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Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz

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Updated: 29 min 40 sec ago

‘Hammerschlager’ – the Local Rules

Sat, 03/11/2017 - 6:24am



Tonight we’re playing a variant of the Hammerschlager game made popular by Mike Siemsen at Woodworking in America. We’re playing at Rhinegeist brewing. Schlaging starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. The prize: The last of our “With Hammer in Hand” letterpress posters.

Hammerschlager is a game of skill played with a stump, a cross-peen hammer and nails. Two opponents take turns attempting to sink a nail using the peen side of hammer. The first one to sink the head flush or below the surface of the stump wins.

Here are the local rules for the game tonight.

  1. If you break or abuse any of the equipment (especially the hammers), you’re done – disqualified.
  2. You may face a particular opponent only once. Period. In other words, you cannot play against a person more than once. Once only you shall face a particular opponent. Don’t cheat.
  3. You start the stroke with the peen of the hammer resting on the stump.
  4. If the nail is knocked crooked, your opponent may straighten the nail to vertical before taking his or her turn.
  5. The loser of the round marks the winner’s forearm with a slash using a marker (provided). The person with the most marks at 10:30 p.m. wins the poster.
  6. The winner of the round is allowed to face the next opponent immediately. The loser has to return to the back of the line and find another opponent.
  7. All disagreements are settled by the judge (me). Decisions are final. It’s just a stupid game. Don’t make me hate you.
  8. This is not a drinking game. You may drink while you play if you like, but drinking is not required, requested, suggested or smiled upon. It’s just a dumb game.

See you tonight.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Frame Fight: Coping Saws vs. Fret Saws

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 4:40pm

A fret saw’s thin blade drops into the kerf left by any dovetail saw. Then you just turn and saw.

This is an excerpt from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” by Anon, Christopher Schwarz and and Joel Moskowitz. 

For those of you who chisel out your waste when dovetailing, this section is not for you. Move along. There’s nothing to see here.

OK, now that we’re alone: Have you ever been confused about which frame saw you should use to remove the waste between your pins and tails? I have. For years I used a coping saw and was blissfully happy.

Then I took an advanced dovetail class with maestro Rob Cosman and he made a strong case that a fret saw was superior because you could remove the waste in one fell swoop (instead of two). So, like any good monkey, I bought a fret saw and did it that way for many years.

But fret saws aren’t perfect. Almost all of them require tuning. You need to file some serrations in the pads that clamp the blade, otherwise it’s all stroke, stroke, sproing. Oh, and the blades tend to break. Or kink.

And fret saws are slow. I use 11.5 teeth per inch (tpi) scrollsaw blades, and it takes about 30 strokes to get through the waste between my typical tails in hardwood.

If you want to see a good video on how to tune up a fretsaw, check out Rob Cosman’s site. He shows you how to hot-rod the handle and bend the blade for the best performance.


Coping saws require two swooping passes to remove the waste. Drop the teeth in your kerf and make swoop one. Come back and make swoop two.

About Coping Saws

What I like about coping saws is that they cut faster. I use an 18 tpi blade from Tools for Working Wood. (I think they’re made by Olson.) The blades cut wicked fast thanks to their deeper gullets and longer length. It takes me 12 to 14 strokes to remove the waste between my typical tails.

The other thing I like about the coping saw is that its throat is deeper (5″ vs. 2-3/4″ on my fret saw), which allows me to handle wider drawers without turning the blade. Also, the blades of a coping saw are far more robust and almost never come loose. I’m partial to the German-made Olson coping saw. It’s about $12 and beats the pants off the stuff at the home centers.

The major downside to the coping saw is that you have to remove the waste in two passes instead of one. Because the coping saw’s blade is thick, it sometimes won’t drop down into the bottom of the kerf left by your dovetail saw. So you get around this by making two swooping passes to clear the waste.

One last thing: Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t discuss wooden bowsaws, another fantastic frame saw. At the time I was writing this book, my bowsaw was busted. First, one of the arms cracked after someone (no names) over-tensioned it. I fixed that. Then the twine busted and I didn’t have any on hand.

Since building the Chest of Drawers, I got my bowsaw back on its feet (bowsaws do not have feet, by the way) and it is giving my coping saw a run for its money. The fret saw still hangs dusty and lonely on the wall.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: The Joiner & Cabinet Maker
Categories: Hand Tools

Don Williams! Beeswax! Pollisoirs!

