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

tops_IMG_5569

Green Wood and Roubo Workbenches, Part 2

Seasoned, well-dried wood is good, but not for all things. For the last two years I’ve been editing a book called “Woodworking in Estonia,” which is about the pre-industrial woodworking cultural heritage of a small Northern European nation. The book is not a review of the historical literature sprinkled with speculation about how people...

roubo-drying-wood

A Roubo Workbench from Green Wood

Here is a question that has been going through my mind for more than a decade: When an 18th-century French woodworker started building a workbench, what was the moisture content of the wood? Had it been seasoned for many years? Freshly cut? Something between? Lots of modern people have speculated about the answer, but...

jack_jointer_IMG_5528

Yes, You Need a Jointer and a Jack

I suspect this will ruffle a few feathers, but so be it. I’ve been asked a lot lately if one really needs a jack and a jointer plane. Several well-respected woodworkers and writers now teach that you can prepare all your stock for finishing with only one bench plane, a smoothing plane, if you...

angled-legs

Design Brief No. 5: The Danish Campaign Chest

When you set out to design a piece of furniture, don’t be surprised if you end up designing four or five pieces in the same vein. With this campaign chest, I ended up with three separate designs: A Baltic birch plywood version with round stainless steel pulls and a base that uses 4” casters....

pull2

Design Brief No. 4: The Danish Campaign Chest

Unlike other furniture designers, I have a handicap. When I design something I am burdened by 15 years of designing furniture for a magazine audience. During those years, I sought to simplify construction and ornament on every piece so that we could fit it into a six- to eight-page article in the magazine. That...

dtc_10_25_2013-424

Design Brief No. 3: The Danish Campaign Chest

A lot of Danish Modern dressers are taller than your typical campaign chest because the designers added a drawer or two. But some of them look like the pieces shown here. After staring at the 25 campaign chests from part 1 of this series I hope you can see the connection. We have an...

CC_1_36-01

Design Brief No. 2: The Danish Campaign Chest

So after looking at the 25 campaign chests in the previous post, did you spot any patterns? What I see with these chests is that most of them are a square shape that is perched on some sort of plinth. After measuring a bunch of them, the typical size is 36” long x 40”...

Campaign-chest-plywood2

Design Brief No. 1: The Danish Campaign Chest

While there are a dozen good ways to design a piece of furniture, I can write intelligently only about my own methods. I designed my first piece of furniture in 1993 and have – surprisingly – stuck with the same basic technique for the last 23 years. It doesn’t involve formulas or ratios (though...