Online Woodworking Educational Sites?

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Forum topic by Maveric777 posted 07-14-2010 02:35 PM 2914 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2693 posts in 3070 days

07-14-2010 02:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am considering joining an online woodworking educational site. You know, something like Charles Neil, The Wood Whisperer, or Fine Woodworking. I been receiving a lot of pro mo stuff from Fine Woodworking about their online services and has me really thinking. I dont mind paying a subscription for educational purposes, but the only problem is …....I see me joining only one.

I was looking to get some insight and opinions for my fellow Lumber Jucks. Do you have a favorite? Why is it your favorite? Can I print designs so I don’t have to sit at a computer all night? Etc…

I am really leaning towards Charles Neil or The Wood Whisperer to be honest. Both these men seem to have there stuff together, and offer a massive wealth of information. I am on a tight budget so I don’t want to be wasteful with my “Woodworking Mad Money”...

Thanks for any input…..

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

12 replies so far

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3006 days

#1 posted 07-14-2010 02:43 PM

I have a subscription to FWW online, but to tell the truth, I’m not sure when I last logged in to view a ‘members only’ article. When I first got it, I poured over the site, but since, I go once in a dog’s age.

I also went and joined The Wood Whisperer guild as I like Marc’s style of presentation. CN also has great videos (from what I’ve seen in the free series), but didn’t find out about him until I already joined TWW and like you don’t want to spend all my WW money towards online resources. Need tools and wood!

Hope this helps

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3070 days

#2 posted 07-14-2010 02:48 PM

Very much so Mike. What you mentioned about FWW was one of the things I was afraid of. That was one of the key factors that made me turn away from them. So that was all I need to hear to make it between CN and TWW.

Thanks Mike!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2916 days

#3 posted 07-14-2010 02:52 PM

I used to belong to FWW and found I didn’t get that much out of it(like a waste of money,too expensive for what you got) Search and read the thread from about a week ago about value for information received from magazine subscriptions etc. Maybe that will help in your decisions.
I will say I’ve watched CN’s vids and I get a lot of good info out of them.

-- Life is good.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3136 days

#4 posted 07-14-2010 02:53 PM

For me, I like TWW style of presentation. I bought a couple CN DVD’s and I’m thinking I like Mark’s style better. Maybe it’s just how he simplifies things. Charles might be targetting a more advanced audience than myself. JMHO

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3641 days

#5 posted 07-14-2010 03:42 PM

I’ve been a FWW subscriber for 3 years now. I think Charles and Marc are super guys that are doing the woodworking community a great service, and as you said – they know their stuff.

For me – the time proven collection of articles and text that FWW has is worth the subscription. regardless of when, or why, if I run into a new venture in WW, I know that a search on FWW will yield several easy to understand, colorful, and informative articles, be it a specific joint, or a new technique, tool usage, finishing, or the like.

hard to pick just 1. but I have not been disappointed by any of those sources as of yet.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3188 days

#6 posted 07-14-2010 04:21 PM

I have a FWW online membership and am constantly going through all the member only articles(mainly from past issues) and videos as well as project plans. All of this stuff has been very helpful as a beginner. Definitely worth the membership fee.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3070 days

#7 posted 07-15-2010 01:55 PM

Thanks for all the input everyone. With the last two comments (PurpLev and Eric) I may go back and give FWW a second look. I do see where they have the 14 day free trial so I could check it out and see what I think. I really wish CN and TWW had the same option.


-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 2993 days

#8 posted 07-15-2010 02:46 PM

I bought the FWW archive dvd and find that I look through articles quite a bit (although the interface is a litte klunky, but it works). I find this to be a great resource for me to get started, but I’ve had the same thoughts about getting more out of the online world. Heck…I’ve found loads of stuff here on LJ that I couldn’t find in the FWW archive, or my own pile of books and magazines that I’ve collected.

