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.

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The strap wrench at work on a fence collet.

The Nutsaver: This Stuff Writes Itself

A couple years ago I revealed my secret shame: I use pliers to tighten the round collets on the fences and depth stops of my Veritas planes. Read that post here. I was admonished by the “lovers of round brass things” but then eventually was released on my own recognizance. Recently, a professional woodworker...

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The Furniture at Shakespeare’s Birthplace

As a rule, I avoid touristy places and huge throngs. But when Roy and Jane Underhill invited me to tag along to Stratford-on-Avon to see William Shakespeare’s birthplace, I couldn’t say no. After all, Roy could turn a root canal into a party. As expected, the town was packed with tourists and tacky trinkets....

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Yes, You Can Have Too Much Ventilation

Earlier this year I decided to set up a spray booth in my shop so I could spray finishes on crappy days. It did not turn out well. Usually I spray outside, so I have to wait for a pleasant day with the right humidity, no pollen, low bug count, no rain and etc....

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French Curves for Woodworking

I’m reviewing the new set of stainless steel French curves from Sterling Tool Works for the October 2015 issue, but you might want to get your hands on these tools before then if you have some curvaceous projects ahead. Don’t use French curves? I’m not surprised. A typical set of French curves is sized...

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Another Great Maker of Wooden Handplanes

When I first started using and writing about wooden moulding planes, there was only one modern maker with a full line of planes: the pioneers Clark & Williams (now Old Street Tool). If you ordered from them, it could take two years to receive your tools. The two-person operation got so backed up that...

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An Inside Look at the Peabody Essex Museum

If this whole “building world-class furniture” thing doesn’t work out for Phil Lowe, I think he could get a job as a museum docent. Lowe, an amazing maker and owner of The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, has worked on many pieces owned by the Peabody Essex Museum in neighboring Salem, Mass. As a special...

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A Visit to the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts

If you want to learn to build high-end gorgeous American furniture, then Phil Lowe at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts is the guy to see. He is the father of the modern furniture program at the North Bennet Street School. He is a winner of the Cartouche Award from the Society of American Period...