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:55pm


I don’t think I’ve ever used that many exclamation marks… ever.

If you are coming to the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool event at Braxton Brewing on Friday or Saturday, look for Don Williams. He’ll be selling his excellent beeswax and mind-blowing polissoirs.

What’s a polissoir? Oh my. Go here and look around. It’s a simple pre-industrial finishing tool that will change your mind about wax finishes.

The polissoirs are handmade in Virginia by one of Don’s neighbors to Don’s specifications and are things of beauty. The blocks of pure beeswax are purified on Don’s farm by him and his wife. The wax is, pardon the expression, the bee’s buzz.

And if you want to learn (a lot) about traditional finishing techniques, just ask Don about his shellac collection….

The show starts both days at 10 a.m. Free admission. Great beer, coffee and conversations about woodworking and tools. What more could you want? A foot massage? Don’t ask me.

Full details on the event are here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Finishing, Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

A Walk in the Woods in February

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 10:58am

I love the smell of ponderosa pine in the morning…. Smells like…vanilla.

–Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, Apocalypse Now (director’s cut)

We’re going to travel a little further afield today, but first, a correction: Last time, I posted a photo that I claimed was of a tuliptree, but as A Riving Home pointed out in the comments, the photo was actually of a mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa). What happened was that I had taken photos of both, but at the last minute decided to save the hickory for a later post, and then managed to mix up the photos. Here’s the real tuliptree:


(The description in the previous post still applies.)

In February, the forest begins to show signs of renewed life. The earliest migrant bird, the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), has arrived, and the resident species are singing their hearts out. There’s some color seeping into the grayness of the landscape, and on a warm, rainy night, you might hear a chorus of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). By the end of the month, some of the trees have begun blooming. The most noticeable of these are red maple (Acer rubrum), with its deep red flowers, and silver maple (A. saccharinum) with dull orange flowers. The pinkish flowers of American (Ulmus americana) and slippery (U. rubra) elms quickly give way to pale green flying saucer-shaped seeds.

Some shrubs begin leafing out in February as well, but these are nearly all non-native plants, such as Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata). The native plants know that there’s still a good chance for a hard frost, so they wait.

We begin in an area of bottomland near the Hocking River here in Athens County, where there are a couple of species that dominate. First, one of the easiest of all trees to identify:


The patchy, ghostly white and gray bark of the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) always stands out against the gray backdrop of the winter forest. Close up, the lower portions of the trunk are covered in numerous small, brown scales:


The other dominant bottomland tree in this area is the often huge eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides):


Its bark is deeply and coarsely furrowed, with the ridges being more or less flat-topped.

Both of these trees can be found further up slope, but it’s always a sign of abundant ground water when they are. In particular, you can find these trees along ravines and exposed layers of porous shale, where the soil is always wet. These layers of shale correspond with coal seams, in this area the Middle Kittanning or “No. 6” coal.

One of the most important trees to a woodworker is black cherry (Prunus serotina):


Further north and at higher elevations, black cherry can be the dominant species in a forest, but around here it’s mainly found as scattered individual trees, usually but not always near water. The bark is dark, brownish-black, and broken up into oval scales that curl up around the edges. Another feature of cherry trees is that they are almost never straight. This is because as the tree grows, the main stem has a pair of terminal buds, rather than just one, and one of the buds “wins,” depending on the lighting conditions. Thus, each year, the tree heads off in a slightly different direction.

We’re going to move up slope now, to some forested land that my wife and I own just over the county line, in Meigs County. A close relative of the eastern cottonwood is bigtooth aspen (P. grandidentata):


The bark is a medium gray, sometimes with a gold sheen, and interrupted by a combination of horizontal ridges and vertical splits. Further north, quaking aspen (P. tremuloides) replaces bigtooth aspen; its bark is similar but whiter.

