‘What’s With the Weird Cat Logo?’

FinalLogo“What’s with the weird cat logo,” asked someone on Sunday – and I have received other iterations of said question in the last seven months.

In short, as you might know, I love both cats and woodworking, and while it might not be readily apparent, my cat logo covers both.

As I was thinking about a suitable logo years ago, I racked my brain for something that said “woodworking” at a glance. I collect small glue pots, so that seemed a possibility. But a drawing of a glue pot could just as easily be read as a cooking pot…or an unidentifiable object, given its two handles. So I considered Joseph Moxon’s brace drawing, but it’s used on the cover of the Lost Art Press book “The Art of Joinery,” and the Lost Art Press dividers (aka “a pair of compasses”) logo is also from Moxon. Goodness knows I’m already completely indebted to Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman – I had no wish to borrow/steal/copy even more. So I stopped looking, and used only type. After all, I was using my LLC entirely for freelance work (which I wasn’t actively seeking at the time), so I bought the font 17th C Print (because Shakespeare), wrote out “Rude Mechanicals Press” and futzed around with the spacing a bit, then called it a day.

But when my world changed in December 2017, I had to rethink things. I mean…what’s a publishing company (however small) without a logo? Something has to go on the bottom of the book spine! (It doesn’t, actually.)

So I turned to my favorite page (because cat) in “The Practical Woodworker”…


…scanned and isolated the stylized animal…



…posterized it…


Then cleaned it up and removed almost all of the hatching (shown at the top of this post), because it would unfortunately not replicate well rendered small (say, on the spine of a book). I rather love the hatching, though – I might keep it if in the future I need a larger logo.

And soon, thanks to Andrew Brant, I’ll have a vector file that’s cleaned up more, with even line weights and smoother curves, so I can then order a small stamp for my furniture work. My logo – obscure though it may be – is far more easily parsed than my scrawl of a signature.

Related: “I, one Snug the Joiner…”

Posted in Books/Editing/Writing, Rude Mechanicals Press | 11 Comments

‘Mechanic’s Companion’ Arrives This Week


I’m told by my printer that “The Mechanic’s Companion” will leave the plant tomorrow to head toward my warehouse (a.k.a. my dining room) in Cincinnati. As soon as the boxes arrive, I’ll start shipping out all the pre-publication orders in the order they were entered. And given that my cats are no help at all, please bear with me as I wrap, pack and mail them (but I’ll get it done quickly – I promise)!

If you haven’t yet ordered, rest assured there are still some first-run copies available. (I’ll be building a cat mansion out of the back-stock boxes…but I’d be delighted were it instead a cat tiny house). The book is $34, which includes domestic shipping; it can be ordered here.


I will also have copies available at the Lie-Nielsen Open House in Warren, Maine, on July 13-14, and possibly be selling them out of the back of my car (psssstttt buddy….wanna buy a woodworking book?) at the August 11 Lost Art Press open house…unless Chris takes pity on me and allows me to bring them inside. (The latest Lost Art Press book, John Brown’s “Welsh Stick Chairs” is also shipping from the printer this week.)

And, I’m working with a handful of partners (both U.S. and international) – as soon as I have orders confirmed, I’ll let you know where else you can find the book.


It is a fact universally acknowledged that it always rains on delivery day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

‘The Rules,’ According to David Savage


Editor’s note: I’m working flat out this week to get all the images sorted for David Savage’s forthcoming book “The Intelligent Hand,” coming this fall from Lost Art Press. Both Christopher Schwarz and I have completed line edits, so it now needs to go into design ASAP to meet the publication date. Though the typical Lost Art Press deadline is “when it’s ready,” this one must not only be ready, but be done soon; we promised David it would be. So it will be.

I have carried around in a notebook and added to these quotations for most of my life, I have found them inspirational. I hope they may be of some help to you, on your special journey.

