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Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog

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Woodworking advice, woodworking plans, woodworking projects and woodworking blogs
Updated: 19 min 36 sec ago

Turn a Bureau into a Workbench

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 1:41pm

Building furniture without a dedicated workshop or even a workbench has always been a challenge. While there are lots of ways to get around the problem, one of my favorite is what is called the “bureau-shop.” This is where you transform an old chest of drawers into a complete hand-tool shop for light work. The top of the bureau is used as the benchtop (more on that in a minute). […]

The post Turn a Bureau into a Workbench appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 8: Clamptite Tool

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 7:35pm

I love wooden tool handles. Their only downside is they break and need to be repaired or replaced. If you prefer to repair your tool handles, the inexpensive Clamptite tool is your best friend. The Clamptite is a bit difficult to explain to people who haven’t used it. Basically, it is a device that can pull a wire tight and then cleverly knot it around an object, such as a […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 8: Clamptite Tool appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Drawer Tape

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 5:35am

If you build traditional drawers without metal slides, then “drawer tape” is something you should probably become acquainted with. Sometimes sold under the brand Nylo-Tape, this stuff is great for fixing drawers or any other sliding assembly that has become worn from use. My tool chest, for example, has three sliding tills that get moved a dozen times a day. After five years of this activity, the sides of the […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Drawer Tape appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Sewing Machine Oilcans

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 12:45pm

There are a few things I keep at arm’s reach in the shop: an oily rag, some paraffin and a small sewing can oiler. Shown in the photo above are the four that I could gather in just a few minutes. I have at least four more around the shop. These incredibly cheap oilers keep my tools in good condition. I oil the moving parts of my handplanes. The adjustment […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Sewing Machine Oilcans appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 6: Drawing Bows

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 2:52pm

Drawing furniture-scale curves – up to 48” or so – is a challenge to do by yourself. And many times when you use a springy stick and nails, you are so focused on holding things in place that you fail to see if the curve is fair or not. Years ago I bought the Lee Valley symmetrical drawing bow and designing with curves became a heck of a lot easier. […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 5: Rosin

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:48pm

I’m a bit ashamed of how long it took me to buy an inexpensive block of rosin and put it in my tool chest. Rosin, also called calophony, is derived from pine sap and increases friction on anything you rub it upon. That means that your slippery bench dogs or planing stop will suddenly stand at attention and stay that way. Rosin makes things stick. It comes in a variety […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 4: Rivierre Nails

Sun, 11/26/2017 - 4:25pm

The wire nails at the home center stink for making furniture. Don’t even think of them as nails. They are more like greased straws than they are fasteners. Once you try Rivierre forged nails, I think you’ll develop a deep respect for the nail that has Roman DNA. Nails built this country. At one point in the 19th century, the sale of nails was a significant amount of the country’s […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 3: No-Kill ‘Mutton’ Tallow

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 1:11pm

Hand-tool woodworkers love mutton tallow as a lubricant for saws, auger bits and the soles of our handplanes. A smidge of the stuff will make your tool slide easier – and your shop will smell like lambchops. But because of animal-rights concerns, mutton tallow is shunned by some woodworkers. (They already shun paraffin because it is made by Big Oil.) In 2016, a start-up corporation tried to make mutton tallow […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 2: Tape Dispenser

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 5:39am

You might think I’m kidding. I am absolutely not. This year, a tape dispenser for my blue tape is the nicest thing I’ve added to my shop. Like many woodworkers, I use blue painter’s tape for many tasks, from taping down small repairs to marking out joinery to shimming things square. For years I simply pulled it off the roll. You know the drill: Find the end of the tape, […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 1: Kershaw Knife

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:51pm

Every year, I write up a gift guide that discusses the small items that have made a big difference in my shop.  These are items that are ideal for gifts – it’s difficult to ask your toddlers for an Altendorf table saw for Christmas. I hope that these items are useful to you. If you have any complaints about this gift guide, please submit it here. The first item is […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

A Return to Cold-bend Hardwood

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 5:45pm

For several years I used CompWood for furniture parts that needed to be bent precisely. It’s a wood that has been compressed in its length under heat and with moisture. When the wood cools, it can be bent cold. No steambox. And I have yet to encounter wood failure with the stuff. The only downside? It’s expensive compared to cutting down a tree, riving out the stock and bending it […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Words for Woodworking that Make me Barf

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 7:38am

I love to look at websites of woodworkers – amateurs and professionals – and see photos of their work. But when they describe their work using the following words, I think: This person is a pompous wee-wee head with a fake underbite and who walks like they are carrying a corncob without using their hands. You might disagree – that’s what the comments are for. But here is my list […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

Pricing Your Work – You Can’t Win

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 5:00am

I typically keep a few pieces of my work in the window at my workshop in Covington, Ky. Right now I have a couple chairs on display, plus an aumbry. The pieces do attract attention – and also some uncomfortable conversations about the prices on my work. Recently Patrick Edwards visited my workshop, looked at the aumbry and said: “It’s too cheap. You should be charging three times as much. […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

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