Furniture in the Water


Note: This is the last preview chapter I’ll be posting of the expanded edition of “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” The remainder of the new chapters will be released with the expanded edition at the end of 2019.

Up into my 30s, I wrote songs as much as I wrote newspaper or magazine stories, and I was always bewildered about where melody came from. How, after so many generations of births and deaths, could we still manufacture new melodies?

The answer is, of course, that we can’t.

Growing up in Arkansas in the 1970s, it was impossible to escape traditional music. You’d hear it at every church picnic, at the gas station and while eating at the Irish pub/barbecue restaurant. It was even piped into the town elevator.

Fingerpicking was like the fluoride in the water. Banjos hummed like the mosquitos in your ear.

I didn’t think much of it all until I encountered the band Uncle Tupelo in the 1990s. One of the bonus tracks on the CD “No Depression” was “John Hardy.” And the first time I heard the song I instantly began singing all the words.

John Hardy was a desperate little man
He carried two guns every day
He shot a man down on the West Virginia line
They saw John Hardy getting away

It was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a repressed memory bubbling to the surface. I grabbed the CD case and saw the song was credited to Lead Belly. That was weird. It wasn’t a Lead Belly song I’d ever heard. After some digging, I found the source of where I’d learned the song: the Carter Family.

Then, like every aspiring songwriter, I soon found that the Carter Family was the source code for an astonishing mountain of American rock, folk, pop, blues and bluegrass. That statement sounds like hyperbole, but it’s not.

True story: While on tour with her husband, Johnny Cash, June Carter once demonstrated this deep truth by switching on the radio in their tour bus. About every third song, June began singing the Carter Family version over the version playing through the radio. Different lyrics. Different instrumentation. Same song.

This small songwriting revelation (which nearly every American songwriter has) turned out to be as important to my furniture making as it was to my love of music. And so, if you’ll indulge me a bit, learning a little about Sara, Maybelle and A.P. Carter can help you understand vernacular furniture and how to design it.

Bristol, 1927
Many musical historians and musicians peg the beginning of country music to a series of recording sessions in Bristol, Tenn., in the summer of 1927. Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Co. toured through several Southern cities equipped with new recording technology and a desire to capture examples of “old time” or hillbilly music.

He attracted local artists with newspaper advertisements and the opportunity to get paid for their work. While in Bristol (a town that bleeds over into Virginia), he snared his biggest catch, the Carter Family. Led by A.P. Carter, the group was comprised of three people named Carter: A.P., who arranged the songs and occasionally sang; his wife, Sara, who played autoharp and had an enchanting and powerful voice; and Maybelle, who played guitar (plus other instruments), sang and was Sara’s cousin.

The Carter Family recorded six songs with Peer over two days during that first recording session. The three were paid and they returned to their Virginia homes. After the royalty checks began coming in, A.P. sought to record more songs (the Carter Family eventually recorded more than 250 songs, according to the documentary “The Winding Stream”). And this is where things get interesting.

The songs that the Carter Family brought to record were a combination of traditional tunes, original songs the three had written, plus songs that A.P. had “collected” and then adapted – changing the words, adding a beat here or there, tidying it up.

So that’s why you’ll see a song such as “John Hardy” attributed to three or four (or a dozen) people. These were songs that were transmitted from person to person and that changed based on who was singing them, when and where. The songs didn’t belong to one person. They belonged to the whole culture.

These melodies are deeply embedded into the American psyche – especially among Southerners – and it can be shocking (and sometimes uncomfortable) to have the curtain pulled away.

Listen to the Carter Family song “Wayworn Traveler,” sometimes titled “Palms of Victory.” (You can find it on the contemporary album “Carter Family: Storms are on the Ocean.”) The song is commonly regarded as a hymn attributed to a New York reverend from 1836.

Bob Dylan rewrote the song as “Paths of Victory” in the early 1960s. Then he rewrote it again as “The Times They Are a Changin’.”

In my mind, there is nothing wrong or shameful about this process of evolution. Each artist adds or subtracts something from the original to suit the time or place. And the work rises or falls based on the talent of the writer or singer.

By the end of his life, A.P. Carter had traveled thousands of miles all over the South to collect the songs that he, Sara and Maybelle would then hone, record and perform. Their true genius was in acting as one of the most incredible funnels and filters of American song culture. (Also, Maybelle Carter happened to invent the concept of lead guitar with her “Carter scratch” style of playing. She was a pioneering bad-ass.)

