Wood links Schlabaugh & Sons with Meredith Corporation

By Mary Zielinski (free-lance)
Posted 1/6/00

For a full day, the editorial and advertising staff of WOOD magazine traded computers and telephones for saws, hammers and sanders in a hands-on workshop at Schlabaugh & Sons in …

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Wood links Schlabaugh & Sons with Meredith Corporation


For a full day, the editorial and advertising staff of WOOD magazine traded computers and telephones for saws, hammers and sanders in a hands-on workshop at Schlabaugh & Sons in Kalona.

“This is a blast,” said Jim Heavey of Chicago, who handles national demonstrations for the magazine.

“We’re all working from projects and plans featured in the magazine,” he said, “and we should pretty much finish them by the time we leave here.”

The day-long event, arranged by the local firm, is part of a long association between Schlabaugh & Sons and the Meredith Corporation (for whom WOOD is one of some 20 specialized publications). The local custom wood products business has designed many of the clocks featured in the magazine in the past. It also has manufactured jig components for the woodworking jigs featured in the publication; however, starting this year they are expected to take over the processing and shipping of all project plans and Internet sales transactions for WOOD.

In essence, when the move goes through, it would put the Kalona firm in charge of handling the magazine’s full Internet catalogue.

For an idea of the possible volume, consider this: WOOD has 550,000 subscribers and mails out one million catalogues twice a year. Schlabaugh & Sons has personnel who come in a few days per week simply to handle such sales.

Great fun

The December workshop for the WOOD staff “is the kind of thing we’ve done before,” explained Jane Schlabaugh. However, this time it was more extensive.

“I go all over the country, developing hands-on approaches to show how to work with wood using the tools and plans featured in the magazine.,” noted Heavey. For him, the time at the Schlabaugh facility was a combination one-day short course and refresher.

“The magazine features wood projects, including furniture,” explained Craig Fear, Des Moines, business manager. However, the plans would not be for a complete house.

“One of our biggest items is the folding Adirondack chair,” noted Fear.

Heavey sees many of the magazine’s readers as “aging baby boomers who want to work with their hands. They are creating heirloom projects.”

Although there are readers who are “craft people (who would sell their work)”, many look to the publication for projects “that will give them self-fulfillment.”

He added that “there are more women doing this,” adding that the women often do better “because they are more patient and more creative.”

In fact, there are a number of women’s woodworking clubs, he added.

Creating heirlooms

For Publisher Bill Reed, being at the Schlabaugh workshop was a “great opportunity” to take on a project from start to finish. He selected a rocking horse, the plans for which were featured in a recent issue of WOOD.

He agreed that many of the magazine’s readers are looking for the type of project that will create a treasured family piece.

And, equally important, is that the magazine’s instructions be clear and exact. As a result, the projects are built in “our own shop,” noted Marlen Kemmet, the Internet manager for the magazine.

“With a how-to, it has to be right,” explaining that readers count on the magazine’s accuracy.

They also gear their projects for all skill levels, he said, particularly for the wood show that is on-line.

The key to the magazine’s success is information, Reed stressed.

And for the staff who learned the joy, some for the first time, of actually building something from a handful of boards, that information will translate into more tips and advice for the readers.

For those who want to reach the magazine or Schlabaugh via Internet, the addresses are woodmagazine.com or schsons.com.