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.

Follow this blog with e-mail alerts here. | Follow on RSS here. Chris Schwarz Blog RSS Feed

rotstrips_open_IMG_9731

When Your Tool Chest Needs to Be a Tank (or a Boat)

When tool chests suffer damage, it’s usually in three places: the top rim of the lid, the lower skirt around the carcase and the bottom boards, which are rotted. The rim of the lid gets dented by falling objects, such as clamps, heavy boards and other things in the truck when you move the...

grace_driver_IMG_0329

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 5

It is not always the screw’s fault. Yes, home-center wood screws are too soft. Some off-shore screw manufacturers use substandard materials and manufacturing processes. But sometimes it’s your screwdriver that’s at fault (or the, cough, screwer). Many modern screwdrivers are too soft or poorly ground. It’s enough to make you reach for a nail...

skraper_IMG_0328

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 4

Woe is the poor glue scraper. There are no toolmakers crafting these tools with rosewood handles and German silver accents. No annoying forum threads that debate the merits of the different handle angles and blade widths. The glue scraper is the squirrel exhibit at the zoo. Once you get a Benchcrafted Skraper, however, the...

pegas_blades_IMG_0326

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 3

If you read this blog regularly, you should be sick of this suggestion: Buy Pégas coping saw blades. Hoard them. I do – and I’m not generally a hoarder. I have about 150 stashed away in case Pegas doubles the price or stops making them this well. I don’t have evidence that either event...

polissoir_IMG_0335

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 2

It’s easy to be skeptical about the polissoir. Could a bundle of broom corn radically change the way you finish some pieces of work? All of us who worked on the translation of A.-J. Roubo’s “l’Art du Menuisier” were wary when we translated the section on the polissoir – literally “polisher.” So we were...

AA-lead_holder_IMG_0324

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 1

Full disclosure: The following gift ideas are 100-percent unsponsored. I bought all these tools myself and would buy them all again – that’s why they are on this list. First on my list for 2014 is a tool you don’t see much in woodshops, but you should. It’s called a “lead holder” by artists...

roorkee_front2_IMG_7819

A Faster Way to Assemble a Roorkee

Roorkee chairs are great fun to show customers – until they ask me to take it apart and put it back together for them. For the first year or so, I was pretty slow at putting them together because there are eight buckles to tighten up all while keeping the loose parts from falling...