For me, this way of looking at traditional music has profound implications when applied to vernacular furniture.


The Vernacular Pattern
As I mentioned at the beginning of this book, the high furniture styles tend to be transmitted via pattern books – basically big catalogs of ornate or expensive works that are connected to a big name such as Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Stickley or Maloof. That’s why we have schools of furniture that are connected to famous names. And, as a bonus, there’s a book to consult that lays out the boundaries of the style. Chippendale has its somewhat Chinese details and distinctive feet. Stickley has a particular joint and a particular material (quartersawn white oak). Maloof has a language of curves and joinery that is easily understood.

Higher-style music is similar. We have the works of Mozart, Bach, Brahms and the Beatles to endlessly parse and parley. There is (usually) a definitive body of work. And it’s fairly straightforward to say when a particular piece of work is either inside or outside of a particular style.

Vernacular music and furniture do not work that way. There is no “Book of Cletus” when it comes to backstools. No detailed drawings to tell us if a certain detail is proper or inadmissible. So the only thing we can do is study the furniture record, which mutates across time and state lines and is always incomplete. We’ll never see it all.

But if you see enough of it, then the form’s design elements become like a melody you’ve heard your entire life. You know what details and proportions create harmony. And what’s a wrong note. If you sing it enough times you probably will change the pitch to suit your vocal range. Or change a curve to better suit your spokeshave and skills. And when you encounter a new version of the form that you’ve never seen before, it can cause you to shift your work again in response.

The boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not are softer and more nebulous. But they are there.

Again, I like to think of vernacular furniture design as a shared melody. If your work is appealing, then others will sing along. In their hands and on their lips, your melody will endure and change over time. If, on the other hand, your work fails to resonate with others, then it dies alone at the curb, never to be sung again.

What Does This Mean to a Designer?
If you want to build in vernacular styles, I think you need to explore the forms for yourself. Building pieces from this book or other books on vernacular furniture is a start. But it’s like singing songs from a Pete Seeger songbook that you bought at the mall. That might be where it starts, but that’s definitely not how it ends.

Like A.P. Carter, you need to get in your car and drive to the next town to see what is happening there. And then adapt what you find to your needs.

As I build these forms over and over they change. You might not notice it from one chair to another, but every piece is a little different. Sometimes it’s because the material demands it. Right now I’m building a series of four armchairs in white oak, and the seat material is thicker than usual. I could spend some extra time planing it down, or I could slightly increase the thickness of the legs to look harmonious with the seat. Or increase the bevel on the seat to look harmonious with thinner legs. Either change might push my next set of chairs in that direction.

John Brown, the famous Welsh chairmaker, noted this sort of evolution in his columns for Good Woodworking magazine. After making seats using thick material for years, he was once backed into a situation where he had to use some thinner stock for the seat. It became a turning point for his work, and his chairs became lighter from that day forward. But they still looked unquestionably like Welsh stick chairs.

The change might be due to a mistake. The rake and splay of the front legs of my chairs changed when one day I set my bevel gauge to the wrong resultant angle – a full 6° off. But the result was pleasing, so that’s now the angle I use every day.

Other times, changes come because I’ve seen a beautiful old piece or a new piece by a fellow woodworker I admire. There might be something about it – a curve, an angle, an overall pose – that pushes my work in a different direction. I might not even realize I’m absorbing it at first.

And when I feel guilty for it, I again remember A.P. Carter. Collecting those songs preserved them from extinction and ensured their place in our nation’s memory. Likewise, the only way to ensure vernacular furniture survives against the onslaught of manufactured flat-pack pieces is to build the stuff again and again. To allow it to change with the needs of the maker and the tools and materials at hand.

I also think it’s healthy to reject dogma and allow techniques to change as well. Like when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.

Vernacular stuff doesn’t have to be built out of riven green wood (just like folk music doesn’t require an acoustic guitar). It can be built out of what you have on hand. If that’s riven green wood, use that. If it’s poplar and oak from the home center, use that. The same goes for tools. Vernacular furniture generally requires a smaller tool kit than the high-style stuff, but almost anything can be in that kit. My first piece was built using a jigsaw, drill and block plane. Nothing more. Use what you got. Today I use a band saw, bench planes and lots of other tools. And the tool kit neither diminishes nor improves my work.

There are fewer limits than you think.

In fact, many times we think of “tradition” as a thing that reduces the scope of our work. I would argue that idea is false. Traditional music and traditional furniture – when disconnected from the high styles – offer immense freedom for you as a maker and a composer.

