Monthly Archives: May 2010

Our Visit with Chris Schwarz

My wife and I are out straight getting my son ready for Washington, DC. He leaves June 5 to begin serving as a congressional page. He will leave school several weeks early and has to have all his schoolwork (including final exams) completed before he goes. He is wrapping up his junior year with a strong finish, but we have been doing a lot of running. That is why I am just getting to writing about the May 17 class now. 


The May 17 class included several students I want to tell you about; as I am sure you are curious about them. Popular Woodworking editor Chris Schwarz, his father Paul, and his friend John Hoffman took the class together.  John is also Chris’ business partner in their venture Lost Art Press. I didn’t tell you in advance that these guys would be with us, as I didn’t want Chris inundated with visitors while he tried to enjoy a week of vacation. It was good to have these three guys visit. They are all three fun people and we did a lot of laughing.


It the past month I began to wonder if the May 17 calss had a curse on it. I kept signing up people, but as soon as one enrolled another bowed out. I couldn’t tell those people at the time that they were missing out on the chance to spend a week with Chris. That’s too bad, as he is arguably the most influential person in woodworking today. Popular Woodworking is driving all the other woodworking magazines.  As they struggle to stay afloat in this lousy economy they look at Popular Woodworking’s success and try to figure it out.  I hope Chris won’t mind if I give away the formula. It’s real easy. Like most of their woodwoking readers, the editors and the magazine are down to earth. There is nothing elitist about them. They write about basics and they are eclectic. Rather than rehash the same articles over and over, they surprise readers with interesting and curious topics.


Chris and John came into town a day early and we three spent Sunday shooting photos for a couple of articles I have written for them. I hinted before about one of the articles last year when I was writing it. It is a subject that chairmakers pioneered. I forgot to ask when the articles are scheduled.  So, I have to counsel patience. Meanwhile, subscribe to Popular Woodworking, if you haven’t already. That way, you won’t miss the article when it is published.


I was surprised that several visitors showed up with gifts of bottles of craft beers for Chris. I enquired about this phenomenon. He explained that he writes about his fondness for good beer in his own blog. As a result, people often bring him local beers from their own region. I think that is clever on his part. Have I ever written about my fondness for martinis and single malt scotch?

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