Mr. Christopher Schwartz's rude answer (not so) Popular Woodworking Magazine

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Blog entry by mafe posted 03-11-2011 05:44 PM 43308 reads 1 time favorited 101 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Popular Woodworking Magazine – Mr. Christopher Schwartz rude answer
be careful with readers contributions, ‘Tricks of the trade’.

Finally the answer came from Popular Woodworking Magazine, and what an answer.

Since the last blog I have asked the magazine their opinion of their policy, and received an answer that they would talk about it, but then nothing happened.

Those who have not followed the last blog can get the story here:

So today I wrote a second letter where I asked for a reply, and I sure got that!!!
First a nice one from one of the freelance editors, whom have always behaved well and spoken in a nice tone, and then this charming letter from the Editor Mr. Schwartz:

Mr. Felding,

Our Tricks of the Trade editor said you were looking for someone to discuss our policy of purchasing all rights to entries that we publish.

I don’t have much to say on the matter. In every issue of the magazine we state that published tricks become the property of the magazine. In the U.S. publishing world this is called purchasing “work for hire” and is standard practice at our company, virtually every U.S. newspaper and many magazines.

With some stories that are submitted to our magazine, we purchase limited rights. To others we purchase all rights as “work for hire.”

We have been upfront about this with every Tricks contributor. In 15 years, we’ve had maybe two decline. And that’s fine with me. Don’t like the policy? Don’t submit it to be published. End of story.

Basic contract stuff.

Christopher Schwarz

Popular Woodworking Magazine
4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236

phone: 513-531-2690 ext. 11407
email: [email protected]

“Credo, sed caveo.” The 18th-century motto of the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers

—For those who don’t know Mr. Schwartz, he is a publisher at an American woodworker magazine PWM, Journalist and a spare time tool tester and woodworker. I think he has a name in the US. They say he is trying to re invent the book of the French M Roubo, Art du menuisier – 1769. Correct me if wrong guys. —

YOU CAN BUY THE French M Roubo BOOK (from a French seller), Art du menuisier, BOOK HERE: Its digital and high ress, but photography’s of the pages made into a PDF book (so you see the shadows and shape on the pages), he is French and I bought my own copy there.
(The seller has also an E-bay shop where you can contact him in English: I paid 23 Euro including shipment what I think is quite fair).

So This drawing was not so stupid after all I guess…

And here my answer to Mr. Schwartz:

Dear Mr. Schwartz,

No you have not been upfront about this!

I never asked to be published in the magazine, you asked me.
I am not the only one who was contacted and asked to be published in the magazine via the internet (mail), and here no one told us about any legal rights or conditions.

Now I know your point of view and will publish your mail in my follow up blog.

I’m sad for the hush tone you use (End of story), I’m used to dialog, and have of course stopped all contact with the magazine after this, including my subscription, sorry to have been a trouble to you.

Best of my thoughts,
Mads Felding

End of story:
Yes, I know guys, he managed to upset me a little (not since I was a child some one was so rude to say end of story to me), and this is not me at all, but I have been writing probably 20 mails at least in total, to be nice and polite with this magazine that asked me by mail to print my ideas and projects in their magazine after seeing my projects here on LJ. I tried to find a solution with them, gave up, wrote them a question of their policy, and then now when the profit is gone for the magazine this is how they treat other people, not even other people, but a paying subscriber of the magazine, my grandmother would have said: ‘you should be ashamed of yourself Mr. Schwartz’.

Yes Mr. Schwartz this is in my world not ok, and I have no idea what I have done to upset you like that, but I guess it means ‘money talks and bullshit walks’ as they say, and I changed category down the line for your magazine from the one to the other.

You have just managed as the first individual person to be put in the unwanted spam category of my personal mail box, congratulations.

Of course you are welcome to send me a real letter, it was easy for you to find me with commercials, and seductive offers of new subscriptions and books, all the way from US to Denmark, but I guess the answer is; ‘End of story’ editors choice.

As you can read in my letter for Mr. Schwartz, I will stop my subscription, and I have a very different view of PWM and especially Mr. Schwartz after this experience.
Imagine how LJ would be if we used a tone like this here…
If someone needs more info of the mails, then I’m a open source person, so feel free to ask.

Best thoughts and wishes for a nice weekend to all of you – sorry you have to share my frustrations in this, I had hoped for a ‘happy ending on this blog’,


Architect MAA, Building technician BTH, retired head master of the school for constructing Architects in Copenhagen, and basement hobby woodworker with license to absolutely nothing. But still with a big smile.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

101 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3906 days

#1 posted 03-11-2011 05:51 PM

I, too, have lost a great deal of respect for “The Schwartz”. I can’t say, however, that I’m entirely surprised by his tone. I knew him only from his workbench book that I own and enjoyed. I must credit him for introducing me to the Roubo, which of course is nothing new at all. Howver, I detected a snide tone in a few of his tool reviews. It’s unfortunate that he chose to use this tone with you.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View bluejazz's profile


56 posts in 3999 days

#2 posted 03-11-2011 06:14 PM


Mafe, IMHO you are handling this just right. Drag his policies and foolish dialogue out into the bright sunlight, for all the woodworking world to see.

