Behind the Scenes on a Fine Woodworking Shoot

The Taunton Press prides itself on its magazines’ production values. Fine Woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, Threads, and others are printed on heavy paper with a medium-gloss coating that renders text and illustrations in all their high-resolution glory. In the field, editors and art directors painstakingly set up photographic shots to convey technical information as clearly as possible. Back at Taunton’s offices in Newtown, Connecticut, CAD draftsmen and -women turn the sketches submitted by writers into wondrously  detailed drawings. Page layouts are logical and uncluttered.

Underlying this slick production–at least, on location–are the realities with which most of us are more familiar: cancelled flights, malfunctioning equipment, greasy lunches at rural diners.

And then, in the case of Fine Woodworking, there are the shops. Some of us are, let’s say, less than tidy, even at the best of times. Add to these tendencies the controlled mania that is a project-feature shoot, in which the work of two or three weeks may be condensed into two or three days, and you have a recipe for serious clutter. 

Here’s what you won’t see when my article on building a Harris Lebus style writing desk appears in FWW#228: the dust; the mayhem of tools, coffee cups, sugar jars, and shaping jigs littering the top of my bench; the improvised rig on which we hung the desk’s upper section. Most importantly, you won’t see Steve Scott, the editor in whose capable hands  Anissa Kapsales left me when she shifted from full- to part-time employment at Fine Woodworking. Here is Steve, skillfully creating order (or at least the illusion of order) out of chaos.

A note about the hardware used for the writing desk in “Arts & Crafts with an English Accent” (FWW#228): The drawer pull was custom made by Adam Nahas of Cyclops Studios. The hinges, half-mortise locks, and escutcheons came from Paxton Hardware.

*Note: If you find a video attached to this post, it has been hacked in without my permission.

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