Ridicule of initiative in the shop

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Forum topic by Clarkie posted 11-24-2015 02:01 AM 2543 views 0 times favorited 78 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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380 posts in 1260 days

11-24-2015 02:01 AM

Good evening, has anyone else read this month’s issue of Popular Woodworking? If not look up the editorial by Megan Fitzpatrick, it’s titled “Shop-made Sandpaper”. I’d like to get some other views of just what is being said, perhaps she is making a futile attempt at humor, but to me it came across as some form of ridicule for every woodworker who has enough gumption and intellect to make what he may not be able to at this time afford to buy. Seems she is uplifting buying a new Lee Nielson plane instead of being foolish enough to refurbish an old Stanley plane found at much less cost for one thing. Did she miss something, Stanley planes have been the standard of the industry for over 100+ years. As a young man with 5 children, I found myself making what I needed in the shop far more often than going out and buying it at five times the price. I thought and still do that my money was better spent on things such as food and clothes for the children. Please let me know your take on her article. Have fun, make some dust.

78 replies so far

View bandit571's profile


14058 posts in 2103 days

#1 posted 11-24-2015 02:27 AM

Makes sense IF your sponsor SELLS those planes…...and you need to help the sponsor sell more.

All those Vintage planes just need a little elbow grease to get back into fine fettle. Sometimes, that is more than others want to do.

I have a nice stable of vintage planes, all work as intended, and as well as those high dollar planes.

Didn’t take all that long to get each ready to go. Still have less in this picture, money-wise than one of their high priced planes.

She is just trying to sell the sponsor’s products, is all…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View BurlyBob's profile


3462 posts in 1685 days

#2 posted 11-24-2015 03:02 AM

I’ve to agree with you Clark, about money being better spent elsewhere. In this day and age a person’s got to be an intelligent consumer.

Bandit, that is a very nice staple of planes. Once I finish my current project. A hand plane till is at the top of my to do list.

View jumbojack's profile


1663 posts in 2043 days

#3 posted 11-24-2015 03:16 AM

I found the attempt at humor to be juvenile. I am not a better or more informed or enlightned or amused person for having read it.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Pezking7p's profile


3097 posts in 1071 days

#4 posted 11-24-2015 03:23 AM

I understand what she’s saying, but I don’t think the point is well made. Different people have different goals in the shop, and different people have different levels of resources to spend in the shop. Each of these dictates what you do/don’t buy and how you choose to spend your time.

-- -Dan

View MrUnix's profile


4028 posts in 1618 days

#5 posted 11-24-2015 04:34 AM

I read the online version of that editoral… too bad I don’t have the paper version, as I need to re-line the bird cage :)


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View BurlyBob's profile


3462 posts in 1685 days

#6 posted 11-24-2015 05:05 AM

I read it a short while ago after this post. I’ve got to agree with all of you. Can you guys believe she got paid to write that pathetic? Doesn’t that magazine have real editors and quality control. What’s that catchall phrase… oh yeah. It fell thru the cracks!

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7696 posts in 1799 days

#7 posted 11-24-2015 05:45 AM

We should all work on Wall St., 90 hours per week, and just buy everything we don’t have time to enjoy.


View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13569 posts in 2038 days

#8 posted 11-24-2015 06:29 AM

Something (someone) must have really gotten under her skin. Reads like something that should’ve been put in drawer for a couple of days, then not sent to press.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View oldnovice's profile


5651 posts in 2787 days

#9 posted 11-24-2015 07:37 AM

Writers have to write!
The old saying ”publish or perish”!
Doesn’t mean that we have to read it!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View HokieKen's profile


1519 posts in 558 days

#10 posted 11-24-2015 12:19 PM

I imagine it’s an (over)reaction to “generous commenters” letting her know that shop-made alternatives are better. I imagine she got blasted for buying a LN plane or some other expensive tool. She probably had a reason to be bitter based on my experience in some forums online.

