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.

Follow this blog with e-mail alerts here. | Follow on RSS here. Chris Schwarz Blog RSS Feed


A Tale of Two Hand Drills

Buying vintage tools through the mail can be frustrating – and expensive if the seller does not allow you to return the item. My favorite way to buy old tools is – hands down – in person and at a meeting of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. If you need tools and cannot buy...


A Look at the Seaton Tool Chest

The first real tool chest that I built was based (loosely) on Benjamin Seaton’s famous tool chest that now resides at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester, England. Most woodworkers know it because of the famous book “The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton” – now in its second edition, and one of the core books...


Chinese Workbenches – a Little Bit Roman?

When you start studying ancient woodworking tools, it’s the similarities that are most striking – not the differences. Saws, chisels and planes – the core tools of the furniture maker – are only mildly different in the East and West. While some people amplify those differences – pushing a saw vs. pulling it is...


A Furniture Show, Vandals & a Mystery

Two weeks ago I managed to spend a few hours at the Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in Cheltenham, an impressive display of bespoke furniture makers both young and seasoned. Contemporary English furniture always makes my head shift gears. Most of the stuff I see in America has roots in traditional design. But in...

David Savage in his personal shop at Rowden.

A Tour of David Savage’s Workshop and School

For the last two weeks I’ve been teaching a course and taking a class in veneering at David Savage’s school and workshop, which sits on a farm in rural Devon. It is an inspiring place where amateurs and professionals hone their skills to the highest level – piston-fit drawers, London-pattern dovetails, drawing, design, veneering...


A (Still) Better Way to Plane Chair Seats

For many years I’ve used the following trick to plane irregular-shaped objects: Screw a square block to the underside of the piece and then clamp that block in my face vise. It’s a trick that I showed in my 2007 book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” (Psst, the second edition...


You and Your Puny Moxon Vises

We all know that Joseph Moxon didn’t invent the Moxon vise. But perhaps the Italians did? I spent a fatigue-fueled weekend researching some red herrings and stumbled on this circa 1300 hand-drawn illustration of the construction of Noah’s Ark. I found the plate in “Les Rabots,” a fantastic modern book on handplanes in French....


Peter Follansbee: Rebuilding the Past

One of my favorite parts of teaching woodworking is showing up at a school the day before my class begins to see what the previous instructor is doing. Today I arrived at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in Manchester, Conn., to find Peter Follansbee teaching the final day of a long class (one...