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Which magazine do you subscribe to?

by Gabe C.
posted 04-09-2012 01:35 AM

30 replies so far

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3192 days

#1 posted 04-09-2012 01:43 AM


Fine Woodworking


Shop Notes


Woodworkers Journal


-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#2 posted 04-09-2012 01:44 AM

Fine Woodworking (often referred to as FWW) is, in my opinion the tops for furniture plans and technique. Gets a little over my head sometimes, but that just makes the challange better.

The best magazine for jigs and fixtures, shop built tools etc is Shop Notes.

A good magazine for general coverage is Wood.

There are special publications out there from all these magazines that combine several great projects from several issues that are really good to have as well.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3106 days

#3 posted 04-09-2012 02:01 AM

I like Wood magazine because they have a pretty good variety of projects with detailed plans and will include a section that introduces a new skill or technique that is critical to their central project. What I don’t like about Wood is that similar projects will resurface rather frequently over a long period of time. Not so frequent as to make the subscription a waste, but often enough that it does get noticed.

Woodsmith will have less projects per issue than Wood but the projects do have a bit more complexity and you really can’t beat the detail that is in their step by step graphical breakdown of the construction of the projects. They rely less on photographing a project and focus more on graphical illustration which really makes following the process much easier. One of the best ones to have in my opinion.

Fine Woodworking has some awesome articles but there is less hand holding when it comes to the steps required to make their projects. I think their articles are brilliant but I believe some of their projects might be overwhelming for someone at a beginner to intermediate skill level.

and, just a side note, while you may be a power tool junkie, I guarantee that hand tools will start finding their way into your work. Hold onto those articles regarding chisels and hand planes because they will sneak their way in there, trust me on that :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#4 posted 04-09-2012 02:32 AM

Woodsmith, Woodworkers Journal and Woodcraft

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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4727 posts in 2348 days

#5 posted 04-09-2012 02:36 AM

Woodsmith, Shop Notes, Popular Woodworking, Wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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1782 posts in 2561 days

#6 posted 04-09-2012 02:37 AM

I am currently only a few issues into a 2 year subscription of Popular Woodworking. I’ve been less than underwhelmed so far, but hey it was like $1 an issue. At the same time as I got my first issue I received a large number of FWW back issues gratis. I always shied away from this magazine since it was so expensive, but after really reading through it I decided (IMO) that it is certainly worth it. Good luck and have fun.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3048 days

#7 posted 04-09-2012 03:09 AM

FWW, PopWood, and Wood. FWW and PopWood are the finest (tie) out there. They both approach at about the same level, both have wondeful projects, both have good how-to’s, both have lots of well-written articles besides their projects, but FWW is at the level of National Geographic in the excellence of their photography and illustrations. Hands down the best.

As soon as the Wood subscription is up, it’s gone. It used to be a good magazine, but lately projects have gotten embarrassingly simplistic and repetitive, tool tests are deplorably predictable, and I know they have to make a living, but 2/3 of the magazine is adds, the web site is just about all adds, and they sell everything whereas FWW and PopWood give a great deal for free. Oh, my subscription to Wood is not up until Nov 2013 and every issue (the last 4 of which hit file 13 within an hour of delivery) I get ‘Last Chance’ renewal demands.

Gave up on Woodsmith as the projects got boring. They are, however a sure cure for insomnia on their tv show. It’s a shame because they are nice guys, genuinely talented and offer quite a bit of information. Just the presentation is a little off-putting. Had to cut back somewhere.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3921 days

#8 posted 04-09-2012 03:15 AM

Theres just a few. I get them as Christmas presents from the family Its time to start another book case I did loose a lot of them in a move about 8 years ago but haven’t missed many since.
Fine Woodworking
Woodworkers Journal

