When a beginning hobbyist commences their new venture, they
often seek out information and knowledge to get them started, and help
them avoid making common mistakes. Some hobby's offer a wide variety of
informational sources to glean knowledge from, others are not so lucky.
Woodworking is probably one of the lucky ones. There are numerous
magazines available globally that offer solid woodworking information that
appeal not only to beginning hobbyist woodworkers, but to seasoned
veterans as well. Each magazine offers its own unique style, layout and
content focus, and each has its own team of writers with particular
writing styles and methodologies. This makes for a good information mix,
and we haven't even mentioned online forums or newsgroups yet! The
Internet has allowed digital media to be shared like it has never been
shared before, unfortunately however, the woodworking fraternity has not
really cottoned on to this opportunity as fast as many have wanted, and in
terms of video media, there is not a lot of solid video content to be
This is where Woodworking at Home magazine comes into
play to fill the void. I am not sure "Magazine" is the right word, as it
is actually a DVD production, but it does retain some magazine-like
features with regular "issues".
So what is it? Imagine your run of the mill woodworking
magazine with product reviews, woodworking projects, tips and tricks and
regular columns... Now imagine those articles being animated... or even
filmed and presented to you every 2 months on DVD media... This is exactly
what Woodworking At Home is all about. it is a 'digital' magazine
showing off the latest woodworking products, some great furniture and
items you can make, as well as a swag of tips and tricks along the way,
and all for the very reasonable price of US$8.95 per issue, or US$33.95
per yearly subscription (6 issues with a bonus 7th DVD) - prices are
higher for International orders outside of the USA.
So armed with a couple of issues sent to us, we went
about viewing the DVD magazines several times before compiling this
review. So let's explore the content and layout of a typical Woodworking
At Home issue from start to end.
Table of Contents
Once your DVD has successfully loaded, you will be presented with an
easy-to-navigate Content menu... a table of contents so to speak. Here you
can view and access any part/content of the issue quickly and easily using
your DVD remote or DVD controls, basically in the same manner you would
access normal sections of a regular DVD movie. Some sections are split
into sub-sections with their own sub-menu, allowing you access to specific
parts of an article itself. Overall, the menu is very easy to navigate and
allows quick access to the section you wish to view.
General Magazine Sections
The length of each DVD varies slightly, but with most issues you will
enjoy around 2 hours worth of content.
The magazine is hosted by Chris DeHut, who also provides a lot of the
content for each issue, focusing more on product reviews and woodworking
projects for the home and workshop. Chris walks you through
construction of many types of furniture, each section being menu-indexed
for later reference if needed. His approach is both informational, and
procedural, often explaining why a particular joint is used (for strength
for example) or how to construct a particular piece of a project,
including proper tool use.
As an example of some of the projects you might discover
in the magazine, here is a list of projects that were featured on the 3 issues
- Oak Hall Table
- Cherry Armoire
- Project Cart for the Shop
- Cherry Dresser
- Miter Saw Stand & Storage Cabinet
- Pirate's Treasure Chest
- Router Table on a Budget
Obviously, there are many more projects on other issues
we haven't mentioned but the range of projects seems quite good and many
are included that can be built in a weekend, which is perfect for those of
us who, unfortunately, don't get as much shop time as we would like!
I think what really makes this magazine shine is in fact
that it isn't a true print magazine. Thirty seconds of video can often explain
a procedure much better than even 2000 words of text! Plus, just think
that every second you are literally viewing roughly 25-30 single images in
motion to create the film. From a content standpoint, Woodworking at Home
certainly delivers much more useful information and raw content than any
issue of any print woodworking magazine I have read before. It is much
easier to understand a procedure when it is shown in motion, with full
audio instruction. It's really quite an exciting way to deliver a magazine.
Think Norm Abram or David Marks episodes x 4 on each DVD and you come
close to the content included on each issue, but with much more variety.
There is also a great 'regular column' called "A Closer
Look" where specific woodworking tasks are discussed in details and
answers to common questions and problems are delivered. In the issues we
received, this included a 'closer look' at Panel Glue Ups which was quite
informative, discussing grain and color matching, effective clamping and
how to avoid bowed panels.
Tips and Tricks sections include showing you how to
develop and scale drawings, put an edge on your cabinet scrapers or build
and use circle cutting jigs for the router, to name but a few.
