chat log

"The Online Woodworking Magazine:
Where Tech Meets Tradition"

a Special Guest Chat with
Glen Huey, Chuck Bender, Bob Lang

with host
Ellis Walentine

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Edited Chat Transcript
EllisOkay, I usually have an introduction prepared, but I think everyone here is pretty familiar with you guys and the work you've done. For those who aren't, Bob, Glen and Chuck are woodworkers, editors and the principals of 360 WoodWorking, a new online woodworking magazine with in-depth articles, projects, techniques and other woodworking-related features. Welcome to the WoodCentral Chat.
EllisI know you guys are on the road, teaching seminars and promoting your new venture. How's the travel schedule treating you, Chuck? How many of the WWS are you going to be doing?
Chuck_BenderSo far, I've done 4 shows out of 5 and we have 6 to go.
EllisHow has the response been so far?
Chuck_BenderWe've gotten great response both at the shows and on our website.
EllisI'm curious as to how you guys decided to leave the magazine world for the online world.
Glen_HueyThere was a lot missing in print that we thought we could tackle online.
Bob_LangOne of those snap decisions that takes about five years to make
Chuck_BenderThe whole world opens up when you lose the paper restrictions
Bob_in_NJUnlimited column inches
Chuck_BenderAnd you can link to other content and add video to help clarify things
Glen_HueyThe ability to tell the entire story!
Bob_LangMost of the constraints to producing good content come from paper and ink, so if you can get beyond that you can do a better job of presenting information
David_KatzBut...a lot more competition, yes?
Chuck_BenderMore competition?
David_KatzYes, there are hundreds of woodworking channels now, thousands of blogs.
Glen_HueyDavid, that's true. But you have to trust those sources.
David_KatzI agree. It's a huge challenge and I admire you for it.
darrin_hillJust because you can publish doesn't mean you should..
Glen_HueyThe three of us have a cumulative 85 years of experience.
Chuck_BenderAnd that's 8+ hours every day for those 85 years.
Glen_HueyPlus, the guys that we ask to write for us are also extremely experinced.
EllisOkay, so you will differentiate yourselves by the strength of your article choices and your presentation, and the trust your audience has in you.
Bob_LangOne of the premises is that we're kind of a filter. Not having to search and wade through information that may not be reliable has a value for me.
EllisIt seems to me that your format is unlike the channels and blogs out there. It's more like a true magazine format.
Chuck_BenderYeah, Ellis, like a magazine gone wild.
MerleI guess I see the competition more as Fine Woodworking. They have a huge library of quality articles.
Bob_LangEllis, yes to both. We think there are a lot of decisions made by print publishers that are made for "less than ideal" reasons. We can write about what we find interesting, and be thorough in the presentations
Glen_HueyOne of the ideas of 360 is that we present woodworking information that is text, photo and video. I think that's different from most.
Glen_HueyVideo is something that print misses.
William_of_the_CohanseyAnd you have quite a wide range of experience, as well, not the same experience over and over like some out there.
Chuck_BenderMost of the traditional magazines just take their print version and convert it to online
EllisRight, so they have the same limitations of space and word counts and such.
Bob_Langand more than one voice/opinion makes it better as well
Chuck_BenderWe're creating an online magazine without all the limits, that can be printed if you want.
EllisHmm, I've never thought of magazines as having one voice. More like a lot of different voices.
Chuck_BenderBut each article has only one voice
EllisFair enough.
Bob_LangOur idea was to go back to basics and start from the ground up given the capabilities of being all digital.
EllisFor me, the question was always "Who is the reader?". Do you see the online customer as different from the typical print magazine customers?
Bob_LangGreat question, but I don't think anybody in the business can really pin that down.
EllisSo how do you do your issue planning?
Chuck_BenderRock, paper, scissors mostly
EllisSomehow I guessed that, Chuck.
EllisWhat's the desired mix?
Glen_HueyAt this point, due to time constraints and getting everything up and running, we are rolling with what we have and working to better gel the issue overall.
EllisSounds like a plan, Glen.
MerleDo you have plans to ask your members for their wants/needs?
