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Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog

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Woodworking advice, woodworking plans, woodworking projects and woodworking blogs
Updated: 55 min 31 sec ago

Diagonal Wedges: The How & Why

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:57am

When wedging through-tenons, I prefer to orient the wedge diagonally across the tenon. This is a somewhat atypical way to work, so an explanation is in order. A diagonal wedge has the advantage of closing up any gaps on all four edges of a rectangular mortise. That’s because it pushes the tenon against all four walls of the mortise. The more typical wedge, on the other hand, will push against […]

The post Diagonal Wedges: The How & Why appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Fit Irregular (Impossible!) Shapes with ‘Ticking Sticks’

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 4:26pm

The trick to fitting wooden pieces into impossible recesses is to learn about “ticking sticks.” These simple sticks – plus a sheet of paper – can make monstrous tasks into a easy job. Here’s how they work. “Ticking sticks” go by many names in the historical record, but they are the best technology for cutting a piece of wood to fit an odd opening. All you need to perform this […]

The post Fit Irregular (Impossible!) Shapes with ‘Ticking Sticks’ appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Install a Grippy Liner on Your Bench Vise

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:43pm

I’m a huge fan of installing a grippy liner on your bench vise. Wood faces grip your work OK. Add the right liner and the grip will become fantastic. Here are some details on choosing and installing a liner. What’s a Good Liner? Most people prefer leather, cork, felt or a rubber such as Crubber. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Peel-and-stick cork is fast to install but isn’t very durable. […]

The post Install a Grippy Liner on Your Bench Vise appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Hardware Drawer of Last Resort

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:50am

Some of you will file this under “Bleeding Obvious,” but few people ever discuss their “junk drawers” in their shops. I call mine: The Hardware Drawer of Last Resort. It has saved my butt a thousand times. Actually, it’s not one drawer. It’s five. The one shown in the photo above is the “random fasteners” drawer. Every time I install some hinges and have extra screws left over that don’t […]

The post The Hardware Drawer of Last Resort appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Tool Troubles? Get Thee to the Grinder

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 3:53pm

I’m always surprised by how many woodworkers – even experienced ones – try to avoid the grinder. They will purchase expensive diamond plates or (worse perhaps) a ream of belt sander paper and an expensive granite plates all to avoid stepping up to an electric or hand-cranked grinder. This is not just a fear among hand-tool users who avoid electricity. I’ve met guys who will use an unguarded shaper with […]

The post Tool Troubles? Get Thee to the Grinder appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Folding Campaign Bookshelves in 1 Minute

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 5:55pm

For the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I built a pair of folding campaign bookshelves based on a 19th-century pattern. Long-time readers of this blog know that I love mechanical furniture that folds up into tiny spaces and is durable. So 19th-century British campaign furniture is right up my alley. These examples have a Gothic look to them, but you could alter the profiles of the folding end […]

The post Folding Campaign Bookshelves in 1 Minute appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

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

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