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Periodical Opinions

by jpw1995
posted 02-12-2007 10:25 PM

23 replies so far

View Dr_Unix's profile


49 posts in 4144 days

#1 posted 02-13-2007 12:00 AM

Fine Woodworking get my vote. It’s the only one I read from cover to cover.

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4196 days

#2 posted 02-13-2007 12:14 AM

Check out Woodworking Magazine, as well. It is a no-ads, no-frills magazine done by some of the editors of Popular Woodworking. Really good stuff; and you can buy a CD of their first six issues for under $30, I believe, including autocad-like drawings of all of their projects to date. Chris Schwarz also does a great blog on that site, also worth reading.

Good stuff.

-- Ethan,

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4178 days

#3 posted 02-13-2007 12:26 AM

I have found there are many good ones – such as those named so far – as your aware ther eare those that are not so good.

I read every thing I can. I am self taught.

I however will say – I am not so trusting of everything I read just because some wood mag. said so -or it is published.

This comes with experinece. I believe that only comes with doing it.

I don’t have a favorite or to anyone or just one way of doing various woodworking projects. I try be open to many ways and ideas and then use what I know -and others have offered or taught me- I then try to come up with something that works.

That is the experience part you get only from just doing it.


-- Dusty

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 02-13-2007 02:34 AM

I have been reading several magazines to learn all I can about woodworking. There are several good ones for projects, skills, etc. in no particular order—

- American Woodworker
- Popular Woodworking
- Woodworkers Journal
- ShopNotes
- Woodsmith

I have also found one of interest for the business of woodworking—
- Woodshop News

For me at least, it helps to read about how to do something as well as trying it. Sometimes I can find some tips to improve my results, or do things I did not think of.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4349 days

#5 posted 02-13-2007 02:39 AM

I give more credit to the ones without ads (despite being in advertising myself) because only they can truly say what they think with no repercussion, or at least they don’t have to pull punches.

I read all the ones on the newstand, but I don’t subscribe to all of them, as I find some borrow from each other… and after getting the Family Handyman for a few years now, I’ve seen them steal their own cover designs from themselves!

FWW of course, is probably the gold standard. Most are good. When i’m in the mood to read a bit deeper into the mind of a woodworker or project I’ll pick up Woodwork. This is perhaps the opposite of Wood (which I also get), being information and copy dense, and well written. Sometime with Wood, you don’t even have to read the articles, the pictures will suffice.

While I get inspired by the projects within, I usually only pull from them for inspiration on my own. Especially after thumbing through a decades worth of old mags my grandfather passed along (correction, the project in issue #... was supposed to be …. not ….) usually once or twice an issue. If I were to use a magazine project, I’d redo their sketches just to make sure!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Dollarbill's profile


91 posts in 4160 days

#6 posted 02-13-2007 07:01 AM

I really like Shop Notes and Woodsmith. No adds and the reader tips are GREAT.


-- Make Dust

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4333 days

#7 posted 02-13-2007 02:04 PM

ShopNotes, WoodSmith and Wood magazines are my picks. For those who would like full sized patterns, Wood is unbeatable.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4321 days

#8 posted 02-13-2007 05:21 PM

I agree that WOOD is a nice magazine. it is very reader friendly, but I find it a bit ad heavy. I got to spend some time with Jim Heavey, Master Craftsman for WOOD Magazine, when The Woodworking Show came to Louisville back in September. We didn’t have a big turnout so I got a lot of one on one time with him, and that was a great learning experience for me. Jim is very knowlegeable, and I would recommend his presentations to anyone who has a chance to attend one of The Woodworking Shows.

I’m lucky enough to have a Woodcraft franchise in Louisville so I picked up a copy of their magazine not to long ago. I don’t know if I would subscribe to it, but I thought it was a decent publication. I’d say Woodsmith a Shopnotes top my list with Fine Woodworking being a very close third.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View Shawn's profile


225 posts in 4176 days

#9 posted 02-14-2007 03:05 AM

I’m a big fan of Better Homes and Gardens WOOD magazine, but I havnt picked up a wood working mag that I didnt enjoy

-- Cheers

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4349 days

#10 posted 02-14-2007 06:46 AM

I’m not near a Woodcraft, and the local bookstores don’t carry it (used to). I like it, so when a too good to pass up subscription rate came up, I didn’t pass. The first issue came today (with the Woodwhisperer’s and Karson’s Projects within… but, alas, I find it (the magazine) leaves me wanting more. ( a few more projects, articles, something… feels “incomplete” next to the pile of Wood and FWW next to the bed, couch, etc…

For House and deck type projects, Workbench is pretty good. but I stopped subscribing. I did a somewhat unorthodox undermount sink idea from a kichen redo series they ran a few years back.

I try to read all the ones on the newsstand over a coffee (Starbuck at the B&N near work). I usually pick up one or two from most publishers over the course of the year… probably would be cheaper to just break down and buy them all… but if I didn’t read them on a lunch break, I’d probably never have the time to keep up with so many.

