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Thread: Where are the Plans?

  1. #1
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    Default Where are the Plans?

    This is a fairly important topic, so I've "copied" the relevant portions of the jverreault's Blog into the magazine section.

    jverreault on 11-25-2011 at 01:29 AM (2146 Views)

    I just got the latest edition (dec/jan) of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. They have a great cover shot and article on building a Arts & Crafts style cherry night table. Great article, photos, and nice materials list...but wait... where is the drawing of the bloody thing? No where in the mag and I will be damned if I can find a link on the website to a sketch-up file or even a simple pdf of the table.
    Hi,

    Thanks for your comment. I have been considering adding exploded drawings to some of our projects, but it's a tough call. They tend to take up half a page, or more, and that's space we don't have for something else. Some people don't need these sort of drawings, but to others they are quite important. I would love to add the drawings for every project we do, but there are trade-offs.

    I will talk about it with our publisher (Paul Fulcher) and see what his thoughts are, as I'm definitely open to adding these sort of drawings.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Rob Brown
    Rob, thanks for replying so quickly. Just so you know, I am a long time subscriber (Paul sold me my subscription at the last of Woodworking Shows in Victoria BC several years ago).

    I agree with your assertion that "...Some people don't need these sort of drawings..." but those very, very rare birds that can build something without even a sketch are not the vast majority of your readership. Most of use use drawings or plans to build from whether they are our own creations or from a publication. This is especially true of a complex project like an Arts & Crafts style table. Why not just put it up on your website as "online extras" like all of your competitors do? A simple URL for the link on your website certainly doesn't take up half a page. Sorry but I just find it foolish on your part not to provide your readers with this basic info, especially when you are advertising these as projects they can build.

    My 2 cents worth. Thanks for letting me vent.

    John Verreault
    stevenm.....the best place for plans to be available if you dont have space in the magazine would be on the website, posibly even on the forum

    an author can easily scan his plans and submit them to a section of the forum in pdf format
    Rob Brown...You're right. That's the route we may take, but you would be surprised how many of our readers would be very angry with this, as they don't surf the web. A large portion of our demographic doesn't like the internet.

    These are the sort of things we have to weigh, as we will not make everyone happy no matter what decision we make.
    stevenm...taunton press used to publish plans in fww, then went to internet access for plans and then started charging for them as well
    imho, plans should be available in the magazine and available as a pdf, i realize that space is money, but plans also sell magazines
    im surprised that your demographics show such a large group that dont use the internet
    Rob Brown....I get emails and phone calls from readers who ask for information directly from advertisers, writers, etc. websites because they don't go on the net at all. Strange but true!

    In the survey we did a couple years ago exactly 20% of respondents said they build "Simple projects from plans". A little more people said they have "Very little reliance on plans" and the rest said they don't rely on plans at all. Having said that, I think the 20%+ would benefit from the drawings quite a bit.
    jverrault...Here! Here! I agree 100%
    So make them available as printed plans too but those are paid for not free like the downloads for the group who don't use the internet. Why not? The worst that could happen is that you guys make a few bucks. Both sides of the fence are happy and you might just increase your readership.
    stevenm....i cant speak for those who use plans, im one of those who doesnt use them at all, i simply work from a sketch of my own or a photo.

    if publishing them in print is not an option, then a combination of mail order at a nominal fee to cover costs and free internet access to them is an option

    charging a significant fee for mailed printed copies or internet access seems "nickel and dime"ing to me, pay almost 10 bucks for a magazine then have to pay another 5 or so to build the project in the magazine just doesnt sit well with me

    i dont want to sound callous, but the demo. group that doesnt use the internet is going to "fade" away, like those who refused to have phone service a century ago. i feel that the "print world" is going to be a thing of the past in the next decade, the internet will replace it as a communications tool

    i wonder if there is a significant group in the woodworking field in canada that doesnt even purchase/read printed magazines at all, but rely totally on the cww website and forum for information, im almost in that group

    i have no idea what the economics are in this scenerio, obviously cww has to make a profit or it all disappears, taunton press charges a fee for access to an expanded website access and that includes plans that used to be printed
    Kris in Toronto....hanks for this, I was wondering as well... Yes, it would definitely be useful to have the plans online.
    Rob, you argue that many readers don't go online. How do you know? When did you check this? I mean, if you had a survey "several years ago" it may no longer be valid. Even if this is true, additional online contents, possibly offered for subscribers only, is a way to go. And it will attract new readers...
    Rob Brown...Hi Kris,

    We did the survey about two years ago, so things could have changed a bit. Having said that, I doubt that is people were not interested in the internet two years ago many of them are still not interested.

    At any rate we are going to start including drawings (often exploded) in the magazine. It's an additional expense, but one we feel is a good one. Projects are an important part of the magazine and if illustrations are what people want...that's what we'll give them! Our next issue (Feb/Mar '12) has an illustration so people can get the exact design of the....well....you will have to wait until the article comes out to see what the project is.

    Thanks all for you comments.

    Please feel free to add your comments to this thread as they will help to make the magazine, and the site, a better experience for all.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    Plans should be free online by logging in to an account created and tied one's acitive magazine subscription.

