Author Archives: Christopher Schwarz

Christopher Schwarz

About Christopher Schwarz

Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. He's a hand-tool enthusiast (though he uses power tools, too).

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Another 511-year-old Woodworking Vise

Screw-driven vises are not modern inventions. The earliest screw-driven vise that I know of is this Italian vise that is circa 1300. I am always looking for earlier vises because the screw mechanism has been around since Archimedes, though his screw was originally used for irrigation. This year I have been delving deep into...

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A Quick Preview of the ‘Vampire Vise’

With only six days before Woodworking in America, I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to get everything ready for the big three-day woodworking geek-fest a few blocks away from my shop. Today I’m putting the finishing touches on one of the two Roman-style workbenches I’ve built for Woodworking in America. I’ll be presenting...

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Understanding Grain Direction

I often tell people that the grain direction in a board is like the fur on a cat. Stroke the cat (or board) one way and the cat will purr, and your tool will produce a nice surface. Stroke the cat (or board) the wrong way, however, and the cat will bite you, and...

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Tip: Wipe it Where You Store it

I know a woodworker who said he saved himself hundreds of steps a day merely by moving his pencil sharpener so it is under his table saw. I had a similar “duh” moment today when I was wiping down a handsaw to put it in my tool chest. For the last 15 years I’ve...

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How to Start a Woodworking Myth

There are so many old wives’ tales in our craft that you could write an entire book that lists and debunks them. Students constantly bombard me with them, and it makes me wonder: How do these begin? After a slip of the tongue the other day, I think I have a good idea. This...

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Gummy Bear Glue

Hide glue is one of those simple and natural products that is intertwined with our lives in many ways, much like shellac is. The core ingredient in hide glue will gross out your children: it’s the cartilage, connective tissue and bones of cattle or other animals. When cooked down, the resulting product makes the...

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Working Without a Cambered Iron

The cutters in my bench planes all have cambered irons. The jack has the most – a 10” radius curve – followed by the much slighter curves of my jointer and smoothing planes. The curves do two things: They prevent the corners of the iron from digging into the work and creating “plane tracks,”...