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.

To receive Daily Update e-mails with Chris’s latest blog posts, click here.

pegas_IMG_0352

Pégas Coping Saw Blades – the Best

While teaching in England this summer I had a sudden and miraculous encounter with Pégas coping saw blades – and I am a convert. I rarely say this sort of thing, but here we go: Buy them. Buy as many as you can afford. Encourage the company to make more blades like this. If...

dovetails_IMG_8496

Dovetail Joints: How Tight is Too Tight?

  Last weekend I built a dovetailed campaign-style officer’s trunk for the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association and several of the members were shocked when I drove the carcase dovetails together. What was shocking to them was how tight my fit was between the tails and pins; it required a few hard whacks with...

lee_valley_both_IMG_0344

Pressed Brass Campaign Hardware from Lee Valley

With campaign-style hardware, there are many choices out there for different budgets and aesthetics. You can go for full-on rustic, sand-cast hardware – this looks great but can be tricky to install because every piece of hardware is slightly different. Or you can opt for modern die-cast hardware – easy to install but a...

panels1_IMG_0341

To Get Perfect Seams, Remember: Don’t Stop

One of the best pieces of woodworking advice is, “Go slow, it’s faster.” But that doesn’t apply to gluing up narrow boards into panels. When I have to glue up panels, I start in the morning by jointing and planing the stock to its finished thickness (assuming I’m using machinery), and then I immediately...

A Good Look at Some Marcou Handplanes

At Woodworking in America 2010, the award for having traveled the farthest went to Philip Marcou, a toolmaker in New Zealand. I was joking on Twitter a few days ago that we were looking at New Zealand as a potential site for a future conference (in which case we’d have to call it Woodworking...

wagon1_dsc_00051

2 Workbench Vises I’d Like to Try

  The more I study workbenches, the more I’m convinced there is no end to the clever vises out there. This week I have two vises that are worth a close look. One is a ratcheting leg vise made by Will Myers, a woodworker who teaches at The Woodwright’s School and is one of...

aumbry_stiles_before_IMG_0323

Better Panel Glue-ups Have Little to do With Glue

I’ve watched a lot of beginners glue up panels and end up disappointed with their results. Their routine goes something like this: Find two boards the correct length. Work the boards’ edges until they come together perfectly. Glue them together. While the glue seam might be perfect and tight, the panel itself usually looks...

coffin_bottom_IMG_8948

A Coffin-building Party

When I die, I want to leave this world in the same way I lived in it. As a woodworker who has spent his entire life building furniture for myself and others, I couldn’t imagine being placed into a box that someone else made. In 2005, I read this article in TheNew York Times...

If you plan your storage correctly, you can maximize limited space. Here I'm using a rolling cabinet as an outfeed table.

The 9 Principles of Hand Tool Storage, Part 3

My kids – even the 18-year-old in college – do not want their meats to touch their starches or vegetables. And so we have divided plates for them – just like at the school cafeteria. If they keep this habit up, I’m sure their weddings will be interesting, but I’m not one to mess...