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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Help the Blog; Help Yourself

I try to be transparent about my financial dealings in the woodworking world – that’s why I don’t take free tools, wood, classes or … anything. So how is this blog funded? Simple: I am paid monthly by F+W, the parent company of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Lee Valley Tools pays for advertising space –...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 8

Like last year, I am ending this gift guide with a tool that is a little expensive but will change your work to the core. (Last year is was an EasyWood Full-Size Rougher turning tool.) This year it is the best mortising gauge ever made: the Veritas Dual Marking Gauge. Anyone who has worked...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 7

You do not need a complete set of 11 chisels from the 1/8” up to the monster 2”-wide chisel. Sure, the part of you that also collects Hummel figurines really wants a complete set, but most of the chisel sizes will go unused – even if you are an active woodworker. Your work and...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 6

I have owned several plant sprayers since Harrelson Stanley of Shapton USA introduced them to me in 2003 as a great way to keep your waterstones wet. Of all the sprayers I’ve used, this sub-$10 one from Home Depot or Lowe’s is by far the best. It’s sold under the “Project Source” label and...

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When Your Tool Chest Needs to Be a Tank (or a Boat)

When tool chests suffer damage, it’s usually in three places: the top rim of the lid, the lower skirt around the carcase and the bottom boards, which are rotted. The rim of the lid gets dented by falling objects, such as clamps, heavy boards and other things in the truck when you move the...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 5

It is not always the screw’s fault. Yes, home-center wood screws are too soft. Some off-shore screw manufacturers use substandard materials and manufacturing processes. But sometimes it’s your screwdriver that’s at fault (or the, cough, screwer). Many modern screwdrivers are too soft or poorly ground. It’s enough to make you reach for a nail...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 4

Woe is the poor glue scraper. There are no toolmakers crafting these tools with rosewood handles and German silver accents. No annoying forum threads that debate the merits of the different handle angles and blade widths. The glue scraper is the squirrel exhibit at the zoo. Once you get a Benchcrafted Skraper, however, the...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 3

If you read this blog regularly, you should be sick of this suggestion: Buy Pégas coping saw blades. Hoard them. I do – and I’m not generally a hoarder. I have about 150 stashed away in case Pegas doubles the price or stops making them this well. I don’t have evidence that either event...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 2

It’s easy to be skeptical about the polissoir. Could a bundle of broom corn radically change the way you finish some pieces of work? All of us who worked on the translation of A.-J. Roubo’s “l’Art du Menuisier” were wary when we translated the section on the polissoir – literally “polisher.” So we were...