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<<Then I found out that my dear friend, the late David Savage, had been born David Binnington. He changed his name, perhaps because he was also a muralist but also because he fought a childhood stutter. “Savage” was easy for him to say. “Binnington” was a bitch.>>

Shouldn't that have been "'Binnington' was a b-b-b-bitch"?

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Being real doesn't always sell. The best customers I have are the ones who were shafted and then appreciate good work. I am not advocating for this (people being shafted) as the premise stinks . This is purely from a finish carpentry work perspective in the housing sector in Australia. Maybe it could be viewed as a learning curve and the ushering in of the new guard will simply be a more current version of the old from a , shudder, traditional trade perspective (hard earned because it needs to be rediscovered in some cases) without the party poppers and streamers of late.

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I have loved your writing for years, and have a positive visceral reaction when I see .."Christopher Schwarz" in my in basket or on a byline. I switched to Popular Woodworking from FWW when I found you. Then you left. I was dismayed, but Meg proved pretty darn good, so I stuck with it til she left, then switched to your Lost Arts Press. Still loving your writing and name.

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Being a young millennial most of my experiences would lend that what you’ve described is as much a decline of a generation as is a decline of a type of woodworking.

As a middle and high school kid fixated on woodworking all of my friends were 60-80yr old men rife with crude jokes and egos to match. Having spent enough time personally with Roy I’ve see how his life as an educating entertainer both boxed out his true self and also extenuated it. And of late he’s just tired.

In my own generation of woodworkers the pompous entertainer attitude is still alive and well only with different flavors and driven by social media marketing mirages.

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author

Yup. That is what I was trying to say. But it didn’t come across right. See my response to John C above.

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Feb 2, 2023·edited Feb 3, 2023

Decline. I guess there is a decline.

Or not, difficult to tell.

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Loved this piece as I do many of your memoir type pieces of your past and present lives. I know it'll probably never happen but I would definitely buy your memoir someday if you ever write it. You have too many great stories and a way of storytelling that makes even the normal stories very enjoyable to read. I think there are still those out there that have a "look" whether they like it or not. I honestly had never heard of or noticed a chore coat before you and I kind of think of a chore coat when I picture you in the shop. I've seen you at lectures too though without the chore coat. And with the help of the internet and global communication and social media, podcasts, vimeo and the like - I think woodworking and especially the hand tool woodworking revival is here to stay and will keep many interested for decades to come. May not be as big as the book runs of the past or the celebrities but I don't think that diminishes the ability of the trade to endure, at least I hope not. I know that I will always be doing something constructive with my hands for as long as they still work.

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Feb 2, 2023·edited Feb 2, 2023

Fun essay, and largely on point... but while I was reading the paragraphs about black turtlenecks, porn-start mustaches and plaid shirts, all I could think of was... "this, from the guy who brings you English Work Vests and French Chore Coats?" Who needs lederhosen when you've got a bespoke Workshop Waist Apron with an artisanal hook?

The Fancy Lads (and Lassies) are alive and well in Covington!

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author

My furniture is nice, too.

What I make is nice. And made here. And reasonably priced. Chore coats like ours are usually twice as expensive (and made overseas). Try to buy a moleskin vest made in the USA made like ours.

It might seem fancy to others. And that's fine. But if you study the apparel market, we are not fancy.

Not being defensive (promise). Just trying to provide context.

C

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We haven't gone too far enough! Why would one merely inform when they can influence!( But in italics for a more sinister effect)

I am happy the world seems to be moving on from the boys' club type of atmosphere, though, and becoming more open and accessible. The movement doesn't stand a chance if only old white dudes want to make stuff.

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If you were to appear tomorrow with a fabricated appearance, I probably think but not say, “take your personal brand and shove it.” At the same time, hoping that the judgment cloud didn’t set on your writing and publishing.

I don’t know much about heroes, but at home, you are called Carpintero-Dios.

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Capes are out. Canes are where it's at.

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Is it in decline or is just the marketplace for information changing? how many people are woodworkers today compared to 1973? what percentage of today's woodworkers are purely hand tools, hybrid, or power? I'd wager the breakdown is higher than it was 50 years ago. All that has changed is the marketplace, it seems akin to people claiming the internet was going to destroy libraries.

Chris doesn't need to change his name, his sass is all the flannel and suspenders he'll ever need to live forever in our hearts.

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May the “Schwarz” be with you!!!!

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If woodworking is in “decline” or at least there have been lots of changes, then how has the audience changed? I believe like Chris that we are a smaller audience. But in what other ways have the audience changed? We are definitely more digital. Pun intended.

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Not having finished my coffee, I got to the end of this and said to myself “WTF, woodworking is not in decline. What chu talkin about Wilis?” That last line threw me.

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If I were Edward Gibbon, or even Euell Gibbon, I would write a Decline and Fall (and Rise) of Woodworking, focusing on publishing and tools.

The previous generation started at the low ebb of the depression, with magazines such as The Deltagram (1932), Popular Homecraft Magazine (1930), and Home Craftsman Magazine (1932). All were started to advertise tools, especially power tools, to amateurs.

PH died in 1959, HC died in 1967, and Deltagram (as Flying Chips) ended in 1972. Stanley had ended most of its hand tool production by then. They made a few things in England still, as did Record, but those were pretty much also gone by 1980-ish.

The early 70s was a woodworking graveyard. No magazines, very few books, except for crap like Sunshine. England was doing more, but little of it crossed the pond. You couldn't get new hand tools, and Sears was about the only spot for power tools for woodworkers.

The Spirit of (19)76 started the next generation. Fine Woodworking started in late 75, followed in 1977 by Woodworker's Journal. And a couple dozen more Magazine, Woodwork AMFAW, American Woodworker, Popular Woodworking, Woodsmith, on and on -- boom times.

In tools, Lee Valley started in 1978, with the first Veritas tools in 1982. Lie Nielsen sold their first tools in 1982. Now we have smaller toolmakers and blacksmiths turning out all manner of things.

Everything rises, everything falls (that's what she said). The Norm Abram era is over, but a new one has already started. History is always a cycle.

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Capes and power tools are a bit twitchy. But they're aces with Gummi bear glue and holdfasts. No ermine though, just honest Schwarz wool broadcloth.

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