WT98 – Asa’s Apology Tour

Before getting to the meat of the show, I do want to state very clearly that Asa did not request to be on Wood Talk Online Radio. I invited him and offered him a chance to discuss his thoughts on the recent debacle. Of course, we like to keep things light-hearted, hence the title and the image associated with this episode. I want it to be clear that we have the greatest respect for both Asa and Fine Woodworking, but we like to poke fun whenever possible and fortunately Asa was on board. So with that, here’s the rest of the show notes.

On today’s show, Fine Woodworking Editor Asa Christiana sits in for Shannon as a co-host. We’re also talking about the best multi-tasking tools and how to make the best use of a small work space.

Primary Topic

Scaling down and getting the most out of your tools. Which tools are the best multi-taskers? Which tools give you the best bang for the buck? Combination tools, track saws, and putting your tools on casters are all great places to start.

A Shop Built Around An Island – Article
A Shop Built Around An Island – Video

Around the Web

The Highland Woodworker Episode 2
Fine Woodworking Live
Shop Talk Live
Modern Woodworkers Association

iTunes Reviews

Thank you Kpete75 and TravNwhit

28 replies on “WT98 – Asa’s Apology Tour”

This is actually the first time I have listened to one of the podcasts on this site. I was curious to hear Asa’s comments on the topic at hand….. And I have a totally different option of him and the magazine because of this podcast. ( a good opinion, by the way ) Thanks for having him on, and I really enjoyed the whole podcast , even after the switch to the small shop discussion. Very informative, I enjoyed it all. I wont miss another episode!


I’d highly recommend following the homage through and start listening from #1. There is a lot of good content in here and you can hear the progression of where things started to where the guys are today.


I’ve listen to all your shows, except for 96 and 97, which I skipped to listen to this.

Just wanted to say that I appreciate the way this program dealt with the subject. Rational, calm and honest. FWW was the first woodworking magazine I ever read and is the only one I still subscribe to. I find that I turn to the internet much more often for woodworking information and inspiration.

Now to go back and listen to the shows I’ve missed. Maybe. Does Matt talk a lot on those two episodes? πŸ™‚

Oh in that case…LOL! Actually 97 wasn’t to bad, I found myself yelling answers at the podcast while driving to work.

Once again, you guys handled this very professionally. “Piling on”, unfortunately, is a reality in the online community. FWW is and always has been a top notch magazine. All of those years of quality publications cannot be discarded because of one mistake. We all make ’em!!

I consider you to be the premier online resource!!

Good job!!

The sad reality of “sound bite” news where a very good comment was taken out of context and the whole podcast is destroyed. I thank you for having Asa on and allowing him to explain himself. How many of us have said something and it was taken out of context and we had to explain ourselves again and again ad nauseum? Too many! Thank you.

It is an unfortunate combination when we mix the heat of our knee jerk reactions with the anonymity the Internet can provide us. Personally I’ve been trying to force myself to take a cool down period before leaving a comment. Doesn’t always happen, but I’m trying.

Thanks for listening.

DISCLAIMER: I have not listened to this podcast and I don’t have time right now, so I won’t comment on the actual podcast.

My issue with the FWW video in question was that Asa and the others seemed so arrogant about woodworking. The matter of “vetting” a project and making sure it has good information is understandable if this were 1983 and there were only a few outlets for this type of information. The reality is that through the internet, woodworking information (among many others) is much more accessible to people. That’s both good and bad woodworking information. The concept of “vetting” in today’s world is taken as a shot at the readers in that we’re not smart enough to recognize bad info when we get it. Now, you may respond saying, “What about the new woodworkers?” Well, if the new woodworkers look at the # of subscribers on a youtube channel, they’re quickly figure out that the general woodworking public has given its collective stamp of approval.

The comments I heard in the video by FWW seemed more defensive in nature than constructive and helpful to the beginning woodworker. Props to Asa for coming on this podcast. I look forward to having time to listen to all of it.

Kudos, gents!!

That was a tour de force in professionalism, diplomacy, and highly constructive intercourse. It is always rewarding when you get a win-win in a contentious discussion. Of all human endeavors, woodworking is not a zero-sum game. Everyone gains from open interaction……. unless you are the last ebony tree on the planet.

I think we now know who to send to the Middle East to resolve those issues.

