Steve Shanesy Steps Down as Publisher, But Steps Up as Woodworker

After nearly 17 years with Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’m stepping down as publisher and business leader of all things woodworking at our parent company, F+W Media – that is, Popular Woodworking books, the magazine, the Woodworking in America conference and our web sites. But this isn’t so much a goodbye as it is a transition that will allow me the time and luxury to return to my woodworking roots. Before coming to the magazine, I began my career as a professional woodworker in the Los Angeles area and I’m going to return to building things with my hands in the shop.

So, in the coming weeks as I ease out of my current job and the company conducts a search for a new woodworking group leader, I’m discussing my future involvement with the woodworking team and F+W management. And I’ll be here to ensure a smooth handoff to my successor.

I expect to get back to writing articles, writing some books, contributing to the web site and participate in our Woodworking in America conference Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Best of all, I’ll have time to spend in the shop I set up with my son a year or so ago. Some of you might remember my tiny, 400 square-foot basement shop – the one with the crazy-colored ceramic tile floor featured in the June 2005 issue. We now have a 2,000-square-foot shop in an old building that’s full of character, near downtown Cincinnati. What a change. There’s plenty of natural light, high ceilings, hardwood floors and dirt-cheap rent.

I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished in my years with the company. When I took over as editor in 1994, the magazine needed a lot of work. With the help of Editor Christopher Schwarz, a transformation was begun in earnest in 1998. Today, we publish what many say is the best magazine in the category. With Christopher’s leadership we got serious about the role of hand tools in today’s shop. I think it’s fair to say we played a part in the renaissance of hand-tool use in recent years. Our woodworking books are successful and the Woodworking in America conference has redefined what a woodworking “event” is. None of this would have been remotely possible without Christopher, Megan, Linda, Glen and Bob, or David Thiel, who leads our woodworking book efforts. With so much talent around, my role became one of clearing the way for all the good ideas and hard work that came from the team. To them, thank you, thank you, thank you.

And to those of you who follow the blogs and read our magazine and books, watch the videos and attend our conference, thank you, too. It’s your support of our work that allows us to do what we enjoy so much. It’s been good, with even better days to come.

– Steve Shanesy

p.s. from the staff: Here’s Steve’s first PW head shot, from 1997:

9 thoughts on “Steve Shanesy Steps Down as Publisher, But Steps Up as Woodworker

  1. Steve Shanesy

    Thank you all so very much for your well wishes, praise for the magazine and advice. Frankly, all this is a bit overwhelming.

    It really seems only a short time ago that I was introduced to the concept of woodworking– “short” being 30+ years. Sort of ironic that after spending two years attending trade school at night, I left an office job to take up woodworking full-time. I thought to myself that while I didn’t know where it would lead me, I believed if I followed my passion it would all turn out fine. And looking back, I couldn’t have imagined what an amazing journey it would be. So now, here I go again, leaving an “office job” to get back to the craft.

    I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities. I’ve met many remarkable people. I hope I’ve given back (and continue to give) to woodworking to pay back at least some of treasures it has given to me.

    Steve

  2. Bill

    Steve,

    Thanks for all you’ve done. I’m pretty much a neophyte as I started woodworking in 2005 when I retired. So I’ve been privileged to watch and participate in a small way to the transition of PopWood. I hope your transition to not having anyplace you have to be, or to be there (antwhere) at any particular time, is a smooth one. Good luck on your fututre endeavors and hope to see you at WIA.

    Bill

  3. Adam CherubiniAdam Cherubini

    Steve,

    Thanks for the opportunities you gave me. You’ve made a huge difference to woodworking, presiding over what may be the biggest return to craft since the Arts & Crafts movement in the 19th century. No one deserves some shop time more than you. Enjoy it.

    See you in September.

    Adam

  4. keithm

    The words of a great manager:

    “With so much talent around, my role became one of clearing the way for all the good ideas and hard work that came from the team”

  5. Mark Maleski

    Uh, oh. PWW has turned into something special under your watch; with the cyber presence and community outreach you’ve become much more than just another magazine. Choose your successor carefully, please.

  6. Gary Roberts

    The best of luck to you Steve! Under your guidance, the whole shebang has become the go-to place for woodworkers. It’s a find legacy to leave as the boss. Now it’s time to really get your hands dirty again.

    Gary Roberts

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