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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.

Waterfall leg

Live Edge Maple and Turned Walnut Waterfall Coffee Table

While teaching at Peters Valley, my class assistant, Anneloes Van Beek, and I decided to build a live edge furniture piece for the school’s benefit auction. We chose a flamboyant piece of maple which was rich with character, spalting and even some traces of bark. We contemplated what to do with it. It did...

Benchtop slabs (6" thick) that are green and ready to use.

On Thick, Wet Slab Tops for Workbenches

During the last seven years, I’ve slowly become a fan of using a monolithic slab for the top of a workbench. And I’ve also slowly begun to ignore all the criticisms of slab tops. I built my first slab-top workbench in 2009-2010, which was published in the August 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine....


Karl Holtey’s Final Plane: The 984

If you ever hear a criticism of the pioneering work of Karl Holtey it’s that his planes are “too perfect” or “lack a soul.” I’ve always been a little befuddled by these comments because I have used a good number of planes that have no soul by the likes of Harbor Freight, late-model Stanleys...


Christopher Schwarz on Roman Workbenches

Christopher Schwarz’s next book (I’ve been urging him to refer to it as a monograph, given its single subject and form – and perhaps my penchant for hyperbole) will be on two Roman workbenches – one ancient design based on an 18th-century drawing of a fresco at Herculaneum and a surviving fresco at Pompeii,...


It’s Chairmaking Season (For Me, at Least)

While I love making cabinets, tables and bookcases, I have always been drawn to making chairs. At first I made Morris chairs because they were very cabinet-like – lots of 90° angles and traditional square-mortise joinery. There might be an odd angle or two for a builder to conquer, but nothing outrageous. Then I...


For the Love of Classic Wooden Toys

Perhaps it’s because I’ve become a father myself – or maybe it’s just a sign of getting older – but I’ve found myself thinking fondly of old toys. I’m not talking about the Transformers, Stretch Armstrongs and Star Wars figures of my youth (though, I love those toys with all my heart). Those kinds...


Is it the Object or the Finish?

I got a call recently from a friend who runs a mid-size woodworking shop. He was making several dozen walnut tables for a restaurant and finishing them with pre-catalyzed lacquer. He sent off a sample of the finish to the restaurant owner, who came back with an objection. The restaurant had hired a professional...