Tuesday, February 9, 2016

That isn’t Really a ‘Magazine’ Then, is it?

Over the course of the past few months I’ve been fielding various questions from readers about the very-soon-to-be-released magazine. A few have asked how many issues there are in a year’s subscription. Although I’ve tried to make this clear from the beginning, I apologize if there is still confusion over this matter.

This upcoming release is the inaugural issue of our annual publication. Because M&T is published only once a year, there isn't a “yearly subscription" to sign up for. We've decided that rather than ration the content out into four or six issues spread throughout the year we'd release it together as one annual volume. As such, each issue is offered for sale individually as it becomes available. When/if M&T increases in frequency down the road it will not be by merely cutting this content into four and then calling it a “Quarterly”. We want every issue to be substantial and book-like. At 144 pages of ad-free body copy, I will grant that it is more like a book than a typical magazine. The cover is thick and rigid and the pages consist of perfect bound heavy uncoated paper. This massive volume weighs in at around 1 lb a piece.

So there has been some confusion over the use of the word “magazine” for this publication. “Isn’t this a book and not a magazine?” Feel free to call it whatever you like but this format is not unprecedented. There are an abundance of indie magazines like this in the UK and a handful here in the US. Some of these are quarterly, some bi-annual. (e.g. Kinfolk, Trouve, Cereal, Huck, Lagom, The Collective Quarterly) They are all on uncoated paper and have 100+ pages of virtually ad-free content. They focus primarily on lush photography with brief navel-gazing essays on “lifestyle” or “travel” themes. Although I have never been able to get myself to wade through actually reading one of those in their entirety, I do appreciate the feel and aesthetic. I think it is the perfect format for the unique and engaging content of Mortise & Tenon.

The uncoated paper gives a vintage look and tactile quality that standard coated paper just cannot achieve. My printer explained to me that the nostalgic look is a micro-bleed of the ink. Instead of the ink sitting on top of a coating, it actually sinks in to an uncoated paper causing a microscopic bleed. This is what creates that wonderful vintage look. From a print techie’s perspective, the rigid and precise lines created on coated paper are more advanced technologically. From an antiquarian’s perspective, the warmth and nostalgia of traditional uncoated stock are irreplaceable. In our judgment, the coated stock is just too conventional and common place so reading a publication on uncoated paper is a special experience.

But M&T is not just pretty pictures. Containing approximately 40,000 words from today's leading experts, your mind will be just as stimulated as your eyes are delighted. The most common complaint I’ve heard about woodworking media is that it’s skimpy on the content. I’ve taken this to heart and consequently refused to compromise word count in order to achieve a minimalist look. It’s been a challenge to make these different goals work together but I think the final result is a tasteful blend of beautiful simplicity and abundant content. I think you’ll agree.

p.s. Last day for free shipping, folks. Make sure you’ve got your order in.


  1. I'm looking forward to this issue and subsequent ones - just like I do 'American Period Furniture', another fine annual "magazine".

  2. I'm sure I will be enjoying each issue for the whole year and beyond.