‘Quercus’ Magazine. Yes.

As a lifelong journalist, I’ve struggled to come to terms with newspapers and magazines. They must exist in order to promote a free society. But it seems irresponsible to squander so many resources on something that might be glanced at for a week, a day or an hour.

Despite this, however, Lucy and I still get our city’s (very conservative) newspaper on our doorstep every day, plus The (very liberal) New York Times on Sundays. Old habits (and a balanced diet) die hard.

When Nick Gibbs’ new venture, Quercus magazine, showed up in the mail, I was torn. Nick and I go way back. There’s respect, jealousy, bad blood and all the other emotions that come from the life where you bleed ink from one arm and sap from the other. There have always been too many woodworking publications out there for the market to support. So everyone struggles. Do we need one more?

If the first issue of Quercus is any indication, the answer is yes. 

All of the following statements are compliments. It is a bit sloppy but is readable, lovable and enthusiastic. It doesn’t give a crap about corporate this or that. The paper it is printed on is woefully thin – it wrinkles when you breathe heavily upon it – but Nick chose the paper for exactly this purpose. (It’s recycled and inexpensive to mail out.) 

The articles are short and written mostly by enthusiasts who have more energy and passion than style. The experience level of the authors runs the gamut, from dead-nuts beginner to people who deserve a royal nod (Bill Carter and Richard Arnold in particular). I really enjoyed Derek Jones’ short article on the psychology of sawing, Barn the Spoon’s recollections working as a pedlar (“peddler” in the U.S.) and James Mursell’s thoughts on chair angles and what they communicate. Oh, and Rudy Everts (from our Chair Chats) and his miniature carved chairs are featured inside the front cover. Thanks for wearing pants this time, buddy.

Most of all, Quercus is deeply personal. Nick has always blurred the line between editor and confessor in his magazines (Living Woods and British Woodworking in particular). And so you laugh with approval when you see the wood-burning stove Nick’s made from a filing cabinet as you wonder why the hell Nick is showing you this wackiness in a woodworking magazine.

If you sign up for a magazine by Nick, you’ll get a lot of Nick in every issue.

Most of all, I hope the guy has the energy and focus to keep it going. After a life-changing bicycle accident several years ago, Nick had to start life from scratch. And as a long-time follower of his work, I’ve been impressed by his perseverance. 

If you want to support this unlikely venture (as I do), you can buy the first issue here.

Cross your fingers for a second issue. And encourage Nick to keep going on Instagram.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to ‘Quercus’ Magazine. Yes.

  1. Salko Safic says:

    Why doesn’t this surprise me.

  2. Bill Carter? I’m in.

  3. Mike says:

    I don’t mind cheap paper. I always feel kind of bad when I toss my FWW in the trash after reading it.

    • Stephen Yoder says:

      Don’t toss those old magazines, especially FWW, in the trash. Bundle them up and donate them to your local thrift store (hopefully they’ll take them). I was introduced to Popular Woodworking when I picked up a bundle of 12 magazines at a ReStore outlet for like a buck or two.

      • flyandgrain says:

        My local library has a place to drop off magazines for others to enjoy. I take a few of my old ones with me when I visit, which I can’t do right now.

    • Nick Gibbs says:

      I want copies to get dog-eared, rolled up to take anywhere and much loved by the time the next issue is out.

  4. peter j marshall says:

    I love woodworking magazines ! Quercus is like sitting down with a few talented distant relatives and enjoying a pint while discussing some really cool woodworking stuff . Speaking of magazines , I would be a buyer of a LAP quarterly magazine format . Better quality paper though please .

    • Nick Gibbs says:

      Sorry, but the paper quality will probably stay as it is. Words are more important than paper, and we have every intention of having enough money to pay for good stuff.

  5. John Majerle says:

    I see Quercus has a digital version. Those are even easier to recycle!

  6. John Verreault says:

    I did my bit for the environment and got the digital version a week ago…

  7. “dead nuts”? No way! I definitely made sure that shot didn’t get sent to Nick for the cover photo options.

  8. Chris B says:

    Maybe someone with his contact info could let Nick know that the digital version is missing a page between 41 and 44 (only one un-numbered page is present) … I’d sure love to know what is on that page in the printed version that the pocketmags people felt had to be censored! 😀

    Even choosing the print option only shows 63 pages to choose from.

    • Nick Gibbs says:

      I will check on the digital version. Thanks for that comment. Knowing me I probably got the wrong number anyway. Surely p64 is the outside back cover, with those wonderful chopping blocks?

  9. Bruno Luecking says:

    I received my copy a couple of days ago. Being a hand tools only woodworker I was always waiting for such a “working wood by hand” magazine to be published. I totally agree with your description of the magazine and I hope they will have success.

    • Nick Gibbs says:

      Thanks. We will see how it goes. Editing magazines is my ‘hobby/passion’, so it better work.

  10. Nick Gibbs says:

    Thanks, Chris, for giving us this plug. Congratulations on Good Work. Quercus co-founder John Brown would be impressed, though he’d never have said so about the book or the magazine!

  11. Simon Honing says:

    whatever happened to a magazine called ‘Woodworker-a magazine for all woodworkers’? This was a great publication which just seemed to die sometime around 2009 or 2010. I treasure any remaining copies I have today and if I could access it via my machine I certainly would.I don’t think I’m the only person lamenting its loss.

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