Magazine Plans – No Joking Allowed (It Seems) - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Magazine Plans – No Joking Allowed (It Seems)

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

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).

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Showing 42 comments
  • JWatriss

    But… What if I’ve been diagnosed with hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia?

    So insensitive.

  • johnbrownmd

    also speaking about all things wood how about the wooden bicycles being made – a story about them would be interesting Google it they seem amazing

  • johnbrownmd

    Megan please do us a favor and save us from outselves. My finger keeps moving to the place order button for the new Festool beefed up Domino jointer. So here is what I propose. A test to compare the long and beefed up tenon of the new festool jointer and mutiple tennon (4 in a thick piece of wood exampe rail and style of an entry or interior door using the original domino) vs. the new domino jonter.

    Help us accumulators of all things new from sinning.

  • NoelNNY

    You could do us all a favor and ditch the preppy, exec look – IMHO – I much prefer the carpenter bib overall look – although a nice, subtle 4″ high heel would really complete the look……

    And no, I did not Google all the prolific words; if Megan wrote them, they are real words….I believe it.

    Yes, you can skip the Shakespeare – and replace it with more gorgeous images of MEGAN!!! Anyone want to second the motion?

    When do we get the calendar?

    Did you ever (you seem to be from my era) see the album cover for “Whipped Cream”, by Herb Albert and Tijuana Brass? It had a very beautiful woman who appeared to be sitting cross legged on floor and tastefully covered in whip cream to just above chest level – and spritz in her hair if I recall.

    WOW- could we sell more magazines if we offer a one time pull out pin up of Megan covered similarly in Chris Schwarz’s hand plane curls and saw dust.


    (No, I am not a sicko – TIC intended!!)

    • willynilly

      I will second the motion…
      Smokin hot in every category.

    • NoelNNY

      Here is a link to the Whipped Cream album cover –

      Can we get Chris S to convince her to duplicate it – only in saw dust and hand plane shavings?!?!?!?

      Check the music from the album – wonderful stuff!

      • Megan Fitzpatrick
        Megan Fitzpatrick

        Not a chance in Hades.

  • wb8nbs

    Why the 2005 photo? We all know what you look like from “The Woodwright’s Shop”.

  • robertwf

    Your star is bright, Could you please send me some sunglasses with my next issue? 🙂 as far as jokes are concerned – F$%k ’em if they cant take a joke, You do an outstanding job.

  • sandylamovsky


    Congratulations on embarking on this new phase of your career. AS an academian myself, i really enjoy your wide vocabulary. I am a big fan of yours.

    Sandy Lamovsky

    p.s. I think you look just as good today as you did in that older photo.

  • Chuck the Wise

    Hey Megan, sesquipedalian makes it sound like you’ve joined a cult or have seven legs, neither of which reflect in your picture. Don’t let the Boys Club get you down, you are doing (and looking) great.

  • Jerry-S

    Chris’s post even made my wife laugh. It was great, and only made me happier that I am a subscriber. It sure as heck made it feel like you will have an excellent time as editor. I love your sense of humor. Congrats. Looking forward to the future.

    Side note, a couple of comments noted that the content has shrunk. I am not convinced. I have noticed the magazine feels “thinner”…but that is because there is way less advertising! Kudos! I love that it is like back to back articles, with very little advertising breaking them up.

    Can’t wait for my digital subscrip to start in the next issue. Paper AND e-version is the way for me. Thanks for a great woodworking resource.

  • Milford

    Since you have begun trying to expand our vocabulary, might I point out that “sesquipedalian” is to verbiage as Shakuhachi” is to Japanese flutes, which are 1.8 shaku long. And presumably that’s the woodworker’s shaku, not the longer one used by makers of kimono (there is no separate plural form of words in Japanese).

  • Cosmo

    Like your new photo Megan…
    Even though I was pretty sure Chris’ piece was in jest, I was still a little concerned that it might contain some grains of truth.
    There are only 2 woodworking magazines I still subscribe too; Popular Woodworking and Fine Woodworking.
    Keep up the good work and I send my wishes for continued success.

  • Barquester

    I’m with Jon on this one, where is the rest of the magazine? Did it go to the same place the 1/32 missing from a sheet of plywood went?
    At least they are easier to burn when I’m finished with them.

    • John Hutchinson

      The reporting of the struggles facing Bob and Steve, with regard to gender identity, was the icing on the cake. I’m sure that made them smile.

  • John Hutchinson

    I think the bigger questions are: Were Bob Lang and Steve Shanesy in on the joke? Did they laugh? Were they offended? I enjoy office humor as much as the next guy, but I don’t feel compelled to broadcast it to the world on Facebook. Self-deprecating humor is fine, but not at the expense of others.

  • blefty

    You didn’t scare me off (and by the way that’s a good picture). I’ll re-subscribe!

  • stjones

    You’ll do a great job. BTW, I used to be sesquipedalian but now I’m a Presbyterian.

    • corgicoupe

      Presbyterians use big words too, like: Supralapsarianism & Infralapsarianism

  • 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?

  • psanow

    See, people take this stuff seriously.
    Good luck.

  • 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 ;~)

  • msiemsen

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

  • 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

  • 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 🙂

  • Periodcraftsmen


    Congrats on the new position!!! Also wow great head shot, you looked and still look awesome….


  • 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.

  • Tumblewood

    I’m sad. I really wanted unicorns.

  • 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.

  • 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.}

  • esincox

    Psh… I was never worried.

    Gratz again on a well-deserved promotion, Megan.

  • Krod

    As you quoted earlier, “no cause for panic”. Maintain course. You’re doing fine.

  • Chuck Bender

    Megan, Do you want me to glue back in the heart shaped cutout or just replace the panel?

    • Clay Dowling

      Heck no man, you leave that cutout and you show it with pride! Any accomplished woodworker should be in touch with his feminine country-craft side.

  • 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.


  • sablebadger

    It’s the internet, it MUST BE TRUE!


  • 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!

  • jeffreyi

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

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