As you may have read in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been appointed the incoming editor of American Woodworker magazine – I begin the new position as of March 15. There is a rich history at American Woodworker. During the mid-90s, AW was full of articles from woodworking legends such as Toshio Odate, Frank Klausz, Don Weber, Kelly Mehler, Jim Tolpin, Mike Dunbar, Patrick Spielman, Silas Kopf and many others. As I began woodworking, I picked up a couple of issues at the newsstand. The issue that I remember best is from June 1995 (shown at left). It’s from this issue that I learned about breadboard ends. Almost immediately I signed up for a subscription.
This past week, I had the chance to visit the current headquarters of the magazine in Eagan, Minnesota to talk with and meet the staff that’s keep that magazine rolling in spite of an almost complete lack of corporate backing. (If you’re a current subscriber, you owe a huge thanks to Tom Caspar, Tim Johnson, Brad Holden, Joe Gohman, Jason Zetner and Shelly Jacobsen.) American Woodworker magazine will move its operation to Cincinnati in the coming weeks, although Tom Caspar and Brad Holden will remain in Minnesota and work remotely as editors. Other members of the team are moving on to new opportunities.
(If you’re not a subscriber to AW, may I suggest that you purchase a subscription quickly. Tom and his gang are working on issue #172, and the new regime takes over for the following issue. I can say with great conviction that you won’t want to miss a single issue.)
While in Eagan doing what I needed to do, I walked around the office, workshop and a couple of storage areas to see the operation. On a wall in one area photos – hundreds of photos – are thumb-tacked to the walls. It’s a visual history of American Woodworker magazine. There are, of course, images of projects from the many issues, but what caught my eye were the photos of past authors and woodworkers. There is a young Mike Dunbar shown looking through a couple of squares while handsaws hang on the wall behind him. Another image is of a younger Thomas Moser seated in a Moser-designed rocking chair. There are lots more photos. (Sorry that my photos of the photos are a bit fuzzy.)
Those photos were not the only historical records uncovered. Back in one of those storerooms are box upon box of old American Woodworker magazine files containing scads of original transparencies – how magazine photos were taken prior to digital cameras. Each box held the contents of 10 to 14 issues, and each issue is broken into articles. I was able to find the folders for each of the articles in the issue shown in the opening photo. You talk about history – and memories. I cannot wait to get started. Get your subscription now.
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