Frustrated with wood working magazines

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Forum topic by roofner posted 11-29-2012 10:38 AM 2427 views 0 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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122 posts in 2284 days

11-29-2012 10:38 AM

I receive Wood, Woodsmith, and Popular woodworking. Of the three Popular woodworking is my least favorite and will not renew. In the last 2 issues non of the articles inspired me to build anything. I will say rarely do I ever build any project exactly as in the article but they inspire me to build a project or I learn some new technique .Anyone share my frustrations?

42 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2952 days

#1 posted 11-29-2012 11:01 AM

I really like Popular Woodworking. I subscribe to that and Shopnotes. I occasionally purchase FineWoodworking from time to time.

There are a few out there that I won’t subscribe to, but I think they each have some value. I have been inspired from time to time by looking at some of the projects, but I do not get them for inspiration. If that’s what you are looking for, maybe you can switch what you receive now to ones that more inspire you. Barnes and Nobles has a very large selection of woodworking magazines which would give you a chance to see a bunch of different ones.

Good Luck.

-- Mike

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3049 days

#2 posted 11-29-2012 11:15 AM

I am in the same boat.These magazines are mostly full of advertisements and little else. (sorry for those who I am sure try very hard to make these magazines attractive and interesting)
I shall keep Fine Woodworking as it is my favorite and a friend of mine writes in it.

-- Bert

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4987 posts in 2494 days

#3 posted 11-29-2012 11:58 AM

I think what happens is that you get tired reading the same stuff over and over…common with any of them. I also subscribed to several hunting/shooting magazines and ran into the same. stuff. Now, if you’ve just started woodworking (or any other hobby) they would have what is new/fresh info (maybe). To be honest, some of them are so bad, I wouldn’t subscribe if it was free (in my case, that would be WWJ). But last year I was getting probably 5, and I’ve let all of them but one expire, and recently I re-subscribed to one of them. Even the “shop tips” start getting repeated after you’ve subscribed for a few years. The projects sometimes look like they one the published last year, made with a different wood. Now, if I get a killer deal I’ll pick it up…otherwise, I’ll set back a few years and wait.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View mloy365's profile


444 posts in 3131 days

#4 posted 11-29-2012 12:22 PM

I like subscribing to FWW “online” because of the achieve option.

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

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Don W

18718 posts in 2568 days

#5 posted 11-29-2012 12:26 PM

I’ve noticed its about a 2 year cycle. This goes for any kind of magazine(woodworking, hunting, fishing, archery etc), not just woodworking. After 2 years its time to try a different subscription. In a few years, (maybe 4) you can circle back around and get something out of it again.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View jdmaher's profile


427 posts in 2580 days

#6 posted 11-29-2012 12:29 PM

I get most of them, and they are all occasionally useful, but only occasionally. My two favorites are Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking.

Inevitably, most articles are about something I’m not interested in or will never try. Sometimes, though, even a “miss” gets me thinking. For example, I don’t think I’m up for chairs, but the recent PW article on a stool got me thinking. Problem was, it was by the Schwarz and a little too much “all hand work”. Still, I did think “maybe if I Google how to taper those octagonal legs on the tablesaw . . .”

Like Fred, I get tired of the “same old stuff” – especially since basic advice is often insufficient and conficting (from one article to another). An example, sharpening. I still don’t feel confident I know how long it takes (how many strokes on a 1000 grit? 6000 grit?) or how to tell when its done (big burr? little burr?). And I’ve read dozens of those articles.

I need dead-reliable, idiot-proof, “just do THIS” information – about exactly what I’m interested in at the moment. Can’t these guys just read my mind?

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2147 days

#7 posted 11-29-2012 03:17 PM

I subscribe to Shop Notes and Fine Woodworking online. I like the signal to noise ratio in Shop Notes and always find at least 2 or 3 good ideas in every issue. FWW is largely for the archive and I’m most likely going to cancel soon, as I’ve consumed most of what I’m interested in. Popular Woodworking just doesn’t appeal to me. Too much fluff, not enough stuff. I pick up the occasional single issue of Wood magazine if it has a project that appeals to me.

I don’t envy the woodworking magazine publishers these days. So much free content online that, quite honestly, is better than what they have. If you were to tell me I had a choice between paying 5 bucks a month for all the current woodworking magazines, but not use Lumberjocks and Youtube, or use Lumberjocks and Youtube and not be allowed to subscribe, I’d laugh at you because that’s no choice at all.


View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3159 days

#8 posted 11-29-2012 03:50 PM

Woodsmith has always been my favorite because of the good S/N ratio, the projects that fall in line with my tastes, and the overall usefulness. I get WS from my Dad after he finishes it. Same with Wood magazine, though I don’t enjoy it as much because of the poor S/N ratio. I subscribe to FWW, print and online, because I think it’s well put together and the content seem a little more meaty.

But I think for inspiration, Lumberjocks project section is the place to go…and as you get more experienced, the more that you have the capability of turning those ideas at LJ (or even the magazines) into something actualized. Once I got good enough to no longer need plans and cut-lists, that’s when it transformed the way I read those magazines, looking at them for what they taught as opposed to what I can make directly from them.

-- jay,

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3309 days

#9 posted 11-29-2012 03:52 PM

For years I subscribed to several woodworking magazines and kept every issue thinking I would refer back to them at some future time. A few weeks ago I realized that they were just taking up space on my shelves and I had not even re-read a single issue..especially with the fact that finding whatever article I might have been interested in during the original reading would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

They were good reading at the time but not good enough to save.

I threw out a huge stack of these after filling my trash can and will most likely throw out the remaining ones soon.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4219 days

#10 posted 11-29-2012 03:58 PM

I think we all pretty much agree…. When you are new to woodworking, the magazines are great. After a while, though, you just start seeing the same thing rehashed over and over.

Like others have mentioned, I like having the FWW online subscription because I can look up specific information when I need it. Apart from that, I’m in the process of letting all my print subscriptions expire.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2971 days

#11 posted 11-29-2012 03:59 PM

I’m a Shop Notes subscriber and I like Fine Woodworking, but I can’t afford it. I will buy an occasional issue off the stand.
I like and subscribe to Popular Woodworking for the historic and philosophical content, but it’s just not a project oriented magazine.

View roofner's profile


122 posts in 2284 days

#12 posted 11-29-2012 04:07 PM

What is FWW magazine?

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4987 posts in 2494 days

#13 posted 11-29-2012 04:08 PM

Fine Woodworking… guys tossing those things out should consider trying to sell them. At one time they were in demand on e-bay.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3745 days

#14 posted 11-29-2012 04:13 PM

Like Charlie, I just keep to retrieve info, but the most of the mags just seem to rehash the same thing. I like just surfing the web for photos, to get my inspiration, and it can come from anywhere. Architecture styles have inspired furniture designs or details that I’ve used in the past. If you need to find out about historical woodworking, I read, which is written by a fellow lumberjock.

View Biff's profile


126 posts in 2014 days

#15 posted 11-29-2012 04:16 PM

I finally ditched all my subscriptions for the same reason. I keep Family Handyman because it is cheap and has great tips and tricks. Other than that, I find more valuable info and ideas on the ‘net. Besides, that money spent on magazines can now go to tools!

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at

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