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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.

Chris Schwarz
Arts & Mysteries RSS FeedRead Adam’s Blog »

Arts & Mysteries with Adam Cherubini

Arts & Mysteries is one of our most-read columns in Popular Woodworking Magazine. Whether you sympathize with Adam Cherubini’s approach to working wood entirely with hand tools or think he’s simply a glutton for punishment, I think we all can agree on one thing: Adam’s column is never boring.


Looking to the Past: Time-Tested Woodworking Techniques

Woodworking is a craft steeped in knowledge handed down through generations. The techniques have been tested and rethought and retested time and time again. While experimentation is a wonderful thing for the craft, there is simultaneously a good deal of importance in attention to detail and being exact. Learning the old ways and time-tested woodworking...

My sandpaper plate sharpening system is made of two plates and a  piece of 600 grit sandpaper.

Sandpaper Sharpening & Honing, Part 1

In my last post, I showed how I made a dedicated slip form (a slipstone made of wood) for one of my gouges. This week, I’ll explain how to make a complementary sandpaper sharpening stone that is surprisingly effective and inexpensive to build. First, let me explain why I began using this sandpaper technique...

The commercial chair as purchased.

A Happy Ending for a Terrible Chair

Upholsterer Mike Mascelli was kind enough to send along some photos of what happened in his class to the terrible chair frame I wrote about this week. It’s a bit like the story of George Washington’s axe in a museum. After George died, the next owner wore out the head and replaced it. The...

The crappy frame below the upholstery.

Typical (& Frightening) Chair Construction

Most modern, factory-made furniture is poorly constructed – most woodworkers agree on that point. But would you ever call it dangerous? This fall while teaching at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, I got a moment to peek in at the upholstery class being run by Mike Mascelli, a New York-based professional who does...

Quick-release Vise Squad

If I’m going to get my workbench build started in December I’ll have to pull out all the stops. I’ve a project underway for which I soon hope to have a video done, and any Christmas knick knacks I might have planned to make as gifts will have to wait. As far as my...


My Difficult Relationship With Exotics

Being raised Protestant, guilt isn’t at the fiber of my being. But I know guilt; my wife is Catholic. And I get a feeling that resembles guilt whenever I work with tropical hardwoods. Like many woodworkers, I’ve read a lot about C.I.T.E.S., both in the mainstream media and in the woodworking world (here’s W....


Modern ‘Register Calipers’ Available from Woodpeckers

One of my favorite tools from the Studley tool cabinet are his register calipers, which are displayed prominently on the right-hand side of the cabinet. These calipers were common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell out of favor when dial calipers became inexpensive. Since first encountering these locking calipers I...

Honing form for round edge tools

Make Convex Sharpening Forms for Round Edge Tools 

Which tools are my favorites? Well, they are divided into a few categories. Sentimentality & fidelity: These are tools that I inherited from my dad or my grandfather, or that were gifted to me by loved ones and friends, as well as tools that I purchased early on in my woodworking journey and over the...


First Look: ‘Workbenches, Revised Edition’

ShopWoodworking.com is now taking pre-orders for the new revised edition of “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” for $34.99 plus free domestic shipping. The book will be released on or about Oct. 20. I spent several months earlier this year on the revision to the book and am quite pleased with...