Article Index Christopher Schwarz

Danish Modern Campaign Chest

Built to move (and to last), this piece blends classic proportions and clean lines. by Christopher Schwarz pags. 24-31 When the British Empire began taking over the world in the 18th century, one vexing problem at its tropical holdings was the monsoon season. When it hit, applied carvings and ornaments fell off the furniture,...

Why I Adore my Machines

Grab your torch and pitchfork; the hand-tool guy has a table saw. by Christopher Schwarz pg. 64 People react with shock and horror when they learn I have electric machinery in my Kentucky workshop. After all, I’ve been writing almost exclusively about handwork for almost 20 years now. And yet anyone who is more...

Soap: Making a Clean Finish

This traditional finish from Denmark is simple, safe and tactile. by Christopher Schwarz pgs. 34-38 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 to show...

The Real Truth About Block Planes

Armed with a little trickery, you can make the block plane perform a wide variety of tasks. by Christopher Schwarz pages 30-35 Hang around enough woodshops (or Internet discussion groups) with a block plane in your hand and you’ll eventually be derided for owning a “carpenter’s tool.” It’s a criticism that I’ve never understood....

The First Trestle Tables

Portable, sturdy and easy to build, these were used for a variety of tasks. by Christopher Schwarz pages 38-43 Many of the fantastic furniture forms of the Middle Ages have disappeared and have been replaced by pieces that are more complex but not necessarily better. One of my favorites is the early trestle table....

moving fillister plane

Tool Test: J. Wilding Moving Fillister Plane

Vintage moving fillister planes are easy to find but can be tricky to restore because of all the moving parts and the general wear and tear these tools endure. If you don’t want to buy a metal moving fillister, then I highly recommend you check out the work of Jeremiah Wilding, a young planemaker...

Guerrilla Guide to Spray Finishing

It’s fast, forgiving and affordable – and you don’t need a spray booth. by Christopher Schwarz pages 30-35 The hardest part about learning to spray finishes is becoming convinced that you can learn to spray finishes. Of all the ways to apply finishes – brush, rag, rubber and spraying – there’s only one method...

melencolia try square

‘Melencolia’ Try Square

This nearly lost layout tool is surprisingly accurate and useful. by Christopher Schwarz pages 48-49 A surprising number of woodworking tools and furniture forms have been lost to time. Some for the better (the motorized coping saw?) and others for no apparent reason. A lot of my research into early woodworking consists of examining...

Chestnut Tools Universal Sharpener

by Christopher Schwarz page 14 Sometimes a small advance in technology makes an enormous difference in everything. The Chestnut Tools Universal Sharpener – just $18.50 from Lee Valley Tools – will absolutely change the way you sharpen tools. It looks like a folding pocketknife, but instead of a blade the sharpener has a piece...