None of Your American Cowboy Tricks - Popular Woodworking Magazine

None of Your American Cowboy Tricks

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Chris Schwarz Woodworking Classes, Woodworking Blogs

One of my students in my tool chest class has no business being there.

He’s been a woodworking instructor in Denmark for 40 years and can teach me a few things. But his son Jonas asked him to come along to the class and so he did.

He’s been making great progress on his tool chest, naturally, but he has been doing it his way. Dovetails? Pins first. Saw? Bowsaw. Coping out the waste? Nope – chisel. And etc.

He and his son are great fun, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to get him to do things my way.

But on the third day when we were dovetailing the skirt around the carcase he told me: “Perhaps I will try one of your American cowboy tricks.”

He borrowed my rabbet plane and went to cut a shallow rabbet on the inside of his tail board.

For me, that was the best moment of the class so far.

Christopher Schwarz

P.S. This will be my last video of the trip. My camera’s battery died and I don’t have a charger. Sorry!

• We’ve published two good books on designing and building workbenches: “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” and “The Workbench Design Book.” Both are available in our store.

• Roy Underhill’s tool chest from the June 2009 issue is pretty awesome. That issue can be downloaded from our store here.

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Showing 9 comments
  • finzona

    Peaonally I prefer power tools. At the same time I have great admiration and respect for those craftspeople who use only hand and mind power. Much of the fine craftmanship of the world was done (and still being done) by hand.
    If I’m making something for the pleasure of the work I use hand tools. If it is a matter of time (less pleasure) I use my power tools.

  • woodgeek

    Nice update. The grainy pics look retro and cool.

    Question though, why is your German cowboy wearing earplugs while using handtools?

    • Christopher Schwarz
      Christopher Schwarz

      Picture 12 woodworkers malleting out dovetails for two days. It is louder than a machine workshop.


  • whitefoxmillworks

    OK, @ 00:22….who only eats half a donut? Never met a serious american woodworker than would leave that much of a pastry behind…..;)

    • Christopher Schwarz
      Christopher Schwarz

      All the pastries were harmed during the filming of this video. You take half of one thing so you can try half of another….

  • JoeW0122

    No charger??? Wow, what a bummer! I was really enjoying the progress in the class and looking forward to watching this chest being built. Will you be teaching this class again or possibly making a DVD? I like the design of this tool chest and at some point I plan to build one.

    • Christopher Schwarz
      Christopher Schwarz

      The plans are in my new book, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.” I probably will teach this class again, but not until 2013. Thanks for asking!

  • damien

    A charger? Giving the location this could be a Bavarian Warmblood, great chargers … I missed something.

  • macmarty15221

    Wot?? No power? Hey folks, this is the age of the interToobz, somebody in Germany get this man a charger!

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