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is characterized by smooth, nearly featureless gray bark:


There are several species of hickory in the forests, most of them difficult to tell apart. The aforementioned mockernut hickory is fairly common:


The bark has the sort of criss-crossing X ridge structure that many of trees in the forest have, but in the hickories, these ridges tend to look as if they are strands braided together. This is more apparent in a young tree:


One species of hickory that is not hard to identify is shagbark hickory (C. ovata). Although the braided pattern is obscured, you can still kind of see it if you squint; it tends to be more obvious near the base of the trunk:


Pines are tricky. A big part of that is that people plant a lot of pine trees, and the species that they plant are very often not native to the area, so you never know what you’re looking at. Around here, only one native species of pine, Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana), is common:


It’s characterized by relatively short (about 2″/5 cm) paired needles that are flattened and somewhat crescent-shaped in cross section, and usually twisted.

The other pines that occur in the area all have much longer needles: eastern white pine (P. strobus), pitch pine (P. rigida) and shortleaf pine (P. echinata). It generally takes a combination of characters (number of needles in a bundle, shape and size of the cone, etc.) to distinguish these species.

Ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), a species of the western half of the United States, really does smell like vanilla, although you have to get your nose right up to the bark to notice it. You won’t find any ponderosa pines growing around here, but you might nevertheless find it at your local home center; the clear pine boards are often cut from that species.

Not everything in the forest is a tree, of course. There is a ground-hugging plant that looks strangely like a conifer of some kind:


And one of its common names is indeed “groundcedar.” In fact, though, it’s not a conifer at all, but rather a member of an ancient lineage of plants, Lycopodiophyta, and not closely related to any of the more typical plants. This one is the fan clubmoss (Lycopodium digitatum).

Sedges (Carex sp.) are a rather overwhelming group of grass-like plants; there are about 2000 species worldwide, and 140 just in Ohio. One of the most common is eastern woodland sedge (C. blanda):


There are many species of ferns in the forest, but these two are the only ones that are likely to remain green in winter:


The marginal woodfern (Dryopteris marginalis), on the left, may die back to the ground in very cold winters, but the Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), on the right, stays green regardless.

The marginal woodfern can be identified by the fact that the sori (the spore-bearing structures on the undersides of the fronds) are located along the margins of the pinnules:


It’s still a bit early for wildflowers, although I did find the leaves of this eastern waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) poking through the leaf litter:


The only blooming flower that I found (actually, I think my wife found it) was this non-native purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum):


There should be many more wildflowers next month.

–Steve Schafer

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Best Job I’ve Ever Had

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 6:21am

pwm0417_500_1Megan Fitzpatrick at Popular Woodworking Magazine is looking for a managing editor to fill the spot recently vacated by Rodney Wilson, who did a heck of a job before moving up in the world.

I joined Popular Woodworking in 1996 as the managing editor, and it is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had. You have to be hyper-organized because the managing editor has to make sure the trains run on time. That the authors get paid. That the manuscripts arrive on time. And that corrections get made.

On the flipside, you have access to a dream shop of workbenches, hand tools and power equipment, including a 12” jointer and 20” planer. Whenever your head is too full of adverbial nouns, you can walk to the shop and clear your brain by cutting dovetails for an hour.

Megan is a demanding boss, but that’s the best and only kind in modern publishing. Magazines with lesser editors have all closed their doors.

Best of all, the job is open-ended. After I mastered my paperwork and manuscript duties (that took about a year) I was encouraged to become a better woodworker, write articles, begin blogging, travel to visit authors and work on tool reviews. All that led to being able start my own publishing company with John.

If you love woodworking and want to live and breathe it, this is the job.

Take look at the job description here. Yes, you have to live in Cincinnati.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Where’s My $%#$@ ‘Roubo on Furniture’ Book?

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 4:20am

LAP_logo2_940When you order a book from us, you are supposed to receive an email when the book has been received by the shipping company. When the shipper scans the book – beep – that sends the message to our store’s software. And our software sends a message to you with tracking information.

Sometimes, USPS isn’t very good about scanning packages in a timely manner. Sometimes they don’t get scanned. And so you don’t get an email. But you will get your book.

We have complained (a lot) to USPS. They are overworked so I doubt this will change.

So apologies for the delayed emails or emails that didn’t come.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Beard is Not Enough

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 3:19pm


So this week I sat down with my image consultant and he had some harsh words for me: “You need a ‘thing’ to set you apart from other woodworking bloggers, podcasters and television personalities.”

I asked: “A thing?”

“Yeah. Charles Brock has that patchwork hat. Roy Underhill has his hat and suspenders. Scott Phillips has his similar hat and suspenders. Norm Abram – tool belt. David Mark has tattoos. Tommy Mac has his muscle shirts., and….”

