While I love printed magazines and books, I am a huge fan of electronic books and magazines – especially when doing research on a project or technique. Plus, pdfs allow me to carry an entire woodworking library on my laptop, which is handy for traveling.
So I am eager to get my hands on a new DVD from Popular Woodworking Magazine that has all the issues from 1995 to 2012 in pdf format. Previously, the magazine’s electronic library went back to 2000 – so the editors have added another six years of issues to their library.
On one hand, I’m buying this DVD selfishly because it covers the early years I worked at the magazine – I was hired in 1996. So a lot of my ridiculous early work is in these issues. This was back when I had short hair, no beard and wore contacts. I’m barely recognizable.
But in addition to the entertainment value, there are a lot of really good stories in these issues. During this era, the magazine was focused more on projects than on technique. And we covered a lot of skill levels – from dead-nuts beginners to more advanced woodworkers. You’ll see a lot of biscuits and screws in these pages, but also a Chippendale secretary, some great modern furniture from Jim Stuard and fantastic early American stuff from Glen Huey and Troy Sexton.
And for the price, you can’t beat it. It’s less than $76 (with free domestic shipping) for a ton of pure woodworking information.
The only downside is that the early issues aren’t searchable by keyword. But they have provided a master table of contents for each of those issues that you can use to search them. It’s not perfect, but it works. (And if you have Adobe Acrobat you can use its OCR function to add keyword searches to the files.)
It’s a quibble, really, on a great product. You can order it from the store here. It’s in stock.
— Christopher Schwarz