There is a vast supply of forms and melodies all around you, ready to be collected, changed, rebuilt and adored. Look for them and listen. They are the mundane objects that escape attention – the background music stitched into your heart.

And they are beautiful.

— Christopher Schwarz

Posted in The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized | 43 Comments


Making Things Work

This is the fifth in a series of posts related to the tales in Making Things Work. These posts are not excerpts from the book. This one relates most closely to the tale entitled “No.” Due to operator error, the previous post in this series, “Beggars Can Be Choosers,” did not appear on the Lost Art Press site. You can find it here.


On 06/07/2018 12:23 AM, Mr. X wrote:


A few years ago I was looking for an Arts & Crafts bookcase to build for my den.  I am a retired draftsman, so I was able to pick and choose components from different designs and combine them into one.  But even after looking at so many different designs I still couldn’t find one that really made me happy.  And I looked at a lot.  Then one day I received my copy of Popular Woodworking and there…

View original post 167 more words

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A World Without Split Ends


One of the great advantages of working with riven material is that the grain direction of your boards becomes much less of a problem. With most riven pieces (that aren’t radically tapered), you can cut both ways on the piece with zero tear-out because the grain is dead straight.

I call this the “American Advantage” – this continent still has the big, straight trees that allow parts to be riven for chairs and even casework. And not only does the raw material affect the process, it also affects the tools. When you have dead-straight material, you can shave all your parts with a drawknife or a bevel-up spokeshave.

So what happens when you step out of the American chair tradition?

The process and the tools change. When I build American Welsh Stick Chairs I don’t use riven material – I use whatever I can find that is naturally twisted or straight to suit the chair parts I have in my mind. This stuff can be from the lumberyard – or your backyard hedge. It’s perfectly suitable material for a chair, but it doesn’t like a drawknife or a bevel-up spokeshave. And that’s because grain direction is a big problem when you use sawn or found material.

Personally, I fall back on cabinetmaking tools and techniques to deal with grain direction on my chair parts. When I use my bench planes for a finishing cut, I set the cap iron (aka chipbreaker or back iron) so it is only a hair away from the cutting edge. And I mean a hair – maybe .006”. That allows me to deal with arms, seats, legs and doublers that have gnarly grain.


When I use a block plane, that means I need to set the mouth so it’s as fine as possible. For me, that means setting it so that the shaving gets wedged between the mouth and iron. And the next shaving pushes it out. That is tight.


Using these techniques – a close-set breaker or a fine mouth – allow me to plane my parts without thinking about grain direction as much, if at all. So I can taper all my legs by planing from the foot to the tenon; I don’t have to every turn the leg around to plane the other way.

Yes, it takes some practice to get the breaker and the mouth in the right spot. But it’s no more work than learning to sharpen or wield a drawknife. It’s just a different approach.

— Christopher Schwarz

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A Tour of John Hill’s Workshop

‘Interior of the Carpenter’s Shop at Forty Hill, Enfield’ by John Hill, collection of the Tate.

In “The Tate Gallery Illustrated Biennial Report 1983-1984” two of the recently acquired works were paintings of carpentry shops. The articles that discuss the history and importance of the acquired works are usually written by curators and museum department heads. In the case of the two carpentry shops the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) asked Jack Warans, a member of the Tate carpentry staff, to write the article for the Biennial Report. Warans’ article, “Inside Two Carpenter’s Shops” discusses “The Carpenter’s Shop at Forty Hill, Enfield” by John Hill and “Christ in the House of his Parents (The Carpenter’s Shop)” by John Everett Millais.

Although John Hill’s painting is greatly admired in the woodworking world and has been used in numerous publications it is also a source of frustration. The lack of a strong light source and the deep shadows keep much of the painting’s incredible detail just out of reach. The viewer can see “the corners but not the heart” of the shop. Jack Warans had the opportunity to make a close study of the painting, and I think his description of Hill’s shop (and a few enlargements) will help you see the details that make this a special work of art. And, he has something to say about the axe on the floor.

‘The Carpenter’s Shop at Forty Hill, Enfield’

“‘The Carpenter’s Shop at Forty Hill, Enfield’ by John Hill, an almost forgotten artist, was acquired for the Tate Gallery chiefly because its subject matter is unusual and the picture very convincingly painted. Hill was self-taught as an artist, but there is nothing naive about the fresh and direct style which he displays here. This picture was in fact probably exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1813 under the title ‘Interior of a Carpenter’s Shop’.