Glen_HueyMerle, we are always interested in what our readers think. We encourage text and emails.
darrin_hillMost magazines cater to their advertisers... if Woodcraft wanted to sell ads with lots of lathes, the magazine usually has most of its articles geared to lathes..
Chuck_BenderThat's why we have no ads behind the paywall
darrin_hillI see.
William_of_the_CohanseyThank you for the ad restrictions.
Bob_in_NJWhat sort of articles do each of you have that your new format will allow for that you were unable to do in printed media?
Chuck_BenderBob, the best example is Glen's desk article that he did for the free issue. It's a complete build.
Bob_in_NJExcellent article by the way.
William_of_the_CohanseyWhy no drawer in the frame of the desk? It would seem to be very useful, and not mess up the design.
Glen_HueyI agree, William, but the piece copied was built that way.
William_of_the_CohanseyReasonable, Glen.
Glen_HueyIt's not the type of article, it's the coverage. Plus we can afford to get out to the fringe of woodworking, whereas print cannot afford the pages.
Glen_HueySo we will get there once in a while!
MerleGlen, that is a great point.
EllisYes, Glen, that was a real regret of mine back in the mag days -- not being able to publish all the "good reads" that were so intriguing.
Glen_HueyEllis, that is something we're looking forward to.
Bob_in_NJOk, I wondered if there were article ideas lurking that had not been published due to print constraints.
Bob_LangWe can spread out a lot more than we ever could have imagined in print, and we can run things like Darrell Peart's article that none of the print magazines would run. For me I think that one of our criteria should be to only run things you wouldn't see in print.
EllisConceptually, you plan to have projects and techniques, mostly. Right?
Glen_HueyOh, I think there's more than that coming from 360, Ellis.
EllisTool reviews?
Bob_LangAlmost anything we find interesting is fair game. Visits to woodworking shops, museums, things like that...
Glen_HueyIf a new tool comes along - Domino?? - we would certainly cover that.
EllisDo you plan to have outside authors?
Chuck_BenderWe have lots of outside authors
William_of_the_CohanseyThey've already had outside authors. I hope it continues.
Chuck_BenderSome most people have never heard of before and others lots of people already know.
darrin_hillas long as they're grammatically correct.. i dont care who writes..
EllisYou will be bi-monthly, right?
Glen_HueyDarrin, we also want to be grammatically correct, but the information is way more important to me.
darrin_hilland not way out there off the deep end where i cant understand something
Chuck_BenderBut the content rolls out one article each week with the last week of the second month being a multi-article release
EllisDo you have a target mix -- major project, minor project, special techniques, hand tool concentration? How about turning?
Glen_HueyEllis, we release every week with an article, then on the eighth week we present two or more project builds.
Chuck_BenderAll of those, Ellis
Bob_LangWe're trying to stay away from having a formula, but there needs to be a mix of topics to keep it interesting.
William_of_the_CohanseySo, what's planned for the next project behind the pay wall?
Chuck_Benderand I have a project coming up in the second issue that's centered on turning
Glen_HueyThere will be large projects, small projects, projects for beginners and those that challenge experienced woodworkers.
EllisI'm on board with that.
MerleI admit that I haven't looked at your site in a while, but I found it overwhelming already. Have others commented similarly?
Glen_HueyOverwhelmingly good?
MerleAs in too much info and not knowing where to look.
Bob_LangIf we're not overwhelming you with content we're not doing what we set out to do. Fortunately we were able to port over a bunch of good stuff from our individual blogs
Glen_HueyMerle, that gives you reason to keep coming back. Take a small dose at a time.
William_of_the_CohanseyI really liked the shoot board presentation by Ron Herman.
Chuck_BenderAre you a subscriber William?
William_of_the_CohanseyYes, I'm a subscriber.
William_of_the_CohanseyIt takes a while to look through the site for what has been newly added. Any plans for e-mail notifications, or maybe through some other medium?
MerleWilliam, I like that.
Glen_HueyWilliam, when we post new, we generally push out a blog making the announcement.
