PWM Shop Blog

The PWM Shop Blog (formerly called the Editors’ Blog) is your reliable source of woodworking information, videos and advice from seasoned woodworkers, and the best place to learn the latest happenings in the woodworking industry and the woodworking online community.

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Drag Chain

Build a CNC Router is Back!

Our Build a CNC Router course is coming up again in April, and I’m really excited about it. I love building, programming and using CNC routers, but seeing the photos from students in this class is even more fun. So many people have built their own machines over the past year, and they’ve shared...

Nitrocellulose, water-white and CAB-acrylic lacquers

Lacquers Vary in Coloring

Lacquer is a very versatile finish, especially because of its widely understood easy application in different weather conditions. You can speed up or slow down the drying by adding the right thinners. Not so widely understood is the range of colors – the amount of yellowing (or “oranging”) of the various types of lacquer....


‘Make a Traditional English Tool Chest’

I have a love-hate relationship with “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” the book (now in its eighth printing) that inspired our new “Make a Traditional English Tool Chest” DVD set and download video with Christopher Schwarz. You see, that’s the book that gave him the impetus to step down as editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine,...

Tenon Cross Cut chopping

Build a Frame Saw Part 3: Lay Out & Cut the Tenons 

Click here for Part 1 of the frame saw build, and here for Part 2. The central (compression) beam tenons are 5/8” long and 1-3/4” wide (see enlarged drawing at the bottom of this post). The thickness of the tenons, as well as their centric (or in the case of a mistake, off-centric) location should...

Murphy Oil Soap

Murphy’s Oil Soap: A Most Unusual Story

During my career refinishing furniture, Murphy’s Oil Soap has morphed from a regionally available natural soap made with potassium hydroxide (similar to lye) and vegetable oil (instead of animal fat) to a nationally available and very popular furniture-care product. I watched this transformation happen and find the story fascinating. I find it fascinating because...

Christopher Schwarz talks about staked furniture at WIA 2015 (with Roy Underhill manning the camera).

A Little Glimpse at Woodworking in America 2016

I now have 99.9 percent of the speakers and sessions nailed down (and yes, we actually have a session on nails) for Woodworking in America 2016 (September 16-18 in Greater Cincinnati) , and the conference staff is busy getting the web site ready to launch for registration (which is projected to open at the...


Stanley’s Workbench

It’s funny how a project idea can come out of left field. I had no long burning plan or urge to make our son Stanley a workbench and give him a selection of tools. I’ve never wanted to force my children in any direction; I’d like them to make up their own minds on...

VOC compliant paint thinner

Beware VOC-Compliant Solvents

Southern California has the strictest VOC laws in the country. These laws have forced manufacturers to change the ingredients they use in paints and finishes, and even eliminate some – for example, oil paint and varnish. They have also done the same with solvents. For example, you can’t buy naphtha anymore, a solvent I...

Workbench Housings

Robust Connections

Apart from a lack of time, the shop the workbench project is progressing well. The leg frames are glued up and I’m working on the aprons at the moment. On the last bench I made I used some heavy gauge screws and the aprons were made flush with the legs. This time I’m creating...