PW at Home Depot! - Popular Woodworking Magazine

PW at Home Depot!

 In Arts & Mysteries Blog, Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

A small plumbing crisis (that’s redundant) brought me to the Depot today. I stopped by the magazine rack to see what was new in FWW magazine. My subscription has lapsed and I’ve been too lazy to re-up. I’ve always liked FWW. I like woodworking and I like ww magazines. I like articles about things I don’t do and may never do. I recall a good one about tuning up a bandsaw. I used one of those once and really wasn’t all that impressed with it for the job I was doing. I may never use one again. But it was a good article. That’s the way I feel about ww magazines. I think they are a cheap source of information and inspiration.

While at the magazine rack at the Despot, I saw the FWW/FHB “Tools 2010”, a yearly tool review issue. The hand tool section consisted of clamps, paint brushes and something else I thought was equally pointless. I guess I can kinda see why hand tool people feel they get short shrift from FWW sometimes. Otherwise, I think they make too big a fuss.

Long story short, FWW wasn’t on the rack. In it’s place was the latest issue of PW! I’ve never seen PW at my local Lowe’s or Despot’s and I was impressed. Has anyone else seen the switch in their local home center?


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Showing 16 comments
  • Kris

    I was at the Depot today and also noticed the last two issues of PW were there. I don’t recall if they used to be. I have subscribed to PW and FWW for sometime so I wouldn’t have noticed if both magazines were there.

    What I did notice and have noticed over the past year or so is that the magazines that I subscribe to show up on the newsstand before I get them in the mail! It used to be if you subscribed you got the magazines days if not weeks before you could buy them on the stand. I don’t like this new development.

  • Mike

    Sorry for going off an a tangent here, Adam.

    This subject–that of one tool type choice over another–is one that sort of confounds me. Ultimately I could really care less about whether a project is built using powered tooling, hand tools or a mixture of both.

    It’s the project and its details, in all their glory, that I want to see. Making the "transition" from one type of tool to the next in order to build something a magazine prints should be pretty dang easy for anyone. For example, a tenon. I don’t care how the magazine article’s author chooses to cut them. With all the possible means of making a tenon, I neither need to use their method nor tooling. I can use what I have at my disposal or my desires if I have more than one means of making a tenon. Same goes for *everything* about the subject of an article.

    I do have a preference, I suppose, and lean to wanting more print education of the use of hand tools. But whether that is a self-serving desire or wanting a better balance in print, I don’t know.

    What I do know is that it is the content I believe needs to improve regardless of which publisher. How an author chooses to make the content of the article is what I do not care about.

    Perhaps what is needed is the occasional article whereby the author injects a "I used a table saw to run this rebate, but here’s how to do it with a moving fillister." Obviously they cannot do so with every aspect of the build, else we are talking about a book-length article. I believe this technique of writing was done more than once in Woodworking mag. It’s a good method of interjecting a hand tool alternative.

    Best wishes.

    • dreamcatcher

      Ahh, but that’s the beauty of cabinetmaking… there is no ‘one way’ to do it nor is there a pre-set result. It’s all up to the craftsman and the designer. From spruce to bubinga, from screwed butt-joints to hand cut dovetails, and from $5 handsaw to $500k CNC router…. it’s all the same.

      Now, go open an issue of FWW brother mag FHB and get a different perspective. Houses must function properly and abide to codes that regulate the methods used in their construction.

      Be appreciative of your freedom to express yourself through your work.


  • Greg M

    Sorry, that should have been "I don’t agree with *everything* they print…".

    I subscribe to both PWM and FWW as well as several others, and I get different value from each of them. For me, it’s money well spent and each delivery in my mail box brings me some satisfaction.

  • Adam Cherubini

    Got to leaf through the latest FWW. It included an article by period furniture maker Mickey Callahan. I didn’t get to read the article, but I was glad to see that sort of content in FWW.

    Only quibble: If you are writing about 18th c reproduction work, please include one photo of hand work. I’m really not interested in seeing your hands pushing a board thru a table saw. That’s not a technique I’m interested in and I’m guessing most guys who own table saws already know how they prefer to do that. Don’t recall if the guards were removed. Won’t go there.

