Many of you have been asking about some of our newer titles, with specific questions about content and wondering if these books are right for you. So we have assembled pdf excerpts for each of these books, which you are welcome to download.
The pdf for “Ingenious Mechanicks” by Christopher Schwarz includes the table of contents, introduction and Chapter 1: Why Early Workbenches?.
The pdf for “Slöjd in Wood” by Jögge Sundqvist includes the table of contents, a six-page description of what slöjd means, “the kitchen as a workshop,” the benefits of working in slöjd, and a chapter that shows you how to make knobs and latches.
The pdf for “Cut & Dried” by Richard Jones includes a detailed table of contents (three pages, singled-spaced), foreword, acknowledgements, a guide to the abbreviations used in the book and Chapter 7: Coping with Wood Movement (25 pages on dimensional change, distortion, moisture cycling and stress release (kickback)).
The pdf for “Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown includes a poem, introduction, author’s foreword (there are two) and his chapter on Bending Wood for Chair Parts.
You can find more details and ordering information for each of these books here.
The story of returning John Brown’s “Welsh Stick Chairs” into print is a twisty one. And, despite my enormous enthusiasm for the project, my thickheadedness only slowed the process.
Here’s the quick version, for those who like to read about my missteps.
“Welsh Stick Chairs” has been out of print for some time. There are U.K. versions out there from the publisher Albercastle and Stobart Davies Ltd. Plus U.S. versions from Linden Publications and Lyons & Burford Publishers. (There might be other versions I am unaware of.)
Last year, John Brown’s family approached Lost Art Press about publishing a new version of the book that captured the charm of the first edition, which was published under the Albercastle imprint. Kara Gebhart and I dove in with gusto and started researching who held the rights to the book, plus looking for any original photographs.
We came up with nothing. (Personal note: This is typical and frustrating for authors. Buy me a beer if you want to know the whole story.)
And when we heard back from the U.K. publisher Stobart Davies Ltd., we got a piece of bad news. That company owned the rights and planned to reprint the book. So obviously, we couldn’t print it.
I put the brakes on our effort. That’s where I was badly mistaken.
What I didn’t comprehend was that Stobart Davies owned the U.K. and European rights, not the North American rights. I had scuttled the project because my neurons had failed to connect.
Luckily, one of John Brown’s sons, Matty Sears, kept pushing forward. He started researching what it would take to put out an edition himself. He figured out the rights situation where I, a publishing professional, could not.
After an enormous amount of work, Matty contacted me and set me straight: The North American rights were available, and would we be willing to take on the book?
We said yes. And for most of this year, I have been working with Matty and our prepress agency to get the book ready for press. We had to jump through a lot of technical hurdles with this project – it wasn’t a simple reprint. We had to rebuild the book from the ground up due to missing electronic files, missing photos and mystery fonts.
But we did it. And most of the credit belongs to Matty.
It is my hope that “Welsh Stick Chairs” will be in print for many years to come. It has been one of the most influential woodworking books in my life – much like the books of James Krenov, Sam Maloof and Jennie Alexander transformed the lives of other woodworkers. And I feel certain there are future generations (now lying in cradles or sitting before an XBox) who will take to the wisdom of this remarkable man.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. You can order a pre-publication copy of the book here. The book will ship in June 2018.
“Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown is a small but mighty book. At just 104 pages long, this book can be read in an afternoon, but it has changed the lives of thousands of woodworkers all over the globe.
John Brown (1933-2008) was a chairmaker in Wales who specialized in Welsh stick chairs, a vernacular form of furniture that was typically made by the end users. Compared to Windsor chairs, Welsh stick chairs are masculine, lively and even sometimes a bit aggressive.
They are built with simple hand tools and (when made properly) are designed to last for hundreds of years.
John Brown made hundreds of these chairs, and in 1990 he published a small book that explained how he made the chairs at that time, plus some history of stick chairmaking in Wales and a critique of the Windsor chairs they were sometimes confused with.
The book electrified woodworkers everywhere. Even those who weren’t chairmakers were fascinated by John Brown’s approach to the craft. His disdain for measured drawings. And his honest and forthright writing style.
