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


My Difficult Relationship With Exotics

Being raised Protestant, guilt isn’t at the fiber of my being. But I know guilt; my wife is Catholic. And I get a feeling that resembles guilt whenever I work with tropical hardwoods. Like many woodworkers, I’ve read a lot about C.I.T.E.S., both in the mainstream media and in the woodworking world (here’s W....


Modern ‘Register Calipers’ Available from Woodpeckers

One of my favorite tools from the Studley tool cabinet are his register calipers, which are displayed prominently on the right-hand side of the cabinet. These calipers were common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell out of favor when dial calipers became inexpensive. Since first encountering these locking calipers I...


First Look: ‘Workbenches, Revised Edition’ is now taking pre-orders for the new revised edition of “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” for $34.99 plus free domestic shipping. The book will be released on or about Oct. 20. I spent several months earlier this year on the revision to the book and am quite pleased with...


Boarded Scandinavian Tool Chest – Too Cool

It takes a special tool chest to get me to sit up straight – I’ve spent the last six or seven years of my life researching and writing about tool chests. But this one, presumably Swedish, is fantastic. It was recently sold on this auction site for an astonishing sum. While the composition of...


Smoothing Milk Paint & Other Rough Surfaces

If your painted finish feels a little rough, you need to go to the liquor store. OK, that doesn’t make sense, so let’s back up a couple weeks when I was teaching a bunch of young woodworkers how to build a tool chest by hand at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. After building...

Before: This is how I was cutting sliding dovetails and rabbets by hand.

A Tip for Handsawing Rabbets & Sliding Dovetails

I’ve been cutting a lot of large-scale sliding dovetails and rabbets lately. And when these housed joints get to a certain size (think of a dovetail socket that is 4” wide and 30” long) it’s much more efficient to saw out the walls by hand. When I need the rabbets or sliding dovetails to...


A Tale of Two Hand Drills

Buying vintage tools through the mail can be frustrating – and expensive if the seller does not allow you to return the item. My favorite way to buy old tools is – hands down – in person and at a meeting of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. If you need tools and cannot buy...


A Look at the Seaton Tool Chest

The first real tool chest that I built was based (loosely) on Benjamin Seaton’s famous tool chest that now resides at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester, England. Most woodworkers know it because of the famous book “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton” – now in its second edition, and one of the core books...


Chinese Workbenches – a Little Bit Roman?

When you start studying ancient woodworking tools, it’s the similarities that are most striking – not the differences. Saws, chisels and planes – the core tools of the furniture maker – are only mildly different in the East and West. While some people amplify those differences – pushing a saw vs. pulling it is...