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 Furniture Show, Vandals & a Mystery

Two weeks ago I managed to spend a few hours at the Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in Cheltenham, an impressive display of bespoke furniture makers both young and seasoned. Contemporary English furniture always makes my head shift gears. Most of the stuff I see in America has roots in traditional design. But in...

David Savage in his personal shop at Rowden.

A Tour of David Savage’s Workshop and School

For the last two weeks I’ve been teaching a course and taking a class in veneering at David Savage’s school and workshop, which sits on a farm in rural Devon. It is an inspiring place where amateurs and professionals hone their skills to the highest level – piston-fit drawers, London-pattern dovetails, drawing, design, veneering...


A (Still) Better Way to Plane Chair Seats

For many years I’ve used the following trick to plane irregular-shaped objects: Screw a square block to the underside of the piece and then clamp that block in my face vise. It’s a trick that I showed in my 2007 book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” (Psst, the second edition...


You and Your Puny Moxon Vises

We all know that Joseph Moxon didn’t invent the Moxon vise. But perhaps the Italians did? I spent a fatigue-fueled weekend researching some red herrings and stumbled on this circa 1300 hand-drawn illustration of the construction of Noah’s Ark. I found the plate in “Les Rabots,” a fantastic modern book on handplanes in French....


Peter Follansbee: Rebuilding the Past

One of my favorite parts of teaching woodworking is showing up at a school the day before my class begins to see what the previous instructor is doing. Today I arrived at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in Manchester, Conn., to find Peter Follansbee teaching the final day of a long class (one...


Not Just Another Moxon Vise

There are lots of great vendors making Moxon-style vises for sale (see a partial list at the end of this entry). But now you can add Nick Dombrowski to that list; and to me, that’s a huge deal. Nick is the wood-machining genius behind Lake Erie Toolworks, which makes stunning wooden-thread vises. I have...


New Honing Guide from Veritas

While many woodworkers have been worked up about the long-awaited honing guide from Lie-Nielsen, there is another new honing guide on the market this year that has been flying under the radar. The Veritas Mk. II Narrow-blade Honing Guide offers up a major change in the way the company builds its guides. Until now,...

The strap wrench at work on a fence collet.

The Nutsaver: This Stuff Writes Itself

A couple years ago I revealed my secret shame: I use pliers to tighten the round collets on the fences and depth stops of my Veritas planes. Read that post here. I was admonished by the “lovers of round brass things” but then eventually was released on my own recognizance. Recently, a professional woodworker...