Magazine Plans – No Joking Allowed (It Seems)

My headshot from early 2005, just months before I joined the Popular Woodworking staff and before I had to explain myself to readers. Note the relative lack of wrinkles and the naturally red hair…

I’ve received a handful (a double handful, actually) of panicky e-mails in the last two days from folks who read the post on Christopher Schwarz’s personal blog about my “plans” for the magazine as we move forward. Yes, that is all a joke. Yes, I was in on it. Yes, I laughed. No, I was not offended. Yes, I will continue to be mirthful and sesquipedalian (can’t help either of those, nor do I wish to). No, we are not adding heart cut-outs to every project (and I should perhaps stipulate that we won’t be adding heart cut-outs to any project. I hate heart cut-outs. I altogether dislike decorative hearts in any form – and there’s no doubt a self-deprecating a joke in there somewhere to be made, but I won’t make it; I might be taken seriously).

So for those of you who want to know what’s really going on, the short answer is this: I have no plans (evil or otherwise) to make the magazine into something radically different. We will continue to offer solid, interesting and engaging woodworking information (from names both old and new), techniques, tools and projects, and we will continue – as we have since at least 2005 – to champion hybrid woodworking (that is, both hand tools and power tools).

Can the magazine be better? Of course it can; there is room for improvement in any publication (and, I would argue, in all things). Do I know yet what I might do to make it so? I do not. But I hope that when you get the June issue (the first on which my name will be on the masthead as editor), you won’t be able to pinpoint any changes. My goal is that you’ll read it and just think, “Wow – this is a really good magazine” – without noticing the differences that have perhaps made it better.

If you want to read and hear more, Kari Hultman has an interview with me on her blog, The Village Carpenter, and last week, I chatted with the Modern Woodworkers Association.

And to the far more of you who sent me congratulatory notes, “I can no other answer make but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks.”*

— Megan Fitzpatrick

* And no, you won’t see an uptick in Shakespeare in our pages…other than my plan to present all articles in iambic pentameter (but really, that form belongs to Marlowe).

42 thoughts on “Magazine Plans – No Joking Allowed (It Seems)

  1. bubbainmiss


    This sounds like an opportunity to me. I’m sure some of the panicky responses to Chris’ blog were highly entertaining. Why don’t you put them on your blog and let us enjoy them, too?

  2. Buildinggeek

    I actually had hoped for more Shakespearean references. But I will survive nicely on the regular content, thank you.
    I will be searching far and wide however for examples of fine furniture with tasteful heart decoration ;~)

  3. msiemsenmsiemsen

    The funniest part for me was looking at this months issue and see that there is an on line video about shaving your legs!

  4. Dazzzle

    In these days of “short attention span” articles a little long windedness won’t go amiss, I think I will take up a subscription soon rather than my current habit of picking it up from the newsagent, BTW I really liked Chris’ blog post a G.O.S.H. is a wonderful attribute in any editor . So congrats again on a well deserved promotion

  5. mysticcarver

    I thought it was a fun a brilliant way to have fun and get people excited! I am really excited to see you at the helm and believe the magazine will prosper and do as it always does and get better! I enjoyed your workbench class at WIA and think the world of your writing and insights!! Great pic of you btw 🙂

  6. Greg3G

    Congrats Megan on the promotion. I was in stitches reading Chris’ blog. I am looking forward to seeing how the magazine improves under your leadership.
    I am sorry to hear about the lack of heart cut outs and painted gnomes but I still have my fingers crossed that you will bless with an occasional editorial crafted in Shakespearean Prose.
    Again, wishing you the best.

  7. spenlarjp

    I am new to woodworking and Popular woodworking mag. I like the magazine very much. Keep up the good work. Good luck with your new job.

  8. Rev John

    Meg, I spent the last few days making a heart shaped jig and its many-feet-long. (Just brush up on your Latin to get the right dimension)

    I think you’ll be great, you have had great tutors in your woodworking journey.

    {ps 6 years of Latin helps with foot long words.}

  9. Richard Dawson


    While woodworking experience and sensibilities should be helpful to any editor of PW, I believe managing and organizational skills are the real requirements. It appears your previous position was a perfect prelude to your new assignment.

    Since Matthew’s tenure was relatively brief and all went well, it is natural to draw a contrast between you and Chris. You both send me to the dictionary fairly often, you to Merriam-Webster, Chris to Urban. I think we need both, or at least need one and enjoy the other. That’s a balance that works for me.

    I believe you will be an outstanding editor of an outstanding publication.


  10. Bear Limvere

    Hi Megan — having read your past articles, I KNEW Chris’ post was a joke. I’m glad, but not surprised, that you were in on the joke. This post did force me to my dictionary, which isn’t a bad thing either. I doubt I’ll be adding “sesquipedalian” into too many daily conversations.

    I am looking forward to your leadership of the magazine!

  11. jeffreyi

    That was a joke? Dang. I was looking forward to carving pink basswood gnomes and plans for dovetailed barbie dollhouse furniture.

  12. Chris H

    Funny … I don’t remember a blog post like this when Matt took over. Why the fuss, I wonder?

    Anywho, congrats Megan. I for one am looking forward to tole paintings of gnomes.

    1. Jon

      Maybe because during the last editor’s tenure, the amount of content per issue dropped substantially. The quality of the paper the magazine was printed on also also declined. I’d say the issue with Roy Underhill was where the drop off started. Although was still SOME good content in those issues, what I was seeing wasn’t making me confident about the survivability of the magazine. I realize the economy is not too peachy, but expected better from what had been built into the best woodworking magazine out there.
      Hopefully the magazine can get back on track, with the new editor.

Comments are closed.