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Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog

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Woodworking advice, woodworking plans, woodworking projects and woodworking blogs
Updated: 28 min 36 sec ago

Dugout Chair Part 8, The Inner Bark

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:42am

Today I got smart and worked on this dugout chair before I took a shower – genius. Also, I found an easier way to remove the inner bark – with a chisel. Last night after dinner I went out to look at what one blog commenter has called “about the ugliest thing in woodworking history” and decided to see how easy it would be to chisel the inner bark away […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 8, The Inner Bark appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 7, The Bark Flies

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:57am

Before I could strip the bark off the dugout chair, I needed to shape the chair’s back. The bark had all my layout marks indicating the final shape of the chair. Armed with the TurboPlane, I smoothed out the steps I had cut into the stump earlier with my chainsaw. When I shaped the chair with a chainsaw, I sawed kerfs up and down the back of the chair that […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 7, The Bark Flies appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 6, Remove the Rot

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:06am

My progress on the dugout chair has been stymied by rains from two hurricanes, building two Campaign bookshelves and laying out a forthcoming book on carving by Mary May. But today I fired up my angle grinder to remove the rotted interior of this silver maple. I don’t have a ton of experience with an angle grinder. But if you’ve used an electric router, then you’ll quickly get comfortable with […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 6, Remove the Rot appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Sketch Your Way to Better Designs

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:41pm

One of my best woodworking tools is one I don’t write about much: my sketchbook. It’s an inexpensive spiral-bound thing I get at the grocery store, right by the romance novels. It’s always in my bag when I travel, and it’s on my lap when I’m “encouraged” to watch “Project Runway” with my lovely wife. I keep a mechanical pencil clipped to its metal spirals and use it to solve […]

The post Sketch Your Way to Better Designs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Workbench X-Files

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 7:08am

During the last decade I’ve amassed hundreds of images of early workbenches as part of my research into pre-industrial woodworking. Inevitably, some of the images don’t make a lot of sense and now populate a folder named: X-Files. These workbenches are from paintings and their features might be the result of a painter who doesn’t know much about woodworking. Or they could be a clue to a simple and neglected […]

The post The Workbench X-Files appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

All Hail the Versatile Doe’s Foot

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 2:56pm

The doe’s foot – a block of wood with a “V” cut into it – is one of the most versatile and cheap appliances for your workbench. I have an article about this little gizmo coming up in the next issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (look for it in the November 2017 issue, or perhaps subscribe). I work with a lot of odd-shaped parts, especially when I build chairs. These […]

The post All Hail the Versatile Doe’s Foot appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 5, Ready for Sculpting

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:43am

After sculpting the backrest of this dugout chair with a chainsaw, I noticed two things. One, the chair is about half the weight when I started. I can move this thing around by myself with some grunting. Two: It’s now a rocking stump. Yup, after removing a lot of waste from the front of the chair, the stump began to tip backward on its own, rocking nicely on the meat […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 5, Ready for Sculpting appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 4, Cut the Arms

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 12:58pm

I laid out the shape of my my dugout chair in chalk. Then it rained. The next day I laid out the shape of my dugout chair in lumber crayon. Referring to my CAD drawing (below), I drew in the seat at 17” from the ground. Then decided to put the arms 8” above the seat and have them slope back about 1/2” or so. The depth of the seat […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 4, Cut the Arms appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Perfect Jigs (Which are Handcuffs)

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 5:23am

After I learned to make stick chairs in a class, I returned home and set about to build jigs that would let me reproduce every aspect of the chair we built in class. I spent an entire week planning and building the jig shown in the photo above. Though it looks like a platform for holding Roman candles, it actually allowed me to drill four legs in a seat blank […]

The post Perfect Jigs (Which are Handcuffs) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Step 3: Draw a Chair

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 12:59pm

After removing the big chunk of wood that was to become the front of the chair, the next steps on the dugout chair are the tricky parts that require more thinking than straining. I needed to chainsaw the bottom of the stump level to get the thing so it had the stance of a chair. This is tricky because the stump is an irregular cone with no right angles. So […]

The post Dugout Chair Step 3: Draw a Chair appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Modern Gateleg Table – Free on the Website

