Anyone Here Subscribe to These Online Woodworkers Subscription Websites? Opinions?

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Forum topic by NohoGerry posted 12-30-2021 12:14 AM 1299 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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59 posts in 172 days

12-30-2021 12:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m already a big fan of Youtube, and usually find lots of useful videos on techniques, jigs/fixtures, how to build, designs, etc.
But have also in the past had multiple subscriptions to print woodworking magazines that were great sources of plans, techniques, etc. (Fine Woodworking, Woodsmith, Wood, etc.).
I also have a fairly decent library of woodworking books that are waiting for new bookshelves in the shop.

Now that my new shop is up, I’m retired and have plenty of time to work with wood. So I’m ready to subscribe to a site (or sites) that offer what my favorite printed publications did in the past. I typically have my laptop in the shop while working, since I can reference sites easily when I need info.

Any of you already a subscriber to any of the following online websites-?

-Fine Woodworking
-Woodworkers Guild of America
-The American Woodworker

What are your opinions of them? Any other sites you subscribe to that are good, and I don’t mention here?

I’m at the intermediate/advanced level of woodworking, so not interested in really basic stuff, but rather techniques and projects that challenge and help me stretch my skills.

Thanks for the help on this guys.

17 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


4458 posts in 3260 days

#1 posted 12-30-2021 01:42 AM

Before the internet many discussed magazines revisiting the same stuff over and over. Once in while somebody gets a cleaver idea how to store glue of peel old glue off of clamps.
Same thing with the internet all the YouTube videos re imagining the same stuff.
It’s doesn’t take long to gain the knowledge it does take years to accomplish builds with the knowledge and have understanding.
Save your money and buy more clamps.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View MarkCh's profile


142 posts in 689 days

#2 posted 12-30-2021 02:45 AM

A fine woodworking subscription is nice for a bit. The designs are often /very/ unattractive, but skills are good, and it has nice interviews with various artists. Like what Aj2 says you’ll tap out from information eventually, but it’s a pretty common model for magazine article writing: recycle the same thing every few years since it’s mostly newcomers reading it, particularly those who are more likely to order a product from an advertiser. More enjoyable than youtube imho.

View JAAune's profile


2134 posts in 3779 days

#3 posted 12-30-2021 03:20 AM

Fine Woodworking was a good resource for me when I first got into woodworking. Like everyone else, I stopped reading it when the articles became repetitive and I’d read an entire magazine without learning anything new.

-- See my work at

View WoodenDreams's profile


1592 posts in 1373 days

#4 posted 12-30-2021 03:32 AM

I did subscribe to Wood Magazine, Woodcraft Magazine, Woodsmith Magazine and Woodworking Journal. The only one I kept a subscription to was Wood Magazine.

Woodworkers Guild of America I would NOT subscribe to directly off their online site. It will cost you $55 yearly that way. wwgoa . They do have a free online subscription. You can get a lot of info with the free subscription. And able to watch quite a few videos for free. Same as watching on youtube. Once you have the free subscription, WWGOA will send you email offers for a Premium or Gold subscription for $3 or $5 per YEAR. So, don’t pay that $55 rate, and do NOT accept their monthly billing. You can get a lot of good info with the free subscription. Be aware that WWGOA will bombard you with emails with 2 or 3 emails daily. Plus WWGOA does automatic billing that won’t cease until you cancel the automatic billing.

Poplar Woodworking Magazine and Wood Magazine, you can get a lot of free info on their web sites (tips, jigs, how-to).

Most woodworking suppliers and magazines offer you to watch how-to videos and get tips for free. Like this one

View bigJohninvegas's profile


1206 posts in 2924 days

#5 posted 12-30-2021 01:13 PM

I had Wood magazine, and Fine woodworking for a time. And I have Fine Woodworking Archive on my PC.
But I don’t think I have read any of it for a couple years now. Let the subscriptions go some years ago. Like others said. repetitive.
I do subscribe to a few You tube channels. Scott Grove, and the Wood Whisperer.
More woodturning these days, and follow a few pages on FB.
So only paid subscriptions I have anymore are AAW, and Woodturning Magazine. And AAW is only one I get a printed book.
Probably keep up with AAW, but not sure if I will renew Woodturning mag. we will see.
Funny, here I am in front of my PC, and I tell myself I spend to much time here on LJ, and the other sites, and not enough time in my shop actually woodworking.

-- John

View Lazyman's profile


9622 posts in 2849 days

#6 posted 12-30-2021 01:15 PM

There are so many free YouTube videos out there these days that the paid subscriptions only have limited value, IMO. Personally, I would spend the money on Fine Woodworking and Woodsmith Archive libraries first and only pay for the premium subscription temporarily when you want to access content that isn’t free or cannot find in other free venues. Woodsmith in particular has pretty good how-to articles that are usually written so that you can do one of the projects in the magazine by learning something new or a new way to do something. They also own Shopnotes and their archive also is worth having, IMO.

WWGOA free content is okay but I got tired of the constant spam and unsubscribed.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Robert's profile


4989 posts in 2943 days

#7 posted 12-30-2021 01:37 PM

I’m where you are. Not much grabs me anymore. There is a guy named Woodcrafter who is pretty amazing. I want to build that miter jack!

The only one I have is FWW. They don’t produce video series very often, you can binge through them in a couple days.

That said, I’ve watched the Phil Lowe lowboy build maybe 4 times and learn something new every time.

They do have a pretty good series for beginners, so I recommend them. It’s good for a newbie to watch a build process in real time.

