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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there any magazine publication that stands out about all the rest in terms of helping new woodworkers like myself?

I received a free copy of Shop Notes in the mail. It seems really good. Along with it I received The Complete Small Shop. It, too, seems really good.

Before I spend money on a subscription, I'd like to know what else is out there. I've found there's all sort of interesting articles on this forum and other forums. And, my local library has all sorts of good books on the topic, too.

Would I be better saving on a subscription and save the money towards equipment?
 

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If you're looking at magazines as a teaching tool - ShopNotes is a very good choice because it has lots of techniques and tool use information. The items they give plans for are mostly shop related which is also a + for learning the craft. My standard advice to new woodworkers is to focus on simple shop related items for the first few projects like a good simple workbench and a few shop storage cabinets and workstations. Shop items don't need to be beautiful or perfectly built - they need to be functional.

Most other magazines offer building plans and technical drawings etc... and these are all good. I have subscribed to a few over the years but have found most to be redundant after a while. I would advise you to look over the plans very carefully for any magazine because they are written by writers who sometimes know very little about woodworking and the end result are disastrous.

Welcome to woodworking... be safe... have fun
 

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My favorite is fine woodworking. Woodshop notes is good as is wood and woodworking. Sometimes they get to a point of repeating too much. Fine woodworking sets a bar a little higher once you are more experienced
 

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Fine Woodworking is my favorite, distantly followed by Popular WW. FWW has a pretty good online database and subscription that's a pretty good deal. I want to say its like 35$, and you can get a deal for a paper subscription for like 10-15 more for both. For learning I'd either go with one with a large online database or just use the public library. Also look around for guys just giving away old copies, they can be a huge learning tool for free.
 

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I wrote this up for another thread:

Popular Woodworking: The only one I get I'm going to renew this year. They lean pretty heavily towards hand tool work these days, but not 100%. I like the projects they do. I wish they had fewer ads, but that's how they keep their subscription prices down.

Shop Notes: If you're just getting started building a shop and you're going with power tools, subscribe to Shop Notes. My subscription runs out soon, and I won't be renewing. It's a great magazine, no ads, and good detail on the projects, but they haven't shown anything I wanted to build in a while.

WoodSmith: Same publisher as Shop Notes. Again, it's a great magazine, but I won't be renewing. They're one of the "all powertool all the time" magazines, and I'm tired of that. I may re-subscribe at some point, though, because they do have a lot of projects that I like; I'd just have to completely re-work all the joints to account for my different tools.

Fine Woodworking: I just started subscribing. Lots of ads, but a good mix of hand- and power-tool projects. I've recently found that their editing leaves something to be desired, but I still like the projects they offer.

Wood: I'm not a fan. Their articles don't mostly do anything for me, but that's a personal disagreement. I don't really have anything bad to say about them.

American Woodworker: I like their projects, but I dropped my subscription a year or so ago. They're not bad, but there wasn't much I wanted to build in the magazine.
 

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It was mentioned earlier and I second the idea of going to the library (if it's big enough) and looking through the magazines. Find one you like and subscribe.
 

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I have had several different subscriptions over the years, I have come to the conclusion unless you need material while sitting in the library the internet is jammed full of excellent free reading not to mention video.

Buy more stuff for your shop!
 

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If you want magazines, I would watch for the "archive" DVD to come out for sale pricing. You get all the mags from the beginning up to the current issue for one price. The price will start high and usually come down and then go back up. If you're patient, you can get a good deal.

You could have a treasure trove of mags with plans and tips and step by steps all within a searchable framework.

Just my opinion...

Paul
 

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I've been getting Woodsmith for many years and will continue. I like the shop tips including how to better use my power tools. The projects are great. But most of all, there are no advertisements.

I also get Canadian Home Workshop but it doesn't hold a candle to Woodsmith.
 

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I would say pick one of the main woodworking ones (rather than specialized like "wood turner") and keep it for a couple of years, then you'll have all the projects in any of them. They all rotate projects around every few months anyway. I have the same bed in 2 different issues of the same magazine and another issue of a different magazine, for example.

I don't subscribe to any these days but I buy them at library sales in bulk and for about $2 for the whole year. Then I pick and choose which ones I want, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went by the local library after work this evening and came home with eight books covering assorted woodworking topics. I checked earlier and found I could get books from other libraries in the area. Now off to do some reading.......
 

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Libraries are a great source. I'm married to a librarian and know their value. What Tphillips states is true. Our local library belongs to a consortium and allows me to borrow books and materials form a number of libraries. Also ask your local library if they have an online database which may include magazines not on their shelf. Many libraries are subscribers to expensive magazine data bases and you may access to these with your library card.
 

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I'll second Bernie on the library thing. Look into "Interlibrary Loan"; if its a book published in the last 50 years and my library doesn't have it, they can get it from some other library. Sometimes I have to pay shipping to/from between the two libraries.
 

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guglipm63 said:
My favorite is fine woodworking. Woodshop notes is good as is wood and woodworking. Sometimes they get to a point of repeating too much. Fine woodworking sets a bar a little higher once you are more experienced
++1

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 
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