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PWM Shop Blog

Formerly called the Editors’ Blog, these articles offer hands-on advice, woodworking tips and techniques from the editors and contributing editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine


This blog includes free videos, tool reviews we didn’t have room for in the printed magazine and tidbits of the day-to-day life here at the magazine and in the world of woodworking.


Chris Schwarz
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Chris Schwarz Blog

Contributing editor Christopher Schwarz is a long-time amateur woodworker and professional journalist. He built his first workbench at age 8 and spent weekends helping his father build two houses on the family’s farm outside Hackett, Ark.— using mostly hand tools. Despite his early experience on the farm, Chris remains a hand-tool enthusiast.

Chris’s blog focuses mostly on hand tools and hand work. Chris also writes short tool reviews, book reviews and generally gets the inside scoop on new hand tool introductions before other blogs.


Bob flexner
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Flexner on Finishing Blog

Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and the author of woodworking finishing books, including “Flexner on Finishing,” “Understanding Wood Finishing,” and “Wood Finishing 101,” available at ShopWoodworking.com. Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.


Step on can to close it

Step on a Can to Close It

Here’s a tip that you will thank me for if you aren’t already doing it. When you want to secure the lid on a paint, stain or finish can, step on it rather than hammer it closed. Using your body weight to close the can has two advantages. First, you don’t have to have...

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Check Squareness on Big Pieces

When you’re building casework, your parts really need dead square ends if you hope to fit drawers, dividers or a gallery inside. I don’t trust any table saw gizmo to give me square cuts. And I don’t trust my shooting board, either. The only thing I trust is a square that has been tested...

Option (A) above, option (B) below.

Build a Tool Tote With Your Kids: Part 2

Before I developed the tool tote project, I did some online research and discovered that there are two major trends in the design of simple wooden totes: (A) Those whose tall end-walls flank the side walls and (B) those whose side-walls flank the end-walls. This raised the question: Which of the two designs would better...

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‘Intro to Hand Tools’

I have a confession to make. I am not a hand-tool woodworker…but I want to be. I have been around only power tools for most of my life. I worked for a contractor through college. The only hand tools we used in my shop class were a rasp and file. The furniture business that I worked...

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Faster and Better and Healthier and….

Sometimes I feel the need to test myself, particularly when it comes to crap I say and crap I do. For many years I’ve contended that using handplanes is faster in almost every workshop situation – versus even a random-orbit, DA and drum sander. (I’ve not faced an industrial wide-belt sander. Yet.) Recently I...

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Jim McConnell (‘The Daily Skep’) Debuts in the August PopWood

I’m delighted to welcome to the pages of Popular Woodworking Magazine James “Jim” McConnell, whom you may know from his blog “The Daily Skep,” where he writes thoughtful and engaging posts, mostly about hand-tool woodworking. Jim worked out of a power-tool-dominated shop for a number of years, before being seduced by a vintage Stanley...

The best finish for a cutting board is no finish

Cutting Boards: The Best Finish

A seemingly never-ending question concerns how to finish cutting boards. You don’t need any finish on a cutting board. Water won’t hurt it and no finish will keep water out anyway, after a few knife cuts. Nor will the finish continue to look nice after numerous knife cuts. If the cutting board begins to...

Dado By Hand 1

Dado Joints by Hand

Making joinery by hand is a satisfying process, so I thought I’d share a method for hand made dado joints. In the early days of my apprenticeship we would practice joints on short ends of pine, getting used to the tools and working through the steps required to make a joint by hand, but...

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Use ‘Gun Blue’ to Instantly Blacken Hardware

I use blacksmith-made hardware whenever I (or my customers) can afford it. But if you’re on a budget or have hundreds of pieces of hardware for a project, it’s time to visit the gun store. My favorite way to blacken steel, iron or even zinc-plated hardware is to brush on a thin coat of...