Chuck_BenderThe blog already has an RSS feed and an email subscription
Glen_Hueyand we tie into Facebook and Twitter.
Chuck_Benderand Google+
EllisYeesh, how do you keep up with all those social media channels?
Chuck_BenderAutomation, Ellis
William_of_the_CohanseyI was kind of afraid I would have to start using one or more of those Social Networking Sites.
Chuck_BenderWe will not force anyone to Facebook
William_of_the_CohanseyOK, so the rule is "follow the blog". And, I missed the e-mail subscription.
Chuck_BenderWilliam, we're working on an email notification solution to the subscribers that isn't annoying or buggy.
EllisWill there be any concentration on modern furniture styles, or the design process?
Bob_in_NJI would imagine that the format and presentation will change and adapt over time
Glen_HueyI see Modern furniture building a small following. We do want to include it, but we need to find the right author.
darrin_hillI would love to see more stuff in a woodworking magazine that covers the artistic part of it -- design, theory, history, etc.
Glen_HueyDarrin, you should check out the articles by Mark Arnold. He was in our free issue and is working on another article that's similar.
Bob_LangDarrin, those are the types of things we are keen on.
Bob_LangWe are making a valiant effort to push content out on a regular basis. New articles for subscribers every Friday, podcasts for all Tuesday and Thursday. Hopefully it's good enough that you'll want to check in often.
EllisYou might even be able to do customizable programs for subscribers.
MerleYou are pushing a lot of content now, do you think you will be able to maintain this pace and quality?
William_of_the_CohanseyOK, I signed up for your e-mail notification. I'll let you know how I like it and if I see a need for any improvements.
Glen_HueyWe're doing this while attending the Woodworking Shows. When that gig is over, I see no reason we cannot continue and do more.
EllisYeah, we've had some interesting discussions in our forum lately about designing. I think that's a big roadblock for folks who would rather learn to fish than have someone give them a fish.
Bob_in_NJSo how many behind the scenes tech people does it take to keep your machine running?
Glen_HueyThe three involved are typing in this chatroom!
Bob_in_NJSheesh any plans to take off and sleep for a day or two?
EllisDo you ever meet face to face?
Glen_HueyWe have an office in which we work.
Glen_HueyMeeting to work is the best and fastest way to get things done and answer all questions.
Bob_in_NJI agree, Glen.
EllisYou all have your own shops, though, right?
Glen_HueyOne central shop that's about 2200 sqft.
EllisWoo. In Cincy?
Bob_LangI'm shopless at the moment
Glen_HueyOf course, we can all work at home, too.
Glen_HueyThe office and shop are combined and in West Chester, Ohio, just outside Cincy.
William_of_the_CohanseyWrong West Chester. The Acanthus Shop was much more convenient.
EllisSo, tease us with what's on the schedule...
Chuck_BenderWe've even got some hands-on classes set for this year -
EllisThat Esherick music stand is up for sale at the Moderne.
Chuck_BenderEsherick made tons of them
Chuck_Benderthe museum has 9 in storage
William_of_the_CohanseyThere are more than one of them.
EllisAll that design?
EllisAh, learn something every day..
William_of_the_CohanseyI've seen one at RISD, and I think one at the Renwick (Smithsonian).
Chuck_BenderEsherick wasn't opposed to making money.
Chuck_Benderand making multiples of something is a good way to do it.
EllisThere's an article for you.
EllisA lot of woodworkers would like to make money at it.
Chuck_BenderMaking multiples or how Esherick made money?
Bob_in_NJBy the third or fourth copy you pretty much get good at it.
EllisBoth. The business and design and marketing of ideas.
Chuck_BenderMaking money at it isn't an easy proposition for anyone.
EllisWe could have many long discussions there, Chuck.
Chuck_BenderAnd I'm sure we will.
Glen_HueyEllis, that book is for far more than woodworking. NYT best seller.
Chuck_Bender"The Secret to My Success" or something like that...
EllisWell, I've always seen woodworking as a means to an end.
Chuck_BenderThe end of all your money?
EllisIt has never existed for its own sake in my world.
