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I’ve said this a few times in public, so I figured that I better mention it here before somebody starts a rumor about how I have a tumor (not true) or a small gnome or dwarf growing in my stomach.

I won’t be teaching any classes or lectures or traveling to shows in 2012.

There are several reasons. If you care, read on.

• I’ve decided that I need to spend at least a year focusing on my own skills. I enjoy taking classes as much as I enjoy teaching them. And I have put off several classes for too long now. So next year I might be the dufus sitting at the bench next to you.

• I have far too many personal projects – both writing and building – that I am burning to do. I need to build the Pepys Bookcase I blogged about earlier plus … well it’s a long list.

• I want to focus my teaching energies on one student in 2012: my daughter Katy. I can see her interest in woodworking blooming. If I don’t work with her now, I’m going to regret it.

There are still opening for classes that I’m teaching in 2011. If you are interested, check out the links below.

• April 15-16.
I’ll be demonstrating at the Lie-Nielsen show here in our offices and showing off my new tool chest. And I’ll be eating tacos from the taco truck we hire to sit in our parking lot. Come see both and decide which is more boring.

• April 22-23.
Rochester Woodworkers Society. I’ll be giving lectures and demonstrating how to build an English Layout Square at the Rochester Woodworkers Society in upstate New York. Details are here. I cannot believe they chose that photo of me to promote the event.

• May 14-15.
Marc Adams School of Woodworking. This is the Handplane Weekend class I’ve been teaching for years. This year it’s going to be a little different, but I can’t say anything more until Marc Adams announces it. Details are here.

• June 22-26.
Dick GmbH in Metten, Germany. Build a Dovetailed Tool Chest. There is still a spot or two open in my class in building a traditional tool chest at Dick’s excellent facility in Metten, Germany. Details about the class are here. Details about Dick and its workshop, here.

• July 11-15.
Marc Adams School of Woodworking. Handplanes, Handsaws and Hand-cut Joints. This class seeks to show you how all three of these tools work together in a hand-tool shop. And that understanding all of the tools in depth and their relationships with one another will make you a better craftsman. Details on the Marc Adams site here.

• July 18-20.
The Woodwright’s School. I return to Roy Underhill’s class for another class on precision sawing. This class is a blast because Roy is there lending a hand the whole time and generally making mirth. Details here.

• Aug. 8-12.
Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. By Hammer & Hand: Build the Dovetailed Schoolbox. I’ve always wanted to teach a class based on the dovetailed schoolbox I built for Woodworking Magazine and the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker.” So this should be a fun week. Details here.

• Aug. 13-4.
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. Build an English Layout Square. We’ll build the English Layout Square by hand and learn how it is an excellent project for apprentices that teaches many of the skills necessary for learning the hand tool mindset. Details here.

• Sept. 5-6.
Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Build a Sawbench. Finally, I get to head out to Jim Tolpin’s school. Details here.

• Sept. 7-9.
Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Handplane Essentials. We use handplanes to build the English Layout Square (yes, I love this project). Details here.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 19 comments
  • dpgilbert


    All of us at Rochester Woodworkers Society (RWS) are very excited that you will be in Rochester later this month.

    I am sure that you will appreciate your current photo that is posted. Someone wanted to post your photo with you holding a rip saw in some stylish high heel pumps. We felt that the photo threatening a poor doll was more in line with good taste.

    Looking forward to your visit.


  • planewoodworker

    Chris, you will have to give us regular updates on your approach to teaching your daughter. My daughter has shown interest and I know the window of opportunity will soon close. I have some ideas but maybe you can share yours. I’m sure there are a lot of dads that read this post that could use the help.

  • kar1205

    Lucky Katy. Luckier Dad!


  • Wood Zealot

    I just wanted to note that my interest in woodworking is likely to bloom in 2013. I just don’t want you to live with regret in 2014 for not mentoring me.

    And by the way, the selection of Katy as your 2012 apprentice reeks of blatant nepotism.

  • Karen

    It’s lovely to see a dad take such care to cultivate his child’s interest in woodworking.
    You have so much to offer too. Good, good for you!


  • donwilliams


    You are doing exactly the right thing. You will look back on this year as such a blessing which will redound for generations yet to come. Really. My girls are now in their 20s and we still reminisce warmly about moments from years long passed. They never developed a taste for woodworking, but I remain hopeful.

    And focusing on developing your own skill set has uncountable rewards. I made the same commitment a few years ago, after decades in the biz, and I have been transformed and enriched by renewing the quest for excellence.

    As Barbara Bush famously said in a commencement address at Wellesly, “No one says in their death bed, ‘I wish I had gone to the office a little more.'”

    “We are worked on by that which we work on.” Frederick Douglass


  • scouse

    Like Dory said in ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘Just keep blogging, just keep blogging, just keep blogging, blogging, blogging…’

    Actually, have Katy do a blog on what you are like as a teacher; teaching your kids may be different to teaching a class, ask my son what it was like when I taught him to drive a car!!!

  • dweyler

    Chris I applaud you. I have a 9 month old daughter that is allready more interesting then anything that I could tinker with at work. I used to spend 10 hours overtime making sure an overhaul got done on time or a clutch got put in before I got home. Not so much anymore. I am blessed with fridays off when I get to keep the little one home from daycare and chase each other around on the floor. Cherish every moment.


  • Bartee

    I hope you keep blogging.

    It is interesting that since the new website and blogging was started you seem to be blogging less.

    Your blogs are a large part of what makes the entire experience.

    BTW, I just purchased a Record 044. A couple of videos on how to setup and use would be really great.

    Otherwise have a great year in 2012. I have found in my life it is VERY VERY easy to get too much going and not have enought time for the most important person in your life, your wife and second you family. Then you have to find time for youself. This does not leave much. So I am glad you are planning a great year. We all look forward to “seeing” your experiences. ( Well the blogging takes time also, so there you go….. )

    God Bless… bartee…

  • M.Agnew

    The thought of Chris Schwarz sitting next to me in a woodworking class with the same look on his face as I have on mine ( furrowed brow, tongue sticking out, intense focus) made me laugh out loud.

  • Eric R

    Smart idea.
    And your daughter will be all the better for it.

  • tsstahl

    “the hand tool mindset” Hmmm, sparked a whole thought line there. Maybe I am wrong in the head.

    Never apologize for putting your children first. Enjoy the “sabbatical”.

  • chris k.

    Congratulations Chris! I am sure that Katy and you will cherise 2012 for many years. I will be looking for you at classes I intend to take and will also look forward to one of your classes in 2013.

    Best wishes to you!

    Chris K.

  • Steve

    That’s a great plan, Chris, and sure to be rewarding. By 2013, you’ll be (yet) more advanced in skills and projects and Katy will be teaching classes.

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