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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz

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Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

Buy My Tool Chest – and all the Tools in it

1 hour 18 min ago


Here’s your chance to buy a completely finished and fitted Anarchist’s Tool Chest that is chock full of premium hand tools (more than $8,300 worth) – and help a great woodworking school in the process.

Here’s the story: Last summer I taught my first class in England for the New English Workshop, which was held at the shops at Warwickshire College. As a way to give back to the next generation of woodworkers, Paul Mayon and Derek Jones of New English Workshop completed and finished the tool chest I built (very nicely, I might add). Then a bunch of generous toolmakers donated a load of premium hand tools to put in the chest.

On March 28, 2015, the chest and its contents will be auctioned off by David Stanley Auctions and all proceeds will be donated to Warwickshire College, which offers an excellent furniture program. You do not need to be in England to bid on the chest – David Stanley accepts internet bids and can ship the chest if need be. Check the David Stanley auction site for details.

The chest is finished exactly like the one in the book “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” including the sliding trays and black-over-red paint job. The chest is signed by me and all the students who participated in the class.


The list of tools is nothing short of amazing. Here’s a list of the tools, who donated then and the value in English dollars. Check it:

Ashley Isles MKII bevel edge cabinetmakers chisels x 6, donated by Workshop Heaven, £133

Aurio Rasps x 3, donated by Classic Hand Tools, £252

Bad Axe Sash Saw 14” 12ppi Hybrid, donated by Bad Axe Tool Works, £186

Blum Tool Company #5 ½ Mesquite Jack Plane, donated by Blum Tool Company, £210

David Barron 9-1/2” lignum vitae smoothing plane, donated by David Barron, £175

Classic Bow saw 400mm Turbo Cut, donated by anonymous, £56

Chris Pye carving chisels set of 11, donated by Classic Hand Tools, £290

Clifton #4-1/2 Heavy Smoothing Plane, Donated by Clico, £310

Czeck Edge Kerf Kadet II Marking Knife, donated by Czeck Edge, £35

Karl Holtey #10 Mitre Plane, donated by Karl Holtey, £2,000

Jeff Hamilton 5” Lignum Vitae marking gauge, donated by Jeff Hamilton, £65

Veritas 10” Sliding Bevel, donated by Lee Valley Tools, £39

Lee Valley 12” Dividers, donated by Lee Valley, £18

Veritas Medium Shoulder Plane, donated by Lee Valley, £200

Lee Valley set 5 parallel tip screwdrivers, donated by Lee Valley, £30

Veritas Small Plough Plane, donated by Lee Valley, £200

Veritas Router Plane, donated by Lee Valley, £170

Veritas Low Angle jack Plane, donated by Lee Valley, £295

Pax 1776 10” Dovetail Saw 20tpi with pear handle, donated by Peter Sefton, £120

Philly Planes Coffin Smoother, English Box, Donated by Philly Planes, £215

Sterling Tool Works Saddle Tail, donated by Sterling Tool Works LLC, £70

Rob Stoakley Japanese panel gauge, donated by Rob Stoakley, £150

Texas Heritage Waxed Canvas Chisel Roll, donated by Texas Heritage Woodworks, £69

Workshop Heaven Ultimate Hand Brace, donated by Workshop Heaven, £64

Workshop Heaven Maple & Apple mallet, donated by Workshop Heaven, £45

So sell a hock a couple kidneys and perhaps a spleen. It’s all to support the next generation of aspiring young woodworkers.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest, Woodworking Classes
Categories: Hand Tools

New T-shirts, New Shipping, New World

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:42pm


This week we have made a lot of changes to how we make and ship the things we sell.

First: All books now ship via FedEx’s SmartPost service. SmartPost uses FedEx to move our books across the country, and a local USPS carrier to take it the last leg to your door. The service is reliable, the packages are tracked and you can expect delivery in 5-7 days from when your order ships. We switched to SmartPost because USPS’s Media Mail service collapsed last fall during the holiday shipping season.

Second: We now offer international shipping to many countries on books and apparel. To be honest, shipping books internationally is crazy-expensive. You will be better off buying our books from one of our international retailers. However, sending apparel across the globe is actually quite reasonable. And that’s because….

Third: We have changed how we make T-shirts and hats. Until now we made T-shirts and hats in large batches that sat in John’s office until you ordered one. We had to print about 100 to 200 shirts at a time, and we usually lost our own shirts on the deal.

