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PWM Shop Blog

Formerly called the Editors’ Blog, these articles offer hands-on advice, woodworking tips and techniques from the editors and contributing editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine


This blog includes free videos, tool reviews we didn’t have room for in the printed magazine and tidbits of the day-to-day life here at the magazine and in the world of woodworking.


Chris Schwarz
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Chris Schwarz Blog

Contributing editor Christopher Schwarz is a long-time amateur woodworker and professional journalist. He built his first workbench at age 8 and spent weekends helping his father build two houses on the family’s farm outside Hackett, Ark.— using mostly hand tools. Despite his early experience on the farm, Chris remains a hand-tool enthusiast.

Chris’s blog focuses mostly on hand tools and hand work. Chris also writes short tool reviews, book reviews and generally gets the inside scoop on new hand tool introductions before other blogs.


Bob flexner
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Flexner on Finishing Blog

Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and the author of woodworking finishing books, including “Flexner on Finishing,” “Understanding Wood Finishing,” and “Wood Finishing 101,” available at ShopWoodworking.com. Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.


Wash off NMP residue with denatured alcohol

Wash off NMP Residue

Here’s a caution when stripping paint or finish from furniture or woodwork. Most of the newer “safer” strippers are sold in plastic containers and contain the solvent n-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) as the active ingredient. This solvent is relatively expensive, so manufacturers often mix in other solvents to reduce the cost. But it’s the NMP...

assembled_IMG_5593

Danish Campaign Chest (The Afterword)

When I build a piece for a customer I show them the drawing and build it (mostly) to the print. But when I build a spec piece, such as this modern campaign chest, the customer is my eyeballs. And so this is the part about design that doesn’t get talked about much: If something...

restoring a saw

Restoring a Vintage Saw Part 1: Assessing the Damage

Now that I have been at Popular Woodworking for a while, and finally settling into my new home (apartment), it’s time to do some actual woodworking. While it’s true that I have a laundry list of furniture that I want to build (or my better half wants built), I think I will wait a...

tops_IMG_5569

Green Wood and Roubo Workbenches, Part 2

Seasoned, well-dried wood is good, but not for all things. For the last two years I’ve been editing a book called “Woodworking in Estonia,” which is about the pre-industrial woodworking cultural heritage of a small Northern European nation. The book is not a review of the historical literature sprinkled with speculation about how people...

roubo-drying-wood

A Roubo Workbench from Green Wood

Here is a question that has been going through my mind for more than a decade: When an 18th-century French woodworker started building a workbench, what was the moisture content of the wood? Had it been seasoned for many years? Freshly cut? Something between? Lots of modern people have speculated about the answer, but...

A stained wood deck

Finish Choices for a Wood Deck

It’s that time of year and you may be thinking about how to take care of your wood deck. Here’s the easy way to approach it, at least for decks made of rot-resistant woods such as redwood, cedar, pressure-treated, or one of several jungle woods including ipe. If you’re OK with the wood turning...

construction lumber for workbenches

How to Buy Lumber for Workbenches

Looking for ways to save money when building your workbench? Here’s some great advice for saving on lumber for your bench. (Excerpted from “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use, Revised Edition” by Christopher Schwarz). I use a lot of construction lumber in my projects – not only for workbenches but for furniture...

dovetail saws

No One Right Way

There’s a thread on the “Neaderthal Haven” forum on Sawmill Creek right now that reminded me about my first editor’s note (in the June 2013 issue – my goodness; no wonder my hair is now gray!). I was going to respond thereupon, but I don’t think I have anything more to say than what...

Stefania's saw

Build a Frame Saw Part 5: Wrap up

A few months ago I blogged about plans for a frame saw design that was equipped with a hack saw blade. I explained how I intended to build this saw with my seventh grade class, focusing on excavating mortises and shaping tenons, using hand tools only. Now that the school year has ended, I...