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2833 days

#9 posted 04-09-2012 03:25 AM

Currently only woodcraft and I only just received my first issue which I wasn’t impressed with. To keep the middle project pages free of ads they flood the front with them. Gives a real bad first impression and the projects weren’t anything I’d bother with but for 7.00 a year I’ll hang in there. I should subscribe to Popular, Fine and Wood to save myself some money in the long term. I don’t find them worth buying every month but usually buy 2 of every 3 issues of them that come out.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2923 days

#10 posted 04-09-2012 03:26 AM

Fine Woodworking (25+ years of magazines)
Shop Notes

Also buy Woodworker’s Journal, Woodturning, and others at Chapters if there are articles which I am interested in, have purchased a number of duplicates because I don’t seem to remember what I already have…

My son in law will catch on one day that I am not always thinking of him… :)

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View widwotkma's profile


40 posts in 2389 days

#11 posted 04-09-2012 04:23 AM

Woodworkers Journal
On occasion Fine Woodworking if it has an interesting article.

I think the main thing to look at is how experienced you are and what type of projects you are looking for. Woodsmith has great step-by-step instructions that can be helpful as a new woodworker. Wood and Woodcraft have a good mix between articles, reviews and projects, which I enjoy. I find Fine Woodworking a bit beyond my level but I do enjoy their tool reviews.

View Woodknack's profile


11619 posts in 2377 days

#12 posted 04-09-2012 04:48 AM

None of them are good enough for a subscription. I subscribed to Fine Woodworking for several years but they just constantly regurgitate the same projects, using the same basic joinery, from their books. I rarely buy an issue now. If you just want to read something then they are okay but if you want to learn then I would just get their books. I buy Wood once in awhile. I don’t build the projects but they often have good tips and it’s interesting to see them play around with joinery even if they are sometimes prone to complicating things. Woodsmith is a nice magazine which I’ve only recently really started reading.

British woodworking mags are the best but they are very difficult to find in my area and I only have a few. The ones I have do not focus on projects but on artists and craftsman and woodworking in general. The articles are excellent and the pictures display master craftsmanship.

-- Rick M,

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2980 days

#13 posted 04-09-2012 04:56 AM

popular woodworking
wooworker west
woodcraft (subscription bought for me)
i like to browse the news stands,to see if there’s a good project or article that i would want to keep.

where do you guys and gals like to find your magazines?
my favorite is a barnes & noble. a lot of choices.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2501 days

#14 posted 04-10-2012 02:15 AM

FWW and PW

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2303 days

#15 posted 04-10-2012 02:20 AM

My two personal favorites, Woodsmith & Shopnotes. I have subscriptions to most of them, wood, fine woodworking etc, but I prefer the projects in Woodsmith and the jigs in Shopnotes. In Shopnotes they usually have one big project and then several jigs that they used to make that project.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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18269 posts in 3673 days

#16 posted 04-10-2012 04:07 AM

Fine Wood Working on line is hard to beat. Everything they ever published, videos, .... can print anything you want in PDF or save it to your hard drive. + Shopnotes and Woodsmith for paper copy in the easy chair ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3319 days

#17 posted 04-10-2012 03:50 PM

Fine Woodworking (though I will be letting this one lapse, doesn’t really apply to stuff I do.)



Woodworkers Journal

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View rodman40's profile


166 posts in 2324 days

#18 posted 04-10-2012 05:21 PM

Wood / Woodcraft / Fine Woodworking / Woodsmith / Shopnotes / Popular Woodworking / Scrollsawing

-- Rodman

View Paul's profile


85 posts in 2430 days

#19 posted 04-10-2012 06:37 PM

I am a techie so I have Esubs to
Woodworkers Journal
I REALLY like ESubs as they have direct links that I can click on from the Zine I am reading

I have a snail mail Sub to

LOVE LOVE LOVE this publication … Plans are very well written out :)

oh and I m a Novice WW so just though I would toss my 2 cents in

-- - Paul, Flower Mound,TX

View Jeff's profile


433 posts in 3191 days

#20 posted 04-10-2012 06:40 PM

None. That’s why I come here.