We now use a fulfillment service in California to print and ship our U.S.-made shirts and U.S.-made hats worldwide. The shirts are the same (American Apparel), as are the hats (Bayside). The print quality is better than we were getting in Indiana. They are in a wider range of sizes – XS to 3XL. And the packaging is fantastic.

So now when you order a shirt or hat from a store, our fulfillment service prints the shirt or embroiders the hat and sends it to you, anywhere in the world.

We will soon be able to offer many of our old T-shirt designs (and additional new ones) very easily with this service. So you should soon be able to get the shirt you always wanted.

Incidentally, we make these shirts and hats for fun, not for profit. We make almost nothing on apparel. So on that note, I’m headed back to editing some books.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Products We Sell
Categories: Hand Tools

International Shipping Update

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 2:44pm


After an unholy amount of work by John, we are now offering international shipping to Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for all of our products.

Three things to keep in mind:

  1. International shipping is expensive. It will always always be more economical for you to purchase books through our fine international sellers. We are using FedEx as our carrier. The rate you pay is what it costs. It is crazy expensive and there is nothing we can do about it (and still stay in business).
  2. There will be a learning curve for us. International shipping is complex for a small business. We have tried to automate things as much as possible, but there will be bumps in the road for us and customers. Please be patient with us.
  3. The best bet for international customers is to order T-shirts only. The shipping fees are fairly reasonable for shirts. Sending books overseas is nutty expensive.

So if you are international, check out the store. Most importantly, check out the T-shirts.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Products We Sell
Categories: Hand Tools

Hide Glue Gives You Happy Endings

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:50pm


There are many reasons to use hide glue for furniture, and today I was reminded of one of them – hide glue sticks to itself.

This morning I assembled the uppercarriage of this wacky backstool and hit a serious snag. One of the spindles simply would not descend into its mortise enough. So I hit the assembly with a mallet. Then a heavier mallet. Then a hammer.

It would not budge. So I had to pull off the crest rail and remove the frozen spindle. It was locked in to the point that I had to saw it off and drill out the tenon. As always, I make extra spindles in case disaster strikes.

So while I prepped the new spindle, the hide glue on the other tenons and the mortises of the crest rail gelled and set up.

Had I used yellow glue, I would have been cornholed. I would have had to scrape the tenons clean and do something about the glue in the crest rail (I probably would have used a backup crest rail). Or switched to epoxy or any other number of more involved solutions.

But because it was hide glue, I relaxed as I did the repair.

Once the new spindle fit nicely, I reactivated the hide glue on the chair parts by painting on some slightly thinned hot hide glue. The spindle went in perfectly. The crest went on level. And then I finally exhaled.

Tomorrow I’m going to paint this backstool. It sits very nicely. Then I’m going to drink a bunch of beer and film me sitting in it to show you how stable it is.

The things I do for you readers.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. A couple weekends ago I did a two-day demonstration to the Alabama Woodworker’s Guild and, of course, I talked about hide glue. During a lull in my monologue I (jokingly) asked the club members if they wanted to hear my plan for dealing with ISIS.

Some wiseacre in the back piped up, “I’ll bet your plan involves hide glue.”

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworking by Jack Handy

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:46am


I wonder sometimes if the reason old woodworking texts seem frustratingly incomplete to us is because there weren’t many words out there that could help one learn the craft.


Put another way: Why do most old woodworking texts begin with an exhaustive explanation of geometry and then refuse to tell us how to set up a smoothing plane?

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

You Cannot. You Should Not. You Will Not.

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:24am


Peter Follansbee’s brain switches off when someone begins a sentence with, “You should….” Mine does a similar thing when I am told, “You can’t….”

Part of the beauty of modern communication – you can get a message rapidly to the whole world – is also its flaw – soon everyone is repeating that same message. If you repeat something long enough, it will soon become a facsimile of truth. (If you want to test this theory, start reading a lot about wood finishing.)


In some ways I am grateful that I did not learn woodworking in the Internet age. I did a lot of things that are so incredibly stupid that I have burned the evidence, lest it end up on someone’s blog. I made up joints that probably shouldn’t exist. And I built furniture that by all rights should have exploded by now (it didn’t).

Oh, and I spent the first six years of my life as a newspaper reporter being fed outright lies everyday.


So I like to test declaratives (three-legged chairs are tippy), assumptions (you need special tools to build chairs) and writ (you cannot bend kiln-dried wood) and common practice (drawboring is for timber-framing and old work). Most of the time I find that these ideas are based in some truth, but they have become twisted into holy law.

