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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.


Two Brands of Brass Mallets

If you follow my blog, you know that I have an affinity for striking tools. Check my entries on hammers, turned mallets and carved mallets (from branches) if you haven’t had a chance to read them before. A few years ago I purchased a set of brass head mallets from Lee...

Tips on Working with Construction Lumber

In my last article, I discussed big box store construction lumber (SYP – Southern yellow pine) and its use in furniture. I’ve found that it’s cheap, high in moisture and needs consideration in selection and prep. Working with construction lumber is a unique experience and a great learning material. Southern yellow...

Mannerist dresser

Period-accurate Joinery: Three Ways to Cut Rabbet Joints

While rabbet joints are used commonly to attach case fronts and backs in period work, they show up in other places too. In pieces from the 17th century and earlier, such as the Mannerist dresser shown above, drawer fronts often are rabbeted and the drawer sides simply nailed into that rabbet....

2x4 nominal lumber

Nominal Lumber Knowledge

I don’t know exactly when I learned that a 2×4 isn’t 2″ x 4″, but I’m quite sure it was well before I joined the staff of Popular Woodworking. I studied English literature and journalism in college, and took one shop class in grade school that covered little more than basic turning...

Tool Troubles? Get Thee to the Grinder

I’m always surprised by how many woodworkers – even experienced ones – try to avoid the grinder. They will purchase expensive diamond plates or (worse perhaps) a ream of belt sander paper and an expensive granite plate all to avoid stepping up to an electric or hand-cranked grinder. This is not...

Mackintosh Furniture

Book Giveaway: Mackintosh Furniture

Thanks for all the great comments! Congratulations to “willcee” the winner of this book giveaway. Stay tuned for more exciting book giveaways and if you’re interested in reserving a copy of “Mackintosh Furniture” you can pre-order at ShopWoodworking.com. This week I received advance copies of Michael Crow’s new “Mackintosh Furniture” book. Its a...

lumber rule photo

The Lumber Rule – How to Calculate Board Feet

A must-have tool for the lumberyard by Greg Paolini In addition to my truck and a pile of cash, there’s always one other thing I take to the lumberyard or mill – a lumber rule. Also known as a grading stick, a lumber rule is a simple tool that instantly shows how many...