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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.

How to Shape a Mallet Out of a Branch

To initiate our fourth graders into woodworking, we offer them a branch and show them how to shape it into a mallet. The branch-mallet is a great project to introduce students of any age to woodworking. It familiarizes them to saws, chisels, gouges, rasps and sandpaper. And, once finished, they can use the tool...

Woe be it to the Double-Wide Workbench

Perhaps it’s the American love for excess. But no matter how many examples I cite or pleas I make, most beginning woodworkers seek to build workbenches that are entirely too wide. Most historical workbenches are 18” to 22” wide – and they are that wide for functional reasons that I’ll explain in a minute....

Up Your Game with the ‘Make Pretty’

When you make furniture in order to eat or meet a deadline (such as birthdays), it’s difficult to stop yourself from crossing the finish line as soon as possible. Years ago I discovered that taking a day to simply “make pretty” did wonders for my work. What’s “make pretty?” It’s an expression I first...

3 Tips for Wedging Your Joints

Wedging joints adds great strength, but it also is risky. A wedge can split the work, it can fail to dive into the tenon (sometimes popping out of the tenon), or the tenon itself can split when you hit it, making a mess of things. Here are three things I do to reduce the...

Digital Woodworking Tools in 2016

A Good Year for Digital Woodworking Tools Using a 3-axis CNC, the underside of a sofa table’s ovoid shaped top is being rough cut in 3D. The edge is a combination of a tapered angular bevel on the sides that graduates to a progressively curved taper over the length of the top. Sounds complicated, but once...

Crazing from Body Sweat

All finishes craze ­– that is, develop small cracks – as they age, especially if they are exposed to a lot of sunlight. But there’s another type of crazing, and it can happen much faster. This is crazing caused by body sweat. You commonly see crazing of this type around cabinet-door pulls and drawer...

Bill Rainford jointing a board

Workbench Slave (aka Deadman) a la Tage Frid

A stout “deadman” or “bench slave” is one of simplest jigs you can build, and it can be an invaluable addition to any workbench with a tail vise. You clamp this fixture, which is essentially a heavy block of wood that rests on the floor, into your tail vise and set a pin into...

12 Rules for Tool Chests

Below are Christopher Schwarz’s “12 Rules for Tool Chests” in short form (the full article, as it appeared in the December 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, is downloadable at the end.) The chest pictured here is his full-size traditional English tool chest, but the rules apply no matter the chest. (You’ll find instruction...

Popular Woodworking Magazine, February 2017

The February issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (#230) just mailed to print subscribers and emailed to digital subscribers. It’s live in our online store too. This is a solid issue that’s sure to keep you busy for some time – Bill Rainford’s Tage Frid-inspired mid-century workbench is a challenge that will stand (strong –...