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

skew1_IMG_278179

Start Handplanes on the Skew

One of the little challenges for beginning handplane users to get a clean surface at the start of the cut, particularly with a smoothing plane. They push the tool forward and it leaves little bumpy chatter marks for about 3/8” of an inch until the plane starts to settle down and cut cleanly. The...

35sharpening_angle_IMG_5664

About My Love of 35°

I sharpen all of my plane irons and chisels at 35°. Here’s why: I do this to keep my sharpening regimen as simple as possible. I don’t want to pick up a tool and wonder: What angle is this sharpened to? I also don’t want to sharpen a tool, discover that I used the...

plane_key

Revising ‘Handplane Essentials’

During the last few months I’ve been revising “Handplane Essentials,” an out-of print book that we published while I was the editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine. The revisions, additions and subtractions will be significant. We’re removing a lot of the reviews and features on planemakers who are no longer in business. And I hope...

Heidelberg_library_PW

Roman Workbenches at Woodworking in America

I’m building a pair of Roman workbenches in my shop that I’ll be demonstrating at Woodworking in America this fall (Sept. 16-18 in Covington, Ky.). This will be my only public appearance in 2016 – I am in full-on hermit mode right now. Why the heck would an Arkansas boy build Roman workbenches? Easy....

assembled_IMG_5593

Danish Campaign Chest (The Afterword)

When I build a piece for a customer I show them the drawing and build it (mostly) to the print. But when I build a spec piece, such as this modern campaign chest, the customer is my eyeballs. And so this is the part about design that doesn’t get talked about much: If something...

tops_IMG_5569

Green Wood and Roubo Workbenches, Part 2

Seasoned, well-dried wood is good, but not for all things. For the last two years I’ve been editing a book called “Woodworking in Estonia,” which is about the pre-industrial woodworking cultural heritage of a small Northern European nation. The book is not a review of the historical literature sprinkled with speculation about how people...

roubo-drying-wood

A Roubo Workbench from Green Wood

Here is a question that has been going through my mind for more than a decade: When an 18th-century French woodworker started building a workbench, what was the moisture content of the wood? Had it been seasoned for many years? Freshly cut? Something between? Lots of modern people have speculated about the answer, but...

jack_jointer_IMG_5528

Yes, You Need a Jointer and a Jack

I suspect this will ruffle a few feathers, but so be it. I’ve been asked a lot lately if one really needs a jack and a jointer plane. Several well-respected woodworkers and writers now teach that you can prepare all your stock for finishing with only one bench plane, a smoothing plane, if you...