I kept reading on the forums about people receiving their copy of the all-new format, the result of merging the old Popular Woodworking (PWW), and Woodworking (WW) magazines. I was getting…mildly upset I had not received mine.
That changed last night. Sandy brought in the mail late in the day. I won’t keep you waiting: In a nutshell, bottom-line, I like the new format!
First things first: I already liked both magazines, as each offered something different. Now that I have said it, I can get on with some of the details. With the online buzz, some people liking one or the other, comments on the forums about the pluses and minuses of merging two magazines that differed in style as much the two old ones, I eagerly awaited my issue of the ALL-NEW format. I like the content, and I like the format.
Quispiam vetus ( Something old):
I loved the black-and-white photos on Woodworking magazine; I liked the layout of the magazine, and also its content and lack of ads. The no-nonsense approach to every topic was always refreshing; and every single issue brought something new, as well as long-forgotten nuggets to this power-tool guy and incipient Neanderthal. Basically, “…no-crap reporting…”, according to the Editor. And quotes interspersed with other text – wonderful quotes! Would any of this go away in the merged format?
Popular Woodworking, on the other hand, appealed to me for the same reason it appealed to the larger audience. Great writers and woodworkers, from Cherubini, Walker, Flexner, Dunbar, Schwarz, the whole crew, always did their best to help me learn along the way, for many years. And, of course, the ads, which is fine by me. It helps pay the bills! But the old format appealed due to the variety of topics presented by, and for, woodworkers.
I followed the magazines’ blogs, read the online articles, and stayed informed with content that did not find its way into the respective issues.
Quispiam novus ( Something new):
New paper, glossy paper, ads. The same Editors, many of the same contributors, at least two new Contributors (I recognized Kari Hultman, our beloved Village Carpenter, as one of the new Contributors, and later realized she is also a new Editor, in Tricks of the Trade!). Of course, the pages also contain some great articles. What more could a person want in a woodworking magazine? In short, more of the same.
George Walker is back with another great article, Making Sense of Form; I bought his two DVDs, and my fascination with the topic continues, thanks to Walker himself (I met him at two of the Woodworking in America conferences). With Cherubini on sabbatical, Jerome Bias fills in with a wonderful article about Thomas Day, a free black man who “…was the most influential cabinetmaker in North Carolina…”; this is a wonderful article, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! Glen Huey presents a White Water Shaker stepback; this is one project I will probably tackle in the not-too-distant future – I love it (and, secretly, I hope I get to see this Shaker Village in October). Chris Schwarz wrote about plane maker Clark & Williams, and their basement operation. And Bob Lang wrote a wonderful article about How Tables Work, which brought memories of a table I researched and built for a client last year. Chuck Bender came back for an article featuring the William & Mary style; great stuff for me to learn. Kari Hultman wrote about Sunken Treasure, the recovery operation of very old tree trunks in Belize, Central America, that will bring 200-year old lumber to our shores. Bob Flexner wrote about An Array of Lacquers, which opened my eyes to this often used (and, sometimes, $%^$#) finishing material.
Whew! That is a lot of stuff to cover in one issue, folks. I wanted to give you a flavor for the extensive content, done well by terrific writers who are also gifted, experienced, and passionate woodworkers. One more thing: I know all but two of the authors (Bias and Flexner), and I know they are all passionate about their woodworking.
The new direction for the new magazine also includes a larger online presence, in the form of content that does not find its way into the printed pages, and in the social media. It will be interesting to see this grow, as the electrons convey the message down the fiber optic pipelines. I already see the greater involvement in Facebook, for example, waters into which I only recently dipped my toe. I look forward to the greater content on the magazine’s web site, sharing woodworking information to our heart’s content.
As I scrutinized the pages of this issue, it hit me that I never really paid much attention to the little boxes inviting you to “Go Online FOR MORE…” I have no idea what tinyurl.com is, and probably won’t find out. It seemed to be shorthand for links; I tried one and, voilá, it was a link to the Bookstore. A note to the Editor: I am too old to remember the number sequence; please change to something more pneumonic, like http://www.woodworkersbookshop.com/product/print-special-best-tricks-of-the-trade-january-2005/ . I am more likely to remember “…tricks…trade…2005…” instead of “…yj62644…”
The bottom line: I like the new magazine format. It has a good part of the feel of Woodworking magazine, and the (longer) familiarity of Popular Woodworking magazine. I never objected to the ads in PWW, but like the clean layout of WW. In the new format, I appreciate the articles seem to always (mostly?) start on the left-hand page – this is great layout! Overall, the quality of the new magazine is excellent. I am certain it will continue to get even better. I hope that, as you read this review, it will make you want to go out and get your own copy (or order online). That was part of my intent; but I also wanted to convey that, in my opinion, the woodworking community is likely to be engaged by the new format and the renewed focus in the online content.
Now, your turn:
- Do you subscribe to either, or both magazines?
- If you do not subscribe, will you buy a copy of the new issue?
- Have you received yours in the mail?
- If you have received it, have you read it?
- If you read it, please share your thoughts by leaving a Comment here. Thanks!
— Al Navas