Canadian Woodworking

It’s all about the punctuation…I mean, the projects

Blog by Rob Brown
Japanese inspired tansu

I enjoy my job. Editing a magazine can mean different things for different publications, but my job essentially involves deciding who will write an article, planning when those articles will run, and then ensuring each article is complete, makes sense, involves safe practices and has the proper photography and illustrations to run with it. From time to time I also source tools or machinery that appear in the articles, whether for individual tool reviews or tool comparison articles.

Mix things up, and add a dash of punctuation

Planning a nice mix of beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-level articles is always a bit of a juggling act. Projects are typically our most popular articles, so I want to make sure I include a good mix in our pages. I go about finding projects in a few different ways. Writers (or, quite often, hobby woodworkers) will contact me once in a while with a photo of something they’ve just built, or a simple sketch of what they’ve got coming down the pipes, and ask me if I’m interested in including it. After a quick back-and-forth about details, I’m able to let them know whether we can run it or not. They can then work their magic.

The second way I get project articles is when I need to build something for a client or a family member. A cabinet or table might have to be built, or a home improvement project might have to be taken care of. If it’s appropriate to include I’ll take photos as I build, then write it up.

The third way I get project articles is by approaching folks who’ve made pieces of furniture to see if they’re interested in writing for us. Of course, this takes a bit of sleuthing on my part. I learned very quickly that not everyone can put pen to paper or take good step-by-step process photos. Both of these skills are pretty important to me as an editor. The writing aspect gets sorted out after a few emails between the potential writer and myself. Long, run-on sentences with no punctuation get them a “thanks for sharing” reply, while a fairly well-thought out response, with few spelling errors, lots of complete sentences and a well-composed overall structure lets me know this is the right tree to bark up.

Luckily, even smartphone cameras take decent enough photos to run in our articles, and Photoshop can take care of the odd problem that pops up. For example, years ago I realized after the fact that I was wearing an ugly pink sweater while testing out some machinery for a tool comparison article. What was I thinking? Our skilled art director, Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, changed it to blue just in time. That sweater has since disappeared.

Fingers crossed

A good example of this third option happened just the other day, when I got an email from Glenn Bartley, from Victoria, B.C. I became aware of Glenn’s work when researching the Aug/Sep spoon carving issue. I included some of his work in the gallery-style article, as well as the slideshow I put together of Canadian-made wooden spoons. I also ran one of his chairs in a Community column about the Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild Exhibition a while back. The other day he emailed me a photo of a recently completed side table, which I immediately responded with “Please tell me you have lots of photos of that build, Glenn?” He’s looking through his collection now, and with a bit of luck we’ll all see how he built the table, including the inlay, dovetailed drawer, unique legs and all the other construction and finishing details. Don’t let me down, Glenn!

Photos of your work

Speaking of Glenn Bartley’s sleek side table, a few weeks ago we put out a call for you to send us photos of your work, and you’ve come through nicely. One of the pieces we’ve posted on our website is Glenn’s. Check out the other pieces, then consider sending in pics of your own and we’ll post them. To view what we have so far, and to learn about how you can send us photos of your work, click here.

With any luck you’ll see Glenn’s side table in an upcoming issue. Heck, maybe you’ll even see one of your pieces in an upcoming issue. Just remember, complete sentences and punctuation will help. And for heaven sakes, if you’re going to build something cool, take photos of the build! It might make an editor really happy one day.


Curly Walnut Rocker

Another submission to our recent call for photos is this curly walnut and ziricote rocker built by Dallas Gara, of Calgary, Alberta. I really like how the rocker joins with the rear of the chair. Looks almost too nice to sit in!

Curly Walnut Rocker

The First Step

I built this Japanese-inspired step tansu almost 20 years ago. When I contacted then-publisher Paul Fulcher about something unrelated, he noticed the unique cabinet on my site and asked me if I’d like to write about how I built it. I’m guessing it was my thoughtfully written and punctuated email, and not the tansu, that he was most impressed with.

Japanese inspired tansu

Cover Worthy

I was really excited to see my step tansu in the print issue, but on the cover…that was icing on the cake!


Glenn Bartley’s Side Table

With simple lines, solid joinery and tastefully selected woodgrain, this side table would make a nice project article for CW&HI.

Side Table

Don’t Keep Secrets

Notice how the legs are attached to the upper base rail on an angle? I wonder how Glenn did that. And where did he find that figured drawer front? Hopefully, he will share his secrets with us.

Glenn Bartley table

Triangular Inlay

Although they’re only a small addition to this side table, the inlay provides a very strong focal point for the piece. And nice job selecting such a harmonious, contrasting wood, Glenn. Those woods were made for each other.

Table detail
Last modified: May 15, 2022

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