The latest issue of Quercus Magazine is an important one. In the March/April 2022 issue, Editor Nick Gibbs pays tribute to chairmaker John Brown. It’s a heartfelt, first-person account of his work and friendship with JB, and it fills in a lot of interesting details about their working relationship.
Most importantly, it is an unromantic account, much like Chris Williams’s outstanding book, “Good Work.” As JB’s life recedes into the past, I have watched a lot of mythology get built up around his name, his words and his work.
I never met John Brown, but the people whose stories I trust come from his family, his close friends and his working associates, such as Gibbs and Williams.
As Gibbs writes, JB was a complex character. Occasionally contradictory at times in words and deeds. So Gibbs’s account is very much worth reading. As a bonus, it is beautifully written and is accompanied by essays from Williams, myself and Kenneth Kortemeier.
I won’t spoil it for you. If you are interested, please do pick up a copy.
In addition to the John Brown tribute, the issue is filled with a lot of practical hand-tool information. Some of it quirky, some of it fun. One of the things I like about Quercus is the variety of points of view, both geographically and skill-wise. Oh, and Gibbs likes the written word, so the balance between images and words is my speed.
No, Gibbs didn’t pay me to write this. Nor did he ask. In fact, I’m a little salty with him right now because he is putting me on a future cover. As many of you know, I would rather do naked somersaults down the middle of Main Strasse in Covington with lit sparklers in my butt than have my face appear in print. But I don’t want to be all like “Stop. Don’t. Come Back.”
— Christopher Schwarz
19 thoughts on “Good Read: Quercus Magazine, April 2022”
Quercus is a fantastic magazine. All woodworkers would benefit from reading it.
Word. It has so many helpful articles. I find its unpretentiousness refreshing.
I discovered this magazine a couple of months ago, my subscription is digital. After 15 years of keeping all my wood working magazines ( for future reference) I’ve learned my lesson.
“I would rather do naked somersaults down the middle of Main Strasse in Covington…” Pretty sure I have seen this occur on more than one occasion before.
It wasn’t me. But yes, that’s Covington
The truly humorous thing about this animosity towards public images is that I only have two shirts with likenesses of a person on them and they are both of your face.
It has almost certainly happened in Portland, OR. There is a guy there who can be seen roaming the streets on a unicycle in full Scottish regalia with a Darth Vader helmet while playing bag pipes that he has somehow rigged to have flames shooting out of the pipes. It’s quite a sight. Several sightings are on “the tube”.
Naked somersaults are underappreciated.
—-oh, right: the article. It was good. Thanks. Will look into ‘Quercus’.
And just when I thought I knew all the woodworking magazines out there…. Thanks for the heads up.
Thankfully, you didn’t mention the centerfold.
Quercus is the by far the best woodworking magazine available. Literally written from people from all over the world. I especially liked the hand plane restoration article from the previous issue. 😉😛
I find Quercus to be like a breath of fresh air in the woodworking magazine world. The John Brown’s tribute is indeed a good read. That’s a good shot of you working, and with the cool hand-draw-like rendering they do with their covers, you will look just fine.
I’ve enjoyed every issue of this magazine. I cannot remember the web site where I have been able to order before (it was a US site, subscribing the hard copy from England is crazy expensive.) Can anyone help me find that retailer?
Lee Valley carries it as well.
What did you think of the Paul Sellers article on shop-made router planes?
It was lovely.
That was such a great article, Chris. And, in my completely biased opinion, Quercus is one of the best woodworking magazines out there. There is some content for everyone in every issue.
It’s funny that you mention that. Though I have written a blog, there aren’t many photos of me in it. Mostly I want to document my work for my friends and family. I also like to think that maybe some day when I am worm food, my grand kids or great grand kids might get a kick on reading about furniture I made 50 or 75 years ago that is in front of them. My wife encouraged me to film on my iPhone my woodworking and put it on the internet (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) so friends and family can watch. Again, I have been filming the woodworking mostly from the waist down and tools in action and focused on the wood. Given the intended audience, I should probably have my face in more of the scenes. Similar to you, I am somewhat mortified of showing my face on video, yet I am sure my grandkids will love to say “hey look, it’s grandpa Joe making that China cabinet we have sitting in the dining room.”
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