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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Free Plans: Ancient Squares for Ancient Scraps

I don’t turn pens much, and the word “fireplace” is a dirty word in our house (thanks to an incident involving a flaming log and full nudity). So my scrap pile is always overflowing. I give away scraps for kindling to my neighbors or I burn them in our outside firepit, but that is...

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Threadboxes: One More Song the Radio Won’t Like

Whenever I write about threadboxes, my personal blog gets swamped with spam from the Pacific Rim. So batten down the firewalls, mateys. I started writing about the Moxon double-screw vise in 2010 (original post here) and have made many of them using a threadbox and tap that you can buy from many reputable woodworking...

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About Me & Woodworking in America

It’s a strange world where I need to write a blog entry about this topic. Recently Editor Megan Fitzpatrick and I have been getting e-mails and phone calls with this basic question: “Why isn’t Schwarz going to Woodworking in America?” Then they ask: • Is it because Popular Woodworking Magazine doesn’t want him there?...

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The Monogamy has Ended

When I teach people to sharpen edge tools, I am very much an “I’m OK, you’re OK” guy about the kinds of systems out there and whether you should use jigs or not. But there is one thing I’m all fire and waterstones about: Stick with one system until you know it – at...

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It Floats. It’s Full of Stars….

I have lost track of how many vises I’ve built or installed on workbenches. So my early-morning giddiness about the Benchcrafted Crisscross is worth note. This week I’m putting a leg vise on my Holtzapffel workbench that will have both the new Benchcrafted Classic vise screw and the Crisscross Retro (instead of a parallel...

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5 Mistakes Beginners Make with Block Planes

When I teach beginners, one of the most common phrases I hear is, “I cannot get this (insert tool name) to work. What’s wrong?” They hand the tool to me and the fun begins. Though block planes are dirt-simple handplanes, there are some important points about them that are rarely discussed in the literature....

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Making a Vise Chop for a Benchcrafted Classic

I started making the wooden vise chop for a new leg vise for my Holtzapffel workbench (featured in “The Workbench Design Book”) using some crazy new hardware from Benchcrafted: the Classic vise screw and the Crisscross. The only downside to the Crisscross part of the assembly is that you need a vise chop that...

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Another Engine

I have lost track of the number of wooden try squares I’ve built in the last five years. At this time last year I had the parts for about 20 mahogany squares in my shop. Now I’m down to one (the rattiest one I couldn’t sell) and some special parts for squares that I...

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Tightening the ‘Stay-Set’ Chipbreaker

Last week I took my new Clifton No. 5 to teach a full-size toolchest class at The Woodworkers Club in Rockville, Md. Several of the students used it on their toolchests, which they made using cherry, pine or poplar. The plane did quite well – the iron stayed sharp through planing up an entire...