Monday, August 23, 2010

New Gets

I was aware of Woodworking Magazine when it first arrived on the newsstand. I had picked up an issue or two, and was impressed with its content. I'm not sure why, if it was the black and white photos, or its sporadic release times, but it seemed Fine Woodworking magazine almost always ended up with my reading dollar. I was was saddened to learn of Woodworking Magazines recent demise (in its original form, it's now combined with Popular Woodworking magazine). It turned out to be to my advantage to wait, as the magazine in it's entirety has been published in a three volume hardcover set.

Each issue is well written, informative and descriptive. Editor Steve Shanesy brings a commercial viewpoint to his articles, relating from his days in a cabinet shop. Editor Chris Schwarz writes in an informal style, highlights for me include the articles "Why We Hate Paint" and "Pining for Pine". Chris is one of the important figures in woodworking today, his research has resulted in several very informative articles on hand tool use. One of the more imporant pieces of woodworking literature in that last decade is his article on the Roubo bench, a form that has become wildly popular since.

Every issue contains a Glossary, a Shortcuts column, and the last page is an in depth look at various woodworking topics, like collets, squares, drill bits, and chisels.

Just as impressive is the complete lack of advertisement. There are no ads in Woodworking Magazine, ensuring the lack of bias in tool tests and making for a much more enjoyable read. When space fillers are required, various insprirational quotes regarding woodworking, work, and life in general are used and are a fantastic part of the magazine. One of my favourites is credited to College of the Redwoods graduate Tony Konovaloff. "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me".

I read the book from cover to cover, and it was a pleasure. It is full of information I've seen nowhere else. I was so impressed with it's content and it's lack of filler I bought the second volume.

Once we're done it, I'll be picking up the third.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.