Woodworking doesn’t have a lot of laws. They are similar to the laws of physics, but not much more.

In other words, wood can be shaped by your mind and your hands, but not by words.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

The History of Wood, Part 43

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 6:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

A Few Favorite Images from ‘Chairmaker’s Notebook’

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:34pm

I spent the morning organizing and packing up more than 500 hand-drawn illustrations that Peter Galbert made for “Chairmaker’s Notebook.” Even though John and I have spent about 150 hours scanning and adjusting the images, they are still as remarkable and wonderful as the day we opened the box.

As all the pages went back into their proper portfolios, it became obvious that you could almost build a chair using the images alone – they are that detailed.

To give a feel for the imagery in “Chairmaker’s Notebook,” I made a short video of a few of my favorites from the book, set to music by The Black Twig Pickers.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. “Chairmaker’s Notebook” is available for pre-publication ordering in our store with free domestic shipping until March 20, 2015 – the day the book ships from the printer.

Also noteworthy: Lie-Nielsen has agreed to carry the book, as well as the other retailers mentioned earlier: Lee Valley Tools, Tools for Working Wood, Highland Woodworking, Henry Eckert Fine Tools in Australia and Classic Hand Tools in the UK. Links to our retailers can be found here.

And finally: A reader noted that our Vimeo videos (and my Vimeo profile) had become populated by some naughty, naughty content. After some digging, it became obvious that having “The Naked Woodworker” in our feed was attracting the smut.

If you encountered this, I apologize. If you missed seeing it, ditto.

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Kiss the Devil on the Tongue

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:51am


In 1990, I was fresh out of college, working my first job at The Greenville News and terrified of being fired.

During my first year on the job as reporter I hit a patch where I made a string of minor errors in my stories that required the newspaper to print corrections or clarifications the next day. And it seemed the harder I worked to get things right, the worse things got.

After a couple weeks of this it got to the point where I couldn’t open the second-floor door to the newsroom. I just froze at the top of the beige-painted stairwell and stared at the fire door.

I had no idea what to do next. So I opened the door and resolved to ride it into the dirt.

At this point in the tale, I’m supposed to tell you that things took a turn for better. That I became a stronger person and a better journalist. But that would be bull#$&@. It got worse.

I made an error in a story about a huge oil spill at a golf course. I misspelled the name of the oil pipeline company at least a dozen times in my story. I should have been fired that day. But I suppose my editor took pity on me.

But even that wasn’t the bottom of the well. Hitting bottom was so painful I can’t really talk about the event except with close friends and my wife. And that wretched weekend is where things started to turn around for me as a writer and a journalist.

What does this have to do with woodworking? For me, everything. When I hit a rough patch in a project or a design, I have found that the only way out for me is to drive the car off the cliff and into the sea. I have to find bottom so I can push off that and find air.

I’ve tried other strategies – walking away from a project and then coming back to it with a fresh attitude and new ideas. For me that’s like pressing “pause” on the Betamax. It only prolongs the inevitable.

Today I am looking for the bottom with this design for a backstool. It has to be around here somewhere.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

On Rip-off Artists

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 2:17pm


If you are semi-aware of the woodworking tool industry you know there are several classes of toolmakers.

  1. People who try to make new tool designs that have never been seen before.
  2. People who improve old designs that are no longer in production and are no longer patented – they are in the public domain.
  3. People who copy successful tools, lower the price and put the original maker out of business.

The makers in category No. 3 will never get any good ink from me – only grief. We won’t sell our books through their catalogs. We won’t even mention their names (if we can help it). Until they stop stealing – and that is the only word for it – they are dead to us.

Want to read more? Check out this post from Kevin Drake of Glen-Drake Toolworks, who has been ripped off more than anyone I know.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Adding a pdf to Your iPad

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 9:18am

Several readers have reported some difficulty in manually adding pdfs of our books to their iPads. Here is a short tutorial on several ways to do it. As always, technology changes so fast that we recommend searching the web for alternative solutions if you hit a rough patch.

Use the iPad to Fetch the pdf
The easiest way (I think) to get a pdf on your iPad is to download it directly to your iPad – skip your desktop machine or laptop entirely. Once you receive your download e-mail from use with the download link, e-mail it to yourself on your iPad. Click on the link on your iPad and the book will download to your iPad and put itself in your iBooks app.

