Almost Ready for a ‘Dumb-ass’ Read

After a flurry of holiday and reprint-related work, we’re finally back to working on the third edition of Jennie Alexander’s “Make a Chair from a Tree.”

Peter Follansbee has shot all the supplemental pictures we needed, and Brendan Gaffney has delivered new illustrations executed under Peter’s guidance. I’ve begun inserting those images into the layouts today and expect to be finished with that by Monday. And while I awaited those images, I read through the text (that Larry Barrett and Peter pulled together from Jennie’s manuscript) again to identify any final questions that need answering before we can call the book ready for review.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Then I’ll give it another read – what I call the “dumb-ass read” – after those questions are answered and everything is laid out. I won’t feel comfortable passing it off to Christopher Schwarz for review until that’s done. That final read is something I used to do for every how-to article in the magazine (with varying degrees of “dumb ass” in mind). If it were a beginner article, which this book is in effect meant to be, I tried to clear my mind of all but the most basic of woodworking knowledge. (I don’t mean to say that all beginning woodworkers are dumb asses…just that I certainly was when I started.)

So for MACFAT, I’ll need to read as if I’m building my first greenwood chair. That is, I’ll allow myself dumb-ass self to know what a mortise is, though this fictional self has never cut such a tiny one with a 1/8″ mortise chisel. This fictional self knows what a drawknife is, but has never used one for more than making a few shavings for fun. And this fictional self probably doesn’t own a shaving horse. Yet.

With that mindset, can I build this chair in my head? Do I understand not only the how, but the why? Is there critical information missing that I can’t easily intuit from what isn’t missing? I don’t need to be spoon fed every crumb of information, but I do need to be able to figure things out without descending into teeth gnashing and cursing the author/editor.

After that read (and any resulting changes), Chris will read through it and point out (nicely, of course) any dumb-ass mistakes that I missed (in either editing or design…or both); after those get addressed, it will be ready for copy edit.

So in short, the third edition of “Make a Chair from a Tree” will likely be the first new Lost Art Press book in 2021 to go to the printer. That’s a pretty good way to start off the year! (We don’t have information on when we will open pre-ordering or what the retail price will be. We hope that all of our retailers will carry it – though that is up to each retailer – of course.)

– Fitz

P.S. Jennie’s great video “Make a Chair From a Tree” is available now in our store.


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