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.

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French Curves for Woodworking

I’m reviewing the new set of stainless steel French curves from Sterling Tool Works for the October 2015 issue, but you might want to get your hands on these tools before then if you have some curvaceous projects ahead. Don’t use French curves? I’m not surprised. A typical set of French curves is sized...

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Another Great Maker of Wooden Handplanes

When I first started using and writing about wooden moulding planes, there was only one modern maker with a full line of planes: the pioneers Clark & Williams (now Old Street Tool). If you ordered from them, it could take two years to receive your tools. The two-person operation got so backed up that...

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An Inside Look at the Peabody Essex Museum

If this whole “building world-class furniture” thing doesn’t work out for Phil Lowe, I think he could get a job as a museum docent. Lowe, an amazing maker and owner of The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, has worked on many pieces owned by the Peabody Essex Museum in neighboring Salem, Mass. As a special...

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A Visit to the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts

If you want to learn to build high-end gorgeous American furniture, then Phil Lowe at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts is the guy to see. He is the father of the modern furniture program at the North Bennet Street School. He is a winner of the Cartouche Award from the Society of American Period...

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Patterns for a Simple Camp Stool Seat

The most difficult part of making a folding camp stool (for woodworkers) is the leather or fabric seat. Getting the right shape for the seat and the three pockets for the legs has vexed many people who aren’t accustomed to a material that bends with hand pressure. These patterns are based on a few...

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Archimedes the Chair Maker

The first time I ever tried steam bending wood, it took two of us to pull the scalding hot ash against the bending form and then clamp it down before it cooled. While it was an amazing experience, it was something I had difficulty doing on my own with just pure muscle (you will...

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A Benefit of an Out-of-flat Workbench

I’ve been putting off the inevitable chore of flattening my workbench – I have a low spot that is interfering with my ability to handplane thin panels. But this time, I’m going to allow a high spot to remain high because it has proven to be useful. Like many French workbenches with the traditional...