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

Dugout Chair Step 2: Lose 200 Ugly Pounds

I can roll this rotted log around my driveway for the dugout chair. But danged if I can lift it by myself. So the next step is to start chainsawing away the majority of the bulk that is not part of the finished chair. With my tiny 16” electric chainsaw I spent a good...

Dugout Chair Step 1: Get it Out of the Truck

After picking up the rotted stump for my dugout chair, I parked my truck in front of my shop and then went inside to ponder: How do I get it out of the truck? Sure, there are lots of redneck methods involving wax paper, Wesson oil and chains. But I wanted to avoid damaging...

Success Isn’t at the Bookstore or the Museum

When my first book, “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use,” was released, I played a game that many first-time authors play. I looked for my book on the shelves of any bookstore I visited. After a few years I gave up. I’ve never seen the book for sale anywhere except online....

Yes, a Moisture Meter is Essential Equipment

A moisture meter is a device that lets you see the future. It allows you to avoid mistakes where your furniture will – literally – fall to pieces. But convincing woodworkers to buy one is like trying to push water uphill. This weekend, Brendan Gaffney and I were each working on some chair projects...

The ‘Dugout Chair’ Begins With a Rotted Stump

For as long as I have been writing about woodworking, I have wanted to build a dugout chair. I first encountered the form in one of the many furniture books we had at Popular Woodworking Magazine. Soon after I started working at the magazine in 1996 I began poring through the books whenever I had...

Nails: Your Unexpected Friend in the Forest

A lot of hand skills develop hand-in-hand with other hand skills. Learning to sharpen a handplane gives you the skills to sharpen a carving gouge or turning tool. These are pretty obvious. But some hand skills help you in unexpected way. For example: Working with a lot of nails makes splitting green wood for...

Notes on a Steam-bending Jig

I do only a little production work in my shop, so I don’t have a lot of jigs and fixtures. In fact, I think I can count them on one hand: a sliding table for my table saw, a shooting board/bench hook, my doe’s feet for my workbench and a V-block for planing objects...

Rosin – Your Sticky Friend in the Workshop

Woodworkers use waxes (and other things) to decrease friction, but what about when we want to increase friction? Lately I’ve been trying inexpensive rosin – intended for the bows of stringed instruments – with excellent results. Rosin is a byproduct of heating tree sap to make turpentine or a variety of other products and...