Chris Schwarz's Blog

Like Making Sausage

Someone once told me that woodworkers cannot talk to other woodworkers without using their hands to explain things. And that’s true.

But I’d like to amend that aphorism to say that woodworkers also like to talk with their pencils. I’ve even taken to carrying around a notebook with me in my back pocket (as a trained journalist I’m allowed to do this. I’m also allowed to wear a fedora with my press pass in it. And have a whiskey bottle in my desk. Yup, that’s journalism.)

So today is cover shoot day at Popular Woodworking. Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick and Senior Editor Glen D. Huey have designed and built a right nice chimney cupboard that is going to be the basis of an article on seven joints.

We begin the day by all of us almost getting fired.

Here’s how: We decided to spray a coat of finish on the piece this morning. And we don’t really have a spray booth anymore. And it’s too chilly outside. And so…¦. you can kind of guess the rest. Despite some decent ventilation (fans, double doors), our HVAC system sucks the fumes into the building.

After the vice president of human resources left the shop, Glen and Megan finished the assembly of the cabinet while Senior Editor Robert W. “Bob” Lang, Photographer Al Parrish and Art Director Linda Watts and I worked out the details of the staging.

Oh, and one of our authors and a fellow blogger, David Mathias, is there for a visit. (Hello David. I promised we’d blog about you first. Neener.)

We can’t get the details of the cover right. So I whip out my handy-dandy notebook and sketch up the gem of a cover you see to the right. Then the artistic ones on the staff turned it into the nice shot you see above. We’re still tweaking it as I write. These things take time.

Bob was called in at one point to lug our artificial tree into the window (see this entry), but then we determined the tree wasn’t necessary for the February cover. So Bob had to retrieve the tree. That tree has been on more covers than I have.

And that’s our day up until lunch today. Time to hit the Halloween candy and see if there’s something hiding at the bottom of my desk drawer.

– Christopher Schwarz

7 thoughts on “Like Making Sausage

  1. Bruce Jackson

    Perhaps the major theme is "working to the straight line" 🙂 Anyway, I have been shopping through furniture catalogs to see which styles I favor. When I was a kid, I saw a chest or sideboard in what’s called the "Mediterranian" style – big and blocky with some pretty deep chamferred vertical and horizontal grooves. My mom didn’t like it – not one bit. She tried to steer me inot another style called "French Provincial". Somehow, I found it too ornate and fussy, but now having seen Adam Cherubini’s molding work on his secretary, I figured maybe I can do something similar with the router bits I have, some of it’s roundover / bullnose and some of it’s cove.

    My wife, from the Philippines, says she likes light and simple, more like some Shaker pieces than A & C. So, I’ll try some MDF mockups of some pieces she wants and see if they please her before I set forth with the real lumber. She also likes the style we usually call Danish Modern, pretty much all straight lines or really long curves. I also hope to try soething in the line of bent wood, laminated around forms, maybe later next year, something else my wife seems to like. Anyway, I suggest you go furniture shopping yourself. And if you come up with something outside of the Shaker / A&C styles, please consider submitting it to Pop Wood, Woodwokring, American Woodworker, Fine Woodworking, Wood, or Woodworker’s Journal. I think we would all be interested.

  2. Chris C.


    I’d like to make a request. The vast majority of
    the projects in both Popular Woodworking and
    Woodworking Magazine are in the Arts and Crafts or
    Shaker style.

    I love these styles, but I’d love to see more variety.
    Are there any plans to introduce some projects that
    are a bit more diverse?

    In recent issues, only Adam Cherubini’s hand made shop
    secretary is really vastly outside the Shaker/A&C realm.



  3. Eric Paisley

    "So I whip out my handy-dandy notebook"

    Do I get a prize for spotting the Blues Clues … er, clue in your blog?

  4. Doug Fulkerson

    Once again, the well oiled machine that is Woodworking Magazine shows how easy it is. What’s that motto again, "A Magazine Devoted to Finding a Better Way to Build, filled with good craftsmanship, the best techniques, and no ads"? So evacuating the building is "a better way to build"? If it is, I’m doing it right.:)

    I really like the look of that piece, and it would fit in our master bathroom perfectly, I suspect. Can’t wait to get my hands on that issue. Keep up the good work.

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