Woodworker's Journal: Yea or Nay?

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Down. And in my opinion, Wood and American Woodworker offer me little of interest. YMMV.
I look forward to Woodwork, and recently, Popular Woodworking. Somewhat less so to FWW. WWJ won't get renewed. Neither will ShopNotes. I haven't decided yet on Woodsmith.
Patriarch
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I think what distinguishes WWJ from the rest of the pack is that it has some damn fine articles about the craftsman, the artisan's and the visionaries in the field of woodworking. Definitely not a how-to magazine even though on occasion there have been articles that show how a piece was made but you couldn't make it from the article - if that makes sense.
As I recall Doug Stowe (http://www.dougstowe.com ) was/is a contributing editor. He used to contribute here quite a bit but drifted off due most likely to a heavy schedule with a school program he was putting together - "The Wisdom of the Hands". See his site for more info.
If you want to round out your woodworking knowledge and go beyond tool reviews and how to make pointy sticks - WWJ is an excellent choice.
Bob S.

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<<I think what distinguishes WWJ from the rest of the pack is that it has some damn fine articles about the craftsman, the artisan's and the visionaries in the field of woodworking. Definitely not a how-to magazine even though on occasion there have been articles that show how a piece was made but you couldn't make it from the article - if that makes sense.>>
Shameless plug here: The current issue of Woodcraft Magazine features a cover story, as well as a sidebar or two, on Sam Maloof. (The first issue had a feature on David Marks. And I'm sure they'll get around to Norm, too.) It also has 3 or 4 project articles that do supply sufficient information (instructions, illustrations, cut lists, hardware sources. etc.) should you wish to try your hand at building one. And now for the shameless plug part. I wrote one of the tool reviews and I can tell you that at no time was I given any instruction, explicit or otherwise, as to whether to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. In fact, I don't know for sure whether Woodcraft even carries the tool I reviewed, although I imagine they do. But either way, it has no bearing on what I write or what I am asked to write. For my next review I was offered a choice between two tools, one of which I know for certain is not currently sold by Woodcraft nor will it be in the future.
Lee
--
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"



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Lee Gordon wrote:

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Lee is correct. The review he referenced was for the new DeWalt cordless nailers in the May issue. I think the nailers may be carried at a handful of Woodcraft stores, but not in their catalog (notice I said "their catalog," not "our catalog" -- we are separate from retail). Since I know Lee well, I gave him a choice of tools to review -- a Milwaukee 28-volt combo kit, and a pair of Ridgid cordless tools. The former is not currently available at the Woodcraft stores nor in the catalog, although I suppose it could be eventually. Obviously, the Ridgid tools will never be available anywhere but at HD.
Charlie up-topic spoke about the reviews he's done, and he is also correct. Editors do not give instructions on how to do reviews (other than style directions) to reviewers. Charlie, Lee and any reviewers worth their salt would refuse to do an article under such circumstances. If I were ever told to do review products in the magazine in such a way as to please retail, I would likewise refuse. I said up front when I took this job that I wouldn't do that, and to date, I've never been asked to do so.
Tool reviewing is very difficult for WW magazines, especially those like WWJ and us, who are associated with retail organizations. Both Rockler and Woodcraft Supply carry just about all the name brands --- every time we review a tool carried by Woodcraft Supply (and I assume it's the same for Rob with WWJ and Rockler), we get accusations that we're doing so because the retail counterpart carries it. Nonsense. To avoid this, we'd have to ignore every new tool issued by DeWalt, Delta, Jet, Powermatic, Porter-Cable, and etc & etc. We can't do that and still serve the reader.
It's also difficult for all the other magazines, who are in no way associated with retail organizations. Because every manufacturer advertises in every magazine, it's almost impossible NOT to review a tool that's advertised. In those cases, it's a tightrope walk: Say anything at all bad about a tool, and you anger the advertiser; say anything good, and you're accused of pandering to an advertiser. You won't convince everyone by trying to please everyone, so it's easier just to do the review the way it should be done, and let everyone -- advertiser and reader alike -- infer what they may.
For what it's worth, I get a lot of complaints from the stores that non-store tools are shown in reviews (and in-use in the project articles). I suppose there are far more complaints from the stores that go to the franchise director and other folks in corporate that I never even see. Which is fine with me, since I'd ignore them anyway.
And, as long as I'm on the subject, I do other things to separate Woodcraft-the-magazine from Woodcraft-the-retailer. I don't go to the weekly product meetings, for example, even though that would be useful. When I get freelance articles whose writers have mentioned Woodcraft-the-retailer (and many do, thinking, I suppose, they have a better chance of selling an article), I remove the references unless they are germain to the text; they rarely are. Whenever in conversation someone mentions a product that "I" carry, I'm quick to point out that I have no idea what "they" carry. We are separate, in a separate building, with a separate address, and a separate agenda. Sure, there's some overlap here and there; there has to be in a corporate sense. But it's so little that I have no discomfort at all.
A.J.
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Hi Dave,
Have FWW for 10+ years, Wood for 15+ years, WWJ for 6+ years. Just started "Shopnotes" a few months ago cause it looked a little different. Also TOH magazine 5+yrs which is pretty bad, but SWMBO likes it - not a WW mag anyhow - I like keeping Russ & the boys in champagne I guess!
Some months are better than others.
Once I start, I can't stop! I'm afraid that I will miss a great tip/plan/tool review...
If you step back and think about it, a 1 yr subscription to most of these costs about the same as 2 bf of red oak.
If they get political, I back off, but most stick to woodworking most of the time, so I'm pretty satisfied.
FWIW.
Lou

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Funny, I just trashed the renewal coupon for WWJ ten minutes before reading this thread. I guess that's a THUMBS DOWN. I agree that the ads are overwhelming at times. I do like AWW, Wood, Shopnotes & Woodsmith.

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After careful consideration of all your responses, I'll toss the subscription form in the round file. Thanks for all the comments, fellas. (As I mentioned earlier, I found a copy of WWJ AFTER I'd posted my question here. I wasn't too impressed with it's content and it's only 6 issues per year.)
Dave
David wrote:

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