Our December issue is on its way to subscribers and should be appearing on newsstands any day now. Sometimes we aren’t sure what to put on the cover, and for this issue we thought that either Senior Editor Glen Huey’s Shaker Workbench, or my reproduction of the Gustav Stickley Poppy Table would be good choices. We talked about it at length, had meetings, slept on it and still couldn’t decide. In our collective minds we thought that it was a tossup, and rather than flip a coin or arm wrestle we decided to pass the buck and let the readers make the decision for us.
We sent an e-mail to about 10,000 readers asking them to make a choice between the two cover images. What you see to the left is the cover that would have been, had it not been soundly defeated in the voting. Glen’s workbench won by a margin of 3 to 1. What was more interesting than the numbers (at least to me) were the comments left by readers on why they voted the way they did. A good number of the readers that chose the bench did so because they are in the process of gathering tools and setting up a shop so that at some point in the future they can do some woodworking.
It bothered me that people are putting off making stuff until they think they have enough tools and their shops are perfect. For me the joy of woodworking is in the working. I’ve been at this a long time and I know I’ll never have all the tools I want or have the shop exactly the way I want it. But I make stuff with what I have. Part of this project was made in our well equipped shop here at the magazine, but I did the carving out on my patio at home. An old WorkMate held the work and I only used a few tools as my ancient cat slept nearby.
So I’d like to encourage all our readers to go ahead and tackle the project you think you’re not ready to take on. If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend our “I Can Do That” column, where we make nice looking projects with just a few tools. Glen’s bench is another great project if you’re ready to build the last bench you’ll ever need. As for the Poppy Table, it may not have won the popularity contest, but it was interesting and challenging for me. If you’d like to build your own, we have a downloadable PDF file so you can print the same full-sized drawings that I used. We’re charging a small fee, but it will save you a lot of time.
Click here to download the drawings.