I say: “I have a beard.”

“Sorry,” he said. “Unless your beard is equal to or greater than Peter Follansbee’s, then it’s just hardscrabble. Plus, he has cornered the market on the tie-dye T-shirt and shorts thing. So don’t even bring those up”

“Ugh,” I said. “What do you recommend?”

“You could wear a cape,” he suggested. “Maybe array tools on the interior?”

I countered. “What if it gets caught in the jointer or the table saw? That could be dangerous.” I paused. “Look, I don’t like to have my face appear on the blog or on video, what about a mask? Like a luchador?”


The consultant had a good point: “In this day and age, dressing like a Mexican wrestler will get you excoriated by the liberals or deported by the conservatives.”

We locked eyes.

“Fancy wristwatches?”

“Mario Rodriguez.”

“Unusual fingernails?”

“David Charlesworth”

“A vicious temper?”

“I’m not touching that.”

“Large mammaries?”

“Look, I already said I’m not touching those.”

“Copious body hair?”

“Hmmm. How much body hair do you have?” the consultant asked. “Do you have to shave your back?”

“No. I pluck three hairs from my right shoulder,” I said. “Two from my left.”

“A huge afro?”

“Bob Ross.”

“Bob Ross is dead!”

“But Bob Ross’s afro is so awesome it has been retired.”

And that’s where my time was up with the image consultant. His recommendation: Mount a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to perform a statically significant survey of what my gimmick should be.

Maybe a huge rodeo belt with a pterodactyl holding a carving gouge….

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Satire, Uncategorized, Yellow Pine Journalism
Categories: Hand Tools

Another Day, Another Stool

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 2:42pm


I try not to make this blog about personal stuff, but ever since boyhood I’ve tended to fixate on things. It might be an object. It might be a task. But I won’t sleep (literally – ask Lucy) until I scratch that itch.

Today it was this three-legged stool. I woke at 3 a.m. (typical) and began working on the next phase of this design until my wife woke at 5:50 a.m., showered and turned on her hairdryer. Something about her hairdryer puts me back to sleep – it’s why I am still conscious now.

After six hours in the shop – three of it just staring at the stool’s component – this is where I am. I still need to add the chamfers to the seat and clean off all the sawblade marks, but I’m pretty happy with the direction this is headed.


The mass of the legs, stretchers and seat are more balanced. I’ve added curves to make the seat less jarring. And the stretchers are now tapered octagons, like the legs.

I might sleep tonight.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Wax & Stickers on Saturday

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 7:34am



Wax for sale (lizard not included).

My daughters will be selling their soft wax and stickers at our storefront on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. We’ll have them set up to take cash, check and major credit cards.

The stickers are $5 for a set of three. Wax is $12 for a 4 ounce tin (or two tins for $20). We’ll also have some wax out for testing if you’d like to give it a try on some sample boards.

Note that this is on Saturday only. Maddy has class on Friday and Katy has other obligations.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Shipping Update: ‘Roubo on Furniture’ & ‘Roman Workbenches’

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 5:30am

r2_blue_twineThis is my mistake. I thought our warehouse had finished shipping all the copies of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture.” In truth, the last of the orders were boxed up yesterday and go out in the mail today.

Apologies for the error. And personal apologies to Meghan Bates, who has been fielding a lot of your questions because of my error.

Your book is on the way. It won’t be long now.

Additionally, some of you have been asking where your copy of “Roman Workbenches” is because our software has reported your order as “fulfilled.” This is a software glitch (Yay! Not my fault). This book is on press now and should be shipped in April.

Thank you all for your patience.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

News! Don Williams to Attend the Lie-Nielsen Event

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 5:12am


Don Williams, the author of “Virtuoso” and the ringleader of the A.J. Roubo translations, will attend the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event this weekend at Braxton Brewing in Covington, Ky.

Don will be signing books and (no doubt) spreading his wisdom on historical finishing techniques. So bring your copies of “Virtuoso” and Roubo translations. If you ordered the standard edition of “Roubo on Furniture” you’ll receive it this week. They all went out in the mail late last week.

img_6470-copy narayan2_IMG_0160

And Don isn’t the only Lost Art Press author who will be attending the Lie-Nielsen event this weekend. Narayan Nayar, the photographer for “Virtuoso,” will be there. And Matt Bickford, the author of “Mouldings in Practice,” will be demonstrating both days.

