Chris Schwarz Blog

Chris Schwarz's Blog

Christopher Schwarz (the long-time editor and now contributing editor to Popular Woodworking) has been writing this woodworking blog continually since 2005. He covers the world of hand work, plus he writes about building furniture, visiting tool makers, and his travels. Long a woodworker of traditional techniques, Schwarz is dedicated to restoring the fine hand woodworking skills that have slowly disappeared from woodshops in the latter half of the 20th century. He is a firm believer in the role traditional tools play in the modern shop.

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A Return to Cold-bend Hardwood

For several years I used CompWood for furniture parts that needed to be bent precisely. It’s a wood that has been compressed in its length under heat and with moisture. When the wood cools, it can be bent cold. No steambox. And I have yet to encounter wood failure with the...

Words for Woodworking that Make me Barf

I love to look at websites of woodworkers – amateurs and professionals – and see photos of their work. But when they describe their work using the following words, I think: This person is a pompous wee-wee head with a fake underbite and who walks like they are carrying a corncob...

Pricing Your Work – You Can’t Win

I typically keep a few pieces of my work in the window at my workshop in Covington, Ky. Right now I have a couple chairs on display, plus an aumbry. The pieces do attract attention – and also some uncomfortable conversations about the prices on my work. Recently Patrick Edwards visited...

It’s OK (Good Even!) When They Hate Your Work

The city council candidate was screaming at me through her phone as I sat hunched over my desk in the newspaper’s newsroom. “How about I pull down my pants and you come and watch me go to the bathroom?” she screamed. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” This impolite invitation was issued...

Dugout Chair: Fastening the Seat

Every step of making this dugout chair has been a little weird. Fastening its seat in place was no different. After cutting the seat to shape using using the help of ticking sticks, I rasped the rim of the seat until I could wedge it inside the trunk and get it...

Yes, Megan and Brendan are Alive

This week, Popular Woodworking Magazine is short two employees as Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan Gaffney have joined me on a chair class in Maryland. We’re building a version of the Jennie Alexander chair from “Make a Chair From a Tree” with Larry Barrett – one of Jennie’s students and friends. If...

Post & Rung & Jennie Alexander

For the next five days I’m in Maryland with four other friends to build a Jennie Alexander chair from Larry Barrett, a student and long-time friend of Alexander. Larry makes a chair that is 90 percent similar to Jennie’s iconic chair from her book “Make a Chair From a Tree.” Some...

Diagonal Wedges: The How & Why

When wedging through-tenons, I prefer to orient the wedge diagonally across the tenon. This is a somewhat atypical way to work, so an explanation is in order. A diagonal wedge has the advantage of closing up any gaps on all four edges of a rectangular mortise. That’s because it pushes the...