My mailbox is now filled with more than 150 messages about the merger of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine that we announced on the blog. I am trying to answer every message, but until I can, here are some answers to some of the common questions:
1. How will the content change? Will there be less emphasis on hand work? Less investigation of forgotten methods and tools?
Here’s how I see it: Each issue is going to have the same amount of staff-written content in it that is ripped right from the Woodworking Magazine playbook , a couple projects, a couple technique pieces, perhaps a review of a piece of necessary stuff (like screwdriver bits). A glossary (more on that later). This content isn’t going to vary from what has been in Woodworking Magazine — I couldn’t change that any more than I could grow another 6″.
Add to that the Popular Woodworking columnists: Adam Cherubini, George R. Walker, Bob Flexner. Then add to that two (maybe three) articles from outside authors that could be on any topic that gets the editors riled up. We’ve got articles coming from David Charlesworth on scraper planes, Chuck Bender on the William & Mary style, Brian Boggs, Jim Tolpin, Jameel Abraham and on and on.
Plus lots of stuff that is common to both magazines: Tricks of the Trade, an Editor’s Column, Letters, a back-page column (like Out of the Woodwork), and two pages of short reviews of new equipment.
Will we change the balance of hand-tool and power-tool content? All I can say to that is I’m going to keep editing this magazine like I edited the other two magazines. The interests of our staff and contributors take us down many paths. We write about the interesting trips.
What will you see less of? That’s a good question. In print, you are going to see fewer (if any) “tool shootouts.” Lots of magazines do this well. Personally, I think skills are more important than tools. So right now the plan is to do tool shootouts for the web site. I think that’s a better home for them anyway. When you want to buy a drill, where are you going to start doing research these days? The vast majority of woodworkers troll online for information.
2. Will the blogs change?
This blog is not changing (I do hope we can get a better blog platform, however). The PW Editor’s Blog will continue. We’re working on the Arts & Mysteries blog right now. Adam is on hiatus because his job has taken him where he doesn’t have a shop. We might look to you, the reader, to help us with that one.
We are planning to add a new blog: The Glossary Blog. I know you think I’m nuts, but I think it will be a great thing. More details on that soon.
3. What about this Twitter crap and social media junk?
I know, I know. Some of you don’t like the Twitter and Facebook stuff. It’s new. No one really knows how to use it so it’s universally helpful. This was the same situation five years ago when I started this blog. I got a lot of messages about how they hated having to check it. Why couldn’t we just put it all in the magazine? (Because I type too much, that’s why. There would be no trees left for woodworking.)
We need to explore these new media platforms. Will we mess up? Yup, you bet. Will we eventually figure it out? If we don’t, we’ll be hurting.
4. Will the online stuff become more important? And more expensive?
I can promise this: The magazine will always stand on its own. Every article will be a complete world. You won’t have to go online to buy something to build a project in the magazine. That’s just wrong.
But we do have lots of content online that you might never know about if we don’t tell you. Say you liked David Charlesworth’s article on scraper planes, well, we’ll be telling you that you can read David’s other meticulous sharpening articles on our web site.
Will we charge for our site? Eventually parts of our site are going to have to cost money. Otherwise I’m going to have to go back to editing newspapers (oh crap, those are gone!). We’ve always been fair about pricing — heck we haven’t raised the price of a new magazine subscription for 15 years.
Advertising isn’t going to pay for it , heck advertising has always been a small part of our overall budget. We’re not some doorstop like Glamour. And now advertising is even smaller. So be it.
I know there’s anxiety about this among some readers. Heck, we’re all anxious, too. But I’d like to simply say that more things are staying the same than are changing. Same people. Same commitment to the craft. Same tools in our hands.
Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. Believe me, we’re listening.
– Christopher Schwarz