I’ll be there. And, as you know, I’ll sign anything. So bring your books.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

New Stickers This Week

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 12:53pm
948749 948750 948751


My daughter Maddy will begin mailing out a new set of stickers this week. She ran out of the previous design last week, so if your SASE is in transit you likely will receive the new designs.

The new stickers include:

  1. A round sticker with the Lost Art Press emblem and the “farting divider,” as some people have called it.
  2. A die-cut sticker in the shape of the English A-square from the cover of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”
  3. A full-color portrait of A.J. Roubo to commemorate the release of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture.”

Want a set? You can order them from her etsy store here.

Or, for customers in the United States, you can send a $5 bill and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to Maddy at:

Stick it to the Man
P.O. Box 3284
Columbus, OH 43210

As always, this is not a money-making venture for me or Lost Art Press. All profits help Maddy squeak through college without debt. Also, as her 21st birthday is coming up on March 22, some of that money might go to buying cider.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Staked High Stool

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 10:38am


I didn’t intend to start revising or adding to “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” but new designs are gushing out of my sketchbook these days, so I’ve stopped resisting.

This stool design started with a Welsh stool from the 18th century and came together in two days. It needs a second prototype to reach the finish line, but it’s good enough to show. Here are some details if you are interested in designing your own.

The stool is 25-1/2” tall, which is perfect for me. I can sit on the bench with my feet resting flat on the floor. The stretcher is 6-3/4” off the floor, so when I put my feet on it, my legs are in a traditional sitting arrangement.


The seat is 1-3/4” x 12” x 20”. This gives you enough depth so you don’t feel as if you are falling off and you won’t cut off blood circulation to your legs if you sit back on the seat. (Also, 12” is a classic stool depth.) The 20” length is suited so you can place your hands on the seat to either side of your torso. This allows you to easily reposition yourself or to help give you a push if you wish to hop off the seat.

The 45° cuts at the back remove weight – visual and literal.

The legs are 1-3/4” double-tapered octagons and start life about 27” long. The double tapers meet at the point where the stretchers intersect the legs – a natural place for bulk. The front legs use the following angles: 26° sightline and 13° resultant. The rear leg has a 0° sightline and 22° resultant. These angles give the stool immense stability.


The legs have 1-1/4” diameter tenons at the top. They start out about 2” long. The tenons are not tapered on this design.

The stretchers start as 1-1/8” octagons and are turned. The front stretcher is a cigar shape and terminates at each end with a cove and a 5/8” diameter x 1” tenon. The T-stretcher is 1-1/8” diameter at the rear leg and tapers to 3/4” at the front stretcher. Both ends have 5/8”-diameter tenons. (Note I swiped this tapered tenon from Bern Chandley, a chairmaker in Melbourne, Australia.)

What am I going to change for Stool 2.0? I’m going to add a wide and flat chamfer all around the top of the seat and saddle the seat. I’m going to bulk up the legs and stretchers a bit to see what happens. I might replace the 45° angles on the seat to ellipses.

But the second prototype will have to wait. I have tea coasters (yes, coasters) to build for a special client.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Lie-Nielsen Event: Where to Eat & Drink

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 7:12am

Shrimp and grits at Otto’s.

There are a lot of great places to eat in Cincinnati and Covington, and I’m not talking about chili parlors. In fact, the only thing I’m going to say about chili parlors is this: They are the only place you can order a “child’s three-way” and not get arrested.

To make this list manageable, I’m going to focus only on establishments that are in Covington and downtown Cincinnati. If I covered other neighborhoods, it would be a book.

Otto’s: This is one of my favorite places for lunch, dinner and brunch. It has a small menu of Southern food, but everything is outstanding. Get the tomato pie for lunch. Otto’s is also one of my contenders for best burger in the city.

Bouquet: Great wine bar and good food made with local ingredients. I love the trout.

Frida 602: A bustling Mexican place that specializes in mezcal and tacos. Get the queso. You’ll thank me.

Cock & Bull: The best fish and chips in town and a draft beer list that is insane (Delirium Tremens on draft – dang).