“John Hill was himself a carpenter and builder at Forty Hill. This scene probably represents his own workshop, and the figure of the master of the shop (seen at its farther end), whose moleskin hat and dark jacket distinguish him from his assistants in their white caps and shirtsleeves, may be a self-portrait. But although this picture depicts a particular carpenter’s shop early in the nineteenth century any modern spectator who has experienced the traditional techniques and customs of a carpenter’s training will recognise every detail of the scene. And the closer you look at this painting, the more detail you will see in it. None of these details are picturesque props; all of them are painted from first-hand knowledge of the carpenter’s trade.

“The three men at work in this interior are not posing for the artist. Each of them is absorbed in his work and in command of the task to which he is putting his skills. Every one of them is evidently a fully qualified carpenter, for each has his own tool-box close at hand. These tool-boxes were (and still are) usually begun in the last years of a carpenter’s apprenticeship, and might take several years to finish. On the outside these tool-boxes look plain and serviceable; they were usually painted green, as these are. When opened they revealed the finest workmanship of which the craftsman was capable; they usually consisted of twelve drawers, the whole elaborately inlaid and veneered. Tool-boxes served two chief purposes; they enabled a carpenter to keep his own personal tools safely and tidily, and they could be shown to a prospective employer as evidence of a carpenter’s skill. Within a workshop they also served an everyday practical purpose in giving the carpenter somewhere to sit and eat his midday meal.

By John Tenniel, 1872. Collection of the V&A, London.

“The white caps worn by the master carpenter’s two assistants were traditional for several centuries, and were worn by tradesmen such as plasterers and house-painters. They were made of stout paper, folded into a box-like shape. A similar cap is worn by the Walrus’ friend the Carpenter in Tenniel’s illustrations to Alice: Through the Looking-Glass.

“For those who would like to know more about the picture but are not familiar with the carpenter’s trade, it may be a help to state just what we can see in it. We are looking into the interior of a small joinery shop, made chiefly of timber but with one brick wall. The floor is made of flagstones, which in winter would probably have been covered with wooden pallets.

“The windows on either side of the shop are glazed with small panes of bottle-glass; broken panes have been stopped by the time-honored custom of stuffing bundles of wood-shavings into the cracks. At the farthest end of the shop is a large unglazed opening, big enough for large pieces of work to go through; this opening gives ventilation and maximum light (and, incidentally, a charming view of the countryside outside), and it is at this vantage point the master of the shop has chosen to station himself. This opening could be closed by outside shutters.

“In the centre of the foreground, an axe and a cross-cut log lie on the flagstones, probably to symbolise the first and most basic step in carpentry; this is the only slightly unrealistic note in the picture, for no carpenter would leave an axe on the floor like that.

“On the left is a wicker basket used for carrying tools between the shop and work outside it; from it protrude a hand-saw, an adze, a gauge and what is either an unfinished staircase baluster or the template for it. Behind the basket is a sash-cramp, used (still) in the making of sash windows to glue or ‘cramp up’ their frames. Between the windows on the left hang hand-saws, a bow-saw and various templates; beneath the furthest window [on the sill] is a metal-working vice; which would extend the sort of work this workshop can undertake.

“The carpenter on the left, with his back to the spectator, is working at a carpenter’s bench, the basic design of which remained unchanged for centuries; on it lie several planes,

a wooden mallet, various dividers and pincers, a bradawl and a gimlet. This man is using a square to mark out a piece of timber for cutting; two pieces of wood which he has already stripped, planed and squared lie on the bench to the right. His fellow-assistant, on the right of the picture, is sawing a piece of marked-out timber on a wooden trestle or saw-horse.

“At the far end of the shop the master is planing timber. The wood beams of the wall in front of him are hung with various tools, including several brass-backed tenon saws and a coffin-maker’s saw (used, not only in coffin-making, for sawing long joints) and with various templates, mostly for making heavy mouldings. One or two objects on this wall specifically refer to work carried out in this particular shop: for instance, a picture frame made of dark wood, or stained dark, perhaps made for one of Hill’s own paintings, and a carved eagle, perhaps a small version of a carving made for a church pulpit. Chalked numbers on the wall on the master’s right [to the right of the shelf] are presumably calculations for the work at hand.

