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  • Magazine Article Suggestions

    Hi,

    I am interested to hear what everyone would like to see in the pages of our magazine. What topics, or style of articles do you enjoy most? Projects (simple or advanced)... tool comparisons... techniques... finishing... turning.... human interest stories... photo gallery of inspirational pieces... whatever. Even if you have specific articles you would like to see, let me know. Maybe you want to learn more about building a Queen Anne highboy. Or want to learn about veneering techniques. Maybe furniture design is what you're after. It could be that you find inlay interesting. Surface ornamentation, anyone?

    I know I may be opening up a can of worms here. If I receive 100 ideas I can't possibly run them all, but I would like to get a sense of what people are looking for in a magazine. After all, the magazine is published every two months for you - our readers - so it better include what you want in it!

    Thanks very much.
    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

  • #2

    Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

    Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

    Hi Rob, I think you are doing a terrific job with the magazine.
    I would like to see a really good article on sharpening carbide saw blades. Covering all aspects what makes a good sharpening. I am sure like others I have had a service grind a blade sharp but the cutting results less than the quality of the blade when new and wonder why.
    Thanks, Mark
    sigpicToday's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut, that held its ground.

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

      Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

      I second Mark's suggestion. We send ours out and I've never given a second thought to sharpening.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

        Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

        I think some tool reviews that have some teeth to them would be nice.

        In my academic field we publish a lot of book reviews, and you're taught early that the standard template is as follows:
        1) summary of contents
        2) review of strengths
        3) review of weaknesses

        Most tool reviews I find though, not just those seen previously in CWW&HI, seem to follow this template:

        1) repeat several of the superlative phrases found in the manufacturers own add copy
        2) describe all of the AWESOME features of this new tool
        3) *maybe* share an anecdote about how amazing this tool performed the one time it was tried out in the shop ("cuts like magic!")
        4) conclude by repeating one of the advertisers superlative phrases ("will be a welcome addition to any serious woodworker's shop!")


        What we need are critical reviews. Reviews that work with the tool for quite a while first, giving it time to show its weaknesses, and thoroughly investigate it to determine what the flaws are, what things we would have to watch for. I mean, pretty much every tool works good when it's new. How well will they be working after a year though? two years? That's what would be valuable to know in a tool review!

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

          Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

          Along those lines as well, we've often had on the forum threads asking about certain lumber mills, or asking if anyone could recommend a good local mill, etc. I think an ongoing series that profiled mills in the major towns and cities across canada would be cool. Each profile could introduce the mill, give a bit about its history, and then describe the experience of going there to shop for wood. What was the selection like? How were the prices? Is it worth going there again? What is their contact info and how to get there? As the series progressed, it would become a great library, kinda like a zagat guide, but for wood instead of food!

          ETA

          This could even be a reader-fed feature. You could come up with a standard form that listed 15 questions, or something like that, which covered all the important facts that people would want to know about a mill. Readers could take the form with them when they visit their local favourite mill, fill it out, and submit it back to the magazine. Bonus points for including a picture. All the submissions could be collected and posted online, organized by town, and every month you could select one or two of the best ones for publication in the magazine. The form could have questions like:

          1) Where is the mill located, and how easy was it to get there? Are their hours convenient?
          2) What was the selection like? Lots of exotics, or just your standard domestic hardwoods?
          3) What was the quality of the wood you looked at?
          4) Were the prices good? Were you holding onto your wallet tight, or handing your money over as quick as you could?
          5) How was the service? Were they happy to see you, or were you a pesky annoyance?
          6) Did they have copies of CWW&HI on display?
          7) How easy was it to peruse the lumber pile and select your own?
          8) Do they offer other services, like dressing, and what are those prices like?
          9) Overall, would you go there again?

          and so on, that kind of thing. You could get someone with a sense of humour (i.e. not me) to make those questions a little funnier maybe.
          Last edited by callee; 09-11-2010, 09:14 PM.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

            Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

            Couple good thoughts so far. Thanks for your feedback.

            The carbide sharpening article is an interesting one.

            Callee, I completely agree with you. Nothing worse than a tool review that says nothing negative. As far as I know, there's never been a perfect tool made, and everyone likes to know the truth. Check out the upcoming bench top planer comparison. I give you the good, the bad, and the ugly. Honestly, I've tested out every one of these machines (some for years) and some of them REALLY surprised me. Not only on the good side...I had a few negative surprises as well.

