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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.

Chris Schwarz
Arts & Mysteries RSS FeedRead Adam’s Blog »

Arts & Mysteries with Adam Cherubini

Arts & Mysteries is one of our most-read columns in Popular Woodworking Magazine. Whether you sympathize with Adam Cherubini’s approach to working wood entirely with hand tools or think he’s simply a glutton for punishment, I think we all can agree on one thing: Adam’s column is never boring.


How to Create an Irregular Mortise and Tenon in SketchUp

A student wrote and asked me this paraphrased question: “Can you give me some suggestions for drawing these irregular tenons into the legs? If the mortises were rectangular I would simply use the Rectangle tool to trace one onto the face of the leg and Push/Pull it to depth.” I exaggerated his tenon in...

Watch Follansbee & Underhill for a Streaming Good Time

Now streaming on PBS is the recent episode of The Woodwright’s Shop in which Peter Follansbee (the Arts & Mysteries columnist for Popular Woodworking Magazine) shows Roy Underhill how he hews out huge bowls. It’s a good one – watch below: — Megan Fitzpatrick P.S. If, like me, you can’t get enough of “The...


Avoid Splintering with a Handsaw

There are two woodworking tools that we have forgotten the most about in the last 50 years: the steel framing square and the handsaw. The steel framing square is essentially a jobsite calculator, and you can get up to speed on what it can do with one of several books. But handsaws are trickier...


Holdfast Holes: Where Should They be Located?

You don’t need a lot of holdfast holes to hold most work on your bench. In fact, I’ve found that somewhere between eight and 10 holes is more than enough for most work. And if I used a tail vise, I probably could get away with just two or three holdfast holes. The topic...


Carl ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Bilderback

I’m sad to report that this evening, Carl Bilderback passed away. I’m so glad to have had him as a friend. The below is bumped up from October. If you’re among the following, move along…nothing new to see here: • Members of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association • Longtime readers of this blog and...


Disassemble Heavy Joints

Sometimes you can get a joint together no problem. But getting it apart is another matter. With the joints for a heavy French workbench, disassembling a test-fit gives many beginning woodworkers a fit. Many times they end up slamming hammers or mallets on places that are easily bruised (including their hands). The easiest way...

The most efficient method of applying stain is to wipe it on using a soaking-wet cloth. Notice on this stereo cabinet, which was made without a back, I’m not having any problem getting the stain into the inside corners.

Wipe, Don’t Brush Stain

Wiping is the efficient way to apply stain. The purpose of this article is to emphasize what I’ve said in passing many times: It’s much more efficient to wipe stain onto wood with a rag than to brush it. Wiping is fast, almost as fast as spraying (without the downside of having to clean...