I’ve been following Marc for a while now and quite honestly I think the videos he produces are really outstanding quality. Not only the production quality, but the content and Marc’s approach and personality make them all very easy to watch.

I’d love to hear more about CN and TWW paid content…I’m very close to signing up for Marc’s guild membership.

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4177 days

#9 posted 07-15-2010 05:40 PM

I am glad to see most folks have good things to say… :) As a subscriber to all three (technically I do subscribe to my own show), I can honestly say that they all provide quite a different experience. FWW is great as a reference. Any time I have a question about a topic, chances are I can find a FWW article in the archive. For that alone, I think the membership is worth it. But this is distinctly different from the service that CN and I provide (hours of video instruction and help with your projects). I don’t want to give you the sales pitch here but I did want to address the free trial thing. As nice as a free trial would be, its just not feasible for us. We work with such a low volume of customers, that just one “grab and go” could cause us some issues. Especially if they decide to throw the content up on a torrent site. But if you think about it, I have nearly 150 free videos that serve as a pretty good model for what you might receive as a Guild member. Just imagine taking a project step by step, detail by detail, in the style you have come to know from me. And frankly, Charles Neil’s membership is very similar in that way. Only its done in his personal style.

Now is actually a pretty good time to join either site because Charles and I are collaborating on the Chest of Drawers build. That means you’ll be able to see BOTH projects, regardless of which site you join. I guess it would suck if you join one and you realize afterward that you wish you joined the other, :). But I do have an unspoken satisfaction guarantee. If you think the Guild stinks, I will give you your money back. :)

And speaking of the Guild Build….I have some serious editing to do for tomorrow’s release. Have fun guys.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3656 days

#10 posted 07-15-2010 08:05 PM

I use my FWW online subscription a good deal … a couple of times a week or more.

Though I am a fan of both Charles Neil and Marc Spagnuolo, I have (thus far) resisted the temptation to sign up … not because I don’t think it would be worth it, but rather because I just can’t devote the time that I think I would need to to make it pay off for me. I would probably see it differently if I were not working 50-60 hours a week.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View drirot's profile


12 posts in 2881 days

#11 posted 07-16-2010 02:30 AM

I belong to TWW as well. I find him a personable person. Both he an Matt Vanderlist (woodtalkonline) put out a lot of informational stuff. This is why I signed up to be a guild member. The guild side of the site offers more in-depth stuff. Marc isn’t afraid to show you how he screwed up something and then how he remedies it. This to me is a sign of a good teacher. You never saw Norm screw up a single cut in all of his years on TV, not to say that Norm didn’t offer a lot of stuff. Marc’s humorous approach adds to the mix as well.

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 2993 days

#12 posted 07-17-2010 03:28 AM

Ok, so this discussion and a few other things finally got me off my butt to commit.

I signed up for Marc’s TWW Guild a couple of days ago and just started scanning through the content you get when you pay. I am very pleasantly surprised. A few things that satisfied me right off that I made the right call.
- the guild operates like a guild…regular meetings, collaboration, sharing expertise, even live discussions on something you want some help with. I don’t have a local guild, so this is a great opportunity.
- the guild builds and associated instructional videos. I take courses when I can…the biggest obstacle beyond time is money…the guild plans for 3 builds each year…I can’t come close to comparing the cost of 3 courses.
- interviews – getting into the heads of pros and guys with loads of experience and realizing that they started without any sort of leg-up and still succeed…very inspiring stuff and loaded with great ideas.
- the community on TWW parallels LJs (and obviously has some cross pollination), it’s friendly, not too serious and clearly devoid of spam.

In my day job I have to assess the value of something with very little input to go on, based on a couple of days of poking around in the TWW Guild (ok, late nights…very late…) I see awesome value for the money and having followed Marc through WTO and TWW for a couple of years now, I am very happy with the decision to sign up.

Disclaimer: I haven’t been paid or compensated to say any of this….of course, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone by refusing such a payment. :-)

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

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