Woodworking Magazine Survey

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Review by duosonicdave posted 02-20-2012 04:28 PM 8674 views 0 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Okay LJ’s – time to weigh in. . .

I’ve searched around and can’t seem to find a survey/side-by-side comparison of the various woodworking magazines. I’m thinking about taking out my first subscription and find myself wondering, “So, what’s unique about “this” publication vs. “that” publication. I was wondering if those of you who have experience across a wide spectrum of woodworking magazines could describe how they stack up against one another: features, unique emphasis, where one magazine seems to really excel, how one differs from another, etc. I know this is a “review” section of the site and I’m not technically reviewing a magazine, but would love to know others’ more experienced thoughts/reviews in a comparison style.

Duo Sonic Dave

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47 posts in 4123 days

52 comments so far

View Grumpymike's profile


2479 posts in 3283 days

#1 posted 02-20-2012 07:27 PM

I think that WOOD by Better Housekeeping is one of the best all around publications, it has a bit for everyone.
I have built several of their projects over the years and found each one fun and educational.
I also think the folks a WOODSMITH by August Home, put out a fine publication with no advertising. I have built many of their projects and have yet to find a bad dimention.
I subscribe to 6 different pubs because they are different and each is full of ideas.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

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2479 posts in 3283 days

#2 posted 02-20-2012 07:29 PM

OOPS, I think that is Better Homes & Gardens

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Jeff's profile


542 posts in 4162 days

#3 posted 02-20-2012 08:10 PM

I subscribed to Woodsmith and Shopnotes for several years. I thought both were excellent magazines with very good projects. However, their marketing or re-subscription antics pushed me away. Not worth the aggravation.

View MakerofSawdust's profile


36 posts in 3584 days

#4 posted 02-20-2012 09:10 PM

I looked long and hard a few years ago when I was considering which magazine to subscribe to. I was too cheap to subscribe to more than one, so I wanted to be sure I picked the rihgt one for me. I compared many and also found that Wood was the right choice for me. It has practical tips and articles. The articles cover basic and complex tasks and the tool reviews have always been great. My brother-in-law subscribes to Shop Notes and I’ve also enjoyed looking at that when I’m at his house, but it doesn’t have the more informative and in-depth articles. The tips from other readers in Wood are always great; much like LJ. I’ve only used a couple of the project plans and they were very well done.

-- - Kevin from Cincinnati. All my work is guaranteed: Three minutes or three feet; whichever comes first.

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1691 posts in 3592 days

#5 posted 02-20-2012 09:28 PM

I had Popular Woodworking-dropped, too many plans and articles WAY beyond my skill set.
Wood for two years-kept
Shopnotes-dropped-re subscribed recently
Fine Woodworking-dropped, see popular woodworking
I visit the mag rack now and then to choose ones with articles/plans I like.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View carguy460's profile


807 posts in 3303 days

#6 posted 02-20-2012 09:31 PM

I subscribe to Wood and Popular Woodworking. Personally, I enjoy Popular Woodworking, as it seems to have more hand tool oriented articles which suits my woodworking style.

-- Jason K

View john's profile


2385 posts in 5349 days

#7 posted 02-20-2012 09:39 PM

WOOD magazine is great if you are American but really sucks if your from Canada or any other country .

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

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252 posts in 3281 days

#8 posted 02-20-2012 10:51 PM

I am a Wood Magazine aficionado since 1985. I maintain all print copies in special files. I have subscribed to Shopnotes, Woodsmith, Fine Woodworking, American Woodworker, and various others woodworking publications through the years, but always maintain the Wood Magazine addiction. Woodsmith is a close second. Fine Woodworking is inspiring, but usually not practical for most of us. Just picked up a 3 year subscription to Popular Woodworking for $18.00 through a heads up from a fellow LJ who posted the deal on this forum. I agree with Jeff in Huntsville about the relentless re-subscribing efforts for any of these magazines, including Wood. The re-subscription starts with your first magazine and they make it seem like your subscription has already expired before it even started. I find this very annoying because I don’t always remember when the subscription is up and I end up wasting time trying to figure out if the subscription is up, or if I was cheated.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View wncguy's profile


496 posts in 3280 days

#9 posted 02-20-2012 11:05 PM

D.S. Dave – I’m sure glad you asked this ?, I’m just starting & trying to sort through all the options, Just picked Woodsmith for my first one, looking for more. Knowing the more “basic” ones for the less experienced is great.
I sure hope all the “experienced” that post know how much we appreciate their input!
Thanks to you all! or done here ya’ll.

-- Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad

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3263 posts in 3643 days

#10 posted 02-20-2012 11:31 PM

I am a charter member with Wood magazine. Have all of them. I have subscribed to Fine Woodworking and intend to let that subscription go after this subscription ends. I can’t handle the people there. I will be looking at some of the others. Thanks for the advice above.

View jwisbey's profile


35 posts in 3381 days

#11 posted 02-20-2012 11:43 PM

I tend to design furniture that I build so I really like Shop Notes for the suggestions and jigs. In the other magazines, the furniture plans tend to take up most of the publication.

View duosonicdave's profile


47 posts in 4123 days

#12 posted 02-20-2012 11:49 PM

Great thoughts so far! Keep ‘em coming. . . Thanks LJ’s

View Roger's profile


21047 posts in 3772 days

#13 posted 02-21-2012 12:27 AM

Woodsmith & Shopnotes have no advertisements which means you get all gr8 content, jigs, projects, how-to’s, etc. If you want something more, I would go with Fine Woodworking, Wood, American Woodworker, and Even Popular Woodworking. There are many designed for specifics, like turning, carving, etc.. you may already know all this. I like em all! Like everythng else, an overwhelming choice. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of em

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4276 days

#14 posted 02-21-2012 01:30 AM

In the past I have subscribed to every magazine I could find..and have a HUGE stack of magazines just gathering dust. I now just get Shopnotes and Woodworkers Journal because I also got tired of the renewal bullcrap they pull. I most likely will not renew these when they expire. At one time I wrote doen when I received the first issue so I could track their renewal games…but who needs to put up with this?

I remember publications saying send in a card for a FREE trial issue...and then they send you statements and invoives way before thry even send the free issue. When I did send in the payment the sent the first issue of my paid subscription and it was the same issue as the free trial one they finally sent. The all seem to do this and I refuse to play their con game.

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3914 days

#15 posted 02-21-2012 01:56 AM

Have subscribed to several over the years, Fine Woodworking, Woodsmith, Shopnotes, Wood, and bought others as I spotted an article of interest on the newsstand. What really bugs me about most is that they repeat the same material fairly frequently, and then also have the gall to pull stuff out from the mags and compile in books touting or at least implying new material.

I don’t mind the advertising at all since it is informative if taken with a grain of salt.

The only mag I now take is Wood Magazine. Their plans are excellent as well.

-- Smitty

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