Feeding Your Book Addiction – Win A Design Book From Lost Art Press

My Dilemma, Your Gain

Yes, I admit it, I have a book problem. But my wife and I can’t agree on exactly what that problem is. For me it’s the continual challenge of finding places to put more of them, and for her it’s the unending flow of them through the front door.

The only time I ever had all my books where I could easily put my hands on them was when we lived at the beach. The bungalow we rented was just too small for everything so we ended up renting the one across the drive from us. Besides a 6 foot drawing table the only thing in the rooms was books. Every room was floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

My wife said recently, “You have to get rid of some of these books.” I said, ‘O.K., I’ll give some books away.” Notice I didn’t say I’d give any of my books away.

Lost Art Press

Lost Art Press

Lost Art Press was started in 2008 by Lucy May, Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman to publish books which would help woodworkers rediscover the lost art of traditional hand tools and building techniques. Schwarz was the former editor at Popular Woodworking magazine as well as Woodworking Magazine and has been one of a small group of key individuals who have brought about a hand tool renaissance. Traditional tools and methods  which were thought to be inferior to modern methods are reshaping both the woodworking and the tool making communities.

The company has released 11 books so far and has six more scheduled for release in 2014. Their first effort was an excellent annotated version of the 17th century book The Art Of Joinery by Joseph Moxon, the first English language book on the topic. The book soon sold out and copies fetched over $100 on Ebay. They have recently rereleased a newly edited and updated version.

The Kind Of Books They Don’t Print

What Lost Art Press doesn’t publish are junk books. What’s a junk book? Here’s an example; about ten years ago a builder on the East coast “published” a series of design books which were basically just bad scans out of period design books and pasted them up into thin, jumbled perfect-bound pamphlets which were selling for over $30. Junk. That’s not what Lost Art Press puts out.

Besides the fact that their books are traditionally bound sewn-signature volumes on quality paper, the editions, some reprints of classic books and some original, are written by authors who clearly know what they are talking about. And most of these books, while written with woodworkers in mind are incredibly valuable and informative even if you never plan on picking up a saw.

Selfish Motives

So, to keep my promise I’m giving three digital versions of their books away for purely selfish reasons. I want companies like Lost Art Press to be around a long time and the more people that know about them the more likely they’re going to keep pumping out great books. Chris, John, keep them coming, please.

The Loot

If you’re a winner you get to pick one of the following books:

By Hand & Eye (digital version)


I reviewed this book in an earlier post and think it’s an important book for designers. The should be part of your main reference library along with a fifth edition of Architectural Graphic Standards and a copy of McKay’s Building Construction.

With The Grain (pdf version)


If wood is a complete mystery to you then you should get this book. It simply and clearly explains the basics of wood and its use in furniture making. There are chapters on wood movement and how to calculate it in furniture construction and the characteristics of different species of trees.

To Make As Perfectly As Possible – Roubo On Marquetry (pdf version)


This book is the result of over six years of work and is the first english language translation of the classic book by Andre Roubo, originally publish in the 18th century. Lead by Donald Williams, a former head conservator for the Smithsonian Institute, the book is far more than a reprint. Williams spent years recreating the techniques described by Roubo as well as reconstructing most of the tools he describes as typical of the Menusier in France. An absolute must-have if your interests include period furniture. A second volume on furniture construction is due out next year.

Door Making And Window Making (hardcover)


Here’s another must have for your reference library. Since most everything we draw is custom, it helps to understand door and window construction when you’re creating those full-size details. This book is a reprint of two English joiners manuals which explain the process.

How To Enter

There will be three winners. Basically all you have to do is take a guess at the number of books in my personal library, kind of like guessing the number of gum balls in the jar. As a hint, it was over fifteen years ago when they could fill a 550 square foot bungalow.

You can either post a reply with your guess (and your book choice if you’re a winner) to this post or send your guess to:


Deadline is midnight on Friday, December 6. Please, only one entry per person. Ties will be decided by picking a name from a hat by Coco the Psychic Bunny.


Winners will be notified on December 7 and sent a link where they can download their book. If you want the Windows And Doors book, it is only available in hardcover and will ship in late December.

I hope that if you win you’ll buy a hardcopy version as well and a digital copy for a friend. And if you don’t win I hope I’ve enticed you to spend your own cash on what are truly terrific books.

Mozart Wasn’t A Hummer


Sketch for Rosemary's Baby by Richard Sylbert

Sketch for Rosemary’s Baby by Richard Sylbert

“When I began working in the industry, you made all the illustrations, you drew up the plans, you decorated the sets, you picked all the locations. Today most designers on a big production will have dozens of people working for them. The most I ever had is six. Imagine Mozart saying to somebody, ‘I have a great idea for a piece of music, but I don’t know how to play the piano. Let me hum it for you.’ The fact is Mozart was the finest pianist of his day.  Most production designers today are hummers.  They have ideas but can’t draw a 1/4 inch plan. They have no idea how to commit to details.”

Richard Sylbert, Production Designer – Chinatown, Reds, The Manchurian Candidate, The Graduate, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Just Shoot It


Scene from Days Of Heaven - Production Designer Jack Fisk

Scene from Days Of Heaven – directed by Terrence Malick – Production Designer Jack Fisk – cinematography by Nestor Almendros

“It’s one of those foolish truisms that a lot of what is perceived as great cinematography actually is really good production design or really good location choice. Often it’s that easy – it’s so damn good, just photograph it.”

Stuart Dryburgh , Cinematographer