    For those who don't have a subscription, a fee should be charged, and for those who have neither a subscription or internet access, plans can be ordered on the phone to be mailed to them at a suitably higher charge.
    Kevin

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost in the Woods View Post
    Plans should be free online by logging in to an account created and tied one's acitive magazine subscription.

    For those who don't have a subscription, a fee should be charged, and for those who have neither a subscription or internet access, plans can be ordered on the phone to be mailed to them at a suitably higher charge.
    I think that would be a beneficial for everyone.
    Mike @ Buck Lake

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    There should be a code in the magazine that way if someone was at the newsstand and picked up the one issue because they were interested in the project they could still get the plan for what they paid for the magazine.

    Jerome
    Elmvale On.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    Benjamin Franklin

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    The plan should be in the magazine itself. That is certainly what I expect and I would not purchase any woodworking magazine magazine if the plan for the object I am interested in were not present.

    There might be an excuse for not including a plan with an article, but there is no excuse that I will accept for not including a plan when that article appears on the front cover.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    I'm with Frank on this one. Most of the concerns here seem to be centered around paying for the plans and I think that's comming from the subscribers more than the publishers. The subscribers want it free with their subscription and they want non subscribers to pay for it when in fact non subscribers are paying for it when they buy the mag off the news stand. I get mine when I want it from Lee Valley. I will never have another mag subscription ever!
    Last edited by Bill MacDonald; 12-15-2011 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Removed derogatory comments
    "Do it Right!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    Thanks so much for your 'interesting' comment Rusty.
    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pellow View Post
    The plan should be in the magazine itself. That is certainly what I expect and I would not purchase any woodworking magazine magazine if the plan for the object I am interested in were not present.
    I don't quite agree with that. A basic plan with the article, yes, but a more detailed plan is expensive to create, so it should be available separately for a fee. I am subscribing to Fine Woodworking and this is their model. They give you access to some of their plans for free when you subscribe to their website (magazine subscribers get a substantial discount), but many detailed plans are offered as a paid service. Setting up and running a decent portal with online materials is expensive and time consuming. I would love to see Canadian Woodworking doing that, but I am prepared to pay extra (a reasonable amount) for online access.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Brown View Post
    Thanks so much for your 'interesting' comment Rusty.
    Good morning Rob. Bill notified me that part of my comment had been deleted but I want to follow up with some clarity. I thought via my comment about the distribution of subscribed periodicals that I had in fact distinguished between publishers and distributors. If I understand correctly you are part of the publisher group and you hire a distributor to ship your magazine. It is the distributor groups that annoy me. Not the publishers.

    I buy your publication almost every month and others as well. I buy when I choose solely because of the misfortune I had dealing with the distributor types.

    A few years ago I subscribed to several mags. Six I think. I cancelled all of my subscriptions after trying to cancel "one" and keep the others. I was harassed for payment and even taken to the credit bureau for non payment of something I no longer wanted? This was after I sent registered mail etc. to advise of my wish to cancel.

    In a nutshell the experience was exceptionally annoying and was resolved only after the publisher stepped in and reprimanded his distributor. It took an intervention from a consumer affairs group to correct my credit stat for a lousy subsription price tag. Subsequently that caused my position.

    In no way was I intending to slight your publication [please Note; [I buy it at LV or newstands] and perhaps I should not have commented as I did but with the removal of said comment my input above is left open ended and the reader must wonder what the heck I'm talking about and to whom my thoughts were projected. It looks worse now than it did with my negative. Would you agree?
    "Do it Right!"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Where are the Plans?

    Publishing blueprint plans might be a bit of a minefield -- it was for FWW when they started a few years back. They had numerous loud complaints about the quality of theirs on their forum. I bought one, for a shaker style buffet and hutch, because my wife wanted one. I was in the middle of something more interesting, and figured I could knock one out quickly with proper blueprints. I got the "improved" version after the initial complaints. The mag had already published the usual drawings and photos with the print article, plus an online video. I guess they farmed the blueprints out to an outside source. They were full of errors, though it only takes one or two to screw up a project. The drawings had missing features, eg mortises on the legs. The measurements of some parts didn't jibe with others, so that you had to doublecheck them all. The unkindest cut of all was that the cutting list had errors. If you went ahead, laid out the stock, and milled to match, then you were left with pieces you couldn't use, and shortages.
    The fiasco didn't end there. If you referred to the article for step by step processes, you found that the author had given slightly different measurements for key parts. If you didn't stick devoutly to one set of drawings or the other, you were screwed again. On top of that, the video gave slightly different processes.
    I'm not suggesting you would fall into that trap, but good drawings are hard to find and darned expensive. Al Breed charges up to $575 each for detailed drawings of 18thc. pieces. If you've ever racked your brain for days on end trying to work out exact measurements for a historic piece from a single b. & w photo, you might be tempted to pay it.
    Jim

  11. #11
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    Default

    Publishing the in each issue should not be a problem. Most competing publications give enough detail on their feature articles to get you to end. Wordsmith even give a cut list.
    I guess it boils down to what the publisher needs to do to keep the audience.
    Norm always sold his plans, and no one complained.
    A good set of plans is worth the investment. Nothing worse than a page fold that goes right through a critical element.

    Don

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