Chuck_BenderSeriously, I'm right there with you. It's a passion but it has to pay as well.
EllisHow do you make a million in woodworking? ANS: Start with two million.
Glen_HueyCareful, Ellis. That joke is showing your age.
EllisThat's why the money-making side goes so much further than techniques and skills.
Glen_HueyIt's more like start with 10 mil!
Bob_LangThe three of us all managed to earn a living (if you call that living) for a long time just doing woodworking. I think that gives us a different perspective.
Chuck_BenderRight, how do you make a small fortune in woodworking...ANS. Start with a large one.
EllisMe, too, Bob. But there was a lot of customer relations and networking and such involved. Not just shop time.
Bob_in_NJYeah, making money is entirely about making money, woodworking might be one of the tools you use for it, but it's not the only tool in the box for making money.
Chuck_BenderI'm kind of hoping making a living at woodworking content production is like making a living at woodworking. If we put out high quality content on a regular basis, people will appreciate it and support it.
EllisBut, you guys would say that your target reader is what? The advanced/motivated hobbyist?
Bob_LangAbsolutely, and I hope we can do some things on the business side of woodworking. As a group we're pretty bad at business.
Glen_HueyEllis, Our goal is to appeal to that guy, but to also grab the newbie and help bring up their skills.
Bob_LangI think what we're looking for are guys who are passionate about making stuff from wood, regardless of experience or amateur status.
Bob_in_NJSeems to me that the timing is about right for motivated retiring baby boomer hobbyist woodworking content, along with prudent investments in the health-care industry
EllisSounds like a great mission statement, Bob.
Bob_LangI think the audience is broader than that, but no one seems to be reaching younger woodworkers.
EllisNow there's a challenge.
Glen_HueyI agree, and reaching that younger audience begins with online woodworking.
William_of_the_CohanseyI belong to a couple other woodworking organizations who are also very concerned about the lack of younger woodworkers.
EllisWe could go deep here and debate the future of woodworking.
Chuck_BenderThe biggest problem with younger woodworkers is a lack of time, space and funds. Other than that, it's easy...
Bob_LangWell, if publishing is going to survive you need to reach the younger generation
darrin_hillok.. define younger woodworkers.. I'm 45
Bob_LangThat's young to me.
EllisYou're a pup compared to the median age.
Bob_in_NJYou might be the youngster here, Darrin
darrin_hillwe do topics like 3-d printing and how to incorporate it into your turning.. making a carrying case from mahogany for your drone... etc
darrin_hillI AM the youngster..
Bob_LangBut there are also people in their 20s and 30s that are just as passionate as we were when we were that age. There were books and magazines at the time that had a lot of appeal
darrin_hilland the ones now have never bought a magazine in their life.
EllisFWW came out when I was 25. Hooked me for life.
EllisI guess the question is, what hooked me? And can you come up with a similar magic bullet for the new generation?
Glen_HueyIf 360 can grab the young Ellises out there and hook them for life, we'll be OK.
EllisYe gods, I hope there aren't too many like me.
David_KatzI am a retiring baby boomer hobbyist with 25 years experience.
Chuck_BenderThat's also why we want to explore some of the fringe stuff. That's what hooked me on FWW when I was a pre-teen.
Glen_HueyIt wasn't the projects or the techniques, Ellis. My bet is it was the idea of making and that is coming back strong.
Bob_LangThat used to be the highlight for me, I'd take the afternoon off and read a new issue cover to cover. Since then it's become more about the business of business and not about the craft. I'd like to bring back some of that passion and interest.
Bob_in_NJI get to work with a bunch of 18-20 something 'kids' at work and they generally are enthusiastic about making stuff, which is what we do, it's just that most of them have never been taught which end of a screwdriver to hold. Once you start showing them how to do stuff, they take to it like ducks to water.
Chuck_BenderSounds like a topic for an article..."Which end of the screwdriver"
Bob_in_NJThat would be a good one.
Glen_HueyThat's a great point, Bob.
EllisAnother big question is, as you say, what about time, space and funds?
