“Honest Labour: The Charles H. Hayward Years” was a labor (labour?) of love for editor Kara Uhl and for Lost Art Press – no one was sure how this collection of Hayward’s “Chips From the Chisel” columns would be received. We’re glad you liked it – and that you liked it enough that we’ve almost sold through the first printing. So on Monday, Aug. 10, we’re going back to press.
We know about the three Roosevelt corrections on pages 81, 115 and 129 (as copy editor, I take all the blame for those mistakes. Of course I know it was Franklin, not Theodore, who was President during WWII. I don’t know how I missed those…but I did).
So other than those FDRs (about which I expect I’ll feel guilty for at least a decade), we’re asking for any oopsies you might have spotted – by Sunday (Aug. 9). Please send any corrections to me in an email: email@example.com. I’ll make those first thing Monday.
The title of this post reminds me of my magazine-cover writing days. From the higher-ups: “Use numbers!” “Use exclamation points!” “Use the word ‘free!'” If only it were in neon yellow. But it gets the point across, which is simply this: We’ve added four new excerpts to some of our more-recent titles.
In the excerpt for “Making Things Work: Tales from a Cabinetmaker’s Life (Second Edition” by Nancy Hiller, you’ll find the Table of Contents and Chapter 1: The English Years, which includes “Living the Dream,” “The Accidental Cabinetmaker, I,” and “The Accidental Cabinetmaker, II: On the Brink.” I tried to paraphrase these selections but it’s Nancy and you can’t paraphrase Nancy. It’s 27 pages of intimate, funny, intelligent writing, perfect to read with this morning’s coffee.
The excerpt of Robert Wearing’s “The Solution at Hand” includes the Contents, Editor’s Note, Introduction and Chapter 1: Holding Devices. Try out Robert Wearing’s Planing Grip System or Bench Holdfast or Sticking Board. Read about them, build them –– everything you need to do is included (in fact, Chapter 1 includes 34 detailed illustrations).
We’ve also included an excerpt of “Good Work: The Chairmaking Life of John Brown” by Christopher Williams. In addition to the Table of Contents, Preface by Nick Gibbs, Editor’s Note and Chapter 2: Introduction to Wales, we also included three columns from Chapter 5: John Brown, in his Own Words, so that you can get a feel for both Christopher’s words, and John’s. Plus you get to see several of Molly Brown’s gorgeous linocut illustrations.
And finally, we created an excerpt of “Honest Labour: The Charles H. Hayward Years, 1936-1966.” It includes the Table of Contents, From the Publisher and “Charles Hayward Looks Back to the Seamy Side,” a three-part interview series with Charles Hayward, written by Antony Talbot, then editor of Working Wood, in Spring 1980. The excerpt also includes nine columns from 1962, which is one of my favorite chapters (it’s a perk that comes with being the one who makes the excerpts).
We began shipping of “Honest Labour” this week, and customers who placed a pre-publication order should receive their books soon. We received our first box of the books at the storefront yesterday. Our Michigan plant, as always, did a nice job with the printing and binding.
The act of unpacking a book that you worked on for years is always an odd experience. For me, it has offered more relief than joy. Relief that nothing went horribly wrong at the factory or during shipment. Relief that I didn’t misspell the title of the book on its spine (oh crap, I just had to check it again). Relief that I lived to see it.
That feeling fades after a couple days and is replaced with worry as I wonder: Will the readers like it? Or did we throw away months of (honest) labor and tens of thousands of dollars?
I guess we’ll find out.
Last night I took “Honest Labour” out for a practice run. After a long day at the bench I sat in our library with a beer, the book on my lap. I opened it to a random page and started reading at page 244.
“Money – has in fact, the most surprising limitations. Particularly in anything to do with craftsmanship….”
After an hour of reading, I had drained my glass and felt a lot better about the half-completed work on my benchtop, and the future of this book.
Also, this is important to know: Kara Gebhart Uhl and Megan Fitzpatrick did the lioness’ share of the work on this book. Kara selected the essays, typed them in using a variety of methods and proofed them. She also researched and wrote the 30 vignettes of each year’s news events (from 1936-1966) that begin each chapter. Megan designed most of the pages, a new role for her. Since becoming the editor of The Chronicle, Megan has taken a deeper interest in page design. This book was 474 pages of practice.
Our labor is, for the most part, done with this book. We are all now working on other titles. Your work – reading the essays and finding meaning in them – has just begun. We hope you enjoy it.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. If you would like to read some free excerpts from “Honest Labour,” you can find six of our favorite essays via these links:
The following is the introductory note to our new book “Honest Labour: The Charles H. Hayward Years: 1936-1966.” This entry explains the history behind the project and the doubts that we battled throughout. I know that it is an odd book for us to publish, and I promise that our next titles will be filled with the nitty-gritty how-to information that will help you at the bench. This book, however, might just help you in other aspects of your life.
(Actually, to be honest, “The Woodworker” books began as the germ of an idea after woodworker and toolmaker Don McConnell introduced me in the 1990s to Charles Hayward’s books published by Evans Bros.)
The idea was that we were going to cull the best woodworking articles from the period when Hayward worked at the magazine, 1936-1969. To do this, we had to comb through 360 issues of the magazine and flag the best articles (for scanning, then OCR, then image processing, then…).
So over a series of long evenings, Ty Black, Phil Hirz, Megan Fitzpatrick, John Hoffman and I sat at my dining table and did just that. I thought the process would be quick. It wasn’t. What slowed us was the content. After scanning an article and flagging it, we all became captivated by the quality of the articles themselves. These magazines were filled with pieces that you don’t find in modern magazines. And so we read the articles instead of simply moving on.
Our Indiana warehouse reports that our press run of “Honest Labour” has arrived. The warehouse will pack and ship the pre-publication orders shortly. You should receive an emailed notice when your book goes into the mail.
If you are unsure about purchasing this title (it’s a bit out of the norm) I would encourage you to read some of the free excerpts we have posted during the last six weeks. You can read them here, and they might help you make up your mind.
In the introduction to “Honest Labour,” I openly wonder if this book will sell, or if it will instead be the heaviest poster we’ve printed to date. I am happy to report that this book began to turn a profit sometime last week.
If you live outside the United States, the book will be available from Lee Valley (I do not know when). In the U.K. you can place a pre-publication order here through Classic Hand Tools.