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PWM Shop Blog

Formerly called the Editors’ Blog, these articles offer hands-on advice, woodworking tips and techniques from the editors and contributing editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine

This blog includes free videos, tool reviews we didn’t have room for in the printed magazine and tidbits of the day-to-day life here at the magazine and in the world of woodworking.

Chris Schwarz
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Chris Schwarz Blog

Contributing editor Christopher Schwarz is a long-time amateur woodworker and professional journalist. He built his first workbench at age 8 and spent weekends helping his father build two houses on the family’s farm outside Hackett, Ark.— using mostly hand tools. Despite his early experience on the farm, Chris remains a hand-tool enthusiast.

Chris’s blog focuses mostly on hand tools and hand work. Chris also writes short tool reviews, book reviews and generally gets the inside scoop on new hand tool introductions before other blogs.

Bob flexner
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Flexner on Finishing Blog

Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and the author of woodworking finishing books, including “Flexner on Finishing,” “Understanding Wood Finishing,” and “Wood Finishing 101,” available at ShopWoodworking.com. Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.

Compatibility of Applying One Type of Finish Over Another

A professional woodworker got in touch with this question. He had finished a sixty-foot long countertop for a brewery tasting room with catalyzed (conversion) varnish. After the finish dried for three weeks, the client decided he would like the finish to be glossier and have the same amber tone as the...

An Extra-Thin Frame and Panel Back

A current job called for a solid wood frame and panel back that would fit in a 5/16″ rabbet. That’s really thin for a frame-and-panel assembly, at least in my world. (Granted, for Bill Robertson, it’s positively gargantuan.) Ordinarily, I like such backs to be 1/2″ thick. One way I’ve dealt...

Dovetail Angles are Style, Not Substance

For dovetails, I use what I call a “redneck slope” – 1:4 or 14°. I like this slope because I’ve seen it on a lot of vernacular pieces I’ve studied. It says: Dovetail y’all! And not: Ill-defined box joint. But that’s just what my eye sees. Truth is, dovetail slopes are...

A Dovetailing Trick for Beginners

I don’t think I’ve cut a single dovetail for eight months – my work has been mostly chairs and casework that relied on other joints. So I’m a bit out of practice. When this happens and I need to cut dovetails, I quickly default to the method I use to teach...

Powerless Woodworker – When a Nor’easter Rolls into Town

The latest Nor’easter left us powerless. On Wednesday afternoon we lost electricity to the elements. The snow that began falling that morning didn’t seem that hospitable, to say the least. It was wet and clingy. When I noticed the rate of accumulation and the sagging branches on all the trees in...

A Quick Method for Creating Tabletop Buttons

Tabletop buttons are an easy and effective way to attach a table to its base. They allow for seasonal movement as they pivot and slide within their mortise. This video shows a quick and simple way to make buttons with hand tools. You’ll want to mark a centerline with your marking...

The Artisan Process – Woodworking Without Electricity

Editor’s note: You can pick up the Jim Tolpin’s Classics Collection for a great price right now over at ShopWoodworking.com.  When I approached the writing of Measure Twice, Cut Once–and especially later when developing The New Traditional Woodworker – I realized I needed to step back to a time when we woodwrights...