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).

How to Make 90° Your Best Friend

One of the great things about handwork is that 90° is not the most critical angle. While absolute 90° is a holy setting on machinery, 87° or 93° is just as easy to cut with a handsaw, plane or chisel. And so sometimes hand-tool users (myself included) denigrate absolute 90° as something reserved for...

Denning: Get it Before it’s Gone

Popular Woodworking Books has just reprinted the classic text “The Art and Craft of Cabinet-Making” by David Denning (1891) in a beautiful edition at a great price. If you are at all interested in historical woodworking methods, you should stop reading this blog entry and buy the book. It’s only $36 (with free domestic...

Soap: Making a Clean Finish

This traditional finish from Denmark is simple, safe and tactile. by Christopher Schwarz from the October 2016 PWM When I tell fellow woodworkers and customers that I use soap as a finish on some of my tables and chairs, they think I’m joking. Then, when I pull out a Mason jar filled with soap finish...

How to Fix a Split Seat

One of the most exciting (and frightening) aspects of building a Windsor-style chair is the ever-present possibility that you will split the seat when you drive the legs home. I always tell students: Keep hitting the leg’s tenon into its mortise until the very next strike will split the seat. Then stop. This is...

Use a Drill to Shape a Chair Seat

Though I’ve built a lot of chairs, I don’t own an adze, which is used to roughly shape a plank seat so it has a buttocks-shaped depression. I also don’t own any of the typical power-tool solutions, such as an angle grinder outfitted with a special cutter for seats. Instead, I have a scorp,...

Friendly Handworks Advice

If you’re headed to Handworks in Iowa this weekend, please do stop by the Lost Art Press and Crucible booths in the Festhalle to say hello. Your editor, Megan Fitzpatrick, has volunteered to give us a hand when she isn’t off exploring the amazing show. If this is your first Handworks, here are a...

sliding lid box opener

Japanese Sliding-lid Box

This clever and simple piece is great for storing tools, toys or a kimono by Christopher Schwarz from the December 2015 issue While picking though a table of vintage Japanese tools for sale in 2013, I spotted this sliding-lid box under the vendor’s table; it was blackened by age, soot and rust. Despite its...

Practical Workshop

Build Your Practical Workshop

  In this excerpt from “The Practical Workshop: A Woodworker’s Guide to Workbenches, Layout & Tools,” Christopher Schwarz discusses how the book can help you build your practical workshop quickly and effectively – so you can spend less time setting up your space and more time woodworking.  Over the years I’ve seen some of the most incredible...

Meet the ‘Jimmy Possum’ Chair

I’ve long been fascinated by legends involving old chairmakers. Here in Kentucky we had Chester Cornett, an enigmatic bearded maker of the wildest ladderbacks and rockers I’ve seen. In Indiana we had a chairmaker in the southern part of the state who in the early 20th century made ladderbacks with a woven seat that...