Wood Magazine - Complete Guide to Mission Furniture (Rating: 4)

My wife and I both love Arts and Crafts furniture and as we get the funds to replace our old, kid-destroyed furniture we have pretty much decided that this is the style we want go with. So, I bought this DVD (actually a DVD-ROM for your computer) to get started. The whole thing is in PDF format and when you first open it on your computer you are greeted with an interactive menu organized by room; living room, dining room, bedroom along with other links to finishing, joinery (7 different articles on cutting mortise and tenon joints to start) and room accesories. I had a problem with that menu, some of the links wouldn't work and I had to use the navigation window that opens to the left; not a big deal, but still (I should also point out that I don't use Acrobat for PDF files, so that may be the cause). You also get several videos on things like basic stock prep and cutting crown molding.

What you actually get is 50 mission (arts and crafts) articles that have been in Wood magazine over the last 20 or 25 years. This isn't necassarily a bad thing, Wood's plans are usually well laid-out and thourough; the only drawback is…you only get the plans that have been in Wood magazine; meaning you are stuck with the design they used. So if you want to say, build a Morris chair, you only get the version they featured-which may or may not be the design you are looking for (as it happens, I DO like the version they featured, it's on the cover after all). I'm sure there are many woodworkers out there that could take the less than desirable plan and modify it to suit their tastes, but I'm still too new at this to try that. For myself, I would have to say I could see myself building maybe 15-20 of the 50 of the listed projects in this disc; not a huge percentage, but if you consider that most websites that offer woodworking plans charge between $5 and $10 a pop, the $30 I spent on this is a pretty good deal.

So far, I have only built one project off of this disc-the Arts and Crafts Prairie Sofa-but other than one error (it had me cutting the tenons on one piece too thin), it went very smoothly and I am looking forward to diving into the next one. So, to summarize, you get 50 Wood Magazine articles on Mission-style furniture, lots of how-to articles, videos and tips to make building said furniture easier all for 30 bucks (plus shipping). For a newbie like me, it was a worthwhile investment.