Goodfella’s Pizza and the Wiseguy Lounge: Downstairs is a small pizzeria with New York style pizza (yes, you can order a slice) and beer. Upstairs is one of the best bourbon bars in the state and a great place to relax.

Commonwealth Bistro: A new Southern food restaurant on Main Street. I’ve only been once but I was blown away by the fried rabbit and biscuit.

Crafts & Vines: One of the friendliest bars in the city. Wine on draft (you read that right). Plus an inventive beer selection.

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar: The bartenders know me by name here. An astonishing bourbon selection. The patio out back is one of my favorite places to hang out with a crackling fire and a bourbon.

Covington Coffee: Super-friendly family-run place. Great pastries and the best bagels (Lil’s) in the city.

Crepe Cafe: A relatively new shop on Pike Street. A cozy family-run place with really good sweet and savory crepes, plus espresso. One of my favorite places for lunch – it’s two blocks from our shop.

Point Perk: My other favorite coffee shop in town. The hours are limited, but the espresso and chai drinks are fantastic.

Coppin’s in the Hotel Covington: Open less than a year, this hotel is the jewel of the city. It’s less than a block from Braxton Brewing. The restaurant and bar are highly recommended for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. Get the corn fritters, the 16 Bricks bread and… oh just get everything.

Inspirado: Around the corner from Braxton. Eclectic menu. Osso buco and street tacos? Yes please. A very friendly place – lunch, dinner and brunch.


Pork ho fun at Kung Food.

Amerasia Kung Food: Don’t be fooled by the appearance of this divey-looking Chinese place. People come from all over the city for lunch and dinner. It also has one of the best selections of beer in the city. If you like noodles, get the pork ho fun (and ask them to make it a little extra crispy).

Riverside Korean: Authentic Korean. A karaoke room (yes, we’ve done it). Riverside never disappoints.

House of Grill: Tasty Persian food served up by the friendliest family in the restaurant business.

Keystone Grill: Family-friendly place for lunch, dinner or brunch. The mac and cheese varieties are great.

The Gruff: A pizza place in the shadow of the Roebling bridge. Fantastic pizzas (try the Italian meat pizza or the Margarita) plus local craft beer and one of the most inspiring views in the city.

Whew, Now Cincinnati
I’m going to keep this brief. This blog entry is turning into an opus already. All of these restaurants are less than a mile from the river. I’m also skipping places that are so popular (The Eagle, Bakersfield, Taft Ale House) that you can’t easily get in.

Sotto: The best restaurant in the city. Period. The first time my daughter tried the short rib cappellacci she cried. No lie.

Boca: The big brother to Sotto. A bit fancy, but unforgettable in every respect.

Maplewood: The best breakfast in the city. No question.

Mita’s: Beautiful Spanish restaurant with achingly good paella.

Nada: Upscale Mexican with a fantastic brunch.

Senate Pub: Go early. Poutine and the best hot dog I’ve ever had (brioche bun!).

Krueger’s Tavern: Delicious hamburgers and homemade sausage.

Taste of Belgium: Fried chicken and waffles. Great breakfast. Belgian ale on tap.

Morelein Lager House: A local brewery with a restaurant – the view of the Roebling Bridge and Covington alone is worth the trip.


Sweet pea and bacon pizza at A Tavola.

A Tavola: My favorite pizza in the city. Neapolitan-style. Awesome wagyu-beef meatballs and bacon tapenade. Great wine, beer and cocktails.

Salazar: I vacillate between Salazar and Sotto as my favorite places in the city.


Pulled pork sandwich at Eli’s.

Findlay Market & Eli’s: A old open-air market and the pride of Cincinnati. On weekends we walk around, eat whatever smells good and buy sausages (Kroeger meat) for the week. Eli’s is adjacent and it’s my favorite barbecue joint.

OK, that should be enough to keep you fed for one weekend.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

‘Roman Workbenches’ Going on Press

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 12:44pm


Unless something goes awry, Brian Stuparyk at Steam Whistle Letterpress plans to start printing the pages for “Roman Workbenches” this week. The plates are in. The paper is in. Now it’s just a matter of putting the two together on his Vandercook press.

Once the pages are printed, we’ll truck the results to Massachusetts so the bindery can fold the signatures, sew them and bind them. It’s too soon to tell exactly when the book will be finished and then ship – I’m hoping the process takes another five weeks.

