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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.


Crackle Lacquer

Crackle Lacquer

A friend called me the other day with a question. He was matching a crackle-lacquer finish from the 1980s and wanted to know how this finish is made and how to apply it. Crackle lacquer is lacquer with so much solid material, usually silica, added that there isn’t enough binder (lacquer) remaining to glue...

Imagine your fingers as the grain of the wood. The cutting force, whether it is a chisel, a gouge, a rasp or a plane should act in the direction of the grain (towards the tips of your fingers in an acute angle.

Reading and Working with the Grain, a Simple Tip

Perhaps the most important characteristic of wood is its grain. And grain orientation is undoubtedly the most critical consideration for charting a plan for cutting, milling and shaping wood. Therefore, reading the grain is paramount for good woodworking. When possible, we should always strive for planing, chiseling, rasping and gouging with the grain and...

dtc_10_25_2013-424

Design Brief No. 3: The Danish Campaign Chest

A lot of Danish Modern dressers are taller than your typical campaign chest because the designers added a drawer or two. But some of them look like the pieces shown here. After staring at the 25 campaign chests from part 1 of this series I hope you can see the connection. We have an...

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Design Brief No. 2: The Danish Campaign Chest

So after looking at the 25 campaign chests in the previous post, did you spot any patterns? What I see with these chests is that most of them are a square shape that is perched on some sort of plinth. After measuring a bunch of them, the typical size is 36” long x 40”...

Campaign-chest-plywood2

Design Brief No. 1: The Danish Campaign Chest

While there are a dozen good ways to design a piece of furniture, I can write intelligently only about my own methods. I designed my first piece of furniture in 1993 and have – surprisingly – stuck with the same basic technique for the last 23 years. It doesn’t involve formulas or ratios (though...

Walnut Box with Spalted Maple Inlay

On Seeking Perfection

Who hasn’t found themselves fussing over a project – running a plane over it just one more time or fretting over whether or not it needs another sanding? As with anything in life, the quest for perfection is an illusive one. In this excerpt from “Build 25 Beautiful Boxes,” master box-maker Doug Stowe shares...

Books

‘Woodwork by the Book’

Below is my “Out on a Limb” (the editor’s note) from the April 2016 issue, because I’ve had a couple folks ask me on social media recently what books I recommend. If I could apply in the shop the superabundance of knowledge I’ve gleaned through books, I’d be an excellent craftsperson. My job involves...

Here's what a professional spray booth looks like

Spray Booth for a Small Shop

In the December, 2001 issue of Popular Woodworking (issue # 125) I wrote about how to construct a simple but safe home spray booth. This article was reproduced in my book, “Flexner on Finishing.” But what if you have more space, do a lot of finishing and would like to have something more like...

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Squaring Up Cabinets – Don’t Forget the Back

When gluing up a frameless cabinet, we all know that we have to square up the carcase before the glue cures – otherwise the doors and drawers will never fit well. When working with beginners and many intermediate woodworkers, they usually square up only the front of the case with diagonal clamping pressure. You...