June marks the 10-year anniversary of the publication of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” which is the book that allowed me to release myself on my own recognizance from corporate publishing.
As promised, to mark the occasion we are doing almost nothing.
I have a blog entry planned that I promised readers five years ago. And we are releasing two products: this stunning red bandana that was cut, sewn and printed by One Feather Press. And a ballcap from Ebbets Field, which will be in the store next week.
We are making only 144 bandanas and 144 hats. There are limits to what the small manufacturers can make, and we love to order a “gross” of objects, whatever they may be. Once these bandanas and hats are gone, they will be gone forever.
The bandana mimics the one press run of the “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” that we did with a red cover five years ago. Details of the hat are forthcoming.
We are in our 13th printing of the “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and have printed more than 35,000 copies, which would be nothing to a corporate publishing house. But it is everything to me and the people who keep Lost Art Press running: John, Megan, Meghan and Kara (and our families).
At least once a month someone asks about lid stays for the Anarchist’s tool chest; now I’ll be able to refer them to this post.
Both Christopher Schwarz and I (now) use chains to hold out chests open, but they attach differently. Both methods work. As will multiple other methods, but these are ours.
But let’s back up two ticks. In “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” Chris directs readers to leave the back corners of the dust seal a little overlong and cut an angle on them. That will work if you’re gentle with your chest, and don’t use it all the time. If you are not gentle, and do use it all the time, that corner will start to break off – then you’ll need to come up with another method of holding your chest open.
After the back corner of his dust seal started to show its years, Chris added a rigid aluminum lid stay, held in place by knurled knobs. The problem – if you can call it a problem – is that to use it, you had to unscrew the knob, put the stay in place, then screw the knob back in. And reverse that to close the lid at the end of the day.
When I built the ATC I use at the Lost Art Press shop, I decided to add a nickel-plated chain to the outside, because I like shiny silvery things. So I bought a length of chain from McMaster-Carr along with some 3/8″ threaded rod, and found female-threaded finials on a lamp-repair-supply website. I cut two pieces of threaded rod to length, then epoxied them in place in the side of the dust seal and upper skirt. The chain fits over the rod; the finials screw onto the rod. (I’ve used this same approach on a couple of chests built on commission…but I added a threaded insert into the side of the lid and top skirt for extra insurance. Overkill, but I’d rather err on the side of solid when I’m sending out my work.)
Chris used a different approach, in part, I think, because he already had threaded inserts and knurled knobs from the aluminum lid stay.
He simply screwed both knobs in tight, then bought a dog collar.
In truth, though, both of us store our chests against a wall – so more often than not, it’s a wall, not a chain, that holds our chests open.
We have just received seven pallets of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” at our Indiana warehouse. We have had a lot of inquiries from customers as to when it would arrive. So here’s your answer: today.
Like most manufacturing businesses, we have been fighting supply chain problems. We strive to never have our books go out of stock. But because of a lot of wild coincidences, this book took eight weeks to print instead of four.
This is our 13th press run of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” It is our bestselling book and every copy sold helps make Lost Art Press stronger. So thank you – all of you.
You can now order and read a French translation of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” from the publisher Editions du Vieux Chene. The hardbound book is 52€ and is currently in stock and shipping.
In addition to translating the book to French, the publishers have made some manufacturing upgrades to the title. The Lost Art Press edition is 6” x 9” and printed on uncoated paper. The Editions du Vieux Chene version is 8-1/8” x 10-13/16”. The text is printed on heavy coated paper and the book blocks are sewn for durability. The hardboards are covered in gloss paper.
The publishers have kept the flavor of the layout, however, using a label-maker to create the chapter headings. It is, all in all, a nice edition.
And if French isn’t your tongue, don’t forget that the book is also available in German through HolzWerken. We are currently in negotiations to translate the title into Squirrel and Poodle.
The Anarchist’s Tool Chest poster was a letterpress project we did with the now-defunct Steam Whistle Letterpress and Randall Wilkins. Randy drew the image, and Steam Whistle printed the image on its proofing press. We’ve long sold out of the posters, and Steam Whistle has dissolved.
So now you can download a high-resolution image here and get it printed out at any print shop that can handle poster-sized jobs. This poster is 18” x 24”, a standard poster size and the size of the original.
If your local print shop is concerned about copyright violations, bless them. Print out this blog entry and show it to the employees. Lost Art Press is the copyright holder, and we grant you permission to print this out for your personal use.
The 10-year Anniversary of ATC It dawned on me recently that we are coming up on the 10th anniversary of the publication of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” You can be sure that we are planning on making a bunch of worthless trinkets for you to buy to commemorate the meaningless passage of time going to do very little to mark the occasion.
We are thinking about making a special baseball cap – something handmade in the USA – with an old-fashioned felt patch featuring the cover logo. But honestly, we might skip that.
What I am doing to mark the occasion is something I would encourage you to do as well: I am packing up tools that I don’t need and finding new homes for them. Recently I gave away an old tool chest, a dust collector and a thickness planer. I now have another box of tools ready and have several people in mind for them. (Hint: No need to pester me for free tools.)
Excess tools are a scourge. Taking care of them takes time away from my furniture making. And leaving tools idle keeps them out of the hands of people who could use them.
Where do my excess tools come from? Good question. Sometimes they are given to the shop as gifts. Sometimes when someone leaves the craft, they give us their tools to give to others. Sometimes locals find tools in the cellar and drop them off. And occasionally I need to buy a tool for an article or book or photo shoot I’m working on.
If you’ve never given away your excess tools, I recommend it. It’s cathartic.
Anyway, in the coming months we’ll soon have many more pieces of plastic junk from Oriental Trading Company branded with the ATC logo for you to buy and throw away we might have some news about that hat.