What Happened to American Woodworker Magazine

American Woodworker Magazine holds a special place in the hearts of woodworking enthusiasts across the United States. For over three decades, it served as a go-to resource for both novice and seasoned woodworkers alike, offering invaluable tips, techniques, and inspiration.

But as the digital era took hold and the woodworking landscape evolved, American Woodworker Magazine began to fade into the background. In this blog post, we will delve into the rise and fall of this iconic publication, exploring the reasons behind its disappearance and discussing its impact on the woodworking industry.

During its heyday, American Woodworker Magazine was nothing short of revolutionary. Founded in 1985, it quickly gained traction in the woodworking community thanks to its high-quality content and expert contributors. The magazine provided a platform for craftsmen to share their knowledge and passion with readers eager to learn new skills and expand their understanding of woodworking techniques.

With regular features on everything from project plans and tool reviews to intricate joinery methods and finishing tips, American Woodworker Magazine became a valuable companion for woodworkers seeking guidance and inspiration. Its clear instructions and detailed illustrations made even complex projects accessible to aspiring craftsmen while also satisfying the curiosity of more experienced woodworkers.

However, as with many traditional print publications, American Woodworker Magazine faced challenges in adapting to a changing industry landscape. The advent of online platforms brought about new opportunities for information sharing and community building within the woodworking realm. In addition, shifting trends in consumer preferences led to an increased demand for more modern approaches to woodworking.

In our exploration of what happened to American Woodworker Magazine, we will dissect these changes in detail while also considering financial challenges that may have contributed to its decline. By understanding this influential magazine’s rise and fall, we can draw important lessons for both publishers and businesses within the woodworking industry as they navigate an ever-evolving marketplace.

The Golden Era of American Woodworker Magazine

Early Success and Captivating Content

During its golden era, American Woodworker Magazine experienced rapid success in capturing the attention of woodworking enthusiasts. Established in 1985, the magazine quickly gained popularity and became a leading publication in the field. One of the key factors behind its success was the captivating content that appealed to both beginner and expert woodworkers.

The magazine featured a wide range of articles that covered various aspects of woodworking, including project plans, tool reviews, technique tutorials, and profiles of top craftsmen. Its dedication to providing detailed instructions and practical advice made it a must-read for woodworkers of all skill levels. Additionally, American Woodworker Magazine sought to inspire creativity by showcasing innovative designs and showcasing exceptional pieces created by talented artists in the community.

Notable contributors also played an integral role in establishing the magazine’s credibility and reputation. Renowned woodworkers such as Sam Maloof, Frank Klausz, and Roger Holmes regularly contributed articles, sharing their expertise and insights with readers. These contributors not only helped elevate the quality of content but also attracted a wider audience seeking advice from respected industry professionals.

Influential Features

One standout feature that contributed to the popularity of American Woodworker Magazine was its emphasis on shop-made jigs and fixtures. The magazine consistently provided readers with innovative ideas for creating efficient tools to enhance their woodworking experience. From routing jigs to table saw sleds, these features empowered woodworkers to expand their capabilities without breaking the bank on commercially available tools.

Another notable aspect was the inclusion of project plans suitable for woodworkers of different skill levels. Whether someone wanted to build a simple bookshelf or challenge themselves with an intricately designed piece of furniture, American Woodworker Magazine had it covered. The clear step-by-step instructions accompanied by detailed illustrations ensured that readers could confidently tackle these projects.

Additionally, the inclusion of tips and tricks from seasoned craftsmen added immense value to readers. From time-saving techniques to expert recommendations on choosing the right wood species, these insights played a crucial role in helping woodworkers hone their skills and achieve professional results.

Impacting the Woodworking Community

American Woodworker Magazine left an indelible impact on the woodworking community during its golden era. Its comprehensive coverage of all aspects of woodworking helped foster a sense of camaraderie among enthusiasts, while also serving as a source of inspiration and education.

The magazine not only popularized traditional woodworking techniques but also encouraged innovation and evolution within the craft. By showcasing unconventional designs and featuring articles that explored new trends, American Woodworker Magazine played a vital role in pushing boundaries and expanding the definition of woodworking itself.

Furthermore, it served as a platform for woodworkers to connect with each other, learn from one another’s experiences, and share their own projects and knowledge. The letters to the editor section provided a valuable forum for readers to ask questions, seek advice, and engage in meaningful discussions about their shared passion for woodworking.

