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Forum topic by bluekingfisher posted 12-10-2010 11:34 PM 1377 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1246 posts in 2400 days

12-10-2010 11:34 PM

Evening gents,

I am a member of a woodworking forum in the UK, some of the lads were discussing their preferences for woodworking magazines. There was quite a mixed reaction, many felt that the features and articles became repetative after a while. While I have some sympathy with the editors trying to keep things fresh, surely there is only so much that can be highlighted or discussed, particularly with 12 editions a year.

Many on the forum had a preference for one of the mags from your side of the pond, “Fine Woodworking” it magazine received some applause from UK readers.

What magazines do you guys read and which ones do you avoid or consider a joke??

I, myself have just subscribed to Woodsmith and considering subscription to “Wood” magazine. Unfortunately for me though, I don’t get the 2 years for the price of one living in the UK.

I would be interested to receive your thoughts and comments on what you consider a good read.

Best regards


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

14 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2594 days

#1 posted 12-10-2010 11:36 PM

I love “Fine Woodworking” and “ShopNotes.”

I like WOOD Magazine, but don’t consider it to be equal to the other two.

Though I’ve bought a few of the others, I wasn’t moved to subscribe to any of them—at least, not for now.

-- -- Neil

View bluekingfisher's profile


1246 posts in 2400 days

#2 posted 12-10-2010 11:39 PM

Hi Neil,

What makes Wood magazine inferior to the other two? is it the content or the reader its aimed at??

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2594 days

#3 posted 12-10-2010 11:44 PM

I knew you were going to ask that ;-)

I think you nailed it.

I’m a bicycle geek, too. Most of the ‘popular’ bicycling magazines have—over time—become nothing but marketing avenues for product manufacturers, and are so heavily dependent on advertising revenue that they just never seem to say a negative word about any product—probably out of fear that the manufacturer will pull its ads.

FWW seems to aim pretty high—at cabinetry and fine woodworking. This may put it above my current skill level, but … I tend to be able to take a lot of learning from each issue. They also seem to be pretty above board on their product reviews, evaluations, and comparisons.

I also find their online site to be a great value.

WOOD does seem to aim a bit lower. Maybe the best way to say that is that they rarely publish a project that I could NOT do, and … I’m simply not very experienced.

It’s not that I think WOOD gives bad information, it just seems to aim—as you implied—at a slightly less skilled audience, and may leave out a fair bit of useful info that “Fine Woodworking” seems fully prepared to include.

Really, really, though: the introductory offers for most of the WW magazines make it a pretty cheap proposition to try any of them, for a year, and form your own opinion. That’s sort of how I’ve been going about it.

-- -- Neil

View Bureaucrat's profile


18337 posts in 3072 days

#4 posted 12-10-2010 11:46 PM

I have been getting Wood, Wood smith, Shop notes for several years and think their great. I have had subscription to Wood Worker Journal but it didn’t make the cut when I ordered magazines last time around.

Just about the time I think I want to drop Wood, they come through with a couple of great issues so I keep getting it. I really enjoy the Wood smith and Shop notes because of the quality of the graphics and that there are no advertisements. I have considered FWW but I’m not ready for a lot of the projects in the magazine though I pick up a copy periodically on the newsstand.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View bluekingfisher's profile


1246 posts in 2400 days

#5 posted 12-11-2010 12:00 AM

Thanks gents for the prompt replies, I’m certainly no chippendale or maker of fine furniture either but I pick up the FWW when i see it on the news stand. I agree with what you say Neil (I hope I don’t sound like the revenue hungry mags by agreeing with you) The articles in FWW seem more at a pros level, although I would be prepared to give one or two of the projects a go ,having sais that I think one would need to have a lot of spare time to see some of the projects through.

I still have a couple of Shop Notes mags i bought when on vacation in the States a few years back, Ive just had a quick look at them again, I suppose they are more down my street from what is actually achievable.

Thanks for the input gents, much appreciated

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1080 posts in 3227 days

#6 posted 12-11-2010 12:24 AM

Hi Dave,
I have subscribed to all the mainstream magazines at one time or another over the past 30 years. I find a little bit of something to like in them all. But, as my skill level grew I found myself gravitating towards the higher end magazines. I would FWW in that category. Today, FWW is the only magazine that I subscribe to. In fact, my M5 clock is featured in the Reader’s Gallery this month! Max

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View bluekingfisher's profile


1246 posts in 2400 days

#7 posted 12-11-2010 12:42 AM

Hi Charles,

I guess that’s the way to go, start easy then work your way up.

