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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The Better Way to Get a Plane to Stop Cutting

Making “stop shavings” – where the plane cuts only one part of the board – is one of the keys to better edge joints and lots of other handplane techniques. But few people in my hand-tool classes have ever been told how to do it right. Most people do it like they are taking...

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The Best $139 I’ve Spent on my Bench

After 19 years of building workbenches and testing workholding devices, I am darn picky about what equipment I have on my benches. In truth, I don’t have a lot of vises on my benches because I prefer simple workholding. But when it comes to my leg vise – the most important part of my...

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How to Avoid Hours of Handplaning

The trick to becoming fast at handplaning is to never pause during stock preparation. No matter how you prepare your wood for a project (with machines, handplanes or some combination of the two) the biggest mistake you can make is to stop during the process for even an hour. Once you joint and plane...

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Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 10: Abranet

I do almost no power sanding. But I do use abrasives in my work. And the only abrasive I use is Abranet. I hesitate to call it “sandpaper” because it is absolutely nothing like sandpaper. There’s no paper – it’s a woven mesh. And the abrasive is nothing like sand. But it lasts forever,...

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Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 8: Better Beeswax

During the last few years as I have turned my back on finishes with lots of volatile organic compounds, I’ve begun looking for traditional high-quality finishes that won’t shorten my lifespan. I’ve bought a lot of beeswax from a lot of different sources, from national manufacturers to the individual beekeeper. They all work, but...

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Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 6: Soap Finish

This year I have experimented a lot with using a soap finish on chairs and tables. Soap is a traditional Danish finish used on furniture and floors. It’s easy to apply, easy to renew, low on the toxicity scale and leaves a delightful low-sheen finish that is remarkably soft to the touch. The downside?...