You Never Write, You Never Call…

The June issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine should now be in subscriber hands, and it was on newsstands as of Monday. So…we’d love to hear what you think (good and bad), answer any questions you may have, etc. about the articles therein.

I’m always looking for questions and comments to use in our Letters column – especially stuff that will appeal to a wide range of readers – and I count on all of you for those. Also, letters needn’t be only about the current issue – or about any issue of the magazine at all. Have a woodworking question you want answered? Don’t be shy – send it our way (preferably via e-mail).

And even if we don’t use it in the Letters column, we’ll still respond (ditto for our contributing editors).

I look forward to hearing from you.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. If there are any digital subscribers who didn’t receive the link to download the June issue, please let me know right away, and I’ll take care of it right away. While I think we finally got the delivery challenges addressed…I could be wrong.

38 thoughts on “You Never Write, You Never Call…

  1. Tom H

    I really enjoyed the prose in the Irish chair article, but don’t envision most of your readership ever making one. I appreciate the fact that the arms were cut from branches that had the perfect natural angle, but in reality, 99.9% of us home-based basement or garage woodworkers (especially those of us who are captives of suburbia) will never be able to locate the appropriate branches or process the timbers if we do. The same goes for the steam bending jigs and fixtures. Great ideas for completing a challenging task, but clearly outside reality for most of your readers. So the article was valuable to me more from an interest point of view than from a how to article.

    To my way of thinking, book excerpts are a poor way to fill a magazine, especially to those of us who have purchased one of the books! It is one thing to print a teaser excerpt from an upcoming volume; re-printing a selection from something that has been in print for several years is not acceptable to me. I realize the magazine has been through some significant editorial changes over the past year, but “reruns” should be limited to TV.

    I look forward to the changes that Matthew referenced in his editors page piece. One of the suggestions would be to expand the Tricks of the Trade section. I inquired about submitting an idea, and was told that you already had more on hand than you could publish in the foreseeable future.

    Now, if the double click issue on the website could be fixed . . ..

    1. dmac4870

      Hi Tom,

      Lots of urbanites have access to green wood without knowing it. Many states allow limited harvesting of blown-down and standing timber on state lands with a permit from the state forestry or environmental resources office.

      Steam bending is fun (okay, I’m a geek) and not that difficult. Building a steam box is easy, and you can get a decent steam generator for under a hundred bucks, so not a huge hurdle. Just have to have the interest to do it.

      ….and if you have a steam box to hand, then that opens up a whole new world of opportunities for things like windsor style and comb back chairs!

      My 2 cents…take ‘em for what they’re worth.

      Cheers!
      Derek

  2. handtoolfool

    I find the old forms of furniture interesting from the historical perspective, but of little value as models for my future projects. Why must we strive to teleport ourselves back to days or yore just because we use hundred-year-old tools? There are few of us who could successfully utilize the joint stool or Irish chair (unless we already use a workbench as a piece of living room furniture, heh-heh).

    Regarding Jeff’s tenon sawing jig, don’t knock it until you’ve had a bunch of similar tenons to make. His jig produces the most consistent results of any method I have seen, using hand tools. I confess that I had the privilege of making my jig under Jeff’s personal guidance in one of his classes. That makes a huge difference.

    On the whole, the recent issues have been very good. Keep up the good work.

    1. dmac4870

      HTF,

      I may be in the minority, but I have already made a joint stool and use it routinely…..it’s perfect height for finishing chairs and other projects where I want to be on more of an eye level with the work. It’s comfortable, solid, and easy to move around.

      I’d love to try at building the Irish chair….I don’t think there’s anything at all “rough” or exceedingly unfashionable about it. It would be great on a porch or around a fire pit on the patio…..and I could see it inside, though maybe not in the living room, that’s true.

      I agree with you, no problem with jigs…hey, anything that’s going to help you get an accurate cut…and very useful to start building some muscle memory for the day you want to move away from a jig-guided cut.

      Just my 3 cents.

      Cheers,
      Derek

  3. rkparkinson

    A lot of good content for me in the June issue, I am new to this so there value in every article. Does the “Shaker Cabinet” announced on the cover refer to what the index lists as The ‘Wright’ Shaker Counter on p. 40? Additionally, ShopWoodworking would not accept the MEMONLY discount when I went to check out. Please direct me to who can help with this. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, the “Shaker Cabinet” coverline refers to Glen’s Shaker counter. I’m asking the store folk to check into your discount question – I’m sorry I don’t have the answer for you.

