Would you buy anything from these guys??
Well I would, and many others did. So to update all on our newest production here goes:
“The Essential Woodworker” by Robert Wearing has been printed and bound. The book will leave the bindery on Monday, July 19th, 2010. The book will be at Lost Art Press this week and shipping will begin immediately. We are fully supplied with boxes, tape and shipping labels. Thank you all for your support; we are confident that you will enjoy this new book.
The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has some great furniture that’s squirreled away amongst the tapestries, sculpture and ceramics. Some of the pieces that I find most amazing (such as one of the earliest Morris chairs made by Morris & Co.) are tucked away in dark corners behind other objects.
But one of the personally most appealing pieces in the museum gets a lot of attention. It’s one of the first free-standing bookcases ever built, which shares an exhibit with a very early gate-leg table, caned chair and tall case clock.
According to the museum’s account, the first free-standing bookcase know was built for diarist and Naval administrator Samuel Pepys in 1666. The bookcases are shown clearly in his library, though I am not sure if they are mentioned in his diary.
The oak bookcase at the Victoria & Albert was built about 1695, probably for William Blathwayt, also a civil servant. The bookcases are similar in construction to the ones in Pepys’s library. The bookcase is in four pieces for easy assembly on-site (though the museum description did not say what the four pieces were — my guess would be plinth, lower case, upper case and top cap).
The doors are mullioned, which was all the rage at the time with the advent of sash windows. Each piece of glass is individually set into the frame. And the shelves are adjustable to accommodate different sizes of books.
After learning about a lot of forms of furniture that “evolved” through history, it’s almost shocking to see a new form that springs forth almost fully formed.
The piece was easily 8′ tall — that’s probably a bit too much for modern homes. But still, wouldn’t it be cool to build one like this for your woodworking books?
— Christopher Schwarz
Last year my spouse did something completely insane for my birthday: She bought me something I asked for (but I really should not have).
It was a used bourbon barrel – white oak, banded in steel hoops and charred on on the inside. With a nice big bung hole. My dream was to have one of these barrels as my garbage can at the end of my vise. No more plastic for me. Just a giant gaping black maw of charred oak with some sweet bourbon redolence mixed in.
That was June 2009.
The barrel arrived via truck. No box. Just a label and a barrel. Still, I was excited as Hello Kitty on mini-crayon day. I rolled the barrel back to my shop. But before I wrangled it down the stairs I had a bad thought. What if it wouldn’t fit under my workbench?
A quick check with my tape measure confirmed the drunken obvious: The barrel was actually taller than my bench. So I’d be ramming my handplanes into it. Dejected, I rolled it next to my Karmann-Ghia, where it has sat for 13 months.
After seeing some of the barrels at the Maker’s Mark distillery this May, I became inspired to revisit my personal cask of shame. I decided to cut it down. Give it a flattop. Remove more than 6″ of material and not have the staves fall apart on me.
Here’s what I did. I “borrowed” a silver Crayola from my daughter and used a 1″-thick scrap to mark a line that was 1″ offset below one of the hoops. Then I took a 5/8″ drill and bored a hole adjacent to the wax line. Then it was less than three minutes of work with a jigsaw, cutting around the barrel until the top fell off. Inside were four bungs. Four?
The inside was as black as I’d imagined. I stuck my head in to inhale the sweet smell of aged bourbon.
It smelled like a wet bonfire.
Oh well. I rolled the barrel to my shop. It fit perfectly beneath the bench. I put my plastic garbage can out at the street. Good riddance. And what about the top of the barrel? Don’t know. I rolled it next to the Karmann-Ghia. Maybe next year I’ll deal with it.
— Christopher Schwarz
Robert Wearing’s masterwork, “The Essential Woodworker,” is now at the printer in Pennsylvania and is scheduled to arrive in our office on July 16.
In the meantime, we’re offering a special pre-sale of this product for those of you who don’t want to wait to consume this book, which is packed with everything you need to build casework, tables and boxes using hand tools and traditional English methods.
Purchase this book before July 15, and you will receive a pdf version of this book immediately — you’ll be the first woodworker on your block to own this book and not pay $80 (or more).
Yup, that is how much vintage copies of this fantastic book are going for. We have entirely re-set the text, restored missing photographs, incorporated revisions from Robert Wearing himself and printed it on nice 55-pound paper in the United States in a hardbound, cloth-covered 256-page edition. This is the official version sanctioned and approved by the author. The price is $23 plus $4 shipping in the United States. International customers can contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.
To pre-order the book, visit our store here. Once your order is confirmed, you will receive an e-mail from us within 24 hours (please be patient — we’re a small company) with a link to download the entire book.
I wasn’t born or raised in Cincinnati, but I feel a deep kinship with the city and its incredibly rich history with the decorative arts, including furniture.
The city was a hotbed of decorative carving in the 19th century, with a world-class school devoted to carving that was dominated by women. Furniture-wise, the city experienced an intense Asian-inspired burst of creativity in the 1880s that resulted in many furniture companies here producing Asian-inspired furniture that was sold all over North America. The Greene Brothers were born here. Rookwood Pottery was founded here — and is still here and making objects of intense beauty.
And we had the Shop of the Crafters.
Now, if you are a fan of Arts & Crafts furniture, you might have heard of this shop, which is now beneath a highway I drive on every morning on my way to work. The Shop of the Crafters was different than all the assorted Stickleys that populated New York.
The output of the Shop of the Crafters was unique because of its inlay, European influence and profound unevenness. In the Cincinnati Art Museum, there is a display of some of the shop’s work. On the left is a beautiful china cabinet that delights you the more you stare at it. On the right is a clock that looks like it was made with home center materials.
I have owned a Shop of the Crafters Morris chair since I was 23, and it is one of my most favorite tangible objects. I bought it from an antiques warehouse in South Carolina for $335. They had a big scarecrow sitting in it and the cushions were green leatherette covered in the ugliest flowers you’ve ever seen.
But I scrimped and saved for that chair (we qualified for Food Stamps at the time) and it is the first thing you’ll see when you walk into our house.
Today Lucy, Katy and I went to the Cincinnati Art Museum and I renewed my love affair with many of the decorative objects in their collection. If you come to Woodworking in America this fall, I hope you’ll take some time out to visit this absolute jewel box of a museum. Admission is free (thanks to the sweat and blood of me and my co-workers). But the wankers now charge for parking.
— Christopher Schwarz