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).


Cushion Your Work With Leather Battens

I’m always looking for ways to protect my pieces as I work on them at the bench. Simple things such as a moving blanket (see my entry on that here) can save you a day of clean-up on a project before you apply the finish. Now I have an additional defensive weapon. Earlier this...


‘Mid-century Modern Furniture’ by Michael Crow

For many woodworkers, mid-century modern furniture seems a mass-manufactured mystery. We remember the excesses of the style – the kidney-shaped everything, the peg legs and the crappy dowels. But like most furniture styles, mid-century modern is far more complex, interesting and tied to the great tradition of well-built beautiful things. Michael Crow has a...

Inspector Wally wants this split closed before lunchtime!

Fixing Splits with Pocket Screws

When I have a visible split in a large slab tabletop, I’ll stabilize it with a wooden key, like I described here last week. But when it comes to the underside of a slab, I prefer to use a little pocket-hole jig to make a fast repair that is adjustable and easily removed if...


The Dovetail Doctor: The Sterling Dovetailing Ruler

When cutting precision joinery by hand, sometimes a joint that’s off by a fraction of a degree is the difference between it seating or splitting apart. When diagnosing joinery problems of students, I use a vintage diemakers square (I wrote about this in 2013 here). It allows me to sneak into places no normal...


Stop Splits with a Wooden Key

Most repairs to furniture during the construction process are a drag because I am kicking myself for making an error in the first place. Not so when adding wooden keys to a slab tabletop. Big wood tends to split. And left unchecked, the split can continue to open during the seasonal expansion and contraction...


A New Trick With Alcohol (Without Jail Time)

One of the Tricks of the Trade in the June 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine discusses how you can use denatured alcohol to stop crumbling end grain while chopping out dovetails. The trick states it’s best for softwoods, which is where you see the most crumbling. As my students are always worried about...


New No. 2 Tote; New Finish

This weekend I drew up the plans to make a new tote for my No. 2 plane, and I realized I need to order a $10 drill bit to do the job. So instead I decided to modify the existing tote to see how far I could take it. After studying the tote for...


Are You Suffering From Smoothing Plane Bloat?

Among the smoothing planes that Stanley Works made (which includes the Nos. 1 to 4), the company sold far more No. 4s than any other size, according to Stanley collectors. That was my rationale for buying a No. 4 many years ago. I still think it’s a good size for a handplane, with a...


Fine -tune a Handplane’s Back Iron

For me, the goal with my smoothing plane is to set it up so I can ignore the grain direction of a board or a glued-up panel. There are many valid ways to do this. For most woodworkers I know, there are two ways to accomplish this goal that we all agree upon: Sharpen...