            And I like the mill thought, too. I was thinking of doing something like this, and as a matter of fact we have a couple of articles on mills already written. I'm just figuring out what exactly to do with them. We may very well take your idea and run with it.

            Keep them coming.....
            Last edited by Rob Brown; 09-11-2010, 09:18 PM.
            ______________________________________________
            Rob Brown
            Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

            Comment


            • #7

              Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

              Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

              How about some serious wood movement research?

              We are always told that wood moves, and that we need to allow for that movement in whatever we build. But... sometimes people get away with things that, according to commonly accepted wisdom, should not work. And this has been happening for a very long time, given some of the 200+ year old furniture around that does not allow for wood movement in some areas of construction.

              Different species move different amounts. Radial vs tangential movement. Affect of finishes. Variation in environment. Joinery and fastener choices. Different adhesives. Lots of things contribute to the failure of a piece of furniture over time. I'm curious as to how some of the survivors managed to survive.

              Darrell
              Wood Hoarder, Blade Sharpener, and Occasional Tool User

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                Hi Darrell,

                Wood movement is a very important aspect of engineering furniture that will last. And it's a topic that some woodworkers - especially those who are just starting out - don't know much about. The ideas you put forth are good ones, but they could only be covered in a decent sized book. Having said that, we've talked about wood movement before in the magazine.

                Check out issues #59 (Understanding Wood Movement) and #60 (Dealing With Wood Movement). The first article is more about the science side of things. The second one covers how to deal with this movement while making quality furniture. Coincidentally, I wrote both of these articles. Have a look through them and see if they get into the facts deep enough for you. If not, a great book to check out is Bruce Hoadley's "Understanding Wood". It's a serious read.

                We could do an article that gets into a specific area of wood movement that wasn't covered in one of the two past articles. Let me know your thoughts....and thanks for posting your comments.
                ______________________________________________
                Rob Brown
                Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                  Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                  As a beginner I'd love to see some articles like these:
                  - what I can do with my router (different bits, cutting techniques, etc)
                  - how to safely use my table saw/band saw/router/drill press
                  - how to maintain my table saw/band saw/router/drill press
                  - info on essential tools needed for beginning in wood working
                  - tips on purchasing tools
                  - other safety concerns: I wear eye protection but should I be concerned with other things too?
                  - usefull beginner projects that teach me essential techniques or create usefull shop tables, benches, jigs, etc
                  - different kinds of usefull hardware

                  There is just so much I don't know so anything geared at beginners would help

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                    Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                    How about an article on the ruggedness differences between various types of finishes? Most finishing articles seem to deal with how something looks, or how easy they are to apply, but what about hardness tests? Resistance to water rings from wet glasses? Heat resistance? Dent resistance? And the like.

                    What I look for in a magazine is information I'm not likely to find out on my own. I don't have the ability to test 20 types of finish to determine which ones last longest, or do side-by-side tool comparisons, or talk to the masters of the craft.

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                      Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                      This forum has been used by a lot of experienced people who still have questions. People searching for answers sometimes don't really know what to search for in the forum. A regular feature could be the answer to some of the most interesting ( or amusing) questions asked.
                      It's all fun & games until someone gets hurt, THEN IT'S SPORT......

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                        Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                        Originally posted by rmdugal View Post
                        As a beginner I'd love to see some articles like these:
                        - what I can do with my router (different bits, cutting techniques, etc)
                        - how to safely use my table saw/band saw/router/drill press
                        - how to maintain my table saw/band saw/router/drill press
                        - info on essential tools needed for beginning in wood working
                        - tips on purchasing tools
                        - other safety concerns: I wear eye protection but should I be concerned with other things too?
                        - usefull beginner projects that teach me essential techniques or create usefull shop tables, benches, jigs, etc
                        - different kinds of usefull hardware

                        There is just so much I don't know so anything geared at beginners would help

                        Some really good ideas here. Thanks guys. I think if we where to cover all the topics on this list it would take us three years, but some great ideas, at any rate.

                        I like the finishing comparison, too. That might be something we can do over the next 6 months or so. That would give people a good idea of what finishes are good for different situations, making the choice of what finish to apply a bit easier.

