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Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 3/13/00

Two Reviews:
The Guide to Published Woodworking Plans and Techniques
Woodplan 2000 on CD-ROM

First author: John F. Knott III

So football season is over and your team was eliminated. There are no more excuses not to get to those projects you've been putting off. You subscribe to all the best woodworking magazines so you have the tips, tricks, tools and material to get the job done right and save a few bucks in the process. All you need is to get that magazine out and get started but which publication was it in and which issue?

If this sounds familiar, you are definitely not alone. There are so many good publications available that it becomes a chore to keep them in any kind of easily referenced order. The Guide to Published Woodworking Plans and Techniques, by William Mikus, and its CD-ROM counterpart, Woodplan 2000, are here to help.

The Guide states that it "Lists and Categorizes over 21,000 Published Woodworking Articles From 26 American, Canadian, & English Woodworking Magazines, Indexing Plans, Techniques & Tools in an Easy-To-Use Format!" Their motto is, "Find It Fast, Now !"

This is a very complete volume of over 460, 8 1/2" by 11" pages, more than an inch thick of reference information. There are no wasted spaces being filled with pictures, this is all information. The Guide is divided into 37 major categories and all articles are cross-indexed for easier searching. Articles, referred to as "Plans", are listed with their corresponding "Techniques" (Lathe, Design, Tips, Safety, etc.) and then the magazine, issue number, and page.

If your stack of books is in any kind of order, The Guide will put the information in your hand quickly. Just think, no more sitting on the floor with 500 magazines in stacks around you searching for hours till you have forgotten what the heck is was you were looking for!

Woodplan 2000 is the companion CD-Rom to The Guide to Published Woodworking Plans and Techniques, although they do not require each other to be fully functional and informative. Woodplan 2000 loads and runs with no hang-ups and is easily accessed through your start menu, or a desktop icon.

There are multiple layers of cross referencing built in, and all categories mesh with no hang-ups or re-starts, enabling you to move through all aspects of your search seamlessly. Woodplan 2000 has got a really neat feature, not available in the Guide, which they call the Magazine Filter. This handy little item makes your search personalized by allowing you to have all searches only return information in magazines and issues that you own! After you select the filters, which is easily accomplished by merely checking some boxes, you can search for an article and know it is in your library. The only time consuming part is getting all those books from the various rat-holes you put them in, so you won't forget where that one is!

If you want to be able to, "Find It Fast, Now!", I recommend getting The Guide to Published Woodworking Plans and Techniques, and Woodplan 2000. They will help bring order to your home woodworking library, make your project and tip searches easier, and even help as reference in your woodworking business.

These are a couple of really neat products, and I'm already putting them to use in my shop to catch up on quite a few projects I had planned for this winter (Ok, Ok, so I'm really just reviewing articles to see which tool was rated highest. You don't expect me to start a new project without at least one new tool, do you?)

John F. Knott III
aka - The Woodman

The Guide to Published Woodworking Plans and Techniques, and Woodplan 2000 are both available online at:

Woodplan Indexing
P.O. Box 336
Pilgrim Gardens
PA 19026

Or phone (610) 446-6299; fax (610) 446-6299

Woodplan 2000 CD-ROM (Windows Only) - Price: $35.00
The Guide to Woodworking Plans & Techniques - Price: $39.00
Get both for $69.00

Woodplan 2000 Review #2 - by Sam Weaver

How many of us have not waded through countless magazines trying to find an article on a certain tool, technique or method, product review, etc.? I would have to say none of us, unless of course you are new to woodworking and haven't built up a library of magazines as yet, but you will! Woodplan 2000 is the cat's meow for those of us who are often in search of ??????? in our library of magazines, or if you want to know where to go looking at your local library for an issue on something you are interested in.

My Opinion
The user interface is nice and not sophisticated or hard to use. One must read the "USER'S GUIDE" that accompanies the software, to get a general idea of the correct use of the program. The user should tune the Magazine Filter for his/her library before attempting a search. In my opinion, making the adjustments of the library to include the owner's contents is the first step in configuring the program, yet this is not covered until after the guide elaborates on the uses of the search features, step 3 to be exact.

Also a related help button on the interfaces would be a nice addition for the users. I loaded the software without any crashes and have not had a crash, lockup or any other sort of glitch often associated with some other programs. It runs smooth and doesn't bog down my computer - a 450 MHZ PII, 128 MB RAM. Databases and spreadsheets can often slow down older computers. The program loads and responds a little slow, but this is probably due to it being programmed in a higher level programming language. It would be nice to compare it with an assembly language equivalent.

The categories couldn't be improved much, in my opinion. I think it suffices quite nicely! The interface is what I would describe as an "elegant utilitarian interface". Nice without extra bells and whistles or complications and perfectly useful for the task at hand. I selected the category "Jigs and Fixtures" and didn't enter anything into the box for keywords and I expected to get an error message. I did not! It simply displayed the entire contents of the database on that category! Smooth! (The authors should give lessons to some other programmers.)

Using the program is easy! If you want to search for articles in your library, make sure the "Use Periodical Filter" checkbox is checked. If you want to know other publications that may have an article you can acquire from a friend, public library or publisher, just uncheck the box and you will have all you need to go looking! EASY! You then have the options of a "new search" in the same category, "new category" or to "print" out the current results. It's simple! No more hunting through stacks of magazines and their contents looking for the article or through other indexes by numerous publishers!

Suggestion for improvements
There are only three suggestions for improvements I could recommend:
1- Help buttons related to the interface the user is using at the time (or full help file).
2-The users guide installed in the file folder or CD in case the paper one becomes misplaced! (NOTICE- the program comes with a document that seems to be older and less helpful than the users guide on paper. The user's guide should really replace this.) 3- A box on the periodicals list where one could list the sorry cuss that you loaned the magazine to months ago with the article you happen to need right now and hasn't returned it yet! (Well, it would be nice!) OK, so there are only two suggestions that you may consider valid, but I still think there should be the third one.

If help buttons were included, I would rate this a 5 star product on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being perfect. NOTICE- I can find no information on how much the updates are going to cost the user. The online FAQ only states that they will offer yearly or semi-annual updates. One may want to inquire about this to weigh the total cost of ownership before purchasing the product.

Samuel Weaver

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