Required Reading

Here, you’ll find the blog posts that Christopher Schwarz (former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine and now a contributing editor), has identified as his favorites (by some mysterious measure) and/or most important. You’ll find woodworking hand tool techniques, videos, a look at some incredible vintage tools, visits with must-know woodworkers, tool reviews, book reviews, articles, musing on old tool patents, free book chapter downloads and more. And some of these are pleasingly controversial or just dang funny – these are absolutely worth a read.

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What Type of Woodworker Are You – Honestly

Years ago I was asked to judge a building contest put on by Bosch that pitted young technical students against one another for a big cash prize and a whole bunch of tools. For the contest, the students were given a plan, some wood, some tools and a certain number of hours to get...

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Psst, Hey Troublemaker. Wanna Buy a Book?

I am pleased to announce that ShopWoodworking.com now sells “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” a book that took me two years to write. And the process of writing this book so changed my perspective on the world that I stepped down as editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The book has its critics, and I imagine...

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Time to Grow Up

“Now,” said John, “we will put the work away for today.” “Why, I am not tired,” said Benny. “Neither am I,” said John; “but uncle Edward said, that, if we meant to make a good job of it, we must always leave off our work before we began to get tired.” This was excellent...

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Finishing for the Rest of Us

Here’s some tough love: Most good woodworkers are terrible finishers. I know this because I have seen hundreds – probably thousands – of pieces of furniture that have been entered in competitions or in juried shows during the last 15 years. And while the design, wood selection and joinery might be excellent, the finish...

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Roy Underhill’s 3 Favorite Books

In the June 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine we have a fun article that lists all of the woodworking books that the magazine’s staff consider to be “classics.” It’s a great list, but the best part of the article is that we went to many of our contributors and asked them which books...

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A Gift for My Successor

In 2006 a reader sent me a little spiral-bound black book that was filled with handwritten notecards. Graphs. Equations. Photos. It was a carefully assembled list of all my mistakes and misdeeds during the previous decade. It called me out as a fake – someone who doesn’t understand woodworking or handwork or editing a...

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‘This Blather Would Not Pass a Sixth Grade Assignment’

This blather would not pass a sixth grade assignment to write a ‘theme’ on something. ‘Make me ill’ is hyperbolic and repulsive and means nothing, and ‘You owe it to yourself, the tree, and the whole of human history” is hyperbolic, stupid, and pompous. Its even punctuated incorrectly. I want a woodworking magazine and...

Surprisingly, dead mutton-chopped politicians didn't come out in force to take the survey.

What We Do to Make Money

The results of last week’s survey on the occupations of woodworkers are in, and the results have a few surprises. I need to stop making fun of mechanical engineers on this blog, for one. Also, I can mock dietitians all I please. We had 1,760 people respond to the survey. That’s not bad. But...