Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Megan Fitzpatrick, the managing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, says she’s a 14-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 43-year-old-woman.
Wait, I shouldn’t tell that story.
Sometimes looks can be deceiving. To the outside world, Megan sometimes looks like the “I Can Do That” spokeswoman. It’s true that she’s probably built more “I Can Do That” projects than anyone. But that’s not because those are the only things she can build.
Close observers of the magazine know that she has built some big case pieces with lots of hand-cut dovetails, cove moulding and inset doors and drawers. But only the people who work with her know the whole story.
Megan is one of the more ambitious woodworkers I know. She always picks projects above her skill level in some way and then
pesters seeks out the knowledge to build them. That’s how she learned dovetailing, inlay, sharpening, you name it.
While that might not sound so unusual, she also is
ruthless persistent about learning everything about a topic. When she wanted to learn dovetails, I think she asked everyone in the office at Popular Woodworking Magazine to teach her separately. Then she’d compare the techniques and forge her own path.
In December, Megan decided to build a spice box with line-and-berry inlay as a gift for her mother. You can read the harrowing tale here. Bottom line: I hope Megan will be able to show off more of her highbrow skills – other than iambic pentameter – in the coming years.
It’s easy in this male-dominated business for some people to see women in the craft as window dressing, as has been the case on certain home-improvement television shows (I’m looking at you, Dean). Don’t buy into that with Megan, or you are liable to get a roundhouse kick in the ear.
I won’t tell that story, either.
— Christopher Schwarz
15 thoughts on “The Managing Editor You Don’t Know”
Very nice piece Megan.
The week before Christmas (apparently while she was in the throws of this project) Megan took time to mail me her *personal* copy of one of the “exercises in wood-working” DVDs that was on backorder from Popular Woodworking so that I could have the gift for my brother-in-law that I wanted to give him.
Top that editor-awesomeness.
Throes, you mean. 🙂
It’s easy to seek out projects above my skill level because they all are. Then I make them more complicated than necessary. I always learn something along the way though.
I am so totally impressed with this piece!!! This is a project I have on my list of stuff I want to build. Way to go Megan! I think you just passed your black belt test in woodworking! I’m inspired!
My sensei taught us that black belt level was not an end in itself. He taught that achieving black belt (1st dan) meant that one had mastered the basics of the art at which point one can truly begin to learn.
For those who love trivia and may be unfamiliar with the ranking system used in Japanese arts (martial and otherwise, including poetry, calligraphy, and ikibana (flower arranging)) the ranks start at 10th kyu (pronounced ‘queue’) and progress to 1st kyu. 2nd kyu and 1st kyu would be equivalent to brown belt level here in the USA. 1st dan is the first black belt level at which the numbering is reversed and progresses through 10th dan, the highest possible ranking. In the marital arts in Japan it’s traditional to start with a white uniform (called a do-gi or gi for short) and a white belt. One washes the do-gi but never the belt. By the time one’s belt turns black one has mastered the art to at least 1st dan (or quit I guess!) At least, that’s what I was taught when I studied Aikido.
Very nice work indeed.
I am wondering, are there any secret compartments built in as well?
Very impressive job!!! Keep up the great work.
Thank you Chris. And thank you guys. No secret compartments; no time!
And if she told you about the secret compartments then they wouldn’t be very secret now would they?
Oh yes they would.
If she didn’t tell us where they were.
But as Goethe said: “to keep a secret, one must first conceal the fact that one possesses one” (or maybe it was Schiller who said it).
It feels a little odd to see my name mentioned, but know it’s not me. Regardless, I do want to say, that is one fine piece of work Megan. Congratulations.
That is a very nice looking piece from Megan. I enjoy all the articles and projects that she creates. I think there are some very talented female woodworkers out there. Kari Hultman’s blog is one that I frequent regularly and often find myself stealing ideas from her.
First of all, a heavy set gentleman named Vito is driving around Kentucky with a baseball bat in the back of his Escalade. He’s going to teach Chris Schwartz a lesson in etiquette – one never, ever reveals a lady’s age, much less lie about it.
Well, hell, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and call it a typo. I’m sure he meant “a 14-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 28-year-old-woman.” That doesn’t mean, however, that he shouldn’t be looking over his shoulder for the next several years for Vito’s “instruction” in manners.
Megan, the spice box is drop dead gorgeous – the line and berry inlay is particularly impressive. I wish I was a good a woodworker as you!
As far as “pestering” goes, the aforementioned Mr. Schwartz should know that psychologists think that one of the hallmarks of successful people is their ability to recognize that they need the assistance of others and to ask for it without embarrassment.
So there, Chris!
Vito better change his name to “Cooter” if he wants to be a successful businessman in Kentucky.
Businessman?!? I thought he was a baseball player.
Hey, what’s wrong with iambic pentameter?!?
I, for one, am glad to see more women doing serious woodworking. It gives me hope that my young daughters will find some female role models in the craft as I attempt to teach them about it.
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