Fine Woodworking Magazine Archives

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Review by Karson posted 03-06-2010 04:37 AM 12534 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fine Woodworking Magazine Archives No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I had a change to test drive the Fine Woodworking DVD of the first 208 Issues of their magazine. It contains a PDF file of all 208 issues from Winter 1975 to the 208 issue in December 2009.

The software loaded fairly fast on my computer, I’m not sure of the size but probably about 3 GB of space. Each of the individual issues are in a folder and they can be viewed with Adobe Reader and you can print etc the contents of the file.

The front interface that runs when you click on the icon brings you up to a screen where all 208 issues are visible with a cover shot. If you double click on the magazine it opens as if you has a paper copy on your desk. You can read it, shrink it in size or expand it to see a small portion of the page which allows you got get a close up view of what you are looking at.

If you click print you can select the page or pages that you want to print. I also have a commercial product which is a PDF generator print driver. When I print to it, it creates a separate PDF file of the selected pages. They can then be saved in a folder of upcoming projects you want to build or techniques that you want to try out.

One thing that I did notice is the latter issues are very crisp in the pictures and I assume that electronic copies of those files exist in a Fine Woodworkings data store. They probably used a PDF to print the issues originally. The earlier issues are not as crisp in the pictures. They actually seemed fuzzy. The text seemed to be OK. These looked as if they might be scanned pages of the original magazines. The text seemed sharp and since they allow you to search for words then the words exist in indexes are are able to be highlited when you view the pages. So the text might be regerated.

I put the word scraper in the search index box and in about 5 seconds it found 69 occurances of the word. Some were for lathe scrapers, scraper planes, hand held scrapers. When you click on a occurance the article pops up and the word scraper is highlited. You can go to the next page and move through the magazine. You click the back button and you are back into your list of found items. Very easy to go from one hit to another.

The search sems to show “and” conditions “scraper lathe” It only found 3 occurances of those two words. This was strange because I had been reading an article on scrapers and them being used on a lathe. So I went back and looked at the article again. The author was using a lathe and the pictures showed a lathe but the word lathe never occurred in the article. But, turning did. So I searched for “scraper turning” and found 7 occurances and my article was one of them.

So the product seems to be a very fast search for data mining in the Fine Woodworking Magazines. I’ve been a member of their online membership and not all issues are there. I’ve purchased 2 different Fine Woodworking CD’s that contain articles from the magazines, but they don’t contain all issues.

This seems to be the only place that the data exists. The DVD is cheaper than buying a collection of all 208 issues of the magazine. The price is $149.00 for the dvd. A serious chunk of change for a lot of people.

But if you buy it you will get the content that you can search for and the data is readly available for extraction so you can put it on your workbench and read through the data. You can read, you and print, and you can search. Searching through 208 paper issues would be a job.

The computer and woodworking (Fine Woodworking style) has come of age and is available for you to use.

It un-installs easily and cleanly. Now if I can just find my checkbook, one of these DVDs may be mine.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Karson's profile


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13 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5446 days

#1 posted 03-06-2010 04:50 AM

Great review Karson. I suspected this would be a good investment – saving space and searchability is a huge plus to boot.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5004 days

#2 posted 03-06-2010 05:43 AM

Thanks Karson I’ve been wanting to get the DVD but things keep happening that are drains on my checkbook. ;-))

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View mmh's profile


3688 posts in 4841 days

#3 posted 03-06-2010 07:53 AM

Nice review. Maybe Santa will remember this one.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4696 days

#4 posted 03-06-2010 08:39 AM

I have it it’s great.


View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12837 posts in 4276 days

#5 posted 03-06-2010 08:58 AM

I have it too, great files and easy to follow along with….
They also have the Shopnotes and WoodSmith magazines in a similar type of DVD… these too are great for the beginner to the pro…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 5109 days

#6 posted 03-06-2010 09:40 AM

I have the DVD also and I love it. Viewing with Acrobat helps with the slow scrolling you may experience using the supplied interface. I’m reading all the back issues in order so it’s like getting a bachelor’s level education in woodworking from the old masters when they were just talented people working for a living, before they got old. One of my favorite things is how the readers of the day back in the 70’s used to complain about tool quality which is ironic bacause those are the tools the people who complain today love to find and restore. lol

-- Jim

View lew's profile


13366 posts in 4874 days

#7 posted 03-06-2010 04:42 PM

Thanks for the review, Karson!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5196 days

#8 posted 03-07-2010 04:52 AM

i keep seeing this…it would be nice…I really love the magazine and its the only one I am currently taking….I also have the online service which I like…have not wanted to plunk down the money…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4283 days

#9 posted 03-07-2010 07:22 PM

I purchased this, partly as a resource to use when on vacation this January, not knowing if I would have web access for sure. I routinely look at it when designing projects, which are essentially all shop projects at this time. My sled, which is nearing the finishing process was influenced by an older article describing an adjustable fence for a crosscut sled.

As Karson noted, the searches are very useful, and it is fun to read some of the old articles.

I don’t know if this is in everyone’s budget, a search on the web in general, combined with a search on LJ’s will normally give you a pretty large selection of pertinent information. But I like the fact you can install it on multiple machines, and you don’t need the DVD once it is installed.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4283 days

#10 posted 03-08-2010 05:55 PM

Again, yesterday, I found a great article in this DVD about stops for jigs (such as my sled), and I have changed my plans on how to construct my sled stop system. Searching is sometimes a little tedious, because it is hard to nail down (intended (-: ) the exact search words, and you sift through a bunch of unwanted articles. But the up side of that, is I keep finding other interesting things off topic that I add to my favorites section in the DVD software.

The down side is the price of this thing, but it truly useful to me.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5519 days

#11 posted 03-08-2010 11:00 PM

Thanks Guys for your reviews also. Maybe I’ll get mine some day.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View BradHess's profile


63 posts in 4131 days

#12 posted 03-18-2010 09:19 AM

I got this today and it is a great resource and kind of addicting the amount of information it contains. Hence my late night post. It is a chunk of change, but I have already found several articles that will be very useful, so I consider it a small investment.

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 4039 days

#13 posted 12-19-2010 08:41 AM

I have the newer one with all the 2010 issues. The magazines are indexed and the built-in search feature is great. It’s just an excellent product and is so much easier to find what you want than digging through a stack of 200+ magazines.

I got it from for $89. A great price for what you get.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

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