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 Download: ‘Atkins Saw Book for Home Craftsmen’

Shortly before my friend Carl Bilderback died last year, he gave me a carload of woodworking books, catalogs and other ephemera that he had amassed during a lifetime of tool collecting and woodworking. His instructions: Distribute the books to young woodworkers who can’t afford them. Since his death, I’ve done just that. And all...

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Pocket Screws: The Mightiest Little Clamp

I don’t have enough elitism in my bloodstream to poop on pocket screws too much. For starters, they are incredibly ingenious and allow people to build things with only a handful of tools and almost no clamps. And they have been around for a long time – I’ve seen pocket screws in many piece...

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Woodworking Advice from the Food Industry

Making good food is a lot like making good furniture – you need good raw materials, skill and a decent set of basic tools. Last weekend I was talking to my brother-in-law about his job, which is supplying high-quality ingredients to restaurants. He’s been in the business long enough that he ends up mentoring...

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Hand Tools: What is Most Common is Most Precious

At the beginning of a hand tool class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, one of the students stopped me as I was passing by his bench. “I have a question for you,” he said. “What is this plane for?” He held up a chisel plane. “I thought it looked really useful,” he...

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The Myth of Wiping Wet Glue

The craft is clogged with so many counter-productive myths and practices that someone could make a career out of a “Mythbusters”-like approach to woodworking. If I could eliminate one myth from the national wood-consciousness, it would be that you shouldn’t wipe off wet glue from a joint and should let it set to a...

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When Rasps Aren’t Fine (or Small) Enough

For curved and sculptural work, nothing beats a good rasp. But there are many times that I need to do precise and fine work that most rasps aren’t capable of (at least the rasps I’ve seen or can afford). So I make my own custom sanding sticks using sticky-back sandpaper from the home center...

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Shaker Workbench No. 2 at Pleasant Hill

The first workbench I encountered at Pleasant Hill was a little non-standard by Shaker standards, but the second workbench was unusual by most any measuring stick for modern workbenches. It is a bit Roman, a bit English and has a lot of other interesting details worth thinking about. Let’s take a look at some...

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Shaker Workbench No. 1 at Pleasant Hill

When most people discuss Shaker workbenches, they conjure up images of massive cabinets with drawers and doors that are topped by a workbench top – plus a tail vise, leg vise and probably a sliding deadman. This form of workbench shows up in many of the East Coast Shaker communities, but in the Western...

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You Can Own the Rulers of the Ancient World

How we measure the world around us is a reflection of how our society interacts with the world. To wit: The metric system is, in my opinion, the most efficient way to gauge everything around us. And that is exactly why I dislike it so. It is a system based on base-10 efficiency and...