of each entry page. Megan selected all the quotations on the left-facing pages (verso). I picked all the ones on the right-hand pages (recto).
We are only printing 1,000 of these. Then we will see if we should do this again for 2025. Retail $27. (Note: Our margin is terrible on these and we don’t think we will be able to sell them wholesale.) These will be in stock by the end of November.
The Anarchist’s A-square: A Kit
This is a fun project I have been working hard on. We are trying to create a three-piece kit of parts that you can assemble to create your own A-square (the tool shown on the cover of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest”).
The parts will be made of Baltic birch and have all the joinery and embellishments cut. You will just need to do a little fine fitting and then glue the parts together. I have made dozens of these squares for customers and friends and love them. And they are useful tool as well.
We are waiting on a prototype this week and hope to start production as soon as possible. Retail: under $50. But I don’t know enough to state a firm price.
My daughter Madeline is itching to get back into the sticker business. So I created these lovely wooden bookmarks that are printed in the US on a two-ply veneer. The bookmarks are 2” x 6” and come in a variety of species. The woodcut at the top of the bookmark is from Rudy Everts. The quotation is from John Brown.
We have long been asked to make a nice bookmark. These are nice. Retail $5. Maddy will set up an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) system this week and should start selling them next week.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. The Anarchist’s Gift Guide starts Nov. 10. If you want a preview of one of the items, check out today’s substack entry.
We have Crucible Engraving Tools back in stock and shipping. This tool engraves straight lines and arcs in wood so you can create decorative patterns or “spells” found on peasant furniture in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
Megan and I have filmed a new video on the basics of using the tool against a straightedge and in a compass. The new video is below. You can watch an earlier video of how to sharpen the tool here.
Our engraving tools are made entirely in the United States and were developed to create a simple and affordable way for you to try them out. The tool is $27 and includes a specially machined handle (that can be held like a pencil or installed in a pencil compass), plus two cutters and instructions.
Right now, the tools are available only in the U.S. and through us. We have some international retailers interested in them, but whether or not they carry them is their choice.
I developed these tools to help with my next book, “The American Peasant.” Right now the book is an ever-evolving substack (check it out here. Warning: my substack is not for kids). I am working on the book almost every day, and it looks like it will be complete in early 2024.
For now, I think you’ll enjoy trying the engraving tools – they are easy to sharpen and use.
Recently we started making our own animal-based glue called “Piggly No Wiggly.” It’s made from three ingredients: food-grade gelatin, uniodized table salt and tap water.
The glue is great for furniture. It has an open time of about 18-20 minutes (depending on the temperature and humidity in your shop). That extra time is nice for complex assemblies. The glue is reversible, like hide glue. It dries clear, which is great when using light-colored woods. It has little smell. And if you store it correctly it will last indefinitely. (Complete instructions can be downloaded at the bottom of the product description.)
Megan and I make several batches a week now as we are gearing up this project. You can buy a bottle of ours for $16. Or you can easily make your own using ingredients from your grocery store and a slow cooker (such as a Crock Pot).
The whole process takes about 15 minutes of active time during two days.
Piggly No Wiggly
4 parts gelatin, such as Knox
4 parts hot water from the tap
1 part uniodized table salt (the regular fine-ground stuff)
We make the glue in pretty big batches in vats. But a great way to make it at home is to mix it and cook it in a squeeze bottle for ketchup or mustard.
Start by pouring hot tap water into your bottle. Then add the gelatin and salt. Stir it up. Then close the lid and shake the mixture vigorously. Let it sit for 30 minutes, which is plenty of time for the finely ground gelatin to absorb the water.
Now heat the bottle in a slow cooker, glue pot or a double boiler. The heat should be about 140° to 150° F. Don’t let it get much hotter or the glue will lose its strength. Cook the glue for two hours. Shake the bottle a couple times during the process.
At the end of two hours, put the glue in your fridge overnight.
The next day, heat the glue the same way as detailed above for two hours. Your glue is done.
At room temperature, it will be a bit like Jell-O. Heat it in a warm water bath (or in your glue pot or slow cooker) before using it. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a little water. If it’s too thin, cook it a little longer.
Store the glue in the fridge, and it will last and last and last.
I know you have questions. Here are some answers. Gelatin has been used to make glue for many years and is basically a form of refined collagen (aka hide glue). It is plenty strong – a good joint will demonstrate wood failure and not glue failure. The gelatin we use is 250 bloom strength, which is the same as most general-use hide glues.
This glue is the result of about a 100 different batches of glue that used different ingredients – everything from vinegar to glycerin to urea.
Will iodized salt work? Yes, we haven’t noticed any difference. Can you use distilled water? Sure. How long should I clamp my joints? Read the instructions here for a complete discussion.
Why the funny name? Well, it’s funny. And the glue is made from pigs.
Oh, one more thing: Your pets will love to eat the squeeze out (Wally!!!!).