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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When Your Liquid Hide Glue Turns Bad

There are lots of tests for when your liquid hide glue has gone bad – the most common one that I know of is to put some glue between your index finger and thumb. Tap your finger and thumb repeatedly to see if the glue turns tacky and produces long stringy strands. If it...

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Rethink the Rules of Liquid Hide Glue

I’ve just finished writing an article on liquid hide hide glue for Popular Woodworking Magazine that takes a critical look at the adhesive compared to yellow glues. My hope is that it’s a fairly dogma-free article. While liquid hide glue will probably always be my favorite adhesive for interior work, there are some cases...

Benchtop slabs (6" thick) that are green and ready to use.

On Thick, Wet Slab Tops for Workbenches

During the last seven years, I’ve slowly become a fan of using a monolithic slab for the top of a workbench. And I’ve also slowly begun to ignore all the criticisms of slab tops. I built my first slab-top workbench in 2009-2010, which was published in the August 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine....

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Karl Holtey’s Final Plane: The 984

If you ever hear a criticism of the pioneering work of Karl Holtey it’s that his planes are “too perfect” or “lack a soul.” I’ve always been a little befuddled by these comments because I have used a good number of planes that have no soul by the likes of Harbor Freight, late-model Stanleys...

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It’s Chairmaking Season (For Me, at Least)

While I love making cabinets, tables and bookcases, I have always been drawn to making chairs. At first I made Morris chairs because they were very cabinet-like – lots of 90° angles and traditional square-mortise joinery. There might be an odd angle or two for a builder to conquer, but nothing outrageous. Then I...

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A Shaker Failure

I’ve had bad days wrestling with my sketchbook where it was impossible for me to draw anything but junk. Junk I didn’t want to build and junk that no one would ever buy. Sometimes I leave those stepchild pages in my sketchbook as a reminder of how awful I am. Sometimes I crumple the...

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Woodworking Magazines: The Real Truth

Woodworking magazines might be dying (or just shrinking), but they aren’t going down without a fight. I’ve been reading woodworking magazines since 1992 or so, and I have kept up with all the major titles since at least 1996. I know most of the writers and editors, and I think a lot about their...

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Dumb (But Effective) Dust Collector Trick

You don’t see a lot of dust collector tricks in the woodworking magazines, but here’s my contribution. When your two-bag dust collector is too full, the usual solution is to remove the lower bag, let the chips dump all over the shop and then clean up the mess. When I foolishly let my dust...

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Roman Workbenches High And Low

When researching Roman workbenches, one of the things that leaped out at me was how low many of them were low, knee-high like a sawbench. After building a low bench based on drawings from Pompeii and Herculaneum, most visitors to my shop had one question: Were the Romans really short? The answer is: no....