The day has been long, he thought to himself, and I am much too tired to go to the workshop. Next too woodworking, reading about woodworking is a great thing to do. It is relaxing and can be done in front of reruns of Red Dwarf on public television. The casual flipping of a page, the jealousy one feels when they see a shop with an entire wall of clamps, the beauty of a piece of museum quality furniture, all make magazines the equivalent of cat nip for the average woodworker.
To be honest, I don’t know if everyone gets as excited as I do, when it comes to periodicals, but if they do, I have made a wonderful discovery. Perhaps discovery is too strong a word, it isn’t as if I have recovered a sunken pirate ship full of Spanish doubloons. I have just found the magazine section of the Half Price Book Store in Cedar Rapids. Prior to my less than ground breaking discovery, I had just bought the latest issues, off the rack. Each one would be read cover to cover and back again. Usually, when I was reading backwards, it sounded like Led Zeppelin’s lesser hit, “Stairway to Heaven, Made Entirely of Mahogany”, but it was still good. Devilishly good in fact. The enjoyment from buying magazines was so great, it was costing me a fair amount of money to support my habit. I have been known walk into The Woodsmith Store and blow $30.00, or sometimes as much as $70.00, when I bought entire sets of back issues.
It was becoming a serious problem and then I found the little stack of old woodworking magazines at Half Price Books. There were 3 issues of American Woodworker from 1992, 2 issues of Woodsmith from 1994, and 5 Woodworkers Journal, including one with an article ‘Norm Unplugged’, in which Norm Abram talks about the year he toured with the Grateful Dead. (Actually it is an interview talking about Norm using hand planes, but the other bit was funnier.) There are articles about buying wood, making jigs, and the latest tools.
It is only the latest tool articles which are a bit dated. The ideas for solving problems that many woodworkers have, seem to me, to be as relevant today, as they were in the early 90’s. The best part about my find is that they mostly cost 25 cents or 50 cents, with only two of them, from 2008, commanding the unholy price of $1.00. Total price $6.50! This is a bargain in my book and though I will still probably buy new issues of my favorite woodworking magazines, I may not pay for their ‘boxed’ sets.
It should be noted, that yesterday’s blog ended with a query of the readers, as to what today’s topic should be. The overwhelming vote getter, with 2, was woodworking. Being that I am in Des Moines, went golfing (Shot a 95, which was 6 strokes better than 2 weeks ago), and am about to head out to an Iowa Cubs game, this was the best I could do today. I am curious if any of you, the readers, have had any similar finds? If so, feel free to share. If not, well then you may want to poke around a Half Price Books, next time the opportunity presents itself.