Chris Schwarz's Blog

Some Upcoming Projects with Popular Woodworking

If a workbench or a tool chest is on your list of woodworking projects to build this year, you’ll definitely want to read on about two upcoming DVDs I’m working on with Popular Woodworking Magazine.

In just a few weeks, we’re filming a DVD on building a traditional tool chest using a small set of tools and just a few skills – it’s a perfect project for the beginning woodworker (or the woodworker who needs a tool chest built in a weekend).

I’ve spent years researching and building tool chests as part of my book, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” And while I will always prefer building chests using dovetails and hand joinery, I’d be lying if I said that’s the only way to do it.

Here in my library I have a tool chest that is easily 100 years old and has seen more beatings than a rented mule. And yet the chest is assembled without a single joint – just screws and nails. And thanks to its clever construction, it works as well as the day it was made.

The DVD will show how to make one of these dead-nuts simple chests using a benchtop table saw, a cordless drill and only home center materials. Once painted, it will look exactly like a traditional chest. It will work like a traditional chest. But it will take you only two days to build it (including the paint job).

More details on the chest after we shoot the DVD in mid-February 2013.

Later this spring, we’ll be filming a similar DVD on building a workbench with only two days of shop time. Now, I’ve been a woodworker for long enough to know that when someone says you can build it in a “weekend” that’s code for “a month of Sundays.”

This bench is no joke.

It’s going to be be made from home-center materials and require just a few tools. It’s going to work like an 18th-century workbench, but it’s going to exploit modern materials to their limits. The top, for example, is 4” thick, 24” wide and 8’ long. It takes about 30 minutes of shop time to make.

I’ve been building workbenches for myself, friends and customers now for 13 years. I have tried almost every trick in the book. And what’s the book? Oh, I wrote that book: “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” It’s available in the store and is a quick and easy read. I’ve got a lot of other writings on workbenches (including this entire free section of the blog). One of my favorite workbench things is the DVD we released several years ago on building a workbench entirely by hand. Whew. It’s called “Build an 18th-century Workbench,” and it shows how to build a bench without power tools. Yes, you will break a sweat.

But if you don’t want to sweat, stay tuned for the DVD later this year on building a bench in just two days. The only way you’ll break a sweat is if you eat way too much organ meat and hot Mexican food after you finish the bench. Otherwise, no sweat.

— Christopher Schwarz

9 thoughts on “Some Upcoming Projects with Popular Woodworking

    1. jbaker.rower@gmai.com

      Me too! Me Too! Both! I just finished a short but tall workbench with a toolbox between the stretchers. It’s OK to work with but taught me several lessons about (in)accuracy and (out of)square that I’d like to use to build a full size bench and tool chest.

  1. Rick_S

    Chris,

    I agree: the timing of the DVD’s, especially the workbench DVD, couldn’t be better. I’ve advanced enough in woodworking to recognize all of the mistakes I made in my current workbench, and I’m ready to build a better one. Please kep us posted on the release date!

    Thanks!

    Rick

  2. AnthonyT

    Chris,
    Good timing for both DVD’s. Will the bench have construction lumber? I’m curious, b/c I’d like to start acclimating the wet stuff if needed!

    Thanks,
    Anthony

  3. Marlon1

    I have my material list of treated lumber for my porch bench. Going to make a top chest for my rolling tool cabinet too. Can’t wait for both DVDs from you to help.
    I plan on coming to that hand tool event in Amana Iowa. Do you think that weekend workbench DVD will be out by then?

    Thanks,
    Marlon

  4. drbass

    Chris,
    I seem to remember reading some time ago that you were doing a DVD on building a Shaker side table using hand tools. Am I correct? Is this available somewhere?

    Matt

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