Chris Schwarz Blog

Chris Schwarz's Blog

Christopher Schwarz (the long-time editor and now contributing editor to Popular Woodworking) has been writing this woodworking blog continually since 2005. He covers the world of hand work, plus he writes about building furniture, visiting tool makers, and his travels. Long a woodworker of traditional techniques, Schwarz is dedicated to restoring the fine hand woodworking skills that have slowly disappeared from woodshops in the latter half of the 20th century. He is a firm believer in the role traditional tools play in the modern shop.

Follow this blog with e-mail alerts here. | Follow on RSS here. Chris Schwarz Blog RSS Feed

rack_done_IMG_0142

Details for a Rack in a Tool Chest

A tool rack in your chest is a nice way to keep your chisels, screwdrivers and other tools close at hand and protected from damage. After experimenting with lots of different racks, here’s how I make racks for myself and customers. I start with a length of pine that’s about 1” x 1-1/4” x...

TT_universal_sharpener_IMG_2239

File a Scraper with the ‘Universal Sharpener’

In the next issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I review the Chestnut Tools Universal Sharpener from Lee Valley Tools. I learned about this remarkable and inexpensive little tool from furniture maker Freddy Roman. I was skeptical about it until I got my hands on it. This thing is … well you’ll have to wait...

moxon_overall_IMG_0097

Small Changes to my Moxon Vises

Since I began making Moxon-style vises in 2010, I’m made several dozens for students customers and have made some small changes to the way I build them. Above all, I try to keep my Moxon vises as simple and compact as possible, which is why I haven’t added tables or other gizmos. Here is...

R1574

New DVD on Bookcases now Available

My latest DVD with Popular Woodworking, “Build a Hand-Crafted Bookcase“ is expected to ship this week. It’s a 126-minute exploration of building the bookcase from “The Anarchist’s Design Book” entirely by hand using surfaced home-center pine. The DVD begins by throwing out the modern idea of using adjustable shelves and discusses how the design...

chest_lid_IMG_4451

The Stupidest Glue-up Ever

If you love to read about people screwing up, this post is for you. This week I’m shooting a DVD in the Popular Woodworking studio on building a traditional 18th-century tool chest (it should be out by mid-March). Building one of these chests alone in my shop is a 40-hour sprint-a-thon. Building it along...

gauge_IMG_9946

I’ve Been Doing this Wrong Since 1993

I cut my first dovetail in 1993 and that was also the first day I learned to use a marking gauge. The instructor didn’t tell me how to use it, so I set it and worked things out for myself. I ended up marking my baselines by pulling the gauge toward me. And I’ve...

shop_bucket_IMG_9940

Don’t Kick the Bucket (Out of the Shop)

There’s a lot going on in the photo above that’s important when making casework. I have two case sides for a chest clamped together before dovetailing them. Here is a quick summary of what I’m doing: I’m going to dovetail both pieces at once, called “gang-cutting.” This saves time and makes it easier to...

5yatc_chest_open_IMG_9933

Coming: The Anarchist’s Tool Chest DVD

More than five years ago I built myself a full-size 18th-century style tool chest to replace the beat up blue one I’d been using since 1997 or so. That new chest was the subject of the book “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” and I didn’t think a single person in the world would build it....

cork_open_IMG_9894

Improve the Grip of all Your Vises: $10

For many years I’ve lined the jaws of all my vises with sueded leather to improve their grip. Whenever I mention that I do this, I get a barrage of questions: Where do you buy suede? (Really? Any craft store, fabric store, Tandy etc.) What glue do you use? (Any glue. Hide, yellow glue,...