Thursday, June 26, 2008

Woodworking Blogs I Love: Christopher Schwarz Edition

I heard a guy say once that woodworking isn’t rocket science; it’s mostly cutting to a line. With hand tools, of course, that’s easier said than done.

I’m currently doing a couple projects that involve half-blind dovetails. I haven’t cut those for a while, so I’ve been practicing for the real thing and looking around for articles on how to cut them. But after searching around the Web for dovetail tips, I had a major realization: I don’t need to read anymore dovetail tips. Enough with the dovetail tips already! What I need is more basic and more advanced at the same time. That’s where Christopher Schwarz, Woodworking Magazine and the Woodworking Magazine Weblog come in.

Chris is a very gifted writer. He’s clear and concise and also smart and funny. His point of view comes from years of experience. Also, you can tell that he’s very open-minded and that the methods he describes are not arbitrary, but come from a history of experimentation and study.

In all the practicing I’ve been doing lately in trying to cut close to the line, the only thing I've learned is that practicing the wrong thing won’t help you improve. Rather, it will set you up with bad habits that will be hard to shake. To get myself going in the right direction, I'm following some suggestions Chris made in a post about sawing technique. If you follow Chris’s nine rules of sawing, you’re bound to get better results. Your sawing will improve and so will your work, leading to more satisfaction and fun all around. Of course, this is only one example of the kind of thing Chris writes about.

So if you haven’t been there already, I encourage you to go to the blog and look around. Just be prepared to get distracted along the way with other technique posts, tool reviews and thoughts on the woodworking life. You’ll be routinely impressed.

Stay tuned for more posts about blogs -- both woodworking blogs and design blogs.