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The end of paper magazines (again)?

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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Mike Jordan » 12 Jan 2022, 19:07

I Foolishly signed a publication agreement, it allowed the magazine to reuse the work without payment as often as they wished.
The magazines are getting their just reward. It was much better when woodworkers played at being journalists rather than the other way round.
Some years back GW were pleading with readers to send in copy for publication after failing to pay their contributors.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Alf » 12 Jan 2022, 19:20

Lurker wrote:For instance, I would rather like to see what you sent to the tips pages, Alf.

Cripes, so would I! Haven't a clue. :eusa-think:
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Steve Maskery » 12 Jan 2022, 21:13

Mike, you are so right.
Over ten years ago I was approached by a publishing house in Australia called Reed's. They wanted to sell my DVDs.
They wanted a 60% discount, and payment terms of 60 days. Now they were buying 100 units of 6 (at the time) titles, 600 in total, over 4 grand's worth, so that seemed reasonable to me. I agreed. I printed them off, shipped them and have never received a single penny.

Yes it was a stupid thing to do, but I was going through a divorce at the time, was very mentally ill and this was only one of many ill-advised decisions that I took that impoverished me. But if you are on your own, there is no-one there to tell you that you are being stupid.

Can I chase them in the courts? Of course not.

I try not to tar all Australians with the same brush, but you do have to remember how the land was populated in the first place (Aboriginal Australians excepted, of course). But it does leave a very bitter taste in the mouth.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Steve Maskery » 12 Jan 2022, 21:58

I'm gobsmacked to find that I still have a copy of my original essay which started my jounalistic career, such as it is. And, as I own the copyright and can do what I like with it, I offer it here, free, on condition that it is not used by anyone else for monetary gain. Enjoy! Looks like I got the year wrong - Jan 1998?

Who’s chair is it anyway? And who cares?

Some thoughts on Inspiration and Plagiarism by Steve Maskery
Friday, October 31, 1997-

About ten years ago I saw a picture of a dining chair in an in-flight magazine. It was a new contemporary design by Ercol, quite different from their more traditional range. I liked it instantly and have carried it about in my wallet ever since. At that time my workshop consisted of an 8x6 garden shed, not the ideal place to make furniture, so the project had to wait until I had the space. Over those ten tears my ideas of what I liked about those chairs changed, some features I liked, others I thought could be improved and as I became aware of the work of others such as Sam Maloof and Charles Rennie Mackintosh I took bits from here and there and earlier this year I made my own chair.

Now the basic shape of this chair comes from Mr. Ercolani. But I've raised the back quite a lot, got rid of the back splats I didn't like much, put in some nice ones I lifted straight off Sam Maloof, and put in a proper traditional upholstered drop-in seat rather than the pad on slats of the original.

So who's chair is it anyway? Virtually none of its individual parts are unique to me, yet there is not another one like it anywhere in the world. Most people are very complimentary, say Ooh and Aah and ask me if I’ve made them. No problem answering that. Then they ask me if I designed them. Hmm. Did I? I can’t say that I did and I can’t say that I didn’t.

So I think this chair is unique, but would Messrs. Ercolani, Maloof and Mackintosh think so? Mackintosh patents have expired, so high backs with straight legs are public domain. Sam Maloof has published books and videos of his work and techniques for the woodworking fraternity. There is no point in doing that if you are not prepared to let others use your ideas. Ercol can produce their chairs more economically, with fewer flaws and a better finish than I can, so I’d hardly be competition, even if I were making these for sale. And the whole history of design has been that of building on what has gone before, constantly trying to take advantage of all the good features that already exist. That’s why modern cars are all so similar. There is the occasional quantum leap, but that’s often caused by the availability of new materials rather than just a new aesthetic.

These are the first proper chairs I’ve made, and like most things we do for the first time, they are far from perfect. They do not pretend to be anyone else’s work. They are not putting anyone else out of work. . It seems to me that making these, for myself, is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

The economic cost of making a batch of eight has vastly exceeded what anybody in their right mind would be prepared to pay for them. If you cost the workshop at £20 an hour, not unreasonable I think, I calculate that these have cost about £600 apiece, not counting the cost of the softwood mockup and the Canary prototype I made before chopping up my expensive cherry. Most people want to go to Ikea and fill their entire house for less than that.