Bob_LangThis is all an experiment, and it could all go kaboom. There are constraints on time and money, and we need to build a large enough audience to support us. It's a different model than conventional publishing, but it is a business in the early stages.
EllisTo me, there's a nostalgia element, too, a refuge for quality in the things that we surround ourselves with.
Bob_in_NJin this part of the country I think most of the industrial arts classes in public schools have gone by the wayside.
EllisI must say that I'm intrigued by your business model. It should work.
Glen_HueyThank you, Ellis. That holds water in my world.
MerleNorm Abram was my inspiration. Replicate him and you will be set.
Bob_LangFor young people, that isn't nostalgia, but a desire to have stuff they couldn't otherwise afford.
David_KatzNorm Abram was my inspiration as well.
EllisYeah, everything remotely marginal in public education is on the chopping block it seems. There has to be a different channel for getting youngsters interested.
Glen_HueyNorm was at the right time and he was the right guy.
EllisWell, he wasn't too esoteric. He brought it home to everyman. Brad guns and all.
MerleOnly until the glue set.....
Bob_LangWe're definitely in different times now.
Bob_in_NJhey a lot of 18th and 19th century moldings are held on with brads.
William_of_the_CohanseyIn the 18th century, they were called sprigs.
EllisWell, if you want to motivate younger people, you need to know what role they need/want woodworking to play in their world. We all still appreciate quality and handmade stuff, but there's a possibly very different reality out there for twenty-somethings nowadays.
EllisWill you touch on cultural specifics, like Japanese woodworking?
MerleMillenials are just starting to buy homes, maybe there is an opportunity to help them with their first DIY projects.
EllisGood idea, Merle. And keep the designs realistic.
Glen_HueyEllis, nothing is off the table, including home renovation - it's still woodworking.
EllisAh, now you're on my page. It's woodworking, but only as a component of getting something else done.
Bob_in_NJBboards on cinder blocks has always held a special place in my library.
EllisNot since college for me, Bob.
Bob_in_NJActually not on a bet with me either Ellis
darrin_hillbob had a table in college made from a cable spool
William_of_the_CohanseyMade from? A cable spool is a table already.
MerleAbsolutely and made with upcycled wood.
William_of_the_CohanseyYour blog goes back a lot farther than 360Woodworking. Did you move everything from all of your old blogs to the new site?
Glen_HueyWe did, William. Lot's to read if you were not familiar with any one of us.
William_of_the_CohanseyThere's lots to reread, and some useful stuff I've missed over the years.
EllisThe world's different. Show me how to do more with less, in less space, with smarter tools and processes.
EllisTell us about the Woodworking Shows. Will you be in New Jersey this month?
Glen_HueyThe plan as of now is that it will be Chuck and I. Bob has a previous engagement teaching in Baltimore.
EllisSounds like fun. Do they give you a booth? Or are you presenters?
Chuck_BenderWe are presenters
Chuck_BenderAnd we have a large area with seating for our seminars
Glen_HueyMostly it's an area with speakers and chairs. We set up a bench and a few tools to walk through building a small shaker stand. Seven sessions, each one different.
Chuck_BenderWe're doing seven throughout the weekend and each covers a different part of building a Shaker stand.
EllisWell, you can do that blindfolded.
Glen_HueyThat may be the attempt in Tampa - last show!
EllisI'm not flying to Tampa for no darn WW show.
EllisWell, I'd like to thank you all for coming tonight.
Bob_LangThanks for having us.
EllisBob, Glen, and Chuck... best of luck and keep up the great and ground-breaking work you're doing.
Chuck_BenderThanks. It was great fun.
EllisIt was. I'll be looking forward to your next issues.
Glen_HueyThanks, Ellis. See you in Somerset, and wherever.
Glen_HueyNite, everyone.
Bob_in_NJBob, Glen, and Chuck, thank you for chatting with us tonight and good luck with 360woodworking, I think you've got a good start and wish you great success with it.
EllisSigning off for tonight. See you next week for our regular chats. You guys are welcome to drop by any time.
Chuck_BenderThanks and see you guys later.
EllisYou bet. Take care......

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