I am very glad I listened to this. It is an excellent example of people learning from their mistakes. Wait a minute, every mistake I have made taught me much more than what I did right. It takes a very BIG person to admit his mistake and to articulate what he learned from those mistakes is very refreshing. As I grow as a woodworker I look to you who are willing and able to share both techniques and the mistakes that you run across. So please continue to share both besides we need something to laugh at.
I will admit that I sometimes feel that you guys come off as elitist know it all’s. “Most” of the time you don’t deserve that kind of judgment. I for one have learned a lot from Marc and many others that the Internet offers. I don’t agree with most but I have learned from all. This craft can be (is) very overwhelming much likes the Internet. I hope this ramble is not misinterpreted if it is…. get over it.
Oh and thank you for pointing almost of the bad habits I have developed like tool collecting in my very short time as a woodworker.

Thanks for the show.
re: FWW
I gotta mention that I love the high quality illustrations. Good stuff.
Also for folks newer to our craft/passion/hobby, should you get an opportunity to snag older issues of FWW, go for it. A while back I bought maybe three years of early to mid 1990s issues in nice condition through either Craigslist or eBay. Great resource or mere rainy day entertainment (for us driveway woodworkers).

Well done. The discussion was open, honest, and informative. Kudos to Asa, but I wasn’t offended by his original comments that triggered the firestorm. My “best practice” is to gather some information, evaluate it, and decide how I can do it with the tools that I have on hand.

Great show Marc!
I really enjoyed the segment on shop downsizing. It would be neat to see a small project series highlighting the bandsaw.

Speaking of small shops..My shop is a 16′ x 16′ size building. A few things I have done are similar to the comments mentioned. A few things I did was added rollers. Made a roll around work center table that housed my router, storage, planer. I also purchased the Shop Smith unit. I bought for a few hundred buck then upgraded components. Utilized storage above my ceiling and made a dual sliding peg boards with storage behind. I will say I can build almost any project. I would be glad to share pictures with those who ask.

Wow! Congratulations WTO πŸ™‚ sounds like now Marc, Matt and Shannon will run FWW. Welcome to the new editors in chief! In South America this would be called a Junta πŸ™‚

Joking aside, the comments on the combination jointer / planer with a helical head is something I have been thinking for a long time. I read so many bad comments on this issue that completely erased this from my mind.

Next, the other discovery was the importance of a good bandsaw. Instead of upgrading my table saw (I have an adecuate Bosch contractor saw and I use the Festool system as well) so instead of a better table saw I would consider a bandsaw instead.

Fantastic show! The dialog between the three of you was thought provoking and interesting.

I heard the “Perfect Storm” FWW the day it was released, and thought that much of the online “uproar” was out of scale with the actual comments. But… that’s the ‘net… In fact, I saw it as more support for why many contributors to traditional media might choose to not participate in a lot of online forums or the blogosphere.

In the end, the back and forth in this podcast might be a very good step in the process to draw the traditional, long-time, dues-paying folks, who have LOTS to both offer and gain, a bit more into the online world. Hopefully, some folks who primarily exist in online media also will repflect on what could be gained from showing a bit more respect to the old-school folks with solid portfolios of work.

Nicely done by all involved!

I found it hard to believe Asa’s comments engendered such a reaction.

Oh, wait, this is the InterOutrage. Someone is bound to be outraged.

Maybe Fine Woodworkings next featured project should be a build of the worlds smallest violin.

Yeah. Good follow-up.


Those comments that he made he made were targeted if not at towards people like you, Shannon and Matt. They are clearly trying to catch the wave of people who rely on the Internet for their woodworking needs and view you as competition. They didn’t do a good enough job capturing this market so they are copying what others have had success with. I wouldn’t be surprised if that conversation in the lunch room mentioned some of you by name. Don’t be too quick to accept his apology as sincere. He seems slimey to me.

Hey Marc, heard what you said about moving your shop again and that makes me think of something. You recently begun to get the reflection about living without a table saw on the table with few of your articles/video. So here was my though, maybe you could then wait a couple of weeks before plugging your table saw on your new (old/new? new/old/new?) shop, that would be a way to figure out how to actually live without a table saw.

Just my 2cents though.

No thanks, haha. I am only providing food for thought about living without a tablesaw for the benefit of folks who actually DO want to live without one. I honestly have no desire to see my tablesaw leave my shop. The good old tablesaw is still on my list of must-have tools.

I’ve listened to every episode of WTO and this is the first episode where I have no idea what your all on about. I stopped listening after 20mins and thought I’d read the show notes, still have no idea. Maybe I missed something, guess I’ll have to search to find out what actually happened. All I know is you Americans need to take it easy. Settle down and stop taking everything so seriously. I’m kicking back here in my little shed in Australia listening to you all and having a laugh at some of the things your saying.
I guess I missed something, will go back and listen to the rest now.

My first listen to WTO – cool idea. I appreciate Asa’s his hard work in FWW and the new to woodworking website. The issue at hand was just a big misunderstanding – don’t sweat it Asa! Your fans are still here!

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