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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A Place to Call ‘Hone’

When I think of all the things that improved my sharpening skills, two things loom large. No. 1 is practice, of course, but close behind that is a dedicated sharpening tray. About 14 years ago I built a shallow tray from scrap plywood, nails and glue. No fancy joinery, no water-resistant materials and no...

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Questions About the ‘Moxon Vise’

Almost every day I get some sort of question about the ‘Moxon vise,” a double-screw vise that I wrote about for the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. It’s an ingenious portable vise that has been around for almost 400 years, yet it still generates controversy and questions whenever it is in the...

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The Most Domesticated Dog

One of the unanswerable questions in woodworking is: What type of bench dog is best? (Other unanswerables: What does Peter Follansbee hide in his beard? How many puns are possible with the word “rabbet?” Would you like to see my feathered crotch?) At least on the bench dog question, I have answered it for...

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An Observation on Vintage Handplanes

Note: I started writing this blog entry more than a year ago. I shelved it and have revisited it several times since. Each time, I thought: I don’t need this kind of grief. For whatever reason (four beers, perhaps?), I offer this as an observation based on teaching students, both amateur and professional. For...

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A Correction to my Entry on Polissoirs

My recent article on the new polissoirs from Don’s Barn and a long-term test of the burnishing effect from the tool had a significant error: The photo showed the wrong sample board. That similar-looking sample board was given to me by woodworker Steve Schafer – he’ll be blogging about the finishing schedule on that...

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Make Yourself a Nice Polissoir

Reader Greg Merritt of Parkersburg, W. Va., drew up plans for making a nice-looking polissoir using broom corn and tarred nylon. The polissoir features two knots – a constrictor knot and a decorative Turk’s head knot, which are both easy to make. Merritt drew up complete instructions for making the polissoir and provided a...

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Polissoirs: New Models & a Long-term Test

Last weekend during the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Charleston, S.C., I completed three try squares and even applied the finish right at the bench using a polissoir (French for “polisher”). For the attendees who had never seen a polissoir or the surface it leaves behind, it was an eye-opener. Photographs don’t do the...