  4. J. Pierce

    one thing I would have loved to have had mentioned in the rabbets and ploughs article, that would have saved me a a bit of trouble a while back setting up my new to me moving fillester while you want the iron to protrude a hair from the sole, as Chris mentions, a key point is that the most protruding point is at the cutting edge. This probably isn’t an issue on planes that are new, but if you get a wooden fillester that isn’t as nicely made as the classic examples, that have the blade set at a slight tilt off of perpendicular, or you’re angling the blade a bit to make up for a less than accurately ground skew, and the blade protrudes it most further from the cutting edge, you get those rabbets that slowly get closer and closer to the edge . . .

  5. Rob Fisher

    I have made comments before regarding the new graphical layout on this blog post

    http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/popular-woodworking-magazine-february-2012-now-available

    Most of those points remain so I won’t reiterate all of them. There are a few things that deserve consideration though. First, copying parts of books is just being cheap. I will be buying LAP’s Make a Joint Stool, and when I do I will being paying for part of the book for a second time. If you were really interested in exposing more people to a specific topic then post it on the blog.
    Second, my printed copy has the first two (and last two) pages printed on cover stock. An error or on purpose? Seems useless, perhaps I am missing something. Also why the change in paper type for the cover. Previous was heavier weight. Current seems lighter, but maybe coated or glossier?
    Third, this is a big pet peeve of mine that I just cannot understand. My address label covers some text and image on the cover. How am I supposed to read the text and enjoy all of the details of Don’s chair with my label covering bits of it? This seems like a no brainer. The previous graphical layout had a spot just for the label. That made a lot of sense, this way does not.
    Also, why no “You Can Do That” article? And why the slight change in overall dimensions of the magazine?

    Now, for the content. In general I read PWW because it has the best content for me. To stay on that page I would love to see more hand tool related build articles. Keep the hand tool how to articles, as well keep Adam, George, and Bob’s columns. Perhaps a regular or semi-regular column from Chris as well as continue his occasional build articles (I know the campaign chest is coming, apparently just not soon enough for me).

    In this issue I enjoyed Chris’s joinery plane article the most. Don’s Irish chair is interesting for its joinery though it is not my design style. And of course Glen’s work is always amazing, though again not my design style and I would like to see more hand tools. Jeff’s handsaw jigs are interesting, though I wonder how useful they are to the average amateur not seeking speed but more the pleasure of building.

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      Rob,
      I understand why you might not like book excerpts, particularly because you’re already planning to buy the book — but I think of the rare times we print those as a way of introducing a new book to the audience (not everyone has heard of it, I’m guessing). And for those who don’t, for example, want to build a joint stool, the drawbore excerpt provides solid info for many styles of woodworking. (But we do keep excerpts to a minimum.)

      You’re right about the stock and the very slighty smaller trim size — but hopefully you also noticed that the additonal cover stock added 4 pages to the magazine — and we used those to provide more editorial. I don’t understand why exactly, but it was the most economically viable option to allow us to add a handful of pages. Then ICDT was held because we overestimated the extr amount of editorial we needed — the column is back in the August issue.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments — what readers think does, of course, matter a great deal to us.

  6. McDara

    Loved the issue. I will save it as I probably have to make the Irish chair at some point.

    Don’t mean to be negative but I was really taken aback by the artical on the handsaw jig. Chris Schwarz says in his handsaw video that the big advantage to handsawing is, you draw a line and cut to the line. No jigs or hassles you have to go through to use a table saw. This jig is not a bench hook or even a shooting board, it’s a complex jig to replace sawing skill. Didn’t expect it in Popular Woodworking.

  7. dmac4870

    Well I think this is probably one of the best issues I’ve gotten! I enjoyed all of the articles and will use most of them. I can say I learned something from each and every one, and that is always a good thing. Some particular favorites:

    The Irish chair article was great! It wasn’t entirely what I expected….I was surprised at the arm joinery; and the leg notches are interesting. I wish it had been about 2 pages longer to allow additional process details and pictures, but that’s okay. I could definitely see making and enjoying some of those chairs. They’d be great around a fire, on the porch, or in the old wattle & daub, thatched cottage! Now I have to figure out where the heck Paint Lick, Kentucky is!

    Chris’ article on plow and rabbet planes was very, very, very helpful. Like another commentor, I have the “wrong” LV plow plane….but I think I’ll keep it! Of course, there’s always room for a “proper” wooden version! The set-up and sharpening information is very useful…as is the skewed blade sharpening jig piece Chris has up on the blog….thanks for that, by the way.

