Chris Schwarz's Blog

Women, Magazines and Plywood

If you haven’t seen it, Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick is on the cover of the November 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking with her new laminated veneer lumber (LVL) bench. When I proposed this cover, some of the people in our circulation department were sure I had been drinking lacquer thinner.

You don’t put women on the cover of a woodworking magazine, they said. You need a bearded, 55-year-old guy with a $7 haircut and Milwaukee’s Best beer gut.

Despite the objections, I argued that it was Megan’s bench, the bench was the cover story and so it was Megan who was going on the cover.

We sent that issue to the printer and a couple weeks later, we received the October 2009 issue of Woodworker’s Journal.

With a woman on the cover. And a plywood project.

Megan’s response: “Aw crap, they beat us to the punch.”

“Nope,” I countered. “It doesn’t count. She’s not depicted as the woodworker. She is the ‘fantasy spouse’ who is merely enjoying the project.”

Then today my copy of British Woodworking showed up. Here it is:

This PG-13 sculpture is made from Baltic birch plywood by Peter Rolfe. OK you randy Brits. When it comes to putting a woman and plywood on the cover, you win this round.

16 thoughts on “Women, Magazines and Plywood

  1. Jason

    Craig is right, your circulation department is cracked. Keep Megan on the cover and your circulation might just double. I also fixed the subtitle of the cover story for you.

    "Knockdown Design By a True Knockout."

  2. Mike D.

    WOW Megan is HOT!!! nice cover, good call.

    Sorry, I was so taken by the picture I forgot how to spell cover.

  3. Craig

    Chris, if your circulation department thinks that we want to see a bearded 55 year old beer gut guy on your covers rather than a women they have some serious rethinking to do.

  4. John

    I’m always disappointed to see this kind of non-traditional work. As any purist woud tell you, a piece like this should be made of bubinga.

  5. Feckless

    Ramadan Goose?

    All I can think of is a plate of food appearing after sundown and disappearing before sunup.

    Anyway, I appreciate Megan’s project all the more with the context you’ve put it in.

  6. Christopher Schwarz

    I think different outfits for the sculpture would be cool. Kind like the lady in our neighborhood with concrete geese in her front yard. She has different seasonal outfits for them. Christmas Goose. St. Patrick’s Day Goose, Ramadan Goose.

    Chris

  7. di

    Yeah, yeah… chicks on the cover- they are both pretty, although I think Megan is prettier (speaking as a chick).

    But what I really want to know, is what you DO with a table with, er, "visible assets"? Do you dress it when the mother-in-law comes over? Do you name her? Has Mr. Rolfe accounted for what the inevitable wear pattern is going to be on that thing? Is he going to produce matching bookends? 🙂

  8. Charles

    Chuck, I would imagine that, generally speaking, circulation departments would be negligent NOT to consider market research. It is a business, right.

    I’m biased towards Megan and the LVL workbench cover but I do have to praise British Woodworking’s interpretation of the evolution of women. I mean no head solves a lot of common relationship issues. What a neat project to work on as well… how cool would it have been to tell your buddies "have to run… time to sand some boobies"

    -Charles

  9. Chuck Brewer

    Nothing wrong at all with putting a woman, man, child, martian on the cover as long as its relevant to the topic at hand. Sounds like your circulation department is one of those ‘driven by "market research"’ outfits.

  10. megan

    Thanks Doug…but no Dr Fitz yet – still have to write that pesky dissertation…at which point my head might explode and I’ll look rather more like the Brit mag cover 😉

  11. Doug Fulkerson

    Oh, no, I wouldn’t concede this one at all. You have a woman who is a woodworker who actually built something with the plywood on the cover. Never mind that she has a Phd. (Congrats, by the way, Dr. Fitzpatrick, and I hope the Schwarz gives you a raise now. Probably not, but maybe.) A woodworking woman on the cover has to trump a woman made of wood any day.

  12. Ron Boe

    Was it too late to publish her scores in the boring contest then?

    It’s a whole different catagory but those Brits do know how to do a cover but you guys get props for keeping your head and keeping it warm blooded. Full Marks

  13. Fiona

    British Woodworking don’t win anything, for two important reasons:

    1. It’s not a woman, women aren’t made of wood, the model doesn’t have a head.

    2. It doesn’t have a head (so important, I thought I’d mention it twice)

    Randy Brits who fancy women tend to prefer them as flesh and blood and with heads. Speaking as a Brit. Who sometimes finds women attractive.

  14. Tom (wizer)

    Well, Megan is hot, but the British Woodworking cover edges it for me 😉 That’s a fantastic magazine by the way, I highly recommend it! (Cheque’s in the post Nick)

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