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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3283 days

#21 posted 04-10-2012 06:45 PM

Fine Woodworking is the only one I take at this point.


View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 2234 days

#22 posted 04-10-2012 10:25 PM

I am a novice wooodworker and I subscribe to Woodsmith, Shop Notes and Wood. I agree that FWW is a good magazine, but for someone at my skill level it kinda scares me (I still need a guiding hand).

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3739 days

#23 posted 04-10-2012 10:30 PM

FWW for fine and interesting ideas and challenges
Wood – for interesting stuff and things to make with my kids as teacher appreciation gifts and such

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View ChuckM's profile


608 posts in 3663 days

#24 posted 04-10-2012 10:37 PM

If you’re starting into woodworking and have a limited budget, this is my take in the order of importance:

1) WOOD – it has many projects and also the best and new shop tips (some magazines, Woodcraft for example, sometimes run tips that have already been published elsewhere before). WOOD has the largest circulation among all woodworking magazines in the range of 500,000 per issue.

2) American Woodworker and/or Woodsmith and/or Woodworker’s Journal—if you’re into projects.

Stay away from Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking if you are just a beginner because FWW gives not enough details and PWM is more for hand-tool users and is also lacking in details, unlike WOOD or WS. FWW is a fine publication (best photos) only when your skill level is on par with the projects it showcases.

Don’t miss the free articles that you can read in the Newsletter section of the Lee Valley Tools site. They may not offer the kind of detail you want, but they’re free.

Finally, some online versions are cheaper (but not at PWM) and you may try them if you want to have access to more than one or two magazines for the same budget.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View Woodknack's profile


11619 posts in 2377 days

#25 posted 04-11-2012 06:26 AM

I thought Popular Woodworking was out of business.

-- Rick M,

View Gabe C.'s profile

Gabe C.

288 posts in 2338 days

#26 posted 04-13-2012 01:09 AM

I really appreciate everybody’s input! Thank you so much!

I am going to subscribe to Wood. An opportunity presented itself, and I have enjoyed the issues that I have checked out from the library. I am also considering Shopnotes. I get the impression that I could learn a lot from it. Thanks again for all the input.

-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3240 days

#27 posted 04-13-2012 03:28 PM

I see the woodworking magazines following the same path as Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and most other magazines. They contain less and less articles and more advertising. I have stopped subscribing to ALL magazines. The internet has all the information I need.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3267 days

#28 posted 04-13-2012 03:49 PM

MrRon – check out Shop Notes and WoodSmith – both do not have any advertising. They come out less often but always have some good tips and interesting subjects.

I find that alot of these magazines are redundant so you really only need one or two at the most. I get the 2 above and FWW. After that I have other hobbies which I have a few more periodicals from – Woodcarving Illustrated….Welding Journal….etc.

I can only read so much so I keep them to a minimum – I keep a copy of the annual indexes handy so I can look up things I may need later….or make a copy of interesting articles and keep in a notebook I have at my bench.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Gabe C.'s profile

Gabe C.

288 posts in 2338 days

#29 posted 04-13-2012 03:59 PM

I got a handful of copies of Woodsmith from a resale shop in my area. I had noticed that it seemed different in it’s layout, but I hadn’t realized that it was a lack of advertising. It almost seemed to read like a section of a woodworking book, now I know why, thanks!

Welding Journal…there really is a magazine out there for everything. (Not to knock welders. I am horrible at it.)

I keep hearing people reference Shopnotes in different projects and blogs. Seems like a good woodworking-skill-and-understanding-advancement magazine.

Again, thank you to everyone for your input. Feel free to keep commenting. I have learned so much from all the “collections of knowledge” that tend to accumulate in the threads on this site. Got some smart cookies hangin’ around…

-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3240 days

#30 posted 04-14-2012 07:13 PM

I have looked at Shop Notes and Woodsmith, but didn’t see much that I didn’t already know. I find more usefull information on this forum than I can find in any mag or book.

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