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The Fine WoodWorking blog reports that Boston’s WGBH will be producing a new PBS woodworking show featuring Thomas J. MacDonald (a.k.a. T. Chisel from his series of web videos). Maybe we’ll have someone to fill the void created when Norm retired from TV?

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The Adafruit Industries blog reports that Popular Science has partnered with Google to put their entire 137-year archive online for free browsing. The example shown above is the March 1933 issue. Peeking inside you’ll find such neat things as ads for the $495 Plymouth Six and the Pontiac 77-horsepower straight eight, plus articles on “Gold Mining taught with Models” and, the cover story, “Seagull Boat Skims Water at Seventy Miles an Hour.”

I could spend hours here reliving one of the fondest memories of my childhood: when my parents would visit one of their friends who had a huge collection of Popular Science magazines, I would tag along and happily wile away the hours perusing old issues until I fell asleep.

Search the PopSci Archives [Popular Science]
Popular Science March 1933 [Google Books]

I know we’ve mentioned Taunton’s Fine Woodworking magazine archive before, but as each year’s updated version comes out and we receive the inevitable promotion emails, we always wonder: How does the magazine stay in business when you can buy the huge archive so reasonably?

Seriously. 208 issues would include enough projects and tips to keep you happy in the wood shop for many years, if not the rest of your natural life. And though $150 can be hard to dig up, consider this: A single year’s subscription (in the US and Canada) will run you $35, and that gets you just seven issues. That’s just under $5/issue as their real price is one of those just-under-the-dollar numbers we automatically round up on Toolmonger.

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I knew nothing about machining 20 years ago. One day while I was browsing through a used bookstore I found a few used copies of “Home Shop Machinist” magazine (HSM). Looking through them, I knew I had to subscribe. Over the years they have published all manner of shop projects from building your own tools, modifying machine tools, and interesting and odd builds of everything under the sun. Projects they have been writing about lately include the construction of a grinding wheel balancer, a precision router table, use of a rotary table and a quick clamp. I’ve even written a few articles for them over the years.

Many of the articles are published over several issues, which can be a bit of a pain if you start subscribing in the middle of a series. Used issues aren’t cheap but they do come up on Ebay frequently (yes, I have a complete set). They also publish two other magazines, Machinist’s Workshop (MW) and Digital Machinist (DM), the former being basically the same as HSM but with more single-issue projects and more gunsmithing, the latter is primarily about home shop CNC. All three are worth subscribing to.

They have a nearly-complete index of past issues, as well as a great forum. A subscription to HSM costs $29.95 for six issues, MW $26.95 (6 issues) and DM $19.95 (4 issues).

The Home Shop Machinist, Machinist’s Workshop
Digital Machinist


Popular Mechanics used to release an annual book containing all their shop tips and tricks, appropriately called “Popular Mechanics Shop Notes.”  I own several original volumes from the ’30s and ’40s which make for entertaining bedtime reading.  Now the folks at Lee Valley Tools have reprinted every volume between 1905 and 1930 at a low cost — $7.50 each or $32.50 for 5-year increments.

You can find used original copies at around the same price or more, depending on condition and year. There’s even one copy fully scanned on Google Books, from 1921.  Topics vary from year to year and decade to decade, but each book contains at least a few items that’ll solve a problem or spur a solution — a highly recommended bit of reading.

Popular Mechanics Shop Notes [Lee Valley]


If you happen see a copy of Grassroots Motorsports peeking around the dozens of other car magazines on the shelf at your local retailer, you’d probably think it’s another mag just for racers or ricers.

You’d be dead wrong.

Started by a small staff of car lovers and active Florida motorsports participants many years ago, GRM is a fantastic resource for anyone who loves performance cars — but doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to drop on the latest toy. It turns out that a lot of the cars all of us drooled over in our youth are still out there. And many can be had for quite reasonable money now, assuming you have some basic tools and are willing to turn a wrench or two to own your dream.

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228 Storage Tips And Easy Projects packs into its 144 pages lots of great storage ideas for your home and workshop. The book describes and illustrates every project in detail, making it quick and easy for handypersons of all skill levels to follow. Even better, most of the featured projects require low-cost supplies that you may already have in your scrap pile.

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Popular Mechanics for $5

Popular Mechanics is my comfort magazine; I look forward to reading it every month.  For a limited time you can now get it a 12 month subscription for just $5. Sadly, I just renewed my subscription before I found this deal. Magazines such as Esquire, House Beautiful, and CosmoGIRL! are among the other titles available for $5.

Popular Mechanics [Official Site]
$5 Subscription [Hearst Magazines]

The Boy Mechanic

It’s hard to believe that there was a time in this country when children were encouraged to do risky (and interesting) things. But it’s true! Boys and Girls were given simple items and allowed to experiment with the way the world works by making and doing things that could possibly poke an eye out. Nothing exemplifies this better than The Boy Mechanic, a collection of simple projects that graced the pages of Popular Mechanics during the end of 19th and first half of the 20th century.

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The ultimate clamp for cabinetmakers is the parallel jaw clamp. They clamp down tight, they evenly distribute force, and they have resin coated jaws that won’t mar or damage your project. Check out Irwin’s entry in the parallel jaw clamp game: 24” and 48” models.

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