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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.


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Jim McConnell (‘The Daily Skep’) Debuts in the August PopWood

I’m delighted to welcome to the pages of Popular Woodworking Magazine James “Jim” McConnell, whom you may know from his blog “The Daily Skep,” where he writes thoughtful and engaging posts, mostly about hand-tool woodworking. Jim worked out of a power-tool-dominated shop for a number of years, before being seduced by a vintage Stanley...

The best finish for a cutting board is no finish

Cutting Boards: The Best Finish

A seemingly never-ending question concerns how to finish cutting boards. You don’t need any finish on a cutting board. Water won’t hurt it and no finish will keep water out anyway, after a few knife cuts. Nor will the finish continue to look nice after numerous knife cuts. If the cutting board begins to...

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Dado Joints by Hand

Making joinery by hand is a satisfying process, so I thought I’d share a method for hand made dado joints. In the early days of my apprenticeship we would practice joints on short ends of pine, getting used to the tools and working through the steps required to make a joint by hand, but...

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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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The New Made Old: Antiquing Wood

Antiquing Wood This article originally appeared in the June 2007 of Popular Woodworking under the title “Antique Barn Finish.” by Troy Sexton pages 78-83 This is the furniture finish that fooled our local auctioneer, a man with 30 years of experience selling antique furniture and farm equipment. I had bought a mower from the...

These are the three Zinsser Bulls Eye shellacs that no longer provide a date of packaging or a stated shelf life

User-Unfriendly Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac

I went to Lowe’s a week ago to buy some shellac and was reminded that Zinsser, the maker of Bulls Eye Amber, Clear and SealCoat brands, no longer provides the date of manufacture so users can calculate whether or not the shellac will dry properly. And now the company has stopped telling users even...

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Build a Tool Tote With Your Kids: Part 1

On top of the daytime woodworking classes, my school offers to our students the opportunity to stay later for an hour and half of “extended day” classes. My woodworking class is one of the after-hour programs. Together with other subjects such as languages, chess, cooking, felt art, knitting and fencing, our students have quite a...

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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...

Using a Workbench

First Project on the Workbench

To test how effective your chosen workbench is, you’ll need to make something. Doubtless we all complete very similar tasks, but we also all have our own preferences which leads to tweaking designs. We might take a little off the leg or add an extra dog whole, whatever makes things easier. The first test for my...