-- I'm 58. In my mind, I still feel 28. Until I do something physical; then I feel 78.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4211 days

#3 posted 03-11-2011 06:19 PM

For a long time, magazines have been just a vehicle to the advertisers and have not had any real interest in their writers nor their readership. The articles are just filler between the advertisements.

I would just as soon look at the advertisements that I am interested in directly from the companies web site and the online vendors that I know and trust.

The content? Well. Let’s see

44,800 projects to look at here on Lumberjocks and a huge number of well written and detailed blogs and growing daily. This is just this one website. There are many more quality sources.

1921 product reviews here and uncountable numbers on most vendors websites, they have customer submitted reviews that while tending to favor negative are at least not shrouded with commercial interests in keeping advertisers happy. ( Just by the nature of the system—more people complain when they are unhappy than praise when they are happy.)

The authors of many of the articles (and featured artists) all have websites with plenty of information.

It would take several lifetimes to get through the information that is freely available (not even looking at other free resources such as libraries.)

In my opinion, most of the publishing industry can kiss my pasty white rear.

Apologies if that is too crude. Just an honest sentiment

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

317 posts in 4759 days

#4 posted 03-11-2011 06:46 PM

aside from your frustration at this subject I don’t feel its something Mr Schwarz did you to was personal or really even rude. He was stating fact. I used to be involved with building RC airplanes quite a bit and several modelers experienced the same thing with publishing plans to airplanes they had designed. Its quite common regardless of who initiated the contact for publishers to take over rights of content they publish. why they do this i don’t know i don’t work in publishing. however they do and its one thing i think that stops most from trying to allow their content from being published in traditional media. Blogs this site and others now have changed the game a bit because you can slap a copyright notice on your site and call it good. Its disappointing to say the least to have your work taken away but in any case if you agree to allow content to be published in their magazine read the fine print and make sure you know what you are getting into. I could be missing your point entirely however that happens with me sometimes.

-- Got Wood?

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4387 days

#5 posted 03-11-2011 06:58 PM

I think your point—I didn’t call YOU; YOU called ME—is EVERYTHING, in this case.

If he didn’t know that, then …. I could understand why his tone was (IMHO) inappropriate.

But … now that he HAS the full story … if it were ME … I would apologize for the tone.

Sorry you’re going through all of this, Mads. An old expression: no good deed ever goes unpunished :-(

-- -- Neil

View FreddyS's profile


212 posts in 3986 days

#6 posted 03-11-2011 07:00 PM

Hi mafe, sadly this is the way most publishing business goes as their mission is to make money and forget everything else. Obviously they can recognize talent, but that doesn’t stop them to try to take advantage whenever they can.

I had my share of this treatment while I was following my previous career as a musician, none of the publishing offers I got were even close to a fair deal, so 10 years later I decided to just move on and be done with it.

Now after another 10 years, things seem to be easier to handle all by yourself thanks to the internet, if only I could have the time and impetus to go back to music hehee.

Mafe, your work deserves recognition but certainly not at that price, and you will always be welcome over here ;)

-- Learning one thing at a time

View mafe's profile


13294 posts in 4302 days

#7 posted 03-11-2011 07:33 PM

Joe Watson, Niel answers that question.
Best of my thoughts and a good weekend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4079 days

#8 posted 03-11-2011 07:51 PM

Mads, I don’t know Mr Schwartz personally; I do know of him. However, I feel like I know you because I’ve had some glimpses into your heart and your personality. You are a very thoughtful man and I imagine that you sense many things in your heart that others do not see or feel. I have been an admirer of yours for quite a number of months now and not without reasons. You have made me smile many times. I’m sorry that you were treated this way because you don’t deserve it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View wasmithee's profile


58 posts in 3906 days

#9 posted 03-11-2011 07:55 PM


Chris’s communication style is a bit blunt at times, but I do not think he was trying to be rude to you. I think you should have asked him if he meant to be rude, or if he was actually upset. My impression is that he was speaking in a matter-of-fact fashion (which is typical for him if you are familiar with his writings.) You say you like dialogue, perhaps you should call him and speak with him. I suspect that your offense may be a bit of an overreaction. I hope it is. If Chris meant to be rude to you then that would be a different story and would indicate that he is a real insensitive jerk.

No sense burning bridges unnecessarily. If you misunderstood the ramifications, regardless if that is your fault or not, sometimes it is best to live and learn. Since PWM applies this policy to everyone, then you shouldn’t feel offended or singled out. It was just a misunderstanding.

