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

planing_seat_IMG_1187

A (Still) Better Way to Plane Chair Seats

For many years I’ve used the following trick to plane irregular-shaped objects: Screw a square block to the underside of the piece and then clamp that block in my face vise. It’s a trick that I showed in my 2007 book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” (Psst, the second edition...

detail_1300_noahs_ark

You and Your Puny Moxon Vises

We all know that Joseph Moxon didn’t invent the Moxon vise. But perhaps the Italians did? I spent a fatigue-fueled weekend researching some red herrings and stumbled on this circa 1300 hand-drawn illustration of the construction of Noah’s Ark. I found the plate in “Les Rabots,” a fantastic modern book on handplanes in French....

PF_chest_progress_IMG_9064

Peter Follansbee: Rebuilding the Past

One of my favorite parts of teaching woodworking is showing up at a school the day before my class begins to see what the previous instructor is doing. Today I arrived at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in Manchester, Conn., to find Peter Follansbee teaching the final day of a long class (one...

LE_screw

Not Just Another Moxon Vise

There are lots of great vendors making Moxon-style vises for sale (see a partial list at the end of this entry). But now you can add Nick Dombrowski to that list; and to me, that’s a huge deal. Nick is the wood-machining genius behind Lake Erie Toolworks, which makes stunning wooden-thread vises. I have...

veritas_guide_open_IMG_8963

New Honing Guide from Veritas

While many woodworkers have been worked up about the long-awaited honing guide from Lie-Nielsen, there is another new honing guide on the market this year that has been flying under the radar. The Veritas Mk. II Narrow-blade Honing Guide offers up a major change in the way the company builds its guides. Until now,...

The strap wrench at work on a fence collet.

The Nutsaver: This Stuff Writes Itself

A couple years ago I revealed my secret shame: I use pliers to tighten the round collets on the fences and depth stops of my Veritas planes. Read that post here. I was admonished by the “lovers of round brass things” but then eventually was released on my own recognizance. Recently, a professional woodworker...

shakespeare_open_IMG_3576

The Furniture at Shakespeare’s Birthplace

As a rule, I avoid touristy places and huge throngs. But when Roy and Jane Underhill invited me to tag along to Stratford-on-Avon to see William Shakespeare’s birthplace, I couldn’t say no. After all, Roy could turn a root canal into a party. As expected, the town was packed with tourists and tacky trinkets....

fan_IMG_3330

Yes, You Can Have Too Much Ventilation

Earlier this year I decided to set up a spray booth in my shop so I could spray finishes on crappy days. It did not turn out well. Usually I spray outside, so I have to wait for a pleasant day with the right humidity, no pollen, low bug count, no rain and etc....