Old Methane Gas Cloud
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Huntington Beach, California
+1 on Woodsmith and Shop Notes.
Woodsmith needs to be approached from a slightly different perspective. What you're getting is a Community College semester project in every issue. If you're willing to study the project plans and understand how the project goes together, Woodsmith is probably the best magazine for the woodworker.
All of the projects in Woodsmith have been built by the staff. You can start a project found in Woodsmith with the confidence that the plans are correct.
Shop Notes is similar to Woodsmith except that the content is aimed more at building the shop.
As for other magazines.....
Wood is a good magazine for beginners. I think that a three year subscription is about a year too long for most woodworkers.
Woodworker Journal is aimed at a slightly experienced beginner through the semi pro. The magazine is owned by The Rockler companies. Amazingly the magazine is very unbiased. I've not seen a hatchet job in an article. Perhaps we just don't see the article, period.
Fine Woodworking (I'm not a big fan.) seems to scare a lot of woodworkers. Some of the work shown and the supporting articles have the average woodworking thinking "I could never be that good." Sometimes the magazine has some good how to articles.
Fine Woodworking seems to like to publish hatchet jobs. I know of one that appears to have destroyed a company on the basis of a single product. As it turned out, the problem was an engineering error that was corrected when FW brought the problem to light. It was too late for the company.
Popular Woodworking is oriented toward hand tool work. They are the sponsor/promoter of Woodworking In America. They will distinguish the dimensioning of tools, Imperial vs. Metric. It doesn't sound like a big deal but 6MM is NOT 1/4" and they are not interchangeable.
American Woodworker seems all over the spectrum of woodworking. Don't ever let them have your phone number as they will hound you to death. DAMHIKT
I subscribe to all of the above except Wood and Fine Woodworking.
Best advice is to go to Barnes and Noble on a regular basis to check out the latest woodworking magazines. Then pick the ones that fit you.
A word of warning about marketing. All special interest magazines develop fliers to entice new subscribers. These fliers all scream, "Look at what we have in our magazine." While it is true that everything WAS IN THE MAGAZINE. The key word is "WAS" as in the past. What they don't say is that all of those great articles were in the magazine over a period of 2 or 3 years, maybe more. You're not going to see those great articles every month.
FWIW - Shop Dad types faster than I can.
Use the right tool for the job.
Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
Last edited by rrich; 09-17-2012 at 12:49 AM.