After sweating the details over the course of several months on a single issue of Woodcraft magazine, it feels good to finally send it off to the printer. “If I never see those stories again, it’ll be too soon,” I say to myself. But even after I hand off the files to the fine folks at Fry Communications, the job is still not done. While megabites of magazine files travel electronically to the printer, I make the journey the old-fashioned way. My drive takes me across West Virginia, through Maryland and into Mechanicsburg, PA, where our magazine is printed. As the art director, it’s my job to make sure that the pages are where they’re supposed to be and that the photos and drawings look as good as they possibly can. No matter how weary I am of the stories in a particular issue, I’m still excited to see those pages fly off the press.
A tremendous amount of work goes into each issue: negotiating with authors, planning projects, directing photo shoots, checking drawing dimensions, and more. But the press crew works hard too, operating large, complex machines for long hours to make sure everything for our little publication is just right. It’s a loud and busy place on the press floor. You sure can’t hear your cell phone ringing when the presses are running. And even if you manage to answer your phone, forget about carrying on a conversation. I’m convinced that the guys I see during our press runs are just as obsessed with good craftsmanship as we are in creating the content for every issue. It’s a good feeling.
This December/January issue is special. Des Moines craftsman Jim Downing designed our cover project – an Asian-inspired Jewelry Box. Larissa Huffman from the JD Lohr School of Woodworking showcases her routing skills with a monogrammed hand mirror – another great holiday gift idea. Senior editor Paul Anthony demonstrates how to transform a dull, beat-up old chisel from trash to treasure (razor sharp) in three steps. The polychromatic ornament that Georgia turner Don Russel creates is truly beautiful. And because this is our holiday season issue, we’ve got a special feature on gifts small and large for woodworkers.
It was a little weird, printing a Christmas issue on the day before Halloween. I got temporarily confused –seeing holiday images while craving some trick-or-treat candy. It’s another special memory I’ll have about issue #68. Pick up a copy and let us know what you think.