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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Antique Lefty Workbench in the Wild

Until yesterday, I’d not seen a left-handed antique workbench in the wild. While I’m sure there are some out there, the historical record suggests that left-handed woodworkers usually made do with right-handed benches and learned to plane with their dominant hand on the toe of a handplane. While poking around Bloodline Merchants, a delightful...

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 9: ‘Good Clean Fun’

The following statement contains 99 percent corn, but the remaining 1 percent is what gets me moving in the morning. The greatest woodworking gift isn’t a tool or a shop accessory. It’s watching someone else fall in love with the craft based on something you’ve done. If there’s someone in your life who might...

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 6: WoodOwl Auger Bits

Jameel “Jamal-Alabama” Abraham of Benchcrafted introduced me to these bits, and I still need to repay the favor with beer and/or bratwurst. These bits are the cat’s meow, knees and pyjamas. Made in Japan, the WoodOwls cut through tough, wet, thick wood like it almost isn’t there. When you drill a lot of holes...

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 5: Arno Burnisher

I have burned through a lot of burnishers, from the ones I’ve made myself out of carbide rod to very expensive variants. My favorite is the French-made Arno burnisher. Everything about the tool is right. The handle is lightweight aluminum, perfectly shaped and has a guard so my fingers won’t slip off the handle...

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 3: Humidity Monitor

A lot of woodworking problems can be avoided simply by monitoring the relative humidity in your shop with a simple and inexpensive hygrometer. In most areas of the United States, the target relative humidity for inside buildings is 35 to 45 percent, though that will vary if you live in a desert or a...