Christopher Schwarz is well-known in the woodworking industry, from his articles at Popular Woodworking, to his Lost Art Press publishing company.
You might have seen some of his books before, such as his book on workbench design, theory, construction, and use, which is available via Amazon.
I wrote about some of Schwarz’ “Anarchist” books before, and they’re quite good. They’re unlike any other woodworking or how-to books I’ve ever read before, and are somehow as conversational as they are informative.
Schwarz came out with a new book last year – The Anarchist’s Workbench. It seems I missed this news, as I only first learned of this book last night.
He describes The Anarchists’ Workbench as:
a detailed plan for a simple workbench that can be built using construction lumber and basic woodworking tools. But it’s also the story of Christopher Schwarz’s 20-year journey researching, building and refining historical workbenches until there was nothing left to improve.
There are two versions of The Anarchist’s Workbench – a hardcover copy, priced at $27, and a digital copy that Lost Art Press is giving away for free. That’s right, free, as in $0, and without any DRM or catches of any kind.
Why would Schwarz give this book away for free? In a blog post, he says that 1) he could afford to, 2) some people might hesitantly believe this new book too closely resembles his previous books, and so the free copy can serve as a sort of preview for them, and lastly:
Finally, I want this information – my last book on benches – to be free and widely available to everyone today and in the future. By putting it out there for free, I hope people will be inspired to build a bench, even if it’s not the bench in this book.
I’ve purchased some of the other books published by Lost Art Press, by the same and different authors, and they are very well-made. Even with a free PDF copy, I might eventually buy a hard copy (once I’m done with my currently very long reading list), and I imagine others will to.
I’ve read through some parts of The Anarchist’s Workbench already, and it’s an enjoyable book.
In this book, Schwarz discusses the how and why behind his design for a woodworking workbench sourced from home center lumber, and he also shares details about the personal and woodworking journey that has brought him here.
What is always refreshing about Schwarz’s writings these days is that he isn’t shackled by popular opinion, or the need to stay within anyone else’s lines.
This is a good book, and if it’s not quite your style, keep it in mind. Personally, I’m leaning towards a woodworking workbench direction I never would have thought I’d go in, and so never say never. If you like what you read, consider buying a physical copy.
Where are the books made?
All of our books are printed in the United States on the best materials we can obtain. We manufacture all of our books to last at least a century. That means using expensive sewn bindings, fiber tape and thick hardbacks (when possible).