Thursday, February 19, 2009

My favorite Woodworking magazines

This entry is kind of ironic, as I'm currently reducing the amount of paper I subscribe to (and subsequently have to store!) But, I may go through withdrawal and resubscribe to a few, will have to see. This entry is a (short) list of my favorite woodworking magazines and what they are about. But really the best way to evaluate magazines is to look for yourself at a newsstand & then subscribe at once! Most subscriptions are cheaper than paying retail for 3 or 4 issues.
Fine Woodworking published by Taunton Press is a wealth of information, although not necessarily for the beginning woodworker. My favorite articles are the how-to and reader galleries - inspiring to see how other folk do things. Very often there is an article that will take you step by step through a project. There are some really good online resources on the Fine Woodworking website too. I particularly like this plan with video of each step - unfortunately this is one of many of the website's project links require membership which is an extra cost over and above the magazine subscription cost. At least you can look at many of the pictures for free. I like many of the Taunton Press Woodworking and Homebuilding books. Be aware that some of their books are simply compliations of magazine articles and that some have original text but use pictures previously published in their family of magazines. This is a nice bookcase plan by the same author of the above table, but is a free download. Other free plans are available if you subscribe to their eletter.
Popular Woodworking is a great all-around magazine. Christopher Schwarz is the editor and I really enjoy anything he writes. His blog for the magazine is great, as is his personal blog. Honestly, as I type up this entry I feel like I'm assigning homework, but my other feeling is that I'm passing out keys to treasure chests or golden tickets to chocolate factories! If I was going to pick one magazine for the intermediate level woodworker, Popular Woodworking would be it. It has a good balance of power tool and galoot woodworking articles & the articles are long enough to fully explore whatever topic they are covering. They also have a regular beginners column that makes this the most well rounded of all the issues reviewed here.
American Woodworker is a pretty good magazine - chatty, many short articles, good exploded views of projects so that you can see how it all goes together. Some regular columns that are a lot of fun including one called "Tool Nut" that I like. I also like the profiles they do on various woodworker's work, often with detail on how they achieve some of their results. I would say the audience is beginner to intermediate & it covers most of the different types of woodworking including turning occasionally. Pick up an issue and thumb through it to see if it is for you.
Woodsmith - last but not least. The only magazine that doesn't have ANY advertising. Yep, none - well, the page inside the back cover does do a sneak peek at the next month's projects, but that is it. Pound for pound the most project-dense magazine. It comes 3 hole punched for binder storage, and is printed on a heavy weight non-gloss paper. I think there is a business relationship with Rockler, but that doesn't fuss me. There is also an associated Woodsmith TV show, that is showing on some PBS stations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.