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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Galbert Drawsharp in Use

Before you read beyond the first few sentences of this blog entry, there a couple things you should know: I have no problems sharpening a drawknife. Never have (except that time in the 1990s where I ended in the ER for seven stitches). One of the first tools I inherited from my grandfather was...

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The Modern High-traction Doe’s Foot

The notched batten – also called a “doe’s foot” – is a great way to restrain your work on the bench without a tail vise. With a holdfast and a doe’s foot, you can even work across the grain aggressively and the work will stay in place. During the last couple years of using...

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Improve Your Tool Chest Hinges

Old tool chests typically have two weak spots: the bottom and the hinges. The bottom gets rotted out because tool chests end up in unfriendly, poorly drained areas. That’s why many tool chest bottoms are merely nailed on – so they can easily be replaced. The hinges usually fail because the screws come loose....

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Band Saw Buying Advice (Cheap & Easy)

When the history of 20th-century woodworking machinery is written, someone will compose a poem, ode or opera to the Delta 14” band saw that was made in the United States. There are many flavors of this band saw depending on who owned Delta at the time the machine was made, and machinery collectors make...

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Scoop a Chair Seat Without Specialty Tools

One of the barriers to making a Windsor chair are all the specialty tools, including the adze, scorp and travisher to scoop out the seat. Though I own all these tools and have used them for more than a decade, I sometimes wonder if they are all necessary. How would you make a comfortable...

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The Artisan’s Security Blanket

Some shop practices are so obvious that they hardly merit discussion. But every time I think that about some routine I have been taught, I am stunned by the blind spots of many of my students. (I am aware that I have blind spots, as well). I’m always curious about shops that don’t have...

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Staked Sawbenches, Day 2

Building staked furniture sometimes feels a lot more like an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” than a typical day in the shop. At assembly-time, the legs have to be knocked home hard to firmly seat the the conical tenon in its mortise and make a bit of a mechanical interlock. I’ve been making...

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Building Staked Sawbenches at Highland Woodworking

This weekend I am experimenting on guinea pigs. Scratch that. I’m experimenting on American pigs. Wow. That’s doesn’t sound good, either. OK, I’m teaching a new class on a new topic that has been bottled up inside me for four years now. You’ve probably never heard the term “staked furniture,” but that’s because the...

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Tools to Make a Roorkee Chair

Gathering the tools and materials necessary to make a Roorkee chair might seem intimidating because of some of the unusual operations (riveting?). I think the list of necessary tools is pretty manageable and reasonably priced – nothing too exotic. When students ask me for recommendations on what they should buy, here is my list....