“Welsh Stick Chairs” has been out of print for some time. But thanks to the efforts of Matty Sears, one of John Brown’s sons, and the rest of the heirs, we are pleased to present a beautiful and well-made edition of this important work.
The book is now available for pre-publication ordering in our store. It is $29, which includes free domestic shipping. The book will ship to customers in late June 2018, which is the 10th anniversary of John Brown’s death.
Using first-edition examples of “Welsh Stick Chairs,” we reset the entire book in the original font to ensure the text was crisp. We rescanned and processed the photos and drawings and cleaned them up. And we spent weeks researching the paper stock of the original in order to capture the same earthiness and perfection of the first edition.
We also made a small but invisible improvement – we sewed the signatures together to ensure the book will last for lifetimes.
The book is a softcover, covered in heavy card stock like the original. The book measures 7-1/4″ x 9-5/8″.
Our version includes John Brown’s original introduction to the book, plus the additional introduction he wrote for the third edition and an updated essay on John Brown by Nick Gibbs.
It’s difficult to believe that it has already been 10 years since John Brown died on June 1, 2008. It’s even more difficult to believe that his landmark book “Welsh Stick Chairs” is not in print.
With a little luck, we hope to have “Welsh Stick Chairs” in your hands in June 2018 for the 10-year anniversary of his passing. Today I uploaded the final files to our printer and they should start production on the book on Monday afternoon.
We hope to open pre-publication sales of the book next week. We’re still waiting on a couple elements of the print job to make sure we have the costs correct. We’re shooting for $27 to $29, which will include domestic shipping.
Note that we have the rights to distribute “Welsh Stick Chairs” only in North America. Not in Europe, the UK or – oddly enough – Wales. We’ve been told another publisher in the UK will be publishing a version for that market. But we don’t know when or what it will look like.
Ours will be printed in the United States on heavy and smooth coated paper. The signatures will be sewn for durability. And the book will be covered in heavy 100-pound Mohawk cardstock with a vellum texture. (We love Mohawk paper – it’s made with wind power.)
The dark blue cover will then be stamped with a matte silver foil. It’s going to look crisp and have a lot of nice textures.
I am thrilled to announce that Lost Art Press is bringing the classic “Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown back into print with a high-quality North American edition.
I have read “Welsh Stick Chairs” more than 20 times, and it has had an incredible influence on my life.
John Brown introduced the world to the Welsh stick chair (in fact, he might have coined the term). And that style of chair set me on a path that eschews fancy furniture and embraces pieces that were made by the end users, most of whom were amateurs.
Further, John Brown was the first person to put the words “anarchism” and “woodworking” together in his columns in Good Woodworking magazine. This bold move gave me the courage to let my own anarchist flag fly in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”
I am not alone. Thousands of woodworkers all over the world discovered a different way to look at the craft through John Brown’s writings. Every time I encountered one of his die-hard fans, they would ask: Why haven’t you brought “Welsh Stick Chairs” back into print?
The answer was simple: We didn’t own the rights.
But thanks to John Brown’s heirs, particularly his son Matty Sears, we have obtained the rights to print “Welsh Stick Chairs” for the North American market. (A second publisher retains the rights in the U.K. and Europe.)
We will do this book justice.
We are resetting the entire book from scratch using the original fonts. This will make the text as crisp as possible. For the photos, we will scan original first edition books (the original photos have been lost) and use high-tech scanning tricks and a very advanced printing press to produce images that will look as good as the originals.
The new edition will look a lot like the first edition. The cover will be a heavy and rough paper. The interior pages will be heavy, smooth and coated. The only change we will make to the binding is that we will sew the signatures together for added durability.
We don’t have a price yet – we are shooting for less than $30. And we expect to release the book in June. Why so fast? I have been working on this book for quite some time. Only now can we talk about it publicly.
“Welsh Stick Chairs” will serve as an excellent companion to our forthcoming book on John Brown by Chris Williams. Their book, which should be out in 2019, will explore John Brown’s woodworking career and the path his chairs took after the publication of “Welsh Stick Chairs.”
It is my sincere hope that this pair of books will inspire future generations of woodworkers, and that the works of John Brown will never be forgotten.