Today I stopped by the Steam Whistle shop in neighboring Newport, Ky., to take some photos of the plates and paper to assure you that we haven’t taken your money and run off to Kansas (that’s really about as far as we could get on that sum).

Brian is a newly minted father and seems still as excited about the job as I am – and I don’t think he’s slept since Monday.

When the press starts rolling, I’ll post some photos and video of the process. It won’t be long now.

— Christopher Schwarz

page_proofs_img_4415 rw_paper_stock_img_4413 vandercook_img_4438


Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Coming to Town for the Lie-Nielsen Event?

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 6:07am


If you are trying to trick your family into traveling to Cincinnati so you can attend the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing on March 10-11, here’s some ammunition.

In this post, let’s talk about the kids’ stuff:

The Ringling Bros. final dates in Cincinnati just happen to be during that weekend. The circus is closing up shop and so this might be your last chance to see it. The performances are at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati – right across the river from Covington. Details here.

The Cincinnati Museum Center has an exhibit of Viking artifacts (which I really need to get over to see). Lots of swords, a recreation of a Viking ship and additional programming that young Vikings would dig (Viking games). The Cincinnati Children’s Museum is also in the facility, and we spent many long Saturdays there when our kids were young.

If your kids dig fish, penguins and sea life, the Newport Aquarium is a great day trip. The aquarium is at Newport on the Levee, an entertainment district that’s five minutes from the hand tool event. There’s a movie theater, restaurants and other fun stuff for kids there. Also, oddly, Mitchell’s Fish Market is exactly next door to the aquarium. I always wondered….

The Cincinnati Zoo is an outstanding zoo. I can say that because I’ve been dragged to zoos (legal and sketchy) all over the Western world. In addition to seeing all the animals that would like to eat you, there are animals you can pet. The children’s section of the zoo kept our kids occupied for hours so we could fall half-asleep on a bench.

If you have a child who is obsessed with trucks, you can soothe the little savage with a trip to the Cincinnati Fire Museum. It’s downtown – a short hop from Covington.

The Cincinnati Art Museum (free admission!) is another great day trip. For the younger kids, there’s the Rosenthal Education Center, with hands-on stuff to keep little hands occupied between filling diapers. The rest of the museum is great, too, if they happen to take a nap in the stroller.

If you like to warp your children’s minds (like we did), go to the Contemporary Art Center in downtown Cincinnati. You start at the top of the amazing building and work your way down. Our kids were always shocked and amazed and surprisingly curious when we went to the CAC. (There’s a section for kids at the top of the museum, too.) It’s not too freaky – promise. Also, stop by the 21c Museum Hotel next door. It has two floors of art exhibits that are always fun and interesting (our kids still ask to go). There’s lots to eat all around the CAC, but I’ll save that for another post.

Hope this helps.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 5:47pm

Fig. 2-7. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) 60′ – 100′ (18-30 m) tall

This is an excerpt from “With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood” by Christian Becksvoort. 


The walnut family also includes butternut and the hickories. Juglans means nut of Jupiter, nigra, or black, refers to the dark wood. Its natural range is from New England through southern Ontario to South Dakota, south to Texas, and east to northern Florida. Walnuts grow best in the deep rich soils of river valleys and bottom lands, where they reach a height of 60′-100′ (18-30 m). The tree generally has an open crown with thick, sturdy branches. Walnut leaves are compound, 1′-2′ (30-60 cm) long, with 13-23 lance-shaped leaflets. Leaves grow alternately on thick, stubby twigs. When cut, the twigs reveal a light brown pith, about the thickness of a pencil lead. Overall, the light green foliage is scant, giving the tree an airy appearance. Early in the fall the leaves turn yellow and drop, leaving a distinctive 3-lobed, notched, leaf scar. The nut matures at about the same time, enclosed in a thick, green, pulpy husk about the size of a billiard ball. The deeply grooved black nut is very thick and hard, but well worth the effort of extracting the meat. The dark brown bark grows in broken, crossed ridges.