“The array of tools continues across the brick wall on the right, and includes several spare vices, boxes of pegs and nails and, at the extreme end [to the right of the boards], a mitre-block for cutting corners. The only indispensable items missing from this view are glue-pots; they must have been kept at the end of the workshop which is (as it were) occupied by the spectator and which probably gave approximately one-third more space to the workshop. Everything else which should be here is here; everything in this workshop has a practical function and is accurately depicted.”

Jack Warans also commented on Millais’ “Christ in the House of his Parents (The Carpenter’s Shop).” He noted “Millais included only such details as he wanted. His carpenter’s shop is not so much a place of work as a stage for a few carefully selected props. The most realistic detail is the carpenter’s bench, which is the same timeless design as the bench in Hill’s shop, as well as my own in the Tates’s carpenter’s workshop today…the tools on the wall at the back of this workshop include a bow-saw of the type peculiar to the cooper’s trade…and a hammer of the type used by upholsterers. There is no plane, yet that is of course indispensable in a carpenter’s shop.”

Jack Warans sums up the difference between the two paintings, on the one hand a carpenter’s shop painted by a carpenter, on the other hand a carpenter’s shop used as a backdrop for religious symbolism: “Millais’ picture is a semblance of reality rather than reality itself. In his carpenter’s shop, a set-square is not so much a set-square as a symbol of the Trinity. There are no symbolic overtones in Hill’s picture. Its realism is, literally, almost artless; but there is, and should be, room for Hill’s picture as well as Millais’ in the national gallery of British Art.”

A Little Bit About John Hill

John Hill’s approximate birth year is 1780, and he died in November 1841. His father, Thomas (died 1814), was a carpenter. According to the Tate, John was listed in an 1839 census as a carpenter and as a builder in an 1841 census. John was also a self-taught artist and six of his paintings survive. His painting of the carpenter’s shop is believed to be the same work exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1813. A label on the back of the painting (dated circa 1900) indicates the carpentry shop was Hill’s first completed painting and was done in 1800. If this early date is correct the master in the background of the shop could very well be his father.

‘Worcester Lodge, Forty Hill, Enfield’ by John Hill. Photo by Enfield Museum Service.

Besides the painting of the carpenter’s shop he also painted Worcester Lodge where he probably lived. Landscapes around Forty Hill were another subject of Hill’s paintings.

His training as a carpenter seems to have given him a good eye for scale, perspective and detail.

Compare the ‘bottle-glass’ windows in the painting on the left with some real windows on the right. The glass is watery causing the light to be muted and the pontil in each pane distorts the view to the outside.

It is one thing to paint the human body standing straight and it is quite another to paint the body at work in a carpenter’s shop.

In the 1858 edition of “Historical, Topographical and Statistical Notices of Enfield in the County of Middlesex, Containing Also Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished Persons Who Formerly Resided in the Parish” compiled by J. Tuff, Chemist, we find this note about John Hill:

Finally, here is what is thought to be a self-portrait of John Hill.

Enfield Museum Service.

A couple notes on British English to Other English translations: a cramp is a clamp, a vice is a vise and mouldings are mouldings or sometimes moldings.

If seeing those square paper hats has got you fired up and you want to have one of your own (and one for your cat) you can read about the hats and get construction details here.

In the gallery below are a map showing the location of Enfield and Forty Hill, two landscapes by John Hill and the Millais painting.

Suzanne Ellison

Posted in Historical Images, Personal Favorites | 22 Comments

About That Class Registration Fee…


If you read the post about our upcoming classes, you know that for 2020, we’re charging a small non-refundable registration fee of $12 a day per class. You might wonder why, and if it’s worth it.

In short, it’s because the entirety of your class tuition goes to the instructor. And during the past 18 months, we’ve found that the classes require lots of glue, gallons of drinking water (and dang-good coffee), ample toilet paper, and to keep the HVAC at a comfortable level for seven people. The small registration fee will help pay for that. Plus, the class registration site costs money – so part of each fee goes to pay for it, too.

Why is the registration fee non-refundable? Again, because all the tuition goes to the instructor, we have to have some way to pay for all the administration when people drop out of classes, require help with shipping tools or need assistance with housing, meals or activities for their families. We’re happy to help, but we do need to eat.

We do our best to make sure classes here are worth the investment in money and time. Lost Art Press operates differently than most publishing companies, and the classes here are different, too. With only six students in all but a few classes, you get plenty of personal attention from the instructor (whether you want it or not!). And, you’ve the opportunity to try out a bunch of different bench styles in our working shop (handy, if you’re thinking about building one). Plus, you have access to the Covington Mechanical Library – our large collection of woodworking books (including a three-volume set of the original 18th-century “l’art du Menuisier”).