1. Have a plan, but like all good battle plans, do not expect it to survive first contact with the enemy.
2. Make lots of lists; the older you get, the more you need to write it down. Don’t clutter your head with stuff you don’t have to remember. Write it down. Feeling listless? Then make a list.
3. Do not believe everything your oncologist tells you.
4. When it comes to critics and criticism, remember Theodore Roosevelt. Forgive the sexist language but bear in mind when this was written:
“It is not the critic that counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one man who actually is in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly. Who errs and comes short time and again, for there is no effort without errors and shortcomings . He who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end high achievement and triumph, who at worst knows failure whilst daring greatly. He knows that his place will never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
5. All goals and dreams are useless without a plan – a plan that can put those goals into a time frame to allow you to take action. Break the big task into smaller ones. You eat the elephant a bite at a time
6. Without goals and dreams we live a miserable life.
7. “On obstacles” by Henry Ford: “These are what you see when you take your eye off the goal.”
8. “An education is what is left when you have forgotten everything you learnt at school.” – Samuel Johnson.
9. “The most important thing that one must learn, first of all, is what the rules are. Before one can then disregard them.” – Elizabeth David
10. “The fragrance of the rose lingers upon the hand that casts it.” – William Shakespeare
11. “Do you want to succeed? Then you must double your rate of failures.” – Tom Watson, IBM
12. “A man without a smile should not keep a shop.” – Chinese Proverb
13. “What you can do, or dream that you can, begin it. Boldness has magic and power and genius within it.” – Goethe
I have been witness to this countless times. A prospective student takes the jump, fearful and anxious of what the future may hold, she makes a commitment to changing her life. The moment this happens all sorts of life changes fall in behind that decision to make it work. Goethe was right, big time.
14. “The laws which define the structure and dynamics of the universe must become part of our awareness. For these are the same laws which determine the structure and dynamics of the body. The spirit that moves an atom waves the sea.” – Ueshiba, inventor of Aikido
15. “Knighthood, Peerage, the trappings of wealth power and position, all of which I love. I would give them all up for a conductor’s baton, to be able to make first-class music, to have that talent.” – Arnold Winesteen Chairman of GEC
16. “You think that you make the piece of work, but really, the piece makes you.” – David Binnington Savage

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Last-minute (Almost) Opening in Tray Class


This is the semi-fun part – the stock selection.

Are you free next weekend and want to learn to cut dovetails – and have a great time doing it? Due to an injury, one of the six students (low teacher-to-student ratio!) for next weekend’s Dovetailed Silverware Tray Class has to postpone, so I’ve an opening. The class runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 25-26, at the Lost Art Press shop, 837 Willard St., Covington, Ky.

The stock for this opening is cherry, lovingly chosen and prepared by me (and with only a single splinter  suffered in the process – a new record!)


The not quite as fun (for me) part – the stock prep.

You’ll learn:

  • Dovetail layout using dividers
  • How to use a backsaw to saw to a line
  • How to wield a coping or fret saw
  • How to pare and chop to a line with a chisel
  • Strategies for transferring the tails to the pin board
  • Techniques for fitting the joint
  • How to lay out then cut and fair the handles (both the hand holds and the curved top edge)
  • How to smooth-plane your surfaces
  • How to use cut nails (to secure the bottom board)
  • And of course, how to put it all together (and why I recommend liquid hide glue).

The really fun part – making these!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Come Say Hello in Maine – July 13-14

LNFrontI’ll be at the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Open House in Warren, Maine, July 13-14 with lukewarm-off-the-press copies of “The Mechanic’s Companion” for sale (it ships to me in Cincinnati the week of June 18 or 25) or, and to give a short talk Sunday afternoon on woodworking and social media (#takegoodpictures #shareuniqueprojects #gethiredtowriteanarticle #catvideos).

