Lost Arts Press is a small independent USA based publishing house that specialises in publishing books about woodwork. Some of their titles are new, some are reprints of older books or magazine articles. They are mostly USA based, but many of the books are from other countries – UK, France even Latvia!
The books are stocked in Australia by Lie-Neilson Australia and by Carbatec. I have a couple of Lost Arts Press books – they are well made, usually with cloth bindings and quality paper. They are also well written and well designed.
Lost Arts Press is the brainchild of Christopher Schwartz, woodworker, teacher, journalist, author and former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. He is driven by his personal commitment to what he calls ‘Amercian Anarchy’ – and it doesn’t involve bombs and revolution.
Lost Arts Press have released the book ‘The Anarchist’s Workbench’ as a free download in .pdf format – which means that you can read the book on your computer, your tablet device or even your smart phone. Or you can print the book from your computer to your home printer – although at 316 pages, it will chew through a bit of paper and ink!
I haven’t read all of the book yet, but I have enjoyed what I have read so far. Chris Schwartz begins The Anarchist’s Workbench with a bit of history of his experiences with work benches and a bit about his personal approach to woodworking and life in general. He describes the bench that is the distillation of his experience with work benches, and then he describes the process of making the Anarchist’s Workbench. The book also has sections on historical work benches, bench hardware, fixtures and fittings – even using a bench with no vices!
Workbenches are a very personal tool. Some folks are workbench obsessed, and want the best ever workbench – they can turn their benches in to works of art, making them out of exotic timbers, fitted with exotic hardware and costing a mint. Some woodworkers use an old door on trestles as their workbench – I did for years. There are as many different points of view on what makes the ideal workbench as there are opinions on the ideal bench hardware.
The Anarchist’s Workbench is designed to be affordable, practical and highly effective, using construction timber to make the bench top and structure. And I’m sure it works very well. The book is written for readers from the USA, but the information and advice can be applied to Australian woodworkers.
The book also reflects the authors interest in historical benches and woodworking methods – that’s OK too. The reader can take or leave the advice, and make a bench to suit themselves.
For what its worth, my own bench (pictured above and below) was made mostly of oregon that was pulled out of a verandah and deck of our house at the time, as well as other odd timbers – recycled bridge timbers and even some treated pine 190 x 45 that we had lying around. I used low cost vices, and fitted them out with hardwood faces. At the back of my mind was the idea that I could always build another one if my bench disappointed. It may not be perfect, but I’m not disappointed with it, and I have no plans to replace or upgrade it.
If you are interested in workbenches, or you secretly want the coolest workshop, or you desperately need a bench of your own, down load the free book and start reading. Once you have read the book, sketch up the bench you want to work with, and start building. How hard can it be?
To download the book, click here and follow the links…