    I liked the lamp article, and appreciate you running it. Huh…Mica….huh. I grew up in New England and still have a giant sheet of mica from an old mica mine (Ruggles…open to the public, you know)….now I have a use for it! Very cool! The Japanese styling is nice…keeps it light and airy…I like it…although I might be tempted to try and do a candle version of it.

    Adam’s 3rd installment on the cabinet was very enlightening….I had never noticed the bevel on the underside of pieces…now I see it everywhere! Amazing.

    Of course, anything coming from Peter and Jennie is welcome and bound to be informative and useful! I find the “takeouts” to be helpful, because I can cut them out and stick ‘em up on the wall while I’m trying to do a particular procedure.

    The other pieces, George’s design article and the mortise/tenon jig piece were both interesting reads and offer great potential for the future.

    So really, nothing bad to say at all about this edition! All I can say is thank you!

    If I had one regret….it would be that all the magazines seem to come within a week of each other. So I have a great week with all new magazines…woodworking, gardening, cooking, history, etc., read them over the next week and a half or so, and then have nothing to keep me through the rest of the month or two waiting for the next round to arrive. I wish there were a mid-month delivery option, so I could split up the arrivals. Of course, that won’t be a problem this month, as I’ll be rereading a number of the articles from PW. Already read the Irish chair article three times (trying to work it all out in my head) and the planes piece twice.

    Cheers!
    Derek

  8. Bill Lattanzio

    I have to tell you I loved the issue but have a very minor grievance with the end grain article. While I would put myself in the hand tool camp, I feel that making fine furniture with power tools requires just as much skill and layout as using hand tools. The joinery, in my opinion, is the most important thing, not how the joinery is made.
    I do agree that power tools are great for taking away some of the drudgery of woodworking. I also agree that hand tools force the users to work with the wood.
    There are several arguments either way. The author states that some that disagree with his ideology point out that he uses modern technology so therefore he shouldn’t necesssarily criticize it. In my opinion he is right on the money there. Yet I would point out that he more than likely wrote his article on a computer and sent it to you via email. Nothing wrong with that at all. However, had he typed it on an old fashioned type writer he probably would have had to choose his words much more carefully, possibly prepare several handwritten drafts and dictionary use to check spelling and possible grammatical errors, and then taken his time to physically type the article with as few mistakes as possible. The development of that skill set alone would have helped improve his spelling and grammar(not that his spelling and grammar are bad, just in theory) and therefore improve his skills as a writer, rather than using a computer to write the article and format it later.
    All in all a great issue, I’m just putting this out there to nit pick.

  9. BLZeebub

    One of your better issues. I dig the Irish chair and would adapt it to bent lams in a heartbeat. In fact, I have a sketch of a design I came up with a few years ago and the construction methods are spot on for it. Woohoo! That and I particularly dig that Mr. Weber latched onto a bit of Maloof to solve his seat/leg situation. The Follansbee article about drawboring was appropo too. Cherubini’s always pertinent and Mr. Walker’s column is always edifying. I haven’t finished the read yet but probably will this weekend. Keep up the good stuff. I’ll quit now before I turn into a total fanboy. Ta.

    BTW, Yours is the only other mag that stays on my breakfast table till its done. I won’t mention the other one by name but its initials are FWW.

    1. BLZeebub

      Too, I neglected to give a shout-out for Mr.s Huey, Schwarz and Miller for their fab contributions. I’ve already diced up some scraps for the M&T jiggage and where the heck is the Langster? He better have a good excuse for not being in this issue.

      Oh, and welcome to the party Mr. Teague.

  10. johnnnnn

    I think the Irish chair is really interesting. It’s certainly not a design you see every day, and it would go better in our house than something foofier like a Chippendale. I’m also a total sucker for spalting. Even after my wife vetoes it, I will still have learned a lot from the article.

    I design everything I build, either from scratch or adaptation, so I’m liking George Walker’s columns.

  11. B Jackson

    I actually enjoy the head stuff as well as the hand stuff, so this month’s End Grain was right up my alley, even if, as one reader pointed out, the author killed off poor ol’ William Morris about 10 years too soon. Everything else in the article sang to me, especially since I read and re-read Crawford’s Shop Class As Soul Craft, something I highly recommend, even if the craft is motorcycle maintenance, similar to Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    For that matter, I also enjoyed George Walker’s Design article for his walking me through how he came up with the design for his wife’s table. Kind of like what I go through with my wife, although would it be worth a book for me to walk everyone through all the permutations of our deliberations? I wonder …

    I read the projects articles more for ideas and techniques than for the actual projects. The Irish chair is a nice piece of work, especially if you might not be partial to a particular strain of Arts & Craft. I can easily see a set of this chair surrounding a Barnsley (sp?) hayrake table. Not to be reminded that Morris seemed to favor medieval and rustic designs.