You also get to spend time in the Covington Main Strasse area, which is aces (it’s possible we’re biased). There are scads of good and inexpensive restaurants within easy walking distance, and plenty of hotels and Air BnB rentals available at shockingly low rates. And we’re right across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati, where you’ll find even more great restaurants, and plenty for your family to do while you’re in class, should they visit with you.

We love offering classes, and think you’ll have a great time here (and learn a lot, of course!) – so we hope this small fee won’t stop you from registering for a class.

— Fitz

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Jan.-June 2020 Classes at the Storefront

As we’ve mentioned a few times, we’re reducing the number of classes for 2020. Despite almost every class selling out, and though we love having folks visit, we are not (sing it with me!) a school, and the many classes have cut into our shop time and editorial work (and my sanity, because I handle all the backend stuff for visiting instructors). But Christopher Schwarz and Brendan Gaffney handle their own backends <insert joke>, and I handle my own <please don’t insert joke>. So we three will be offering a smattering of educational opportunities at the Lost Art Press storefront, as well as a very few from outside instructors.

Do Not Skip the Paragraph Below
Before you read about the January-June 2020 classes below, here’s some important information about our new ticketing policy: We have added a NON-REFUNDABLE registration fee when you sign up. These cover the ticketing system costs, and to go toward such shop and class necessaries as glue, electricity, shop rags and toilet paper (the last two of which are not interchangeable). That fee is $12 per day per student – so for two-day classes it’s $24, for a week-long class it’s $60. Again: It is NON-REFUNDABLE. So please make sure the class dates work for you before you register. (There is a cancellation policy at the bottom of each class description. For most classes, the instructor offers a full refund – minus that non-refundable fee – up to four weeks before a class.)

Also note that each class description on the ticketing site includes a link to “Where to Stay; What to Do,” a page that will help you find accommodations and learn a bit more about why your family might enjoy visiting Greater Cincinnati while you’re busy in the shop.

The classes listed below will go live on Friday, Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. You can look at our “box office” right now on the Ticket Tailor site (and from there click through to each class) – but if you click one of the “Register Now” buttons, it will trick you into thinking you can register today. You cannot. Once a class is sold out (again, tickets go on sale Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. Eastern, and a non-refundable registration fee will be collected at check-out), I will turn on the waitlist function (there is no fee to sign up for the waitlist).

Here are the classes we have planned for the first half of 2020 (note that we might add one or two more – if so, we’ll blog about it and add them to our Ticket Tailor listings).

Intro to Staked Furniture – Design & Construction, with Christopher Schwarz, Jan. 18-19.
Build the ‘Anarchist’s Tool Chest’ with Megan Fitzpatrick, Feb. 17-21
The Greenwood Høj Footstool with Brendan Gaffney, Feb. 29-March 1
Build an American Welsh Stick Chair with Christopher Schwarz, March 9-13
4 Corner Joints & a Dado, with Megan Fitzpatrick, March 21-22
One-slat Ladderback Chair with Brendan Gaffney, March 27-29
Intro to Staked Furniture – Design & Construction, with Christopher Schwarz, April 4-5
One-slat Ladderback Chair with Brendan Gaffney, May 1-3
Build a Sawbench with Megan Fitzpatrick, May 16-17
Make a Post-and-rung Ladderback Chair with Brendan Gaffney, May 25-29
Intro to Staked Furniture – Design & Construction, with Christopher Schwarz, June 6-7
Build a Dutch Tool Chest with Megan Fitzpatrick, June 26-28

As always, if you have a question, please email me (Megan Fitzpatrick) at


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‘The Joiner and Cabinet-Maker’ Historical Reprint Ships Next Week


After fighting printing plant delays for the last eight months, we received good news on Friday. Our historical reprint of “The Joiner and Cabinet-Maker” was complete and being trucked to our warehouse in Indiana – weeks ahead of schedule.

It should arrive Monday or Tuesday. Then the warehouse will start shipping out the pre-publication orders shortly after.

After the book arrives in the warehouse, we’ll also begin selling a special bundle of the historical reprint of the book plus the edition we originally published in 2009 with historical essays and expanded construction information. Look for details and special pricing on that some time next week.

— Christopher Schwarz

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