Chris is not the only face you will see on the DVD
however. Woodworking At Home also features a regular woodturning and
woodcarving section. Since I have been doing a spot of turning lately, I
took particular interest in this section. The woodturner featured is Dick
Sing (a professional woodturner). Dick is not only a good woodturner, as
evidenced by the speed and skill he demonstrates in his section, but also
has a solid ability to teach you the skills of woodturning in an easy to
understand manner. I have seen many woodturning videos in the past, and
Dick's success in delivering his message and demonstrating procedures is
right up there with the best. I think why it seems so effective is because
it doesn't seemed rushed. The relaxed, casual approach to his segments
gives you time to think about what he is saying, and to understand the
theory behind the practice. We enjoyed seeing Dick turn a small jewelry
dish, a wooden 'worry stone' and being shown some tips on turning
efficiently and safely with gouges. This last segment I thought was very
valuable... something that is often not discussed in such detail in other
turning videos I have seen.
David Reilly is the magazine's 'resident' woodcarver.
I'll be the first to admit that woodcarving is not my thing, but it sure
does look like fun. If I could get just one of my turning gouges to look
and function as sharp as one of David's carving tools, I'd be a happy
camper... err woodturner. You can watch David effortlessly carve an
Applique for the Armoire built on the show, or relief carve a leaf for a
similar project. Again, the emphasis on instructing with supply of
relevant theory shines through. Whether this is a goal of the magazine, or
just the natural way the hosts teach I cannot say, but it works very well.
This section is much as you would expect. New tools and products
reviewed. The detail is generally not bad and you can view all the product
features and see it in action. The reviews are not as detailed as those
you might find on this site (ok, so we are a little biased), but again,
the video edge wins out and you can better see how these products perform
in action! Its a great segment to see some quality tools and products
being put through their paces.
This is a great little inclusion where magazine readers can submit
photos and text of their projects and have them shown in the DVD magazine.
It gives you some design ideas other users have employed in their
projects. The section is suitably named "Bragging Rights".
Another interesting feature of the DVD is that you can view the plans
from any of the projects featured on the DVD in PDF format. These are
included and provide enough information to guide you along. Admittedly,
they are not the same quality as plans you might find in some woodworking
magazines, Woodsmith magazine coming to mind, but combined with the video
footage of each project, they will get you by just fine. The plans do also
come with text and associated images to walk you through each step of the
Advertising in the Magazine
Like all print magazines, Woodworking At Home also includes commercial
advertising. This usually consists of 10-20 second takes showing a
company's products with voiceovers mentioning product information and
company contact details. Advertisements seem to be spread randomly throughout
the magazine but are generally non-intrusive and not overly bothersome.
While we all love to see as much content as possible in any type of
magazine, adverts are a critical part of magazines. They not only benefit
the publisher by helping to offset costs of magazine production, but
believe it or not, they go a long way in keeping subscription and issue
costs way down.
Naturally, some products mentioned in the magazine are
provided by the sponsors/underwriters of the publication, but in my
opinion, I didn't feel these were 'pushed' to the limit, or even over the
limit that other productions occasionally cross. Any promotion of
such products seems to minimal, or transparent in most cases, which is
certainly good to see as it offers a non-biased approach to the magazine's
coverage of the hobby.
Well, Woodworking At Home DVD Magazine is certainly an interesting
concept, and it's finally good to see someone taking the initiative to
produce a publication that the world is crying out for. The content is
excellent, presentation is very respectable, and the range of projects and
information delivered each issue rivals that of print magazines, and goes
way beyond any existing commercial TV productions for woodworkers. If
there was one downside I could mention about the magazine is that some of
the menus and title screens seem a little bland. I think a little work
into making these more graphically attractive would match the quality of
the video content itself. It does seem that the Woodworking At Home team
are working on improving these, as the latest issue is much more visually
So there you have it... If you are a fan of the New
Yankee Workshop, WoodWorks or any other woodworking program on television,
I think you will very much enjoy this new format magazine and the content
and information it offers. I think it is very well priced for the content
you receive and certainly more valuable, in my opinion, than some magazine
subscriptions I have entered into in the past.
Woodworking at Home website -
Woodworking at Home
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior
written permission prohibited
Typical DVD menu
Here is your host, Chris DeHut
Chris showing you how to create a router table in your tablesaw
Ahoy there... Arrrr... This DVD gives ya' land lubbers a Pirate's box
Chris demonstrating a new product in the tool review segment.
Resident woodturner, Dick Sing, ready to teach!
He sure knows how to turn wood!
Woodcarver, David Reilly, demonstrating some relief work.
Chris assembling a Cherry Dresser
Rounding over a cabinet top.
Mmmm... Nice drum sander!
Woodworking At Home goes on the road to the Bauhaus
Sample PDF file from the DVD.