As we delve into the reasons behind the disappearance of American Woodworker Magazine in later sections, it is important to acknowledge its significant influence during its golden era. Despite no longer being in publication today, its impact continues to live on through countless craftsmen who were inspired by its pages.

The Shift in Woodworking Trends and Market Competition

The woodworking industry has experienced significant changes in trends and market competition in recent years, contributing to the decline of American Woodworker Magazine. As the late 20th century turned into the 21st century, new preferences and emerging trends began to reshape the woodworking landscape. This section will explore these changing dynamics and how they may have impacted the magazine’s decline.

One major shift in woodworking trends was a rise in interest towards more modern, contemporary styles. Traditional woodworking techniques were still valued, but there was an increasing demand for sleeker designs and streamlined furniture. This shift can be attributed to various factors, including changes in interior design preferences and the influence of online platforms showcasing modern woodworking inspiration.

Additionally, there was a growing fascination with DIY projects that incorporated different materials beyond wood, such as metal or concrete. This diversification presented new challenges for American Woodworker Magazine, which primarily focused on traditional wood-based projects. The magazine struggled to adapt to these emerging trends and provide content that catered to evolving woodworking interests.

Moreover, as the woodworking community embraced digital platforms, American Woodworker Magazine faced stiff competition from online resources that offered more immediate access to information and inspiration. Websites, blogs, and social media platforms became popular hubs for sharing ideas, tutorials, and connecting with like-minded enthusiasts. These platforms allowed woodworkers to access a wide variety of content quickly and engage with other members of the community.

What Is A Jack Plane Used For In Woodwork

In response to these changing dynamics and evolving market competition, American Woodworker Magazine tried to incorporate more modern designs and techniques into its content. However, it struggled to keep up with the rapid pace at which online resources were able to deliver fresh content on a daily basis. While some loyal readers appreciated their efforts, others felt that the magazine lost its unique identity in an attempt to compete with digital competitors.

Overall, the shift in woodworking trends towards modern styles and the rise of online platforms providing instant access to information played a significant role in American Woodworker Magazine’s decline. In the next section, we will delve deeper into the financial challenges faced by the magazine and explore whether poor management decisions or a lack of innovation contributed to its ultimate demise.

Financial Challenges and the Decline of American Woodworker Magazine

American Woodworker Magazine, once a leading publication in the woodworking community, faced significant financial challenges during its later years which ultimately led to its decline. The magazine struggled with declining subscription rates and advertising revenue, as well as the overall decline of the print media industry.

One of the key factors that contributed to American Woodworker Magazine’s financial struggles was the changing landscape of the woodworking industry. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, there was a shift in woodworking trends and preferences. Woodworking enthusiasts were increasingly drawn towards more modern approaches and designs, while American Woodworker Magazine focused primarily on traditional techniques.

Furthermore, the rise of competing publications and online resources also posed a challenge for American Woodworker Magazine. These alternative sources offered more diverse content, catering to different interests within the woodworking community. Online platforms provided immediate access to information, tutorials, and forums where woodworkers could interact and share their work. American Woodworker Magazine faced difficulty in keeping up with these newer, more dynamic methods of engaging with readers.

Poor management decisions and a lack of innovation also played a role in the demise of American Woodworker Magazine. While other publishers were quick to adapt to changing trends and technologies, it appears that American Woodworker Magazine fell behind. Additionally, some critics argue that the magazine failed to adequately modernize its content and attract younger audiences who had grown up surrounded by digital media.

Despite its decline, American Woodworker Magazine remains an important part of woodworking history. It played a significant role in preserving traditional woodworking techniques and inspiring countless craftsmen and enthusiasts throughout its existence. Although it faced financial challenges that eventually led to its closure, the legacy of American Woodworker Magazine continues to resonate in the modern woodworking landscape.

Financial Challenges FacedImpact on Decline
Declining subscription ratesReduced revenue leading to financial instability
Declining advertising revenueLimited resources for sustaining operations and producing quality content
Overall decline of print media industryInability to adapt to changing market dynamics and competition from digital platforms
Poor management decisions and lack of innovationFalling behind competing publications and failing to attract younger audiences

The Transition to Online Platforms

As the digital age began to transform various industries, American Woodworker Magazine recognized the need to adapt and transition from print to online platforms. This shift presented new opportunities for growth and expansion, but it also came with its fair share of obstacles.

One of the main challenges that American Woodworker Magazine faced in transitioning to an online platform was the competition with established digital woodworking resources. With the rise of social media, YouTube tutorials, and other online communities, woodworking enthusiasts now had access to a wealth of free information and instructional videos. This posed a significant obstacle for the magazine, as readers were less likely to pay for content they could readily find online.

Another obstacle was the learning curve associated with adapting to digital media. The magazine had to invest in technology and equipment necessary for creating high-quality digital content. Additionally, staff members needed to develop new skills in areas such as web design, video editing, and social media management. These adjustments required time and financial commitment from the magazine, which proved challenging during a period when print publications were already experiencing financial decline.

Despite these obstacles, the transition also presented numerous opportunities for American Woodworker Magazine. By going digital, they were able to reach a much larger audience than ever before. With their online presence, they could attract readers from around the world who may not have had access to their print publication. Furthermore, by utilizing multimedia formats such as videos and interactive features on their website, they could enhance their content offerings and provide a more immersive experience for their audience.

Ability to reach a larger global audienceCompetition with free online resources
Diversification of content through multimedia formatsInvestment in technology and skills training

Legacy and Influence of American Woodworker Magazine

A Lasting Impact on Traditional Woodworking Techniques

American Woodworker Magazine left a significant impact on the woodworking community, particularly in its dedication to preserving traditional woodworking techniques. The magazine provided a valuable platform for craftsmen and enthusiasts to learn and explore time-honored methods of woodworking. Through its detailed articles, step-by-step tutorials, and expert advice, American Woodworker Magazine became synonymous with quality craftsmanship.

One of the most significant contributions of American Woodworker Magazine was its emphasis on hand tool usage and craftsmanship. At a time when power tools were gaining popularity, the magazine stood as a strong advocate for hand tools, encouraging readers to embrace the tactile experience and precision that only hand tools could offer. This mindset has continued to influence woodworkers today, with many still relying on traditional methods passed down from generation to generation.

Furthermore, American Woodworker Magazine played a vital role in preserving traditional furniture making techniques. It celebrated furniture styles such as Shaker, Arts and Crafts, and Mission with extensive articles on their history and construction methods. Through these features, the magazine brought attention to the importance of maintaining these timeless styles in an ever-changing world. As a result, it inspired countless woodworkers to delve into these traditional forms and keep them alive in the modern era.

Inspiration for Countless Craftsmen and Enthusiasts

American Woodworker Magazine served as a source of inspiration for both experienced craftsmen and newcomers to the woodworking world. Its pages were filled with beautiful photographs showcasing intricately crafted projects that ignited the imagination and motivated readers to embark on their own woodworking journeys.

Each issue was carefully curated with diverse content that catered to various skill levels. From beginner-friendly projects like birdhouses or cutting boards to advanced techniques like dovetail joinery or turning bowls, readers could find something fitting their interests and abilities within its pages.

Moreover, American Woodworker Magazine nurtured talent and provided a platform for woodworkers to share their expertise with a wider audience. The magazine featured regular contributions from renowned craftsmen and industry experts, allowing readers to gain insights into the methods and philosophies of woodworking masters. These interactions fostered a sense of community among woodworkers, creating a space where knowledge could be shared and skills could be honed.

Traditional Woodworker Chisels

A Continuing Impact in the Modern Woodworking Landscape

Despite its disappearance from the print media scene, the legacy of American Woodworker Magazine lives on in the modern woodworking landscape. Its influence can be seen in various online platforms that have emerged since its demise, dedicated to helping woodworkers develop their skills and pursue their passion.

The core values emphasized by American Woodworker Magazine-craftsmanship, tradition, attention to detail-continue to resonate among contemporary woodworkers. Many still acknowledge the importance of preserving traditional techniques while embracing new technologies and methods. This approach ensures that the spirit of American Woodworker Magazine will never truly disappear.

Lessons Learned and Takeaways for the Woodworking Industry

In the rise and fall of American Woodworker Magazine, there are valuable lessons and takeaways for the woodworking industry as a whole. This section will draw insights from the magazine’s journey and highlight key points that can guide other publishers and businesses in the industry.

