I haven’t posted much in the last few months. Excuse number 1 is we bought a new house and that house needed a new kitchen (note to self: don’t ever say “it’s a nice place, except the kitchen needs to be torn out and replaced, but that’s no big deal”). It became a big deal when the busted dishwasher was removed, revealing water damage to the subfloor and suspicions about what was going on inside the wall behind it. The work isn’t quite complete, but we’re almost there.
Reason number 2 is my work on the upcoming issue of “American Period Furniture” the annual journal of the Society for American Period Furniture Makers. I accepted the position of editor at the beginning of this year and I couldn’t be happier about that decision.
During my 10 years of full-time work on a commercial woodworking magazine I became frustrated with the constraints of the publishing business. Everyone knew that the internet had changed everything and consequently publishers needed to adapt. What I witnessed from the inside was an industry that consistently made exactly the wrong moves in the face of new media that made magazines less relevant and less of a value to its customers.
“American Period Furniture” is the opposite. As the annual journal of a non-profit organization consisting of serious woodworkers the focus is on the quality of the publication. That begins with the quality of the authors such as this year’s Cartouche award recipient Ray Journigan. The image at right is a screen shot of his upcoming article. It’s the story of how he learned to create museum quality furniture, what motivates him and ways he used that motivation to further his skills.
That’s just one of about a dozen articles slated to appear in the upcoming journal. “American Period Furniture” serves as an example of what a quality publication can be. It is printed on high-quality paper with about 100 pages of solid editorial content. The authors are either accomplished furniture makers, established historians or both. Articles are as long as they need to be and include the stories behind and about woodworking techniques. The content in the articles is remarkably close to spending a day in the shop with an accomplished builder, you get the “why to” along with the “how to”. The most frequent comment people make when they see it is “that’s a beautiful book”.
The annual journal is just one of the many benefits of SAPFM membership. It’s a wonderful organization and I consider myself fortunate to be a part of it. No matter what style of furniture you make there is a lot to gain by discovering the history of American furniture and hanging out with the people who make the best examples of it.