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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Nathaniel-Russell House’s Furniture Collection

The furniture history of Charleston, S.C., is both glorious and a bit sad. The city’s astonishing wealth fueled a top-tier level of craftsmanship before the Civil War. As the city fell on hard times, a lot of its furniture record was trucked away to other cities, losing its provenance and connection to the Holy...

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Building Roubo’s Campaign Bed at Fort Ticonderoga

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a week knows I have a thing for campaign-style furniture and the work of André Roubo, the 18th-century French woodworker and writer. Like many other 18th-century furniture writers, Roubo wrote a bit about campaign-style furniture, including beds, tables and chairs. I hope to build one...

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The Redneck Polissoir

Whenever I teach a class that involves turning, I like to show them how well the French “polissoir” can finish off your work on the lathe. A polissoir (say it poly-swaar) is a bundle of broom corn that is used to burnish a wooden surface to produce a tactile, low-lustre finish. While the polissoir...

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Work in Tight Spaces without Special Tools

When you have to work inside a carcase, there are a wide variety of specialty tools on the market – such as right-angle drills and drawer-lock chisels – to make your life easier. I try to keep a small tool kit. Not because I’m a tightwad. I’m not. But I travel a lot and...

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I Never Tire of Staring at Chests

If you are considering building a six-board chest like the ones shown in the November 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, we have a great link for you. Mark Firley of the blog The Furniture Record, has assembled a set of more than 140 photos of chests he has collected on his journeys through...

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If You Haven’t Tried Full-blind Dovetails, It’s Time

  When beginning woodworkers rank the difficulty of the different dovetail joints, they usually think of the through-dovetail as the “bunny slope.” The half-blind dovetail is the “expert slope” – perhaps a blue or a black trail if you are a snow skier. So what’s the full-blind dovetail? Or the secret-mitered dovetail? Throwing yourself...

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The Mistakes of First-time Bench-builders

If you’re about to embark on building your first workbench, you might want to read this blog entry. I expect you to discard every piece of advice in it (most bench-builders do) and build the crazy contraption you’ve planned out in your head. Here, in my opinion, are the most common missteps woodworkers make...