I’m driving up … and wondering if I can do it all in one day (I suspect not), and camping (I think) on site, or possibly in my car (#subaruforthewin). Until night two, when I decide I need a shower (or perhaps I’ll just buy a new ball cap – if you see me on Sunday, you’ll know which). I’m not sure yet who else will be there as guest demonstrators, but I plan to take a tool or two and make a little something on site.

Below are just a few of my favorite snaps from past open houses – it’s a lot of fun, and highly recommended! The open house proper is free and runs both days from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – plus there’s an optional Saturday night lobster dinner ($45) with a keynote address by Thomas Moser; as I write this, there are still tickets remaining. Thos. Moser gave the keynote at the 2009 Woodworking in America (or was it 2010?) and he was very good indeed!


Frank Strazza cutting some sliding dovetail joints.


Peter Galbert


Phil Lowe and Isaac Smith demonstrating Isaac’s Roubo Frame Saw


Mary May


Thomas Lie-Nielsen laughing (during Peter Follansbee’s 2014 talk)


A Dutch Tool Chest Christopher Schwarz made during the 2014 Open House; Peter Follansbee carved the fall front, then I painted it. I think we then planed off the top of the panel to leave black paint only in the carved areas…or we at least talked about it.


Claire Minihan, hooking ’em in early to hand tools


Peter Follansbee and Deneb Puchalski

p.s. I’ll be back at Lie-Nielsen in early September to teach a dovetails/tray class…I hope! (Need a few more people to sign up, and to tell friends to sign up, too!)

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Travelin’ ATC: Interior Designs Needed


By last Friday at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, most people got about as far as shown above on their chests – which is awesome. And a couple folks finished the lids completely, which is amazing, because…everyone was so far ahead of plan that I got a wild hair up my youknowwhat on Thursday and decided we’d do the lids by hand: hand-cut grooves for the rails, stiles and panels (yay – grooves in end grain!), hand-chopped 3″-deep mortises and hand-cut haunched tenons. My plan had been to run the lid joinery (and the rabbets for the shiplapped bottom boards) by machine, then send everyone home ready to do the interiors. But these guys were so fast!

Should I have stuck to my plan? Perhaps – but I didn’t want folks to be bored, and there was time enough to learn some new skills (plus hand-cut tenons are fun)! And everyone who still needs to knows how to complete the lids at home.


pssst…don’t forget that angle cut on the back ends of the lid’s dust seal!

So now, I’m working on suggestions for the interior, based on Christopher Schwarz’s blog post here, and his article in the August 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, and recommendations on paint (milk paint – either real or faux), hinges (I’m partial to  the Horton Brasses PB-407 in nickel) and lifts (these cast iron ones from Lee Valley Tools) to send out to the 10 students.

But if you’ve made a small version of the Anarchist’s Tool Chest and deviated from the plans, I’d love to see what you did, so I can share options. For example, I changed the saw storage and tool rack in my full-sized “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” from what Chris showed in his book. (It’s one of the few times I have, in fact, “disobeyed him” – and I’m glad I did.)

rack copy

I added a row of slots behind the chisel rack for backsaw storage, and my tills are slightly narrower front to back than what’s shown in “The Anarchists’s Tool Chest”…


…and my panel saws are stored on the lid.

So if you made similar changes (again, to the smaller version of the chest), please send me snapshots in an email, to 1snugthejoiner@gmail.com; I’ll put together a post (with credit, of course!) when I have a few, and add to it as more come in.

P.S. A happy birthday to one of my best friends – without whom I would not know how to clock a screw, sharpen a plane blade or chisel, flatten a board, edit a woodworking article, enjoy beer, build a tool chest…

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Learn Dovetails; Build a Stool

StepStoolWant to learn some tricks for cutting great dovetails, and build a classic step stool in cherry as you do it? A student had to drop from the “Build a Shaker Step Stool” class at the Lost Art Press storefront/shop July 28-29, so there’s one opening.

The cost is $340, including materials, and lunch is included on both days (I’m thinking Eli’s BBQ for at least one of them – yum!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment