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My Dad always said that the older you get, the faster time passes. The older I get, the more I realize how smart he was. As another December makes its way through life’s shredder, it’s time to take a look back at the Top 10 Popular Woodworking web stories of 2009. Did you search, download or read any of these top stories? Are you responsible for this ranking?

The number-one accessed article was originally published in February 2001 , some Popular Woodworking articles have long legs. I know many woodworkers fabricated the “Ultimate Miter Saw Stand” when the piece first appeared in the magazine, but if you waited until now, you’re in for a treat. Not only do you get the article and a PDF plan (click here), you have access to a SketchUp drawing of the stand as well (click here). Now you know why things get better with age.

Many woodworkers think know that Editor Christopher Schwarz has a thing for workbenches. It seems as though many other woodworkers have the same “problem” (or they’re just cheap). The second-most-accessed article is the “$175 Workbench,” from way back in 2002. This article also has a SketchUp drawing in the Popular Woodworking 3D warehouse and a PDF of the plan linked at the bottom of the article. But this piece has so much more. Open the article and take a look at the guy building the bench (click here). Sure he looks familiar, but you’ll have to look closely to recognize him.

Routers, as a topic, are so hot. The third-most-popular web story is Jim Stack’s three-part piece on a “Redesigned Router Table.” Jim lays out the piece with step-by-step photos (46 photos in all) and walks through the entire build. You really want to open this article, don’t you? (OK, click here to get started.)

Coming in at number four of the top web stories in 2009 is the “Best New Tools of 2009” (Click here). What’s interesting about this blog entry is that the piece focuses on the runners-up and not the actual tools we chose as the year’s best. If you would like to take a look at the actual winners, pick up the December 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking.

At the halfway point, we again venture back in time to 2002. That must have been a banner year in woodworking. The article is the “All-weather Morris Chair.”  This article makes it obvious that many Arts & Crafts devotees also enjoy hanging around the fire pit on a cool summer evening. I’ll place my bet that there’s an adult beverage close by. (Access the article here.)

The sixth-most-popular piece was written in 2009. But you could say this piece is 250 years old. It’s the blog entries about Old-growth Mahogany (click here). We’re talking about 750 million board feet of mahogany submerged in the waterways in Belize. This is lumber that’s kin to the wood we see in furniture at our museums. I’m drooling. Somebody hand me a napkin.

The number seven article is another Chris original. We all know that Chris dances between hand tools and power tools. Don’t believe me? Watch this video. In “Tale of Two Tabourets,” Chris builds two small tables, one with hand tools and the other using electric-powered real-man tools (remember , I’m a power-tool guy). Throughout the piece, he justifies his tool choices and the processes he uses. It’s a classic struggle not to be missed. (Read the epic adventure here.)

I think it’s great (and healthy for woodworking) to see an “I Can Do That” project in the top ten list. Popular Woodworking‘s Web Editor, Drew DePenning, built the ICDT Storage Bench, the eighth-most-accessed article in 2009. Open the article here. He found a design he liked, developed the SketchUp drawing (click here), then ventured into the shop and knocked out a winner. You can do it, too.

Evidently, you don’t need a law degree to use and build the “Simple Barrister Bookcases” from the April 2007 issue of (click here). This section-stacked bookcase is as easy to build as the name implies. Give them a try. Obviously, you won’t be the first to do so because this article is number nine of the Top 10.

To wrap up the Top 10 List, and to once again prove that Popular Woodworking articles stand the test of time, let’s jump in the “Way-back Machine” and take a look at another router article from 2001, the “Router Table Mate.” This article (click here) touts a gizmo-and-gadget free, compact router table that, at the time, would set you back a whopping $50. If you’re one of the woodworkers that downloaded this article and built the Mate, please leave us a comment and let us know how much money we should figure in today’s dollars.

The trip back through the Top 10 web and newsletter stories has been fun and I hope it has opened your eyes to the many projects available from our online stash. Keep searching, keep downloading and maybe your favorite article will be on this list in 2010.

– Glen D. Huey

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  • Al Navas


    Thanks for the write-up; it was fun to look at all of these once again! Your timing was perfect, as I was working on my own list!

    — Al Navas

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