If I made another batch there are few things I would change. I would jig up for the front leg joint differently, and I would lower the seat an inch (I raised it after making the prototype, I decision I now regret). But apart from that, for me, this is the perfect dining chair. Of course, you don’t have to agree, and maybe in 10 years time, I’ll no longer think so, either. But that doesn’t matter.

I would not look forward to the repetition though. By the time I’d spokeshaved 16 backsplats, I was fed up to the back teeth with them and I’d another eight to go. And when a few of them shattered at the short grain while being routed, after quite a lot of time had already been spent on them, a quick trip to Ikea for £20 chairs seemed like a sensible idea. But I now have no doubts that it was worth it. We have a set of dining chairs that are comfortable, eye-catching and have a story behind them. I could not have bought them, and no-one else has any quite like them.

So I’m pretty satisfied that my conscience is clear. It seems to me that it’s hard enough making stuff in your spare time, with limited space, limited facilities and limited skill without having to design something the like of which the world has never seen before. I’m just thankful that we have a rich history of design work to draw upon, and who knows, as I get more experienced, I, too may design something new and revolutionary. Mind you, if I do, I bet someone will come along and nick my idea.


And this is the chair in question:
Image
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby 9fingers » 12 Jan 2022, 22:42

Ah yes I well remember those chairs when I first met you at your place. Must be 20 plus years ago.

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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Steve Maskery » 12 Jan 2022, 22:52

9fingers wrote:Ah yes I well remember those chairs when I first met you at your place. Must be 20 plus years ago.

Bob


It probably was, Bob. A different life ago, both richer and poorer at the same time.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Woodster » 13 Jan 2022, 12:04

I had a conversation with a mate about the cost of books. Being a printer at the time he said that 90% of the cost of a book was in the printing. I disagreed, and when I looked it up it was the other way round - well over 90% of the cost was in publication not printing. I wonder if this also applies to magazines? They seem to offer pretty poor value to me these days. I bought a couple of 170 page Woodturning books recently, both “used but in as new condition” - they were new and unused as far as I could tell. One was £4.97 and the other was £3.57, both including postage.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Sheffield Tony » 13 Jan 2022, 12:27

Mike Jordan wrote:The magazines are getting their just reward. It was much better when woodworkers played at being journalists rather than the other way round.


For the hand tool worker who has progressed beyond wanting to read how to chop a joint and can draw up their own plans given the inspiration, Joshua Klein's Mortise and Tenon. It calls itself a magazine, but is much more. Beautiful pictures, nice paper, clear print, thoughtful analysis, minimal advertising, no product placement. You have to cope with the American origins though.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Lurker » 13 Jan 2022, 13:09

9fingers wrote:Ah yes I well remember those chairs when I first met you at your place. Must be 20 plus years ago.

Bob


Was that the meet where we started at the village hall and then moved to Steve’s gaff?
Excellent article/ post Steve, have a rummage for some more.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby 9fingers » 13 Jan 2022, 13:16

Lurker wrote:
9fingers wrote:Ah yes I well remember those chairs when I first met you at your place. Must be 20 plus years ago.

Bob


Was that the meet where we started at the village hall and then moved to Steve’s gaff?
Excellent article/ post Steve, have a rummage for some more.



No I was on my own. I think I'd been to Long Eaton to pick up an induction motor and arranged to meet with Steve for a coffee. I've not been able to align that trip with other events to try and work out a date. I think Steve had a burgundy coloured car at the time - weird how things come into mind when you try and remember things about an event.
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Steve Maskery » 13 Jan 2022, 13:26

I seem to recall that we sat outside in the sunshine.
That was a much nicer address than I have now - shame about the context!
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Lurker » 13 Jan 2022, 18:35

Steve Maskery wrote:That was a much nicer address than I have now -!


Haven’t the hipsters started to move into Kirkby yet!?
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Re: The end of paper magazines (again)?

Postby Steve Maskery » 13 Jan 2022, 20:16

Lurker wrote:
Haven’t the hipsters started to move into Kirkby yet!?


Well I've been here over 9 tears, the others are being a bit tardy.

Mind you, the only thing round here that is "cool" is my flippin' house.
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