I’ve just had a look at your home page, is the clock shown in the picture the one in this months magazine? certainly is a an excellent peice of work. Something like your clock is a little bit out of my league for the mo, not so much cutting and shaping the parts but knowing which woods are compatable with others, grain directions etc and how they would stand up to the continious movement over a period of time. I would hazard a guess though that what you have created isn’t the clone of a magazine article, more from 30 years experience?

Great work, thanks for the input

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2594 days

#8 posted 12-11-2010 12:44 AM

Then another note….

From another thread, I took Eli’s advice, and ordered a used copy—for about US$5—of

Understanding Wood:A Craftsman's Guide to Wood Technology

It’s a GREAT primer to grain orientation, species must-know info, and … well … everything else that a woodworker probably ought to know, before they start cutting and joining :-)

-- -- Neil

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 2625 days

#9 posted 12-11-2010 01:01 AM

I subscribe to ShopNotes and I let my subscription to Wood run out. After 4 months I got a renewal the other day for 3 years @ 28.00. I went ahead and renewed it for 3 years, just couldn’t pass that price up.

I also go to a bookstore, halfpricebooks in Lexington, KY. Usually I can pick up some nice hardback books for 4-8 bucks. I hit the jackpot last time I went :)

Just like the others have suggested, start small and work your way up. Learn as you go and you’ll appreciate the road you have taken later on when you look back from where you came.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View PeteMoss's profile


207 posts in 2890 days

#10 posted 12-11-2010 01:36 AM

I like FWW. I have a ton of Wood mags from over the years. They have good articles in my opinion, but after a while it seems to be all the same articles published over and over again. I also really like Woodwork Magazine though I think they only do one issue a year or something now.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2495 posts in 2527 days

#11 posted 12-11-2010 05:42 AM

I like Woodsmith, Shopnotes, Fine Woodworking, and I also subscribe to Wood, American Wood worker, and four or five others and read them on occasion.
American Handyman and This old house are a waste of money in my opinion, even if Norm Abrams is affiliated with TOH.

View traupmann's profile


124 posts in 2207 days

#12 posted 12-11-2010 07:08 AM

I have kept Wood Mag as the only mag now. I once got Fine woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, Shop Notes, WWJournal, and several others, but I realized that I only need to keep up with the news of the changes and the articles and ads in Wood do that. FiWW had seriously diminished it’s standards, from hales holding up shelves, to supercilious articles on non-woodworking issues. I build from requests, I don’t need another Mission side table article.
So why do we read the mags? To see the newest tools (toys) and what new features each brings. How many router comparisons do we need? I do get ideas from the sharing tips in all the mags. But the articles seem to be rewritten for each mag as if there is a warehouse of writers for woodworking mags, and some dude with a switch yells “Router Comparisons” and they all clack away.

Cynical – YES. Anyone have some good books to share (thanks NBeener for your link)

-- chas -- looking for Serta sponsorship to go Pro...

View bluekingfisher's profile


1246 posts in 2400 days

#13 posted 12-13-2010 12:37 AM

Thanks for all the responses gents, much appreciated. Like most of you I like to see what new tools and gadgets are coming out (I blame Norm Abrahms) I don’t know how many gadgets and tool accessories I have purchased and are now lying in a drawer somewhere having watched his shows. Still can’t resist buying them though.

Although I ‘m a Brit (don’t hold it against me) I prefer the US magazines to our own home brands, although I understand some Americans subscibe to ours, personal taste I guess.

The reason I asked the original question was because one of the readers on our forum posted the same question about magazine preference. Having read an article in one of the mags about pencils?? six pages long ZZZzzz! he was pretty perplexed at the magazine content. As it turned out it created a bit of a discussion where the editor was rubbished (poor bloke) at his choice of article. At some point, he joined the discussion. To be fair to him he took the criticism pretty well (stiff upper lip and all that). His take on it was that he was trying to bring someting different to the reader but sheepishly agreed that six pages on pencils was a little over the top. I never actually read the article, so can’t comment more.

I think I am going to go with a subscription to WOOD magazine as well as Woodsmithm afterall, like some have said, give them a go, if you don’t like them, I don’t have to renew the subscription, it’s not compulsary afterall.

Cheers guys.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View mvflaim's profile


183 posts in 2511 days

#14 posted 12-13-2010 01:54 AM

My favorite is The WoodShop News. Has stories about the woodworking industry as well as professional woodworkers bio’s. It doesn’t tell you how to build anything but I don’t need to know the basics anymore. Plus I like the fact that it comes out every month instead bi monthly like all the rest. Worth every penny.


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