  1. Adaptation to Changing Trends: One of the most important lessons from American Woodworker Magazine is the need for businesses to adapt to changing trends and technologies. The decline of the magazine can be partially attributed to its inability to keep up with emerging woodworking trends in the late 20th century and early 21st century.
    As new techniques, tools, and materials gained popularity among woodworking enthusiasts, American Woodworker Magazine failed to adequately address these changes in its content. Other publications and online platforms took advantage of this gap and offered more modern approaches to woodworking, attracting a younger generation of readers who were seeking innovative ideas.
  2. Embrace Digital Transformation: Another takeaway for the woodworking industry is the significance of embracing digital transformation. As print media faced challenges globally, many successful publications shifted their focus to online platforms, recognizing the potential they hold for reaching wider audiences.
    Although American Woodworker Magazine attempted to transition from print to digital formats, it struggled to compete with established digital resources that already had a strong online presence. The lesson here is that businesses in any industry must prioritize their online presence and invest in developing user-friendly websites, engaging social media strategies, and interactive digital content.
  3. Balancing Tradition with Innovation: Lastly, American Woodworker Magazine’s demise brings attention to the importance of balancing tradition with innovation. While it played a crucial role in preserving traditional woodworking techniques over its lifespan, it failed to incorporate enough innovative ideas into its content mix as time went on.
    Moving forward, publications and businesses should aim to strike a balance between honoring traditional craftsmanship while also embracing contemporary styles, materials, tools, and approaches in order to remain relevant.

To thrive in today’s rapidly evolving woodworking industry, learning from the experiences of American Woodworker Magazine is vital. Adapting to changing trends and technologies, embracing digital transformation, and striking a balance between tradition and innovation are key lessons for publishers and businesses alike. By keeping these takeaways in mind, the industry can navigate shifting landscapes and connect with both newcomers and seasoned woodworking enthusiasts.


In conclusion, the rise and fall of American Woodworker Magazine offers valuable lessons for the woodworking industry as a whole. The magazine had a significant impact on the woodworking community, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts and inspiring countless craftsmen. Its golden era showcased top-notch features, articles, and notable contributors that made it a leading publication in the field.

However, as woodworking trends shifted and competition intensified, American Woodworker Magazine faced numerous challenges. The changing landscape of the industry played a part, with emerging preferences for more modern approaches to woodworking. Additionally, financial struggles from declining subscription rates and advertising revenue further contributed to its decline.

The magazine attempted to transition to online platforms but faced obstacles in adapting to digital media and competing with established online resources. Missed opportunities may have prevented them from fully engaging a new generation of readers.

Despite its ultimate demise, American Woodworker Magazine continues to leave its mark on the woodworking community. Its legacy lies in preserving traditional woodworking techniques and serving as an inspiration for future craftsmen. As other publishers and businesses in the industry look back on its story, they can learn valuable lessons about adapting to changing trends while staying true to core values.

As we remember American Woodworker Magazine, let us reflect on the memories and nostalgia it brings. We encourage readers to share their own experiences and opinions about this beloved publication in the comments section below. While the journey of American Woodworker may have come to an end, its significance will remain cherished in woodworking history for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to popular woodworking?

Popular Woodworking, a well-known woodworking magazine that was first published in 1981, underwent some significant changes over the years. In 2015, the ownership of Popular Woodworking changed hands when F+W Media sold its art and craft division to Peak Media Properties. Subsequently, it underwent further changes when it was acquired by Cruz Bay Publishing in 2019.

Unfortunately, on November 30th, 2020, an announcement was made that Cruz Bay Publishing would be ceasing the print publication of Popular Woodworking magazine. This decision was primarily influenced by financial considerations amidst challenges faced by the print media industry.

Where is the American Woodshop located?

The American Woodshop is located in Parkersburg, West Virginia. It is a woodworking television series created and hosted by Scott Phillips.

The show focuses on various aspects of woodworking and features instructional content for woodworkers of different skill levels. From demonstrating techniques to crafting beautiful wooden pieces, The American Woodshop offers viewers a glimpse into the world of woodworking through engaging storytelling and detailed demonstrations.

Is Popular Woodworking magazine still published?

No, Popular Woodworking magazine is no longer being published in print form as of late 2020 due to financial challenges faced by its publisher, Cruz Bay Publishing. However, while the print publication has been discontinued, there are digital options available for those interested in reading Popular Woodworking’s content online.

Through their website and other digital platforms, readers can access articles and resources related to woodworking projects, techniques, tool recommendations, and more. While the format may have changed, Popular Woodworking continues to provide valuable information and inspiration to woodworkers through its digital presence.

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