Which magazine do you subscribe to?

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Forum topic by Gabe C. posted 04-09-2012 01:35 AM 3581 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gabe C.

288 posts in 2876 days

04-09-2012 01:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource

So as I delve further into this world of woodworking, I find that many people will cite this magazine or that magazine being the go-to information source for them to learn new techniques or find plans for a new project. I think that I also would benefit from maybe a subscription or two, but I don’t know which ones…so I thought I’d ask the experts!
One question that may come up, is “What kind of woodworking do I like to do?” As I am interested in as much information as I can absorb, I tend to lean at this point more towards the power tool/furniture building area of woodworking, when it comes to things that I like to make. Not much of a hand tool guy…yet. And as I have seen some beautiful creations that I have been very impressed with, the whole turning/lathe sector of woodworking is a bit beyond my area of interest at this time. So I appreciate and welcome the input and comments of all of you. Thank you!


-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

51 replies so far

View Viking's profile


881 posts in 3730 days

#1 posted 04-09-2012 01:43 AM


Fine Woodworking


Shop Notes


Woodworkers Journal


-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3505 days

#2 posted 04-09-2012 01:44 AM

Fine Woodworking (often referred to as FWW) is, in my opinion the tops for furniture plans and technique. Gets a little over my head sometimes, but that just makes the challange better.

The best magazine for jigs and fixtures, shop built tools etc is Shop Notes.

A good magazine for general coverage is Wood.

There are special publications out there from all these magazines that combine several great projects from several issues that are really good to have as well.

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 04-09-2012 02:01 AM

I like Wood magazine because they have a pretty good variety of projects with detailed plans and will include a section that introduces a new skill or technique that is critical to their central project. What I don’t like about Wood is that similar projects will resurface rather frequently over a long period of time. Not so frequent as to make the subscription a waste, but often enough that it does get noticed.

Woodsmith will have less projects per issue than Wood but the projects do have a bit more complexity and you really can’t beat the detail that is in their step by step graphical breakdown of the construction of the projects. They rely less on photographing a project and focus more on graphical illustration which really makes following the process much easier. One of the best ones to have in my opinion.

Fine Woodworking has some awesome articles but there is less hand holding when it comes to the steps required to make their projects. I think their articles are brilliant but I believe some of their projects might be overwhelming for someone at a beginner to intermediate skill level.

and, just a side note, while you may be a power tool junkie, I guarantee that hand tools will start finding their way into your work. Hold onto those articles regarding chisels and hand planes because they will sneak their way in there, trust me on that :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View lew's profile


12878 posts in 4290 days

#4 posted 04-09-2012 02:32 AM

Woodsmith, Woodworkers Journal and Woodcraft

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

View bondogaposis's profile


5553 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 04-09-2012 02:36 AM

Woodsmith, Shop Notes, Popular Woodworking, Wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3098 days

#6 posted 04-09-2012 02:37 AM

I am currently only a few issues into a 2 year subscription of Popular Woodworking. I’ve been less than underwhelmed so far, but hey it was like $1 an issue. At the same time as I got my first issue I received a large number of FWW back issues gratis. I always shied away from this magazine since it was so expensive, but after really reading through it I decided (IMO) that it is certainly worth it. Good luck and have fun.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3585 days

#7 posted 04-09-2012 03:09 AM

FWW, PopWood, and Wood. FWW and PopWood are the finest (tie) out there. They both approach at about the same level, both have wondeful projects, both have good how-to’s, both have lots of well-written articles besides their projects, but FWW is at the level of National Geographic in the excellence of their photography and illustrations. Hands down the best.

As soon as the Wood subscription is up, it’s gone. It used to be a good magazine, but lately projects have gotten embarrassingly simplistic and repetitive, tool tests are deplorably predictable, and I know they have to make a living, but 2/3 of the magazine is adds, the web site is just about all adds, and they sell everything whereas FWW and PopWood give a great deal for free. Oh, my subscription to Wood is not up until Nov 2013 and every issue (the last 4 of which hit file 13 within an hour of delivery) I get ‘Last Chance’ renewal demands.

Gave up on Woodsmith as the projects got boring. They are, however a sure cure for insomnia on their tv show. It’s a shame because they are nice guys, genuinely talented and offer quite a bit of information. Just the presentation is a little off-putting. Had to cut back somewhere.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4458 days

#8 posted 04-09-2012 03:15 AM

Theres just a few. I get them as Christmas presents from the family Its time to start another book case I did loose a lot of them in a move about 8 years ago but haven’t missed many since.
Fine Woodworking
Woodworkers Journal

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3370 days

#9 posted 04-09-2012 03:25 AM

Currently only woodcraft and I only just received my first issue which I wasn’t impressed with. To keep the middle project pages free of ads they flood the front with them. Gives a real bad first impression and the projects weren’t anything I’d bother with but for 7.00 a year I’ll hang in there. I should subscribe to Popular, Fine and Wood to save myself some money in the long term. I don’t find them worth buying every month but usually buy 2 of every 3 issues of them that come out.

-- A posse ad esse

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3460 days

#10 posted 04-09-2012 03:26 AM

Fine Woodworking (25+ years of magazines)
Shop Notes

Also buy Woodworker’s Journal, Woodturning, and others at Chapters if there are articles which I am interested in, have purchased a number of duplicates because I don’t seem to remember what I already have…

My son in law will catch on one day that I am not always thinking of him… :)

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View widwotkma's profile


40 posts in 2926 days

#11 posted 04-09-2012 04:23 AM

Woodworkers Journal
On occasion Fine Woodworking if it has an interesting article.

I think the main thing to look at is how experienced you are and what type of projects you are looking for. Woodsmith has great step-by-step instructions that can be helpful as a new woodworker. Wood and Woodcraft have a good mix between articles, reviews and projects, which I enjoy. I find Fine Woodworking a bit beyond my level but I do enjoy their tool reviews.

View Woodknack's profile


12924 posts in 2915 days

#12 posted 04-09-2012 04:48 AM

None of them are good enough for a subscription. I subscribed to Fine Woodworking for several years but they just constantly regurgitate the same projects, using the same basic joinery, from their books. I rarely buy an issue now. If you just want to read something then they are okay but if you want to learn then I would just get their books. I buy Wood once in awhile. I don’t build the projects but they often have good tips and it’s interesting to see them play around with joinery even if they are sometimes prone to complicating things. Woodsmith is a nice magazine which I’ve only recently really started reading.

British woodworking mags are the best but they are very difficult to find in my area and I only have a few. The ones I have do not focus on projects but on artists and craftsman and woodworking in general. The articles are excellent and the pictures display master craftsmanship.

-- Rick M,

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3517 days

#13 posted 04-09-2012 04:56 AM

popular woodworking
wooworker west
woodcraft (subscription bought for me)
i like to browse the news stands,to see if there’s a good project or article that i would want to keep.

where do you guys and gals like to find your magazines?
my favorite is a barnes & noble. a lot of choices.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3039 days

#14 posted 04-10-2012 02:15 AM

FWW and PW

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2840 days

#15 posted 04-10-2012 02:20 AM

My two personal favorites, Woodsmith & Shopnotes. I have subscriptions to most of them, wood, fine woodworking etc, but I prefer the projects in Woodsmith and the jigs in Shopnotes. In Shopnotes they usually have one big project and then several jigs that they used to make that project.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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