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Forum topic by wookie posted 02-02-2011 09:34 PM 2036 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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154 posts in 4002 days

02-02-2011 09:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi Jocks, I want to subscribe to just one woodworking mag. One that has lots of project plans, tips and reviews. Any recommendations?

Wore out from diggin out,

-- Wookie=Wood Rookie

28 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3870 days

#1 posted 02-02-2011 10:20 PM

I subscribe to about five magazines. I think if I was limited to just one, hands-down it would be Popular Woodworking. Great magazine and I am a huge fan of Chris Schwarz.

-- Mike

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 3590 days

#2 posted 02-02-2011 10:38 PM

Wood magazine had a special on Tanga, that if you used the code “Wood”, you could get a 4 year subscription for $20 or so.

But before that came along, I did buy the last archive of FWW, and I maintain a subscription to Popular Woodworking, which was my favorite after a lot of monthly reading at the local bookstores….

I’d say check the bookstore, read through a few, and see which appeal to you and your style….

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 3590 days

#3 posted 02-02-2011 10:41 PM

**Never mind on Tanga. I looked around, and it appears to be gone. But deals like that come and go.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3993 days

#4 posted 02-02-2011 10:48 PM

I’m a fan of WoodSmith magazine. They carry no advertising and I assume that their comments on different brands of tools are not influenced by who is buying advertising.

I also think they do a little better job of explaining how to do their projects. They offer a nice variety of projects and virtually all of them are doable for people with good reasonably good, but not great, skills.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 3732 days

#5 posted 02-02-2011 11:01 PM

richgreer makes some good points about WoodSmith, can’t go wrong there. Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking are really great.
I have been a subscriber to Wood Magazine for years but I let my subscription run out; not happy with them lately. They have been regurgitating old tips and info and having lame projects IMO.

The project skill level might help you decide which mag you want. Take a trip to the bookstore or check their websites to get a feel for what they do.

To save money, sign up for their free weekly newsletters which feature videos and the same articles from the printed mag.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View meestajack's profile


33 posts in 3590 days

#6 posted 02-02-2011 11:12 PM

I really like reading Fine Woodworking magazine. Their stuff tends to be more advanced/complex, but it’s great to read.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4907 days

#7 posted 02-02-2011 11:23 PM

Fine Woodworking, Popular Woodworking, Wood, Woodsmith and Shopnotes are some that are all good in their own way.

If you are relatively new to woodworking then magazines are a great source of knowledge.

If this is your first time reading them, then you will have a great time and learn a lot!

After about 20 years of looking at them you will find out that they all have the same information at some point.
The same information that was printed 20 years ago. It’s the same thing over and over again with a new face on it.
How many “Ultimate Workbenches” can there be?

Just my little rant, sorry.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Tromni's profile


7 posts in 3687 days

#8 posted 02-02-2011 11:49 PM

I’d highly recommend snagging an issue of all the main ones. Popular Woodworking, Wood, Fine Woodworking, Woodsmith, etc. Borrow one, buy an old one on ebay, or buy the shiny new ones at a bookstore.

Read each, but pay the most attention to the level of details, the writing style, the layout of project plans, etc.

I found Wood magazine to be practically unreadable, Fine Woodworking to be nice but not align with my interests/skill level, and Woodsmith/ShopNotes to be exactly my style. You’ll probably have completely different reactions.

I will say that in a half year of subscribing to woodsmith and shop notes I’ve received only one issue that didn’t contain a project plan that made me want to build it.

-- Mark - Springfield, Virginia

View boyneskibum's profile


76 posts in 4389 days

#9 posted 02-02-2011 11:50 PM

+1 on popular woodworking magazine.

I’ve subscribed to quite a few different magazines, and overall pop wood seems to be the best. Pop wood can appeal to all skill levels, and they seem to unify each magazine into one coherent unit. It seems they make a real effort out of tying the main theme project into the supporting articles by demonstrating and teaching techniques that will help you build the main project. Excellent online extras as well.

Fine Woodworking is a close second, but they are mostly way above my skill level in their articles (still, it’s nice to have something to aspire to).

Wood magazine is okay….I’m letting my subscription lapse on this one though. Great if you’re just starting out and have no idea where to even start. They’ll give you step by step projects with cutlists and project costs (they just started that part), and some low level skill building techniques.

Woodworkers Journal: Didn’t like it, personal preference.

Summary: If you’re going to go with just one, I HIGHLY recommend popular woodworking magazine. I also use google reader and subscribe to several woodworking blogs which are GREAT at supplementing information and helping you develop yourself as a woodworker.

-- Always keep a stash of band-aids in your workshop!

View Woodturner66's profile


76 posts in 3590 days

#10 posted 02-02-2011 11:55 PM

I think it would depend on what kind of projects you would want to do.

Now for me i would have to stick to my Woodturning Design if it was the only one.
I have Woodsmith magazine since issue one. After awhile they start repeating articles. So I
canceled them. I like Wood magazine, They started having Woodturning projects in it.
For Scrollsaw plans and articles i like Creative Woodworks & Crafts.

-- Chris Ward

View meestajack's profile


33 posts in 3590 days

#11 posted 02-03-2011 12:06 AM

Google Books has a bunch of old woodworking backissues archived online for free.

View JasonWagner's profile


530 posts in 4099 days

#12 posted 02-03-2011 12:28 AM

-only my opinion-
I’m not a huge fan of Popular or Fine Woodworking. While the projects are usually more technical and “classical” chair/furniture making, I’m not at a point where I see myself making those things. Also included are reviews for $400 hand planes that I personally don’t really care much about. Based on what I’ve seen here there is definately a market for them, just not me. I like Wood and Shop Notes now and find that they’re more my style. Lots of helpful hints, tips, jigs, reviews and projects more to my liking.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3853 days

#13 posted 02-03-2011 12:35 AM

I suscribe to pretty much everyone mentionned above.

If I had to choose only one:

Finewoodworking online. You get tons pf plans available to members and you get to read the printed version of the magazine for free.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3917 days

#14 posted 02-03-2011 01:19 AM

Honestly, I would recommend books over any of the magazines. The magazines have so little content and are just a platform for the advertisers. Nothing you can’t get on the companies websites.

Really, how many tablesaw, router, drill comparisons do we need? More content here on Lumberjocks.

You want projects? ShopNotes is pretty good, even if a bit repetitive.

I used to read them all. I stopped when they kept repeating themselves. About the only thing new and interesting were the reader submitted shop tips.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View wookie's profile


154 posts in 4002 days

#15 posted 02-03-2011 01:55 AM

Thanks everyone. I am pretty much a novice. I like plans and cutting diagrams a lot.

-- Wookie=Wood Rookie

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