What is the best woodworking magazine for a beginner? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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What is the best woodworking magazine for a beginner?

I'm looking for a magazine is good for showing different jigs, tips fixtures, as well as fairly simple plans for different furniture. I'm not looking for overly simple, but I'm not good enough for something like "Fine Woodworking" yet. I prefer mission-style furniture, but am interested in learning about most anything. What magazines does everyone like?

TIA
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post #2 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 12:52 AM
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Hi,

I recommend Woodsmith magazine for project ideas and plans. I got a lot out of this mag when I started getting serious about woodworking and still do.

http://www.woodsmith.com/magazine/about/

Also subscribe to ShopNotes for shop tips and jig plans.

http://www.shopnotes.com/

The same publisher offers a selection of books. They're only $10 each shipped.

http://woodsmithstore.com/sibooks.html

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did ó in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #3 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 01:23 AM
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When I started someone recommended I go to the bookstore, grab some of the woodworking magazines that look interesting and sit with them for a bit to see what "speaks" to me. I did that and found it extremely helpful. Went home with Wood and ShopNotes that day and ended up subscribing to both. Wood is a very good general woodworking magazine with some projects that are within the range of beginners. ShopNotes has great information about setting up your shop, making jigs and tools etc. Go take a look at them. Buy what you like and consider subscribing if you find it useful.
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post #4 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 01:46 AM
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+1 on Woodsmith and Shop Notes.

HOWEVER

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 01:49 AM.
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post #5 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 07:52 AM
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Woodsmith is good, Wood magazine has a "basic built" project every issue which is geared toward those who don't have Norm's collection of tools. The best thing may be to buy an issue of each at the newsstand and check it out....you may find you like one better than the other.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #6 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrich View Post
FWIW - Shop Dad types faster than I can.
I also provide less information! You are probably the one who directed me to scan the mags at B&N. One of the best things I did when getting started.
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post #7 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 11:47 AM
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I will agree with rich and shop dad although I like Wood magazine myself.

I get them all. Just switched over to digital subscriptions because the wife bought me an IPad. Really helps with space. She has an entire library on hers. Like 7000 books with her at all times. Got to love technology.

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post #8 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 12:49 PM
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Having gone through this not too long ago here is a link to my thread about magazines. I found a great site with awesome deals on woodworking magazines, I don't remember all the details, so read through the thread. I got like three years of Wood for like $15. That sound like a Viagra commercial, haha.

Good luck.
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post #9 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 01:25 PM
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RRrich,

Thanks for the breakdown.

I'll stay subscribed to ShopNotes and Woodsmith but I'm ready to expand and the information you posted will help me decide on new subscriptions.

Jeff

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did ó in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #10 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 02:56 PM
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WOOD is pretty good although they seem to be stuck on Mission style projects and my tastes have gone to more contemporary designs. Most of their projects seem to be well within the abilities and tools of beginning woodworkers.

I got much of my information watching Norm in NYW. When I first started I watched him and thought "Oh, that's how that is done". Later, it was more "That's neat, but I do it this way." - lol
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post #11 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 04:56 PM
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I miss Norm and NYW. I can watch some online, but not like I would if he was still on PBS. I could never afford the whole NYW collection on DVD. Seems like my local PBS has way less woodworking shows on these days.
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post #12 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 07:39 PM
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I'm a big fan of WOOD magazine, myself. I got 2 years for like $9 or something crazy.
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post #13 of 22 Old 09-17-2012, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave66 View Post
WOOD is pretty good although they seem to be stuck on Mission style projects and my tastes have gone to more contemporary designs. Most of their projects seem to be well within the abilities and tools of beginning woodworkers.
Dave,
Generally speaking, Mission style projects are square. And you have probably evolved beyond square projects. i.e. You've gotten better at woodworking.

Everything that you say about "Wood" is absolutely true.


The last sentence of what you said is the woodworking equivalent of the Gettysburg address. So few words with so much meaning.

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.
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post #14 of 22 Old 09-18-2012, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul W Gillespie
I miss Norm and NYW. I can watch some online, but not like I would if he was still on PBS. I could never afford the whole NYW collection on DVD. Seems like my local PBS has way less woodworking shows on these days.
Call the programming manager and let him know you want more woodworking shows. Also try to get a local business that sells things woodworkers want and see if they will sponsor/underwrite the show.

Sent from my iPhone using Wood Forum
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post #15 of 22 Old 09-18-2012, 08:39 AM
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Well, much depends on what you want to do.
There are mags just for turning bowls and spindles and all the way up to fine woodworking/home building.

For me personally, none of them have appeal since I am not doing fine joinery (or really any at all) and most of my designs are my own. I work with live edge and bark on woods and pieces where bugs have destroyed any chances of straight dimensional lumber.
I've poured through the book racks at "Barnes and Chernobles" and walk out lacking. I end up in the interior Design section or home building section. On occasion I will see a live edge photo or a idea in a magazine....BUT......
The best information I have ever run across is RIGHT HERE , and in the milling section.
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post #16 of 22 Old 09-18-2012, 10:45 AM
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Ebay is a place you can sometimes find deals on used magazines, many times for less than $1 each, including shipping.
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post #17 of 22 Old 09-18-2012, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks everyone. Sorry for the delay in replying, been busy the last couple days. Looks like I might have to swing by b & n.
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post #18 of 22 Old 09-18-2012, 03:21 PM
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I started out with Wood and American Woodworker. They were good for me as a beginner to build up some knowledge/skill/excitement.

Pete
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http://secondwindworkshop.blogspot.com/
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post #19 of 22 Old 09-18-2012, 11:43 PM
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My pick for beginning woodworking would be Wood. I still like it and enjoy looking through it in the book store but dont buy it. I think Woodsmith and Shop Notes are best if you want to pursue woodworking at a higher level than beginner. But the first time I picked up Fine Woodworking I was hooked. It's truly the best and very well put together Mag anywhere. It doesn't matter if you can't build the projects in it. You will before you know it. It's a great way to learn the very best woodworking. You can also pick up books written by many of their authors. Fine Woodworking is a study. It will raise the bar and challenge you to push your skills to be better than you ever dreamed.

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post #20 of 22 Old 09-21-2012, 11:12 PM
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Fine woodworking has had the most variety and quality of what I've read.
It's well worth buying the DVD of their entire history to use as a reference for everything in woodworking.you can read how to do its , wood technology or a good variety of projects over the past 25 + years.
The search engine will find articles and examples of almost everything in woodworking.
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