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 3:58pm

The cover story for the October 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – a Swedish gateleg table – can be read and downloaded for free here. No catch. No gimmicks. No registration. Just click it and read it. I built this gateleg table earlier this year and based my version on dozens of examples I dug up from the historical record. From looking at the table, you might think that the […]

The post Modern Gateleg Table – Free on the Website appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Step 2: Lose 200 Ugly Pounds

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 9:02am

I can roll this rotted log around my driveway for the dugout chair. But danged if I can lift it by myself. So the next step is to start chainsawing away the majority of the bulk that is not part of the finished chair. With my tiny 16” electric chainsaw I spent a good hour wasting away the first two kerfs on this chair. This activity attracted the attention of […]

The post Dugout Chair Step 2: Lose 200 Ugly Pounds appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Step 1: Get it Out of the Truck

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 5:37pm

After picking up the rotted stump for my dugout chair, I parked my truck in front of my shop and then went inside to ponder: How do I get it out of the truck? Sure, there are lots of redneck methods involving wax paper, Wesson oil and chains. But I wanted to avoid damaging myself and trashing my truck. I could rent a forklift or other machine to make it […]

The post Dugout Chair Step 1: Get it Out of the Truck appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Success Isn’t at the Bookstore or the Museum

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 7:42am

When my first book, “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use,” was released, I played a game that many first-time authors play. I looked for my book on the shelves of any bookstore I visited. After a few years I gave up. I’ve never seen the book for sale anywhere except online. But I do have something else that I’ve decided is better: Hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos […]

The post Success Isn’t at the Bookstore or the Museum appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Yes, a Moisture Meter is Essential Equipment

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 8:07am

A moisture meter is a device that lets you see the future. It allows you to avoid mistakes where your furniture will – literally – fall to pieces. But convincing woodworkers to buy one is like trying to push water uphill. This weekend, Brendan Gaffney and I were each working on some chair projects and got on the topic of moisture meters. Brendan has an idea for how to make […]

The post Yes, a Moisture Meter is Essential Equipment appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The ‘Dugout Chair’ Begins With a Rotted Stump

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 8:33am

For as long as I have been writing about woodworking, I have wanted to build a dugout chair. I first encountered the form in one of the many furniture books we had a Popular Woodworking Magazine. Soon after I started working at the magazine in 1996 I began poring through the books whenever I had a spare moment – attempting to get up to speed with all the different furniture […]

The post The ‘Dugout Chair’ Begins With a Rotted Stump appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Nails: Your Unexpected Friend in the Forest

Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:32am

A lot of hand skills develop hand-in-hand with other hand skills. Learning to sharpen a handplane gives you the skills to sharpen a carving gouge or turning tool. These are pretty obvious. But some hand skills help you in unexpected way. For example: Working with a lot of nails makes splitting green wood for chair parts much easier. Both skills benefit from dead-on accuracy with a striking tool – a […]

The post Nails: Your Unexpected Friend in the Forest appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Notes on a Steam-bending Jig

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 5:34am

I do only a little production work in my shop, so I don’t have a lot of jigs and fixtures. In fact, I think I can count them on one hand: a sliding table for my table saw, a shooting board/bench hook, my doe’s feet for my workbench and a V-block for planing objects to octagons. But when I build a jig, I want it to last. This week I […]

The post Notes on a Steam-bending Jig appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Rosin – Your Sticky Friend in the Workshop

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 10:28am

Woodworkers use waxes (and other things) to decrease friction, but what about when we want to increase friction? Lately I’ve been trying inexpensive rosin – intended for the bows of stringed instruments – with excellent results. Rosin is a byproduct of heating tree sap to make turpentine or a variety of other products and has a variety of uses in industry and the arts – everything from ballet dancers to […]

The post Rosin – Your Sticky Friend in the Workshop appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Like Your Woodworking Teacher? Maybe You Shouldn’t

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 2:06pm

Last month I taught two short classes in Germany – a rare exception to my vow to avoid teaching and instead focus on new furniture designs. The reason I taught those two classes is quite personal, so I won’t discuss it here. But during the classes I was struck by an odd question I’ve struggled with for 30 years: Is it a good idea for students to personally like their […]

The post Like Your Woodworking Teacher? Maybe You Shouldn’t appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

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