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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‘Dancing Master’ Calipers

I have a hammer that looks like a squirrel. And I wish I had one that looked like a goat (alas, those are pretty rare and expensive). A little bit of whimsy in your tools is a good thing – it makes the connection that that natural world and the built world are connected....

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Check Squareness on Big Pieces

When you’re building casework, your parts really need dead square ends if you hope to fit drawers, dividers or a gallery inside. I don’t trust any table saw gizmo to give me square cuts. And I don’t trust my shooting board, either. The only thing I trust is a square that has been tested...

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Faster and Better and Healthier and….

Sometimes I feel the need to test myself, particularly when it comes to crap I say and crap I do. For many years I’ve contended that using handplanes is faster in almost every workshop situation – versus even a random-orbit, DA and drum sander. (I’ve not faced an industrial wide-belt sander. Yet.) Recently I...

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Use ‘Gun Blue’ to Instantly Blacken Hardware

I use blacksmith-made hardware whenever I (or my customers) can afford it. But if you’re on a budget or have hundreds of pieces of hardware for a project, it’s time to visit the gun store. My favorite way to blacken steel, iron or even zinc-plated hardware is to brush on a thin coat of...

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How to Test for Case-hardened Lumber

Thanks to the long-term relationships I’ve made with lumber merchants, I have little trouble with them sending me crappy stock. But even after 20-something years of buying wood from my suppliers, there are times when I get a bogus load of wood. Most problems can be solved by knowing what is standard in the...

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Don’t Forget the Quality of the Kiln

While I prefer to work with air-dried lumber, that’s not always possible for woodworkers who use a lot of wood or don’t have access to a dealer who air-dries stock. One of the major problems with kiln-dried lumber is that it is sometimes rushed through the kiln to get it to market. As a...

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Free Download: ‘Atkins Saw Book for Home Craftsmen’

Shortly before my friend Carl Bilderback died last year, he gave me a carload of woodworking books, catalogs and other ephemera that he had amassed during a lifetime of tool collecting and woodworking. His instructions: Distribute the books to young woodworkers who can’t afford them. Since his death, I’ve done just that. And all...

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Pocket Screws: The Mightiest Little Clamp

I don’t have enough elitism in my bloodstream to poop on pocket screws too much. For starters, they are incredibly ingenious and allow people to build things with only a handful of tools and almost no clamps. And they have been around for a long time – I’ve seen pocket screws in many piece...

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Woodworking Advice from the Food Industry

Making good food is a lot like making good furniture – you need good raw materials, skill and a decent set of basic tools. Last weekend I was talking to my brother-in-law about his job, which is supplying high-quality ingredients to restaurants. He’s been in the business long enough that he ends up mentoring...