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Shop Talk Live 45: Taking the Fun Out of Fine Woodworking

comments (13) November 15th, 2013 in blogs

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This week on Shop Talk Live, we debut an experimental new segment that just might take the fun out of Fine Woodworking. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This week on Shop Talk Live, we debut an experimental new segment that just might "take the fun out of Fine Woodworking."

Photo: Senjur / Stock.xchng

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answer questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking's biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast!


Also on iTunes Click on the link at left to listen to the podcast, or catch it in iTunes. Remember, our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page. And don't forget to send in your woodworking questions to





Shop Talk Live 45: Taking the Fun Out of Fine Woodworking

This week we welcome our new editor, Tom McKenna onto the show, and get the scoop on his background, where we're going, and more. Plus, we tackle a variety of woodworking questions this week--beginning with tips on working with furniture-grade plywood, and moving on to bandsaw wisdom, how dumpster diving can get you into trouble, and more.

Should we Straighten Up?

Finally, we admit to perhaps getting a little too goofy from time-to-time on the show, after a listener complains of too much humor. That said, a bit of fun helps make the time go by that much faster. Is it true? Do we need to stick to woodworking technique and steer clear of the gentle jibes, subtle humor and inside tidbits that make the show what it is? We try an experiment with the introduction of a brand new segment at the end of the show that might just "take the fun out of Fine Woodworking."




Tom McKenna 

Mike Pekovich
Executive art director

Matt Kenney
Senior editor
Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer


Listen to Previous Episodes

posted in: blogs, podcast, fun, hoadley

Comments (13)

mkplaster mkplaster writes: Hi guys-- just want to say how much I'm enjoying the podcast. I think it is the perfect balance of insight and humor. In listening, I feel I am part of a informal conversation between knowledgable woodworkers who also happen to be good friends. I learn a lot from each edition and really enjoy Mike's perspective. I work alone most days, and the podcast helps me feel connected to a broader woodworking community. Keep up the great work! Many thanks.
Posted: 12:45 pm on January 8th

VESPID VESPID writes: There is too many inside jokes and too much useless chatter, not that any is too much but you need to control the amount.

I love the magazine, you do a great job on it and it is the best hobbyist magazine I have run across. But the podcast does not live up to it. If you are trying to be the car guys don't present it as part of the magazine.

The never ending teasing of Matt for his "Baby furniture" projects is actually making fun of your own articles, are you aware of that?
I noticed that you did not make fun of Richard Raffan for his Turning of Toys.

It will be interesting with Asa gone if this improves or slides further downhill.
Posted: 1:17 pm on November 30th

Allen_Mc Allen_Mc writes: I also agree with WoodworkingDaddy and was very disappointed by your response to his comment. It showed no respect for another point view..

Some joking and banter is good for us all but the inside jokes and jabs don't add a thing to the show. Please try to keep all in balance.
Posted: 6:30 pm on November 25th

freethebeagles freethebeagles writes: Count me among the "don't change a thing" camp.

Sure, sometimes the humor falls a bit flat, or the show bogs down a bit, but even then, its worth every penny I'm paying for it.

And, I fear the alternative would be worse: trying to turn this podcast into a no-nonsense informational presentation would leave it as dry as my mother-in-law's Thanksgiving turkey. If I want a program that information-packed, but bone-dry, there are plently of DVDs in the store to fit that bill.

Ed, Mike, Matt, Asa--thanks for all you do. I look forward to every episode.
Posted: 11:17 pm on November 21st

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: dandegennaro: Oh, man - that was a baaaadddd punnnnn! LOL

Anyhow, there's always room for construction criticism on the show - but that doesn't mean we won't have a little fun at the critic's (as well as our OWN) expense;)

Cheers all,


Posted: 9:43 am on November 19th

beem beem writes: Just adding my support, again, for the podcast in its current form. I enjoy the banter, sound effects, and even Ed on occasion... ;-) It's the best woodworking podcast out there.

You're doing a fantastic job, Ed!
Posted: 4:20 pm on November 18th

dandegennaro dandegennaro writes: Keep up the good work. Your humorous comments are the lignin (at least 25%) that holds the podcast together.
Posted: 12:54 pm on November 18th

AdventurousConifer AdventurousConifer writes: I have to agree with the posting from BStev. I welcome some friendly banter and joking. I feel that I get plenty of facts and information from the podcast too. I look forward to a new episode coming out every two weeks. For just facts I go to the Fine Woodworking website or open the magazine. I normally listen to the podcast while I commute to work. It tends to put me in a good mood for the rest of the day and gives me ideas to search for on the computer during my breaks.

Keep up the great work guys! Don't change a thing.
Posted: 11:20 pm on November 17th

dzj dzj writes: I don't mind the banter.
And you always hear something new.

It's like having a couple o' mates coming around and you don't
even have to supply the beer.

If someone wants just information, then they should Google.
It's all out there anyway.

Posted: 1:31 pm on November 17th

daltxguy daltxguy writes: This was the first podcast I listened to and I admit that I walked away about halfway through to do some sanding because it seemed more interesting.
I guess I am with rupps and WoodworkingDaddy - but then I am not complaining because when I don't like something, I just don't tune in again. So you may not be getting this comment very often simply because those who don't like it are not listening.

Posted: 9:49 pm on November 16th

VAbear VAbear writes: 1. I don't listen to woodworking . Video is enjoyable AND useful, not talk.
2. I shun large corporations such as Apple. My life is more enjoyable without them.
The amount and nature of javascripts that run on Taunton's pages paying various companies for my clicking is unnecessary. Taunton could set up this stuff without them and still earn a decent living.
3. If the Taunton staff were to ask for help with video, DVD production, internet hosting and hardware I feel sure it would appear from members, page visitors and their friends for reasonable fees or for free if it resulted in a lower fee wider audience..
Why not make downloadable video available for a $1.00 ?
Home Power's entire archive and a 3 year subscription is available right now for $38. No, I don't receive any money for mentioning them. It's just a really good example that folk who are of working class income can still buy great work for a reasonable price.
In the D.C. suburbs where I live the bloody lawyers, doctors and assorted others with too much money have supplied the greed of sellers raising the price of wood working tools and materials so that it's now rich hobbyist dominated.
Posted: 1:41 pm on November 16th

BStev BStev writes: There must be two distinct kinds of people listening to these podcasts. Those that think they should be entirely filled with woodworking facts and knowledge and have no banter distracting from the factoids and those that actually enjoy listening to the interaction between the various personalities and the humor they express toward each other and the field in general.

Personally I would find the fact only version terribly boring and hard to listen to for any period of time but I truly enjoy the playful banter these guys engage in and occasionally laugh out loud at the jokes and name calling.

Keep up the good work. Maybe you could add another podcast that is fact only and has no personality and see if the numbers add up better for that version. I would bet money it dies by the road after a very short run.
Posted: 12:53 pm on November 16th

rupps rupps writes: I've wanted to say the same thing WoodworkingDaddy wrote in about your podcast but thought it would not be taken more than just a complaint that would be simply ignored. He said it much more eloquent than I would have anyway.

There is ENTIRELY too much chatter and side talk. It had been months since I tried listening to the podcast due to this. It is currently painfully full of drivel. I listen to it and read articles to gain knowledge, not to hob knob with you all. The chatter provides nothing to the podcast. It actually takes a LOT away from it. Please go back and listen to EVERYTHING WoodworkingDaddy said and consider tightening things up.

Thank you for listening.
Posted: 11:44 am on November 16th

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Fine Woodworking magzine's biweekly podcast, Shop Talk Live, allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.