That being said though… the article was purely in poor taste and publication in a reputable magazine is not the place for her to vent her frustrations. She crapped on a large portion of PWM’s readership. After all, aren’t a large # of the magazine’s articles geared toward do-it-yourself? How many articles have been published featuring how-tos on Chris Schwarz’s workbenches? Based on her editorial though, I would think the magazine is advocating going out and spending $2000-3000 on a manufactured bench rather than bowing to the lowly level of building your own. Guess I’m just a “miserly woodworker” who’s somewhat surprised that PWM would run such a snide commentary. Perhaps she had good reason for wanting to blast a few know-it-all’s in a forum who berated her in much the same way she berated me/us. But, it should have been kept in that forum and not unleashed on the very people who keep that magazine in print.

The irony of the whole thing is that the article by Raney Nelson later in the issue states that “The truth is that most woodworkers need a modern “super” plane in exactly the same way my 6-year-old son needs a jet pack.” He then goes on to say that Bailey patterns picked up at the flea market and fettled can serve most people’s needs just fine. The jist of the article is that some people (Megan F.) can justify purchasing a high-end plane and for others (me) it’s an unnecessary expense. Bravo Raney.

I understand your frustration Megan but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Clarkie's profile


380 posts in 1260 days

#11 posted 11-24-2015 12:38 PM

I want to thank you all for responding, and enjoyed reading the responses. Step on a man or woman’s creativity and you harm his or her ability. I too am headed out to the shop to make a plane till, have fun, make some dust.

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1934 days

#12 posted 11-24-2015 12:55 PM

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article, by an editor to boot, that trashes its own readership such as that does.
Who pissed in her Wheaties? Don’t they have a large meeting to lay out the mag before it goes to press? She must have multiple votes to have gotten that one through.

Almost worth going out and read the next month’s issue at a bookstore just to see the backlash of the readership. I would not buy the issue, especially now, but I bet I’m not the only one who abandons the mag.

Ironically, on their Facebook page is a huge article on how to outfit your shop with second hand tools that work just as well. See it here…

I’d say she either apologies to the bulk of her readership, or her tenure may have been shortened quite a bit by that page of dribble.
Glad I tore up the subscription request they sent me a few months back.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View KellyB's profile


77 posts in 601 days

#13 posted 11-24-2015 01:43 PM

I sent an email to her saying that if it was supposed to be humor, it failed. If not, then the mag failed.

View bonesbr549's profile


1137 posts in 2486 days

#14 posted 11-24-2015 02:12 PM

Man, I read the online copy provided. I could tell from the beginning that it was sarcasm. I get it that some like to make tools -n- jigs, and some don’t. Thats all cool. My favorite forums are the old woodworking machine rehab sites. I know one dude who went from being a woodworker to hehabbing old machines because that was his passion and thats cool. Some would rather just buy a tool rather that go through the hassle of making something. Some time is money, so it’s cheaper.

I remember questioning the value of a hand made plane that was well over mid 1500’s $$. I thought I’d insulted mother Theresa.

Main point is we need to lighten up. When did we become the land of the offended? (TIC)


The above statement was not intended to insult anyone nor any hobbyist likes or dislikes of said woodworkers. :)

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2106 days

#15 posted 11-24-2015 02:32 PM

Wow. I get that she was trying to come off as funny / sarcastic, but it really was a lead balloon in my opinion. I could understand if she started off that way and then made a case for why it was ok to buy new, but there wasn’t anything like that in the article. Pardon my language, but she comes off as a proper prat. I would gander that after some letters / emails / calls / smoke signals, she might not be a visible editor any longer.

Using the online version that Paul provided I read another of her articles about the Grizzly Planer on page 16. I’m just not impressed with her regular writing capabilities. She looks like she should take a few old school journalism classes. If I had just read those two articles and nothing else in the periodical, I would most likely not return to it in the future.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

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