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January 18, 2008

Interview with Christopher Schwarz

This is Woodworkers Resource's first audio only episode. This is one I know you're going to love.  In this episode we get the chance to interview Christopher Schwarz.  Chris is the editor of both Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine.  He also maintains two blogs @ www.lostartpress.com and www.woodworking-magazine.com/blog/.  Now, you can add to that author.  Chris' new book, "Workbenches:  From Design & Theory to Construction & Use" is going to be the focus of our interview.  But, I couldn't help but ask Chris some other questions as well, like what's it like being an editor of a woodworking magazine?  Yeah, you're probably going to be a little jealous when you hear his answer.  

If you've ever wanted to build your own workbench, or if you're frustrated with the design of your current workbench, you're going to want to hear what Christopher Schwarz has to say about one of his favorite topics:  Workbenches.

I really enjoyed doing this interview and would love to do more, but only if you want me too.  So, if this is something you'd like me to continue doing, let me know by leaving a comment below.  Also, if this is something you're interested in, let me know who you'd like me to interview in the future and I'll do my best to stalk them, err, I mean, get them on the phone, or maybe even video? 

The sound quality isn't up to the standards that I like, but bear with me as I learn better ways to improve this for the future.

To get a copy of Chris' book:  Workbenches:  From Design & Theory to Construction & Use, go to his website to get some really cool extras that you can't find in stores.  

Enjoy our interview with Christopher Schwarz:

Video thumbnail. Click to play

                                                            Click To Play

Comments (12)

Larry Downes:

Great interview keep them comming. Do have any plans on building a router table? I would like to build one, would like your input. Thanks Larry

(WR) Craig Stevens:


Thanks for your comments about the interview. I enjoyed doing it and will do more if you all want to hear more.

As far as building a router table, yes, I would like to re-build the one I have. After using it for 10+ years, I definitely have some ideas on how to improve it.

It may be a little while until I get to though, I've got a list of things to do to the shop first (and to video), but be patient and I'll get to it.



I think the idea of 'audio interviews' is fantastic, and your interview with Christopher Schwarz is a perfect example of just how well it can work. I hope you will continue with this concept, perhaps expanding it to include discussions not only with accomplished woodworkers, but also with titans of the reborn hand tool industry like Rob Lee and Thomas Lie-Nielsen, as well as some of the smaller, often most innovative smaller toolmakers. For one, I would also like to hear interviews with those woodworkers who's blogs - like yours - have helped to drive the return to the workshop by their constant exchange of information, assistance and encouragement. Great work, and thanks!

Neil lamens:

Hi Craig:

I really enjoyed your interview. I got more out of it then just work benches....Thanks!!!!

Good job man........Neil

Nathon H:

What a fantastic interview. Chris, I'm looking forward to getting your book. Thank you for the extras it comes with from your site.

I prefer audio to video because I can listen at work. Please do more interviews. I'd especially like to hear from Sommerfeld regarding his routers and cabinets.

All the best,
Dallas, TX


Hi Craig,

Great interview.

I'm glad to hear from a pro that I didn't make a big mistake when I built my bench using pine. It was all I could afford at the time, but it's served me very well for the past 6 years.


Great interview! I just ordered the book. Can't wait to read it. And i would love more interviews with other woodworkers.

Stockholm, SWEDEN

(WR) Craig Stevens:

Thanks for all the positive feedback about the interview. I definitely will be doing more in the near future.

I would like to mix in some video interviews, when possible, of woodworkers in their shop. I for one love to see other woodworkers shop space. I always find something that I can incorporate into my own shop.

One of the many things I love about living in the East Tennessee area, (the mountains being high on the list) is the number of woodworkers. I live relatively close to Asheville, NC, and Berea, KY, both meccas for woodworkers. Plus, we have a very active woodworking guild. Not to mention all the great woodworking schools, Arrowmont being first on the list.

All that's to say that I have a lot to work with and will do my best to bring you all interesting interviews.


John R:

I found the interview with Chris Schwarz very interesting (and yes, though a bit long, I couldn't stop listening to hear what Chris's next comments would be.) It was my pleasure to visit the Pop WW editorial offices last Sept. and meet Chris, Glen, Robert and office staff. I really appreciated the fact that they were all so open with a welcome and that Glen took the time to show me around the shop, where I saw Chris's version of the Roubo bench. More impressive in real life than in print.

I ordered the "Workbench: ..." book from Chris at LostArt Press in late October. Chapter Three alone was worth the price of the book/cd. I had planned for over a year to build a large bench from plans published in April 2003 in another very fine woodworking magazine. However, Chap. 3 has kept me from making some major mistakes by not following those plans. And though Chris is not a fan of the "tail vice," I do plan to use one on my bench along with a "pattern makers vice" as a shoulder vice. After having used an old "construction lumber" bench with MDF (& other material) tops for the past 30 years, I decided to use 8/4 ash which was available locally at a very attractive price.

Thanks for producing your fine website. I will be visiting you often in the future.

John R

(WR) Craig Stevens:


I couldn't agree more with you about the editors at Popular Woodworking Magazine. Some of the nicest and most genuine people in the business.

I'm in your camp as well as far as liking a tail vice on my bench. Even though my bench is as basic as it gets right now, with a tail vice lined up with some bench dog holes makes a big difference in usability, especially hand planing.

Send us some pictures of you bench when you get it done.



Terrific interview! What can I say that others haven't already? Just that it was GREAT, and I took away much about workbenches and more.

I look forward to more. Thanks!


Hal Smith:

For Larry Downes. I built a router table some 6+ years ago from plans in Bill Hylton's book "Router Magic". It's heavy and durable, and I've been pleased with it. Think it would be worth your while to at least get the book. Has lots of other good stuff in it as well.
Regards, Hal Smith

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