                        We are also starting to pull the odd question or comment from the forum and include it in the magazine. Many people who read the magazine don't even know we have a great forum...and vice versa, strangely enough! In fact, in our Dec/Jan issue I answer a question about the planer article I did in the Oct/Now issue, and add some info about some other models I tested. Stay tuned.

                        Many people want to see beginner projects in our pages. What about advanced projects like a Queen Anne highboy, a table with tapered bent laminations, etc, etc? More as something to shoot for. There are often a lot of tips if advanced projects that people can use for making simpler projects.
                        ______________________________________________
                        Rob Brown
                        Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                          Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                          1) Head to head comparisons of thick hardwood rip blades/glue line rip blades. Most glue-ready quality?

                          2) Cover ALL the different sharpening methods for beginners, sandpaper sharpening, stones, pros and cons of all, most affordable methods, etc.

                          3) Bed designs -captains, platform, box springless, 4 poster,

                          4) Economical woodworking- ex: using a belt sander clamped for sanding, efficient means for working, recycling

                          5)LARGE capacity crosscut sled(over 24in.) Fine woodworking did one.

                          6)To buy one dado set. Can melamine sets do solid wood vs. solid wood sets with zc inserts?

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                            Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                            I have very sparse knowledge about wood/material suppliers and reading articles about these would be more helpful than the tool reviews. I would like to read information on both wood/material education as well as the suppliers of these products. Just like I read about routers and what they are used for as well who makes them and how well, I think a series on wood materials, what their used for, who supplies them and how good they are would be very helpful.

                            I'm not expecting anwsers here on this thread, but I think Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement could tackle some of these subjects.

                            1. How about a wood material and supplier reviews? Things like purchasing wood online or mail-order versus on-site purchases. Big-box stores versus dedicated wood supply companies, big and small. You could review quality suppliers of hardwood, softwood, sheet goods, etc. Talk about their quality, what is available in different parts of the country, etc.

                            2. For me, a small DIY consumer, the act of going into random cabinent shops (another general term) and asking for quality hardwood or sheet goods is rather challenging as I don't know what I don't know. I'd like to know what the difference between radial-cut-vener-partical-core-plywood vs flat-cut-7-ply-hardwood-core-plywood and where I can get it and at what price ranges.

                            3. General statements in magazines that say 'Go to a local supplier and ask for cabinet grade plywood or Melamine plywood, or MDF or MDO.' are kind of meaningless to me because all of the stores advertise grades like that. They all supply the 'professionals'. Through word of mouth and other posting on sites like this one, the big-box store generally get slamed on quality when it comes to these sorts of supplies for both quality and price, is that true, or myth? Local cabinent shops are said to have the best quality. If I look up 'Cabinet shop' in the yellow pages, there are only cabinet makers and they want to sell me kitchens and custom built-ins, not supplies. Do, local cabinet shops want to sell supplies like sheet goods and hardwood to me? What is a 'local cabinet shop', or are there other specific suppliers I should be looking for? Can/would a big-box store get this for me via special order?

                            I guess what I'm saying is that creating a few articles on the various wood and wood product supplies and just as importantly, quality suppliers, would help me out on what to buy, what to avoid, where to get it and where not to go looking for it. Don't generalize it too much, or won't be useful. Take the time explain what makes a good sheet of plywood (or other sheet goods, or buying wood, etc), where to use it in my projects, what I would expect to pay for it (ranges) and where to get it in small quanties, or even if I can get it single project quantities.

                            For example, this month 'Plywood' what grades are there (how to determine a grade that is not just 'trust me it's good') who sells good plywood, what is the price range for low/med/high quality plywood, etc. Next month MDF or MDO (what is the difference), or How to ask your local saw mill for enough rough maple to build a dresser that you have plans for in from the magazine. What is S4S or board feet, what terms do they actually use in the mill, or hardware store, or building center etc.


                            Jake

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                              Re: Magazine Article Suggestions

                              Jake I think that's a great topic.

                              One note for you which might be an immediate help is; do not go to Cabinet shops unless you want to buy cabinets. For hardwood lumber look for hardwood suppliers. Lots of them will carry hardwood plywoods too.
                              "Do it Right!"

                              Comment

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