I received the latest issue of a major woodworking magazine a few days ago and my wife Anita was flipping through it. She came across an article about making a cabinet that hid a high end mixer and in disgust, threw the magazine down and said “why would anyone make this piece of shit?” For years she’s been telling me that the projects in these woodworking magazines I subscribe to often have articles with outdated projects that were only popular in the 1980’s. I never really thought about it until she said that.
She does have a point. The writer of the article wrote that the “appliance garage acts like a cabinet effectively cloaking an unsightly blender.” I don’t know about anyone else, but my wife prizes her Kitchen Aid mixer. She would never even think about hiding it on her countertop. If anything, she would highlight it.
Don’t get me wrong, not all the projects in the woodworking magazines I get are outdated, but it does seem sometimes the furniture that are featured would look nice in my Grandma’s house. So much so, that when I look for designs of furniture that hip and popular, I often look at design magazines. Below is the latest issue of Country Living. When flipping through it, I came across several pieces of furniture that would appeal to a younger generation and would be fun to build.
Here’s a nice deck lounge chair that looks like it would fit nicely on a cruise ship. The chair would be made out of weather resistant wood and would be a challenge to build with all the hinging and sculpted parts. This chair would look real nice on the cover of a woodworking magazine.
Here’s a simple bench made from reclaimed wood. These types of benches are real hot right now in the marketplace. In fact, anything made from reclaimed wood is hot. It’s hard to even find old barn wood on Craigslist in my area and when I do, the owner wants a premium for the wood. A project like this could be tackled in a weekend and would be a real hit with young women.
The real nice piece for me in the magazine is this architect’s desk that these ladies are sitting at. The wood looks to be made from stained maple or birch and apparently has some wrought iron hardware on it. It would be hard to draw a plan from this little photo, but it could be done. If a woodworking magazine featured this desk on their cover I bet it would be a hit.
These are just a few examples of the many furniture that are in these design magazines. If you have time, go to your local bookstore, grab a cup of coffee and browse through some of them looking for ideas. You may be surprised what inspires you. By the way, take a look at what is on the counter in the background on the cover of the Country Living magazine.
10 thoughts on “Why my Wife Hates Woodworking Magazines”
Taste I am told is not to be disputed. But…mistakes and misconceptions should be identified and corrected.
I don’t know what woodworking magazine you are referring to and I won’t try to guess. Instead I think we will correct the problem by expanding our vocabulary. Woodworking magazines ,as a class should include those that deal with traditional objectives of woodworking: making furniture and decorative objects of the highest quality and beautifully designed using both traditional and modern tools and techniques. So it includes all design genres. I am aware of only two such publications in the US. The other magazines fall into two additional classes. First the serious hobbyist’s magazine exemplified by Woodworkers Journal and the Woodsmith publications. They address well made wooden objects using power tools and simple joinery, and finished with modern easy to use products. The last class is the DIY publication such as Handyman. They focus on the type of project your wife abhors.
When I look at the world in these terms there is clarity. I don’t care for the type of furniture that was used as your example. I respect it if made by a woodworker. If it had been made by IKEA, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. In neither case would I make it or buy it.
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I agree that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. There maybe a lot of people who see the cabinet and wish to build it. Maybe it would have been better had there been a $12 toaster inside instead of a $400 mixer. But after seven years of marriage, I’ve learned that my wife is always right. So when she comes to me and tells me something is ugly, I tend to believe her.
I concur completely with your blog (and your wife)! I live in Europe so I don’t know all American magazines, but the few I have seen only show projects that would fit very well in my Grandmothers home. If the craft or hobby or whatever to call it, should atract more young people, it would be a good idea if the editors examined some modern stuff. Young people overhere do like antique furniture, but not the polished perfect examples shown in the woodworking magazines. They have an eclectic taste, like to mix radical sculptured modern stuff with worn down antiques. They like light colors. They like bizare combinations. In fact they like everything except the Victorian taste of the fine furniture magazines. I am not so young myself anymore, but I feel young and I dislike the projects in these magazines.
BTW, woodworking magazines are extinct in Europe.
While not extict, there are fewer woodworking mags today than there were a few years ago across the pond over here. Magazines and newspapers are having a tough go at it today because the younger generation gets their info from the internet. That trend will only continue.
I have to agree with your wife on this one. Woodworking magazines projects usually fall into 3 categories: country, extreme traditional, and what I like to call. Jetson’s furniture. The Jetson’s furniture bothers me the most-it reminds me of what somebody in 1959 thought that the furniture in 2014 would/should look like. My point being, most of the furniture in these magazines isn’t something you would see in the average persons home.
I think Woodsmith is the most balanced: most of the furniture projects in the magazine use real, traditional joinery with a blend of modern and traditional techniques, and it’s also furniture that is generally “in style” that would work well in most houses.
While I usually don’t make the projects from a magazine, I do use them for inspiration. Woodsmith seems to be the most well rounded in that regard.
Of all the magazines out there, I have built the most out of Woodsmith. They seem to do the best job of creating pieces that would appeal to most people.
Dwell Magazine. I call it house porn. It’s absolutely addictive. You should see the goodies in there.
And the answer to “no plans available” is “artistic plagiarism.”
Lastly, all my reclaimed wood comes from the scrap piles remodelers leave outside on the curb during home renovations. All you have to do is ask. I haven’t heard “No” yet. Whatever you haul away they don’t have to pay to dump.
I’ll have to check Dwell out. I’m vaguely familiar with it, but I don’t think I have ever read it. I’ve never thought about hanging out at remodeling jobs to get wood. Thanks
your wife sounds like a really high class broad
Thanks. She can swing with the best of them.