Why Chris Schwarz is so skinny.

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Blog entry by Ben posted 07-24-2009 06:22 PM 1760 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m currently building a work bench and I’m trying to use as many hand tools in the building process as possible. I’ve been planing the legs for the past couple days, and after each leg I feel like I need to down a bottle of water, and I have. My muscles are sore and I’m out of breath. Now I’m 24 years old and in pretty good shape, but this is a hard task. I still have the top to plane as well. So to get to the point of the title. We all know “The Schwarz” is skinny and that he has a penchant for hand tools, especially planes and their use. I believe this is why he is so skinny. I must admit, however, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride in being able to plane a piece of wood flat and square. Plus, I’m not using electricity lowering my carbon footprint. This is surely a great experience, I suggest you try it.

-- Do something nice for somebody

9 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4235 days

#1 posted 07-24-2009 06:31 PM

the more you practice, the more efficient you get too though (or so I’m told).

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4155 days

#2 posted 07-24-2009 07:17 PM

+1 to the OP. yes, it is a good workout.

make sure you have sharp tools, and using the proper plane for the job (scrub/#5 for the roughing, then #5/higher for the flatenening, and #4 and lower for the smoothing, scrap if needed) to make the workout less fatiguing and more rewarding (another lesson to be learnt).

sounds like you’re doing great progress, both on the bench, and on your skills!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4219 days

#3 posted 07-24-2009 07:57 PM

yup, also how much of your body are you using. If you’re just using your arms (common) or just your legs (less so), it’s going to be harder than if you use a little bit of everything. I find the least work is using arms, legs (shifting body weight, like a golf swing, just less so), and with a slight turn to the abs. It’s a muscular version of “Many hands make light work” adage.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4574 days

#4 posted 07-25-2009 04:11 AM

I’ve found some pleasure in using hand planes and to parrot Purp and Will, sharp tools and use all of your body.

Sharp tools is obvious but for how you use your body I’m more the put your whole body into it. For something long I’ll walk along it leaning my whole body into it, arms bent and mostly locked to my sides and push along with my legs. For smaller pieces again start with my arms, put my back and whole upper body into it, and finish off the stroke with arms. With a block plane I use just my arm but for anything bigger I try to use as much of my body as I can.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4251 days

#5 posted 07-25-2009 04:16 AM

What all of these guys said, and EAT A LOT OF BROWNIES. Keeps your body mass up. The better to work the wood with.

View jcees's profile


1077 posts in 4306 days

#6 posted 07-26-2009 06:55 PM

T’is a rarefied pleasure that too many abjure for the whine and grind of machines. Welcome to working wood.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View DocSavage45's profile


8865 posts in 3349 days

#7 posted 09-16-2012 06:04 PM

It’s like body yoga. Just wish I were not so impatient! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Don W's profile

Don W

19331 posts in 3074 days

#8 posted 09-16-2012 06:09 PM

AND… You hear sounds, not noise.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3667 days

#9 posted 09-16-2012 06:11 PM

I think with all that sweat and energy you expend, you’ll end up eating more than me, therefore increasing your carbon footprint. That’s my excuse for using power tools and I’m sticking with my story. :D It is good to see folks use hand tools though. Good on you.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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