Black walnut is as close to a perfect cabinet wood as can be found in North America. The light sapwood, 10-20 rings wide, is often steamed commercially to make it blend with the heartwood, which is a medium chocolate to purplish-brown. The wood is medium hard (with a density of 38 lb/ft³ or .61 g/cc at 12 percent MC), strong and works well with both hand and power tools. Classified as semi-ring-porous the vessels (containing tyloses) are large enough to be seen on any surface. Walnut is very decay-resistant, and was once used for railroad ties. Many early barns, houses and outbuildings in the Appalachians and the Midwest were constructed with walnut frames. Its color, beauty and workability make it a prime cabinet wood. Gunsmiths use it for stocks because it moves very little once dried. Top-quality veneer logs will sell for thousands of dollars and will panel miles of executive offices.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Last of the Second Batch of Stickers (& Hippos)

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 4:44pm


My daughter Maddy reports that she has fewer than 50 sets of stickers left from the second batch of designs we made. So if you want the beehive logo and “Divided We Stand” logo stickers, you might want to act now.

You can order them from her etsy store here.

Or, for customers in the United States, you can send a $5 bill and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to Maddy at:

Stick it to the Man
P.O. Box 3284
Columbus, OH 43210

I’ve begun designing the third set of stickers. So no matter what happens, if you order, you will get stickers.

You might be wondering what the heck Maddy is holding in her left hand. It’s a cookie from a local bakery featuring the photo of a prematurely born hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo named Fiona.

Maddy and my wife, Lucy, are obsessed with the hippo. Lucy, a reporter at WCPO-TV, has taken it upon herself to discuss the hippo every week on the station’s podcast. And we are spending money on hippo cookies like we don’t need to eat protein.

You can see the latest on Fiona here (thank you Lucy for this link).

So I have no idea why I’m writing about a premature hippo, but there you have it. Buy stickers. Like hippos. Something something.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Mentors: Hayward & Roubo

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 3:53pm


It was never supposed to happen like this, but I’m a believer in fate.

During the last seven days we have closed the books – so to speak – on two of the projects that have dogged us every day since we started this publishing company in 2007. Those projects – reviving the works of A.J. Roubo and Charles H. Hayward – have consumed the lives of more than a dozen people for almost as many years.

While I thought I would feel relief, joy or something powerful about the publication of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” and “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years Vols. I – IV,” I actually don’t feel very much on a personal level. Perhaps it has yet to sink in, but all I feel right now is gratitude to the people who signed on to these crazy projects – with no guarantee of reward – and have stuck with us for years and years.

The Charles H. Hayward project began before we even incorporated Lost Art Press in 2007. John and I wanted everyone to encounter the pure genius of Hayward and The Woodworker magazine during its heyday. And likewise, our efforts at translating Roubo’s “l’art du Menuisier” predate this company by many years.

And now we’re pretty much done. Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll receive a copy of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” and I’ll place it next to volume IV of The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years,” and that will be that. We might publish additional translations of Roubo. And we might have additional Hayward-related material in the works. But the big job is over.

I am not one for navel-gazing, but I can tell you this: These projects have transformed me as a craftsman, writer and designer. The books are so woven into the fiber of my being that it’s impossible to overstate their influence on how I work at the bench every day.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say that I can see the world through the eyes of these great men. Both of them did something that few woodworkers do: They investigated the craft around them with open hearts and open minds. Both interviewed woodworkers of all stripes in order to communicate how to make things. They refused to accept the narrow, rote training that can easily make you an effective soldier, but a poor thinker.

If anything, these men have taught me how to evaluate the advice, admonitions, rules and exhortations of other craftsmen. To spot the closed mind. To refuse to embrace dogma.

Will you find the same things in these books? I don’t know. But the lessons are there for the taking.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

“Fine and Affordable Underground Furniture”

Sat, 02/25/2017 - 1:36pm

The Kiwi Coffin Club of Rotorua and the DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay, both on the North Island of New Zealand, are featured in a short article in today’s World News section of The New York Times. You can read the article here.

The Kiwi Coffin Club

The Kiwi Coffin Club

This quote from the DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay website sums up what these clubs do and why: “The club is win-win time. It gives members a chance to plan ahead, talk about what is coming (even when hoping it is a long time arriving), socialise, help others, save money and personalise our final resting place.”

DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay

DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay

Here are two links to get you started on your own underground furniture:

Last October Chris posted the Coffin Chapter from “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” You can read that here.

In the summer of 2014 Chris and several friends had a coffin-building party and you can read about that  here.

Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: Personal Favorites, The Anarchist's Design Book
Categories: Hand Tools