  12. abt

    For me, ‘Ancient Chair, Modern Methods’ was a giveaway that this was something different and special. So, I wasn’t repulsed, but instead thought of Follansbee and his book on the joint stool. I personally think both ancient designs and ancient methods need to be revisited regularly. You just never know what a new context can bring from older work. I like the look of the chair.

    I also think exploring older designs in modern context adds weight to opinion in the woodworking domain beyond the craft. I think it makes for a better conversation between the academic/museum side and the practicing side.

    Of course I liked Chris’s article on the joinery planes. Except now I have to throw out my new Veritas plow plane because the shavings spill the wrong way. Darn.

    Don’t take that last sentence seriously, but maybe Veritas will put out ‘Plow Plane II “The Search for Less Shavings”‘ in the future and I can trade up.

  13. tms

    Hey Mom,

    Well, at least you sound like Mom… My first impression of this month’s cover was, “What a butt ugly chair!” Then I took a longer look and decided that it looked like it might actually be comfortable to sit in, so I’m reserving judgement until I get around to reading the article. I don’t think that I’ll be building one soon though.

    BTW- I don’t have the book on lamps, or Follansbee’s book, so thanks for those articles.

    It looks like we’ll be making our way from Seattle to LA for WWA this year, so thanks for that as well.

    We’re eating well, and wearing clean laundry, but I’ll only write to my sister if she writes first.

    Give my love to Pop,
    Tom

  14. J. Pierce

    I felt like the chair on the cover had some great elements to it, but it seemed a little cluttered to my eye – I haven’t read the article, but from the cover, it appears to be three different types of wood, and the carving and the spalted look of the seat seam to be fighting for attention to my eye. The carving doesn’t quite seem to fit with the chair, either. That said, I think the general form is pretty neat – I think I like the chair, but I can’t imagine a decor where I would want it in my house. Kind of odd, I suppose.

    One thing I really like, though, is that you guys post stuff in the letters column that isn’t just from the last couple of issues – it’s surprising next to other magazines that seem to have a shorter memory span.

    While we’re asking questions, how’s the milk paint holding up on your LVL bench, Megan? I just put some milk paint on the base my almost finished (any time now, I swear!) bench, and I’m wondering if I should put some film finish over it (it’s just got some danish oil right now) to help ensure the paint doesn’t transfer to my work . . .

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      J., the milk paint is holding up well — though it does have a topcoat of paste wax (and it’s due for renewal). I had a teeny bit of transfer from the leg-vise leg the first time I used it (a few passes with a No. 4 took care of cleaning up my workpiece) but since then, no problems at all in that dept. If you want to try it out with just the oil, thrown some scrap in your vise to see what happens (just as soon as you get the bench finished, of course…)

  15. kgoold

    I really enjoyed June’s issue, but since you asked for constructive comments…. I did like the Irish chair, but when I first saw the cover I was hoping to see the John brown welsh style chair Chris blogged about a few months ago. I was also hoping to see the campaign chest, but I can wait.

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      I think Chris put a finished picture of that chair on his other blog (lostartpress.com). His campaign chest is but a PWM issue away.

  16. xMike

    O.K.
    I’m sorry, but my response was “My God, what an ugly chair!”
    But then, I’m sometimes given over to excess – perhaps I should have just said “Gee…..”
    No appreciation for the finer things, I guess.
    Mike Dyer

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      S’OK. Different things appeal to different folk; I doubt we’ve _ever_ put an issue out in which every reader loved everything in it.

    2. tsstahl

      I dunno. I’d hate those chairs in my kitchen.

      But I’d love to see them around a game table (matching, of course), or on the porch.

      As Megan says, different strokes…

  17. JimM

    I very much enjoyed both the article on the irish chair and Schwarz’s article on using rabbit and plough planes. I was disapointed to see the article on building the lamp since I had recently purchased the book on wooden lamps and the same with peter Follansbee’s article since I had recently read and purchased his book. I felt I had read and payed for the same thing twice.

    Jim McGee

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      Sorry about that Jim — we thought the drawbore article would be out at the same time as the book, and create synergy. Guess our timing was a little off on that one — but I think it provides great info for those who don’t have the book already. On the PW lamp book, well, we wanted to expose more people to it. The next issue has no excerpts.

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