It Ain’t Flippin’ Burgers

ME@DeskI’m not afraid of change. If I could paraphrase Michael Douglas in the movie “Wall Street,” “Change is good.” It’s a renewal. I get pumped up as I begin anew. That is one of the reasons I chose to build furniture; just as I got bored with a project, it would reach its end and the next piece began. Constant re-invigoration.

Nearly two years ago, I walked away from a position at Popular Woodworking Magazine (PWM) to pursue a different career path – I returned to my shop to build furniture. I know that is not a huge change, but change it is.

As I left the magazine, people asked what I planned to do when my commission work was complete. My response was that I might be flipping hamburgers at a well-known national restaurant chain with brightly colored arch-like structures. That wasn’t the case.

Another thing I pride myself on is recognizing an opportunity when it’s presented. While my commission work is not yet wrapped up – there are still at least four great pieces left to build – I was intrigued when the Managing Editor position opened here at the magazine.

I had learned over the 20-something months spent working in my shop how much I missed working with the staff; teamwork and camaraderie are great here. I also missed working on the magazine. I have a lot invested in Popular Woodworking Magazine. After a 16-year relationship, you would be amazed at the number of articles published. Search “Huey” at our online store at Shopwoodworking.com and you’ll find more than 100 product listings. And some of the earliest articles never found their way into the digital media.

After presenting at the California edition of Woodworking in America, I decided to place a call to our publisher, Kevin Ireland, to find out if I had a shot at coming back. He was open to the idea, so I ramped up my efforts to land the job.

Change is good.

You, of course, can guess the rest of the story.  I got in touch with the PWM editor, Megan Fitzpatrick. I tried my best to show her I was the best candidate for the job and that I could handle managing editor duties as well as get a few projects built in the shop. Evidently, she too thinks that change is good because I am back.

What do I plan to do in the coming months? Learn to be a managing editor, do my job better and build a few projects in the shop. I also want to help improve an already successful magazine.

If you have thoughts on how I can do this, I welcome your comments. Change is good.

— Glen D. Huey

If you want your own dose of Huey from Shopwoodworking.com, try “The Best of Glen Huey Collection.” This kit offers a mixture of nine products from DVDs to books to articles. It’s not all-inclusive, but it is a great beginning.

17 thoughts on “It Ain’t Flippin’ Burgers

  1. Jonas Jensen

    Welcome back Glen.
    I am lookling forward to reading more articles from your hand, and seeing more great projects built in a no nonsense way.
    Brgds
    Jonas

  2. Cosmo

    Glen,
    As a novice woodworker and one who would like to do most of his woodworking with hand tools, I would like to see more articles covering all aspects of hand tools.
    I inherited as vast array of tools that were my Dad’s and my Grandfather’s. Some of the tools were almost pristine while others required hours and hours of work to bring to a usable condition. Most of the knowledge to do the restorations came from reading PWM and books DVDs from your store.
    Again, my personal desire is to see lots more hand tool articles. Also an expanded Questions & Answers page would be nice.
    Cosmo

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick

      Cosmo,

      We’re going to start putting more Q&As online – and we’re happy to answer any WW or tool questions you might have. Please don’t hesitate to ask!

  3. jerryolson19

    Welcome back Glen I have missed you and your sensible approach to woodworking. I too feel that I can create 18th century furniture using 21st century tools and techniques. I own and treasure many hand tools and I enjoy using them. I am not a slave to them. Table saws, jointers, planers and routers all have their use in my shop. In addition to paraphrase the great senator from Texas, Phil Graham, “I own more tools than I need, but less than I want”.

  4. JohnH

    Glen,

    I hate to offer a contrasting view, but sometimes change can be bad. Not necessarily for you, but for the magazine. A while back I was searching through some back issues of PopWood (10-12 year old issues) and was amazed at the difference between the old issues and the current ones. At some point last year I started tossing the current issue of PopWood after reading it instead of adding it to my archive. I just did the same thing to my renewal notice. I’d never done that in the past – ever, even with the failed Woodworking magazine.

    So my comment would be to go back and look at some of those old issues and compare the content to the current ones.

    Good luck in your return.

    1. Jon

      I’ll agree with most of the above. PWW did take a turn for the worse over the last year, not so much in the subject matter, but definitely in the amount of content per issue, and even the quality of the paper it was printed on. I’m not sure how much of that was due to the efforts of the recently departed editor, but the change for the worse really seemed to coincide with his time at the helm.
      It gave the air of a magazine on its deathbed.
      So hopefully Glen and Megan can get things turned towards what the long term readers expect.

      1. Megan Fitzpatrick

        Jon,

        To be fair, paper quality and number of signatures (pages) are out of the editorial staff’s control (I would very much like to add a signature or two, but until we entice a lot more subscribers or a lot more advertisers (or both), I have no economic argument on which to stand).

        What the editorial staff can control is the quality of content in every issue. On that front, we’ll do our best to deliver excellence.

      2. gumpbelly

        Mag went to #)$*%(% about the time recently departed came, and also about the same time recent publisher came, so my tally shows one down, one to go.

        It is good to see Glen back where he belongs, and awesome to see Megan finally where she should have been after Chris left. However I can`t do online mags, do not like scrolling round, I`m a page turner, and with the crappy paper, and poor ink that just refuses to stay on the crappy paper I`m also riding out my subscription, and that sux.

        1. Megan Fitzpatrick

          Well, all I can say is that I hope the content will convince you to stay with us – and then if you and enough folks do, then we may be able to do something about the paper. My job is to make the content so robust that you’ll at least consider it.

  5. Sawduster

    It’s GREAT to have you back, albeit in a somewhat different position; PWW is the better for the move forward. I also look forward to your contributions to feature articles within my future subscriptions.

  6. Mark Hochstein

    Yea Glen! I’m so glad to see you back at the magazine, Glen! Your articles have been some of my favorites over the years. Keep doing what you’re doing and try (as hard as it may be) to find new and different techniques to show us from new and different contributors. For those of us who have been reading woodworking magazines for quite a while it always nice to see new, fresh ideas, perspectives and techniques.
    I also second the opinion of “esicox” above that I would like to see the Contributors page return. I always liked reading about the authors – especially when they’re not full-time cabinetmakers.

    Welcome back Glen!

  7. Bill Lattanzio

    I’ll give you a few of my thoughts if you are willing to hear them. Firstly, I’m very glad to see you back. Secondly, please don’t get too caught up in the absurd hand tool vs power tool war/ traditional techniques vs modern/your way sucks my way is great nonsense. I like making furniture using whatever tool works for the job. Please let’s stick to that. I always liked that you stayed away for the BS and just concentrated on what you were building. Please don’t stray from that mindset.

    1. B Jackson

      Amen! Although I’m not above calling myself a “period woodworker”, as in mid-20th century using tools of the mid- and late-20th century. That way, I can justify using mid- to late-20th century tools on my projects – a nice mix of power and hand tools.

      Congrats on your coming back!

  8. esincox

    If you don’t mind my saying, Glen, I think you tried just a LITTLE TOO hard to get back in the saddle… ;)

    That said… (and all joking aside now)

    Congratulations. :) Kevin and co. made a good decision. Looking forward to your smooth transition into the only woodworking magazine I think is worth reading anymore.

    Rest assured I’ll let you know if any ideas come my way. You’ll have to be the judge of whether they are good or not, though.

    Oh, hey, while I have your ear (eyes?)… what happened to the Contributors page? I noticed it was missing a few issues ago and hoped it was just an oversight. But it appears to be purposefully left out of recent issues.

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