I finally let Woodsmith go after 30 years, just wasn’t interesting to me anymore.

I usually learn something listening to podcast.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Jeff's profile


563 posts in 4656 days

#8 posted 12-30-2021 02:02 PM

I don’t find these sites very useful any more. Sites like Lumberjocks and a few others are far more useful. Advice is readily available, mostly free and very quick in response time, too. A magazine just can’t compete with this. I belong to a local woodworking site similar to Lumberjocks that brings local suppliers and viewpoints into the mix as well as the opportunity to consult and/or visit other workshops in my area. Search your local area or ask here and I’m sure you’ll find something of more use.

View controlfreak's profile


3755 posts in 1063 days

#9 posted 12-30-2021 02:34 PM

I have the FWW unlimited plan but haven’t used it much lately. That is probably the result of my slow change to mostly hand tool work. I am subscribed to Paul Sellers Master classes and enjoy them. Wood magazine subscription that seems very affordable. I bought one back issue of Mortise & Tenon magazine and it is a very upscale magazine format but the downside is that it is also premium priced too. I have binged on so much YouTube that it is becoming limited these days.

View splintergroup's profile


6955 posts in 2684 days

#10 posted 12-30-2021 03:49 PM

I used to subscribe to a variety of the listed mags but dropped all but one (FWW) since they either withered into nothing (Pop Woodworking) or became geared to DIY beginners, etc.
FWW still has top quality photography and text, along with some info on more “artsy” designs which provide ideas,

I have the FWW archive and it is useful for searching for old references, etc, but I don’t like reading these types of articles on a screen. I’ll find the issue number I want then pull it out of my stacks of back issues.

If you are interested in the archives, now is the time of year where you can get steep discounts on the previous years product.

Magazine subscriptions are expensive and no doubt will be online only before long.

I like to brag that I was selected to be an elite member of the Woodworkers Guild of America, but then I got a sneaky feeling they tell that to everyone 8^)

Certainly websites like LJ are far more dynamic for great information.

View Lazyman's profile


9622 posts in 2849 days

#11 posted 12-30-2021 05:09 PM

Splint, the FWW archive is a bunch of PDF files with a searchable front end. When I don’t want to read on the screen or want take a copy to the shop, I will just print the subset of pages for the article I am interested in so that I can have it in hand or even write notes on it. Woodsmith and Shopnotes archives are printable as well.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


5629 posts in 2956 days

#12 posted 12-30-2021 06:25 PM

+1 Woodworking has been around for centuries.

IMHO – Almost ZERO ‘never seen before’ projects/tools/methods are published. Everything is a re-hash of something old, it you search hard enough.
The only thing new each year is better refined tools, more expensive tools, and ways to be more efficient making duplicates of the same thing.

Once you get past basic WW knowledge, suggest the publication projects you find interesting quantifies your skill level:
Woodsmith, Popular Woodworking, and Wood Magazine; tend to publish basic/intermediate projects.
FWW publishes more complicated (and higher skill required) furniture projects, next to useful jigs/fixtures.

I started WW as kid (5+ decades ago), and find that FWW archive on CD/USB is all I need to buy in retirement. Can buy last years version at a discount from online sellers, and get 1yr access to FWW web site for this year’s new stuff. I buy a new version every ~3-4 years. Am also at the age, where I forget more than I remember; and can shake cobwebs loose with quick web search.

PS – If you have never had any formal training or mentoring in wood working; highly suggest you get some. Nothing beats ‘hands on’, ‘face to face’ learning from an experienced wood worker in unfamiliar shop. Take a WW class from community college, or a dedicated wood working school. Find a local WW coop shop and hang out with others as you build some projects. Videos are OK, but they don’t show you what your hands are doing wrong while you work. The classes also build confidence so that you can stop watching silly video’s in shop and let you trust your instincts as you work wood.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View GaryCK's profile


148 posts in 1511 days

#13 posted 12-30-2021 07:21 PM

I had a subscription to WWGOA for three years or so, always with one of their deals. I don’t recall the exact numbers but I’m pretty sure I had three years worth of their videos for less than $30 total. To me it was worth that kind of money. They had a Q&A live video once a month where you could ask questions that I found helpful. I recommend it, but only at the inexpensive promotional pricing.

On the topic of things having been covered in woodworking magazine over the years, one resource I really like is the Woodworking Magazine Index. It costs $10 per year and lets you search the contents of 37 different magazines, most back to when they started publishing. It has been a help to me.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

View splintergroup's profile


6955 posts in 2684 days

#14 posted 12-30-2021 08:07 PM

Splint, the FWW archive is a bunch of PDF files with a searchable front end. When I don t want to read on the screen or want take a copy to the shop, I will just print the subset of pages for the article I am interested in so that I can have it in hand or even write notes on it. Woodsmith and Shopnotes archives are printable as well.

- Lazyman

Thanks Nathan.
I have the 2012 archive and print the plans often. I keep the PDF catalog handy on a thumb drive for when I’m out of the office.

I did buy a recent (2019/20)? of fine homebuilding but after a quick look it seems they have done away with the PDF catalog and gone encrypted. Still can print out pages though. Could still be PDF’s, just compressed some way, I’ll have to dig a bit..

View splintergroup's profile


6955 posts in 2684 days

#15 posted 12-30-2021 08:11 PM

There was an “inside look” at Tauton press (FWW) on some streaming channel a while back. Interesting stuff. The main guy stated that one of the things they do is avoid running the same topic withing 7 years unless it is substantially different.

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