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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.


My Lucky Scars

When I was about 11, my parents took a trip to Cancun and left us with Hazel, a Nurse Ratched type with a beehive hairdo, a messed-up back and a matching disposition. It was Halloween, and so we were carving pumpkins in the garage. I was using my Cub Scout knife – improperly. The...

lathe tools

How to Select Woodturning Tools

When it comes to turned furniture components, you only have a few options. You can buy mass-produced factory-turned components that do not accurately recreate the fine details in period furniture; you can make friends with a turner; or you can invest in a lathe and turn your own. If you decide to go with the...

Make Your Own Linseed Oil & Wax Finish

A finish made from linseed oil and beeswax is an easy-to-apply, tactile finish that I like for turnings, vernacular chairs and other objects that don’t require the protection of a film finish, such as varnish or shellac. The finish, which I call linwax, is available from suppliers such as Swede Paint, or you can...

Use a ‘Nail Board’ to Speed Finishing Work

Here’s a finishing trick you may not be familiar with. You can brush or spray both sides of flat panels and cabinet doors without having to wait for one side to dry by using a nail board – except I used drywall screws instead of nails. These screws have very tiny pointed tips that...

Small Shop CNC: A Class of Machines Designed to Fit

If you’re at the point to where you’re at least thinking about the idea of adding a CNC to your shop, then you’ve likely done some research. If that’s the case then you’ve certainly noticed there’s a huge range of sizes and prices of machines to consider.  With CNC routers from as small as 12”...

Popular Woodworking Magazine, April 2017

The April issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (#231) just mailed to print subscribers and emailed to digital subscribers. It’s live in our online store too. There’s a lot to dig into in this issue, including a chisel primer from Christopher Schwarz – he addresses what chisels you really need, how to set one up...

water-tight joint

Frank Klausz’s ‘Secret’ Water-tight Joint

Frank Klausz reveals the family secret – how to make the watertight wood-on-wood joint for the bottom of his sharpening pond – a boatbuilder’s joint taught to him by his grandfather. It takes a special shop-made tool…from a material that you likely already have on hand. (I think I’ve enough of this particular thing...

Clamping a Chair is Like Hugging an Eel

One of the challenges when building a chair is clamping the dang thing down so you can work on it. I’ve seen lots of solutions that use band clamps. But I dislike band clamps (perhaps I had a bad experience at band camp). So here’s what I do. Most workholding problems can be solved...

Ingenious Chinese Planing Stop

There isn’t enough written in English on the woodworking of the Chinese, who have a long and amazing woodworking and technological history. But today I’ve been gobbling up “China at Work” by Rudolf P. Hommel (MIT Press, 1937), which focuses on tools used for making other tools (blacksmithing), food, clothing, shelter and transportation. Unlike...