In Finishing, Shop Blog

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Adam Cherubini, who writes the Arts & Mysteries column for Popular Woodworking, ends up making a lot of his own tools to satisfy his 18th-century urges.

The handsaws you see in the photos of his work? Those aren’t Kenyon-style saws from Wenzloff & Sons. Those are saws that Adam made himself. Same with his wooden try squares and his fore plane (which actually is a Franken-plane from several donor tools).

So it should come as no surprise that Adam makes his own brushes for finishing. Recently he and I were talking about the process while we were at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool show in Philadelphia. The show was winding down and people were starting to pack up, but Adam was fired up about horsehair.

He’d made some brushes that he used to finish his standing desk, which has been the topic of his Arts & Mysteries column this year. The hair he had procured had come from a horse’s mane, and it had been a bit expensive.

As he discussed the details of the follicles and how he bundled them for the brush, his voice started to trail off a bit.

Have you ever seen one of those old cartoons where one character (such as a chickenhawk) starts to gaze hungrily at another (such as Foghorn Leghorn)? And then Foghorn mutates into an enormous steaming and juicy chicken leg?

Well that’s the weird vibe I was getting from Adam. He was staring at my hair, which was particularly long and scruffy that month.

“You know,” he said, reaching up, “your hair is just about the right coarseness for a brush…¦.”

Now, Adam is a couple inches taller than I am. And he has the advantage of some extra mass and living in New Jersey. Simply put: Adam could probably scalp me with his “The Plane My Brother Is” with ease , if he could catch me. I do run 30 miles a week.

– Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Shameless plug: You can buy signed, deluxe versions of my new book on workbenches at my personal site,

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Showing 10 comments
  • Jamey Amrine

    So when is Adam going to o an Arts and Mysteries on making horsehair brushes? Seriously. 🙂

  • andrew hsieh



  • The Village Carpenter

    I love the foghorn leghorn reference. Hadn’t thought about that guy in about, oh, 35 years!

  • dave brown

    OMG, that is the funniest blog that I’ve read in a looooong time — and to think it came from a woodworking blog. Reminds me of some of Judy Blume’s best stuff. So when are you writing your next book???

    Dave Brown

  • Eric Paisley

    Show off, I’m lucky to finish 16 a week. I don’t know how you find time to answer emails, write three blogs, work on articles, run a magazine, and raise kids. My hat’s off to you you.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Good question Gary. Perhaps this would be easier than selling plasma for beer money.

  • Gary Roberts

    When can we expect the first production run of genuine Chris Schwarz Hair Finishing Brushes?


  • Roderick Drumgoole

    Not only are you a great writer, excellent woodworker, but you tell jokes as well; that’s talent! That was just hilarious.


  • Elo

    LOL, thanks for this Chris! Your post made me laugh very hard.

  • Dan Dolan

    What’s all the talk of running 30 miles a week, cutting your hair, and making rather than buying tools? Are you pandering to the Wive’s for Schwarz faction?

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