If I had to boil it down to just two, It would easily be Wood and FWW. with most of the others mentioned above on a per issue basis depending on the content.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4183 days

#11 posted 02-14-2007 01:21 PM

I like my CanadianWoodworking magazine – the one I have in my hands right now has 7 projects, several “tips and tricks” articles on subjects from joinery to hand-carving, tool reviews. and more. I find that it has a nice mixture of furniture building, scrollsaw work, handcarving.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4321 days

#12 posted 02-14-2007 04:21 PM

I agree, Shawn. No matter how you rank ‘em they’re all very informative and enjoyable to read. I just wish I had more time to devote to reading them. One thing I try to do everytime I get a new magazine is place a post-it note at the top of the pages that have projects or articles that I may want to revisit later. I write the name of the project or article at the top of the post-it note so that I can find them easily without having to open up every issue and check the table of contents. If I’m ever looking for ideas for pictures frames I don’t have to pull out every issue. I just glance across the top and pull out each issue that has a flag the says “picture frame”. It has proved to be very convenient for me.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4196 days

#13 posted 02-14-2007 06:39 PM

JP, that’s a great idea. I wish I’d started doing that a long time ago; now I have to do it when I find time to go back through old issues. My wife was at a library spring periodical sale a year or two back and found a box of old Fine Woodworking magazines with issues going back as far as 94 or 96 for $0.15/issue. I told her to buy what she could. She ended up spending $5 or $6 and brought back a nice stack of mags to review in my spare time. What a wonderful wife…

-- Ethan,

View Garry's profile


64 posts in 4274 days

#14 posted 02-14-2007 09:38 PM

My favorites are FWW and Woodwork although I have just recieved my last copy of both.
I am in the midst of building our new house and little time to enjoy at this time. Maybe when I can slow down I will began new subscriptions to them.
It seems there is really nothing new in the mags. Just different authors for the same thing. The articals that I have come to like the most are the articals in Woodwork mag which are written about fellow woodworkers.
I have never made a piece from a plan in a magazine. I would rather gather inspiration from the gallery photos, both in the magazines of on websites.

-- Garry, Engadine, Michigan (Upper Peninsula)

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4184 days

#15 posted 02-16-2007 07:57 PM

Sounds like your wife got quite a bargan Ethan, and gave you a nice present to boot.

Interesting how we have all gravitated towards the same magazines.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4269 days

#16 posted 03-06-2007 04:47 PM

Fine Woodworking and Wood Magazines get my top votes, but I enjoy them all. The ads don’t bother me, in fact I go through them quite thoroughly just to see whats new and get ideas, don’t want to miss a thing. I recently purchased a cd from shopnotes of 100 extra tips, and I’d recommend it to anyone. very cool and you can print off any jig or fixture you come accross. I think it cost about 20.00 dollars. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4259 days

#17 posted 03-06-2007 04:55 PM

I have ordered Popular Woodworking and it has given me some great idea, along with Woodsmith and Shop notes. I’d like to see the fine woodworking but I’ll probably have to win some great awards contest to win it.

And Ethan… all that reading? By the time you get back into the shop, the sun should be shinin and your mind will be full of great ideas.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4184 days

#18 posted 03-06-2007 07:17 PM

I do not mind the ads either. Like Mike said, they give me a chance to see what is new, as well as ideas for my working.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View DrSawdust's profile


323 posts in 4120 days

#19 posted 03-12-2007 01:12 AM

I find the projects SWMBO really likes and utimately decides for me to make, come from either WoodSmith or Wood.

-- Making sawdust is what I do best

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4119 days

#20 posted 03-12-2007 06:15 PM

I gave up on Wood Magazine after a few years of subscription. They tended to stick too closely to the mission style furniture which isn’t exactly my taste. It seemed like every subscription had some mission chair, then mission table, cabinet, bench, etc. Plus, I also felt that they rarely moved past basic wood working methods or styles. However, they did have really good tool reviews but I’m not buying tools everyday.

Now, I have a subscription to Fine Woodworking that I received from my Mother-in-law and I really enjoy it. They offer more of a range of styles of projects. Because I have the subscription, I purchased their online subscription for only $15 which has given me access to many of their old articles in PDF form. I’ve also purchased Shop Notes off the shelf and I am eventually going to get that subscription as well.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View monkman1's profile


7 posts in 4121 days

#21 posted 03-14-2007 03:54 AM

Being a newbie. I love them all!! Can’t wait until the new publications come out.

-- Barry, Pennsylvania,

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4120 days

#22 posted 03-14-2007 04:40 AM

I like the following

- Fine woodworking - Shopnotes - WoodSmith

and any woodcraft issue that has an article by Marc Spagnuolo it.

: ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4116 days

#23 posted 03-15-2007 01:16 AM

I have agree with Wayne. Those are my favs. Shopnotes and Woodsmith are published by the same group so both are free of ads. Shopnotes is great for jigs, etc. Woodsmith seems to be more project related in my opinion.

As for FWW, I don’t actually subscribe to the periodical. I get all my content from their online offering. You can pull down the articles (including older ones) in PDF format and view all the video clips and slide shows. It has already more than paid for the $35.00 subscription price.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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