Another option is to purchase the pdf using the iPad. The Lost Art Press store is friendly to mobile devices.


Once you make your purchase, you’ll receive a link like this in your e-mail. Click it.


It will open a page that looks like this in your browser. Click it and be patient. Some of our books take a long time to download and some mobile browsers do not show you a progress bar.


After the book downloads the browser will prompt you to open it in iBooks. Click the link and you are done.

Use a Third-party App
If you use Dropbox or another free pdf reader on your iPad there are a variety of ways to fetch the pdf from a desktop or laptop computer. There are also a variety of ways to share files between your iPad and computer – too many to explore here.

Transfer via iBooks
If you downloaded the pdf on your desktop machine or laptop, you can easily move it to your iPad using the iBooks app on your Macintosh. Launch iBooks on your desktop machine (it’s in your Applications folder).


Go to File/Add to Library


Navigate to the book (it’s probably in your Downloads folder).


Add it to your library and then open iTunes. Connect your iPad to your desktop machine and sync the iPad. When the sync is complete, the book will be on your iPad.

Filed under: Downloads
Categories: Hand Tools

For Marilyn – Crabs or Grabs

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 6:28pm


Marilyn of She Works Wood fame asked for a video that shows how the crab lock (aka grab lock) works. So here it is. This lock was made for this tool chest by blacksmith Peter Ross. Unlike many commercial crab locks from the 20th century, this one operates super smooth.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Categories: Hand Tools

Simple Type of Indian Home Cot

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 4:03pm


ONE of our Indian readers sends us particulars for the making of a simple home cot, which we think will be of general interest.

The cot consists of a skeleton framework supported by four legs, the overall height being 18 ins. The length of the cot is 5 ft. 6 ins., the width 3 ft. 6 ins. The mattress is made by weaving a good strong tape mesh as suggested in the top right corner of the plan drawing. The method of jointing the side and end rails of the cot to the legs is somewhat unusual and, if the maker is not familiar with the joint, he is advised to make a rough model of one corner before proceeding with his work. Fig. 1 shows a plan of the cot as seen from above. Fig. 2 is the front elevation, showing on the right a turned leg as suggested by our Indian contributor, whilst on the left we show a square tapered leg having a foot which is suitable for those makers who have no lathe. The wood used for construction of the article is generally teakwood, but there is no reason why such wood as ash, beech or birch should not be used. Fig. 3 gives an end elevation.

The following is a list of the wood required: Four legs, 1 ft. 7 ins. by 3 ins. by 3 ins.; two long bars, 5 ft. 7 ins by 3 ins. by 1-1/2 ins. and two end bars 3 ft. 7 ins. by 3-1/2 ins. by 1-1/2 ins. An arch has been allowed in the length of the bars, but they should finish in width and thickness to the sizes given.

At Fig. 4 we show a sketch of the cross and end bar mortised into the leg, and it will be seen that a turned hardwood peg fits into a suitably provided hole and locks the tenons, which are dry jointed (not glued) in position.

The head of this turned peg forms an ornament or finish at the top of the leg and it should of course fit tightly in position so as to prevent the youngster from pulling it out. Fig. 5 gives a sketch of the end and cross bars in their relative positions when they are apart from the leg. At Fig. 6 is given a sketch of the end bar and cross bar when the cot is fixed in position, but in this illustration the leg is purposely left out of the drawing for a clear representation. Fig. 7 shows the joints of the leg portion when the part of the leg above the line (A, Fig. 4) is sawn off. The hardwood peg is shown at Fig. 8. The above methods of illustrating the joint have been chosen because the interlacing of so many dotted lines in the ordinary sketch makes it next to impossible for a worker who is not familiar with the joint to follow an ordinary drawing.

If beech, birch or ash is used it may be stained either mahogany or walnut colour, after which it may be given a coat of brush polish and when this is hard the work may be wax polished. If the cot is made in teak wood it may be finished as above, but without staining.

We are indebted to Mr. S. V. Ramesad, of Beswada, India, for the above particulars. (600)

— from The Woodworker magazine, May 1925

Filed under: Campaign Furniture, Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

‘By Hand & Eye’ the Holiday Special

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 4:49am

You’ve read the book. Now see the movie.

Animator Andrea Love and Jim Tolpin, one of the authors of “By Hand & Eye,” have produced a charming stop-motion video that explains the pre-industrial design process explored in the book. If you like the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials from the 1970s (“Year Without a Santa Claus” and “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July”) you’ll dig this video.