At any rate, holding grudges isn’t any fun. I wish you well.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 4173 days

#10 posted 03-11-2011 08:10 PM

i don’t really see what is rude about Schartz’s answer, to me “end of story” in this case means that there is no need to cause fuss when you don’t agree with their conditions. i suppose they would have sent you a contract to sign anyway with all the conditions mentioned. they must have all the rights on paper of anything they publish anyway.
(i was in the video gaming community before, and had companies ask to use my free content in their games. i refused the first time because i didn’t want to make the changes they asked, and agreed another time where they made changes and basically botched my work. had to give all the rights away aswell, and sign non disclosure agreements, in wich were mentioned things like not being allowed to openly critiscise the company etc…)

it’s lame that they made you do the work first, and after that suppose you would agree to their conditions.
that, coupled to maybe a miscomprehension is all it takes to get one mad(s) :p and send an angry mail back.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4079 days

#11 posted 03-11-2011 08:14 PM

INMHO, I don’t know Mr. Schwartz and certainly would not voice an opinion on him one way or the other because of that. However, I just read his letter again and I would certainly say that the last paragraph was worded in a way that could be construed by a reasonable man as being a little rude and short. I’m sure that many of us have been rude at times – I know that I have. It really is never productive and often times is quite destructive. He could have been a little more diplomatic. Anyways, I’m sorry Mads.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5127 days

#12 posted 03-11-2011 08:26 PM

I agree that this might be Chris Schwartz’s style. However, it may be appropriate as an editorial, but is it appropriate when responding to subscribers as the editor of the magazine? and did Mr.Schwartz really do his homework on this particular case? and think through the implications that his response will be posted on one of the largest woodworking websites? I think not.

How long can magazines and newspapers afford to have these types of policy in this age of the internet before blowback begins to seriously threaten their existence? How long will readers put up with this arrogant stand on ‘profit at all costs’?

Websites like this one are now in serious competition for woodworker’s eyes but some traditional media still doesn’t get it.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View mafe's profile


13294 posts in 4302 days

#13 posted 03-11-2011 08:43 PM

Hi guys,
I have to repeat PWM (Mr. S) contacted me to ask if they could use five of my projects in their magazine, they have seen them here on LJ, and send me a mail. I never wrote to them as Mr. S claims, with out taking the time to check the case. I took the time to write them a bunch of letters to make it possible for them to bring my projects in the magazine. They never told me of any rights in any of the mails, I saw this by pure coincidence in the magazine, and then wrote them to ask if this was really the case, this led to a new load of mails, where they did not know what to say and at the end the answer of Mr. S. So yes Mr. S is fully in a place where he should use the simple word sorry as I see it, and of couse I should not spend time to ask him for this (in the place where I come from if you say something wrong you say I’m sorry). I don’t feel offended or singled out, as I wrote in my last blog I just don’t think its a decent policy, I feel it’s using the readers and others they find on the internet to get cheap stuff for the magazine, and then take the rights from people. I can read that Mr. S, say he has been doing this for years, I really don’t see any explanation in that, we also stopped hitting our kids even it was normal before. I fully respect the policy they have, and now I know he mean this fully, and then it fine, I can take my choice, and did.
How ever I think after all the efford I made for them, Mr. S. could have taken the time to write me a decent letter, blunt or not. I did not concider him blunt in the articles I read in the magazine, but yes he might have had a bad day…
But as a principal I never close doors, so I will remove him from my spam list, and we will see how decent he is after all. (I’ll write it here if there come a answer).
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View mafe's profile


13294 posts in 4302 days

#14 posted 03-11-2011 08:47 PM

This was my last letter to PWM;

Hi xxxx (member of the PWM staf),

Is the missing response a answer ‘we have no comments’? lol.

You wrote that you would talk to the PW staff…
So I am a little surprised you did not respond since you wrote that you were sad that some people wanted not to renew the subscriptions, I don’t know how many this is and think it’s no big deal, after all only a little more than 1100 woodworkers have read it, but I think it would be fine if you answer on the blog, it can be through me as I wrote, in this way they know your stand point.

I have promised to make a follow up (new blog) on the subject at the end of this week, where I will catch up on the policy from different magazines, so I would be happy if you could react for that one in this way we could set a finish point in the story. If not I will just write that I have send you several mails but that PWM choose not to respond, and that people can conclude themselves on this. I will not make any myself, think I made it quite clear to you.

I will publish this last mail in the blog.

And once again this is written with the best intentions.
I do appreciate the communication we have had.

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View mafe's profile


13294 posts in 4302 days

#15 posted 03-11-2011 08:57 PM

Really guys,
I have been really nice.
This Mr. S. just crossed my line, sorry.
Perhaps my mistake is that I let my anger out here.
At first I just wanted others not to get trapped in this way of taking others rights, and a clear answer from PWM if this was really their policy.
But yes I’m really human…
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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