    So this is a shout out to editors and authors in both mags: Ladies and Gentlemen, these reproduction furniture makers all use hand tools. We want to see at least one photo, read one paragraph on hand tool usage. Otherwise, in my book, we’re really not seeing period woodwork.

    To Greg, thanks for keeping us on an even keel. I don’t like to see FWW thrown under the bus. I’ve met a bunch of these guys. They are great guys, fellow woodworkers, and deserve our respect. We may not love everything they do, but that’s okay.

  • Ed Furlong

    I subscribe to both PW and FWW, and find that I get different information and insight from each. The above-noted expansion of hand tool topics in FWW suggests to me that they watch the competition, and is a compliment to PW.

    I got a complete collection of FWW (at that time about 180-200 issues) and it was a real gold strike, particularly the early issues, done in black and white with a balanced mix of hand and power woodworking articles. Sound like any magazine you know….? Anyway, I welcome the added emphasis on hand tools in FWW. It has two benefits, on general and one more personal. The general benefit is that competition will enhance the overall quality of handtool articles in all woodworking publications. The more personal benefit is that it could increase interest in, and thus enhance the value of, a complete paper collection of FWW, which continues to have a dollar value even as DVDs containing the "complete collection of "name your favorite woodworking magazine’" proliferate. For a surprisingly high segment of the reading population, digital media isn’t what they want.

  • Greg M

    For those who thought FWW "lost its way" and haven’t read it in a while, I suggest you give it another try. They’ve recently added a regular "Handwork" feature (OK, it’s no "Arts and Mysteries"). The last issue’s was authored by none other than Mr Roy Underhill, and the issue also included articles on refurbising a vintage hand plane. Sure, I don’t agree with they choose to print, and – as Adam points out – many of their articles are about things I’ll never do. But I do like the different (compared to PWM) design emphasis they present, and they have some well-respected contributing authors.

  • Jeff

    PW has been at the various Borg’s for as long as I can remember, and I never considered it odd.

  • Dennis Heyza

    PW has definitely surpassed FW in my opinion, particularly for those who are hand tool oriented. I plan to corner their editor at the 18th Century Woodworking conference next month and suggest others in attendance do the same.

  • Adam Cherubini

    That’s what I think happens, Bill. Everybody want’s a magazine custom tailored to their interests and skill level. In my case, I’ve never seen a magazine custom tailored to my interests. Only thing close is "American Furniture". So maybe my expectations are lower.

    It’s a fact that FWW had articles on things like windsor chair joints and spoon bits and how to sharpen a center bit long ago. Those subjects clearly don’t have mass appeal and I haven’t seen that sort of esoterica in FWW for many many years.

    I write about stuff like that and I try to make it interesting to a wider audience. My feeling is that smart people have broad interests and can make connections between seemingly unrelated topics. Woodworkers, I think as a general demographic, are smarter than the average bear, more resourceful etc etc, so I think I’ve had some success.

  • Bill

    I let my subscription to FWW expire because they had changed over the last couple of years. Due to your post I realized that FWW didn’t change, I did.

  • Steve

    My local Lowe’s has carried both (and also the late Woodworking) for at least the last several years. So has the local Kroger (!). In fact, Kroger is where I first saw Woodwork, the high-gloss design-oriented magazine that now, unfortuately, only comes out once a year.

  • robert

    I inherited an almost complete collection of FWW when my father in-law passed. Looking through the early ones is always a treat. That was a great magazine. FWW lost its way sometime in the 1990s. PWW (though really Woodworking magazine, tragically no longer available) is what FWW used to be.

  • BruceL

    In the early days of it’s existence, I used to get "Woodworking" mag at the Depot. That always surprised me. I don’t recall whether they had FWW or PWW.

    Bruce (in SE PA)

  • nathan

    Central PA. We have them on the rack here. It was a surprise for me to the first time I saw it there.

  • Mike Siemsen

    Good to see you are getting out. I was confused by your statement "A small plumbing crisis (that’s redundant)". Is the redundancy in "small plumbing" or "plumbing crisis"?
    Happy holidays!

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