In it, Jim’s puppet explains how to design a stepstool using the size of your body, basic proportions and a little humor (I love the Vitruvian Dog).

It’s a great little film that Andrea and Jim have been working on for a long time. Enjoy!

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: By Hand & Eye
Categories: Hand Tools

He Thumbs a Book of Photographs and Says,

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 8:57am


“Fast modern contemporary furniture, I want no part of it. People wanting to express themselves, it’s just simply crap. That’s what’s causing all the ills of our society, individualism with nothing to express. You tear your guts out to express yourself and it ends up in frustration and a terrible environment…. (Wood is) a gift we should treasure and use in the most logical and beautiful way, and personal expression is quite illegitimate. It’s an arrogant conceit, and we have too much conceit in our society.”

— George Nakashima interviewed by John Kelsey for the January/February 1979 issue of Fine Woodworking (Issue No. 14).

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Psst, Need a Tool Roll?

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 11:01am


Head over to my blog at Popular Woodworking to read a review of the tool rolls from Jason Thigpen of Texas Heritage Woodworks

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 10:34am


If you aren’t sure, the people at BlacksmithBolt.com should be able to sort you out with the help of slotted, unplated steel screws. (Mine are in the mail.)

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

The History of Wood, Part 42

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 6:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Correction to Digital ‘Chairmaker’s Notebook’

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 9:59am


If you ordered a digital copy of “Chairmaker’s Notebook” – either the digital copy alone or the one packaged with the hardcover – check your Inbox. We have issued a new version of the digital copy of the book that corrects an error in the appendix on the shavehorse.

The hardcover version will be correct – so no worries there.

We don’t have a lot of errors, but when we find them, we issue a new digital version of the book for free download to current customers. We then publish the correction here on the web site for our print customers. And we offer a corrected page that you can slip into your print copy, as we did here.

All first editions (even from major publishers) have minor problems that slip by the editors and the author during the proofing process. The real test is what the publishing house does when an error is found.

Apologies for the error.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Chairmaker's Notebook, Corrections
Categories: Hand Tools

Meet Pierre Jeanneret, Swiss Designer

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 5:45am

Editor’s note: When people ask why I write about woodworking, I usually answer: “It’s the only thing I’m qualified to do – besides washing dishes.” In truth, however, my unspoken goal is to nudge woodworkers to close their laptops or books and build something. Anything. One of the ways to inspire is to expose people to work or styles they haven’t seen before. While I like and respect the Shaker, Arts & Crafts and period styles, the world is a much bigger place.

Recently Suzanne Ellison, our indexer and a contributing editor, has been showing me a lot of work by Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967), a Swiss architect, furniture designer and cousin to Le Corbusier. I’ve asked her to share some of that here. I know some snarky commenters are going to say it’s clunky or ugly. That’s not the point. There is something you can take away from each of these pieces. Some look dated. Some are brilliant.

You’ll understand Jeanneret’s work better (especially the Indian stuff) if you read this short bio at MoMA.

— Christopher Schwarz


Scissor Chair Scissor Chair with Cushions Sketch for Rustic Chair Rustic Chair Rustic Chair Committee Table

If you are designing chairs for new modern buildings in a high heat and humidity environment you are going to use teak and there will be caned backs and seats for breathability. The chairs are for government offices and college classrooms so they have to be sturdy. Lastly, a high number are needed. Jeanneret came up with a basic design that could be adapted for various uses and that could be made with local materials. I like the chunky V-legs and arms balanced with the lightness of the woven back and seat. In profile the upside-down “V” with a line across the top almost looks like the Chinese character for human. My favorite is the Lounge Chair. I could live with it.

All the Chandigarh designs were done in the 1950s, as was the Scissor Chair for Knoll. It had a simple frame and came with cushions that snapped on. All of the chairs and stools made for the buildings in Chandigarh were teak and made in India. Chandigarh was the first planned city post-independence from Britain.

Lounge Chair Kangourou Chair Student Desk The Admin desk would have had cubbies on the opposite side. A similar stool was made with a metal rung instead of stretchers. Stool with a Caned Top

More pieces he designed for the buildings he and Le Corbusier designed in Chandigarh, India.

Office (or Conference) Chair Writing (or Student) Chair Library Chair Senat Chair, an upholstered version of the Office Chair

— Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools


by Dr. Radut