The Christopher Schwarz blog has been around just about as long as the Popular Woodworking blog and website. So I should begin this post by saying that it is impossible to summarize, in a few hundred words, the most important posts of Chris’ blog. But what I can do is offer what I think is the key theme from the history of Schwarz’s electronic ramblings. I also want to point to the present and future of this work, which I learned in a conversation with Chris yesterday. Please use the comments section (at bottom) to highlight your own favorite themes and posts from over the years!
Best of the Christopher Schwarz Blog – Past
“I’ve always been a worker.” That’s how Chris described himself to me when we first met on the phone last year. And that’s the theme that every woodworker sees right away when they start reading the Chris Schwarz blog. The guy flat out works. When Chris picks up a tool, it’s usually because he is going to use that tool. When Chris starts a project, it’s because he needs to see how that project goes together, or because he wants to use the finished product in his own home. It’s never some sort of academic exercise, and that’s what we all find so refreshing about this writing.
The best image I could come up with to show what I mean is a picture I took yesterday of three handplane shavings from the cedar project I’m currently working on. These are handplane shavings I made with a tool that I rehabilitated, for a project that I actually need. Oh, and I didn’t even know what a Stanley #4 was at this time last year. The knowledge I’ve gained in tools like these, and most importantly how to use them, is almost entirely a function of the free material available on the Chris Schwarz blog.
Best of the Christopher Schwarz Blog – Present
Quick product plug here. The best way to dig into the Chris Schwarz blog right now is to chip off $19.99 for the terrific new CD we just released, a collection of Chris’ best projects and articles. Then visit PopularWoodworking.com and start searching for the expanded material that relates to each of those projects and articles. It’ll be a window to a whole new world for you, and a snapshot of where Chris stands on things as of 2014.
Best of the Christopher Schwarz blog – Future
When I spoke with Chris yesterday, he pointed me to two major endeavors he is completing over the next year or so. I want to highlight one of those endeavors – the one that, in my opinion, will be truly the best. I believe that Chris’ “Furniture of Necessity” project is going to lay the groundwork for a new revolution in woodworking, just as the hand tool revolution was such an important component of the last decade in our craft.
Chris says, “The goal is to create a book of projects that will allow a beginner to fill an entire house with furniture with basic tools and skills. And this won’t be 2×4 furniture, or stuff that will be put to the curb someday. These are pieces that are designed to endure the whims of style and the beatings of everyday life.”
Need a little more background on what “Furniture of Necessity” means? Read Chris’ post on his personal blog, titled “4 Kinds of Furniture.” And while you’re there, check out the entire category of blog posts on this topic. Like I said, I think this approach to woodworking is going to help define the next decade in furniture for many homes and families.