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25 Interesting Facts about Design Editor Jeff Mertz

In honor of WOOD Magazine’s 25th Anniversary, we’re posting 25 Interesting Facts about each of the folks who put out your favorite woodworking magazine. Here’s my list:

Jeff Mertz, Design Editor

Jeff Mertz, Design Editor

1.    I was a Project Manager for a general contractor before I came to WOOD magazine.

2.    I am a engineer before I am an artist…I fight to be the other way around. The engineer in me wants to see a schedule before it will allow me to switch, but the artist in me does not know how to make a schedule…thus an ongoing conflict!

3.    I recently completed my first marathon and my first Olympic distance triathlon.

4.    My favorite week in my life was the week I married my wife and went to Ireland for our honeymoon.

5.    Spending a week of my vacation time to teach at Marc Adams School of Woodworking is a vacation!

6.    If I could be a full time shop teacher to students who really wanted to be there and not just students who want to “test” the SawStop mechanism…I would do it!

7.    I am curious… Are compact fluorescents and being able to dispose of the hazardous waste they contain actually better for the planet than using standard light bulbs?  6 of one half dozen of another…?

8.    I have two awesome stepchildren, a freaky dog, and an amazingly intelligent, beautiful, and patient wife.

9.    I would blog more…but I can’t stand listening to me, why would anyone else…

10.    I have had my job at WOOD longer than any other job.

11.    People who take a week off work and stand around and cry at celebrity funerals…scare me!

12.    Aside from a 1976 El Camino, I have never owned a car… trucks only, and if the bed is not 8’ long… is it really a truck?

13.    I love to cook.

14.    The Empire State Building, or a Philadelphia Highboy: Both are built one piece and one joint at a time… I didn’t build either one, but I want to!

15.    I currently have a USA Cycling Officials License.

16.    I want to go to France and ride my bike up the mountain passes of the Alpe d’Huez, the Col Du Galibier, and the Col de Telegraph before I die.

17.    Learning to hand-cut dovetails was the greatest woodworking lesson I ever received. Layout is everything!

18.    I wonder why a Prius has to look like a Prius and not a Porsche Boxster?

19.    I have been to two NASCAR races with my good friend Scott. His favorite driver won once, and my favorite driver won the other…what are the odds?

20.    I am a Founding Fan Race Pass owner to the Kansas Speedway …. 23 more years of guaranteed race tickets!

21.    I can’t spell or punctuate, therefore I design and build. And they call me an editor.

22.    Anything about building or engineering on TV, I will find it and watch it.

23.    I am glad I can bike, build, and draw, because if I had to play golf, tennis, or basketball for a living, I would be penniless.

24.    Would love a nice glass of Fat Tire Ale to help me think of the last thing to write.

25.    The favorite piece of furniture that I have designed and built was a piece I collaborated on with Kevin Boyle and Al Kinsey. We donated it to a charity auction.

7 Responses to “25 Interesting Facts about Design Editor Jeff Mertz”

  1. I am interested in building the Country Pine Cabinet in the Mar 2010 issue. In it you suggest using a “story stick” of which I understand the use. What I don’t see in the article or in any of the views included is the dimensions for the locations of the biscuit locations. Are they included and I just not seeing them or are they included in the plans that I would have to pay for (which I really don’t want to do)? Wood mag is my favorite because I have gotten most of the ideas for things to build and tips for how to use the many sawdust making tools I have accumulated.
    “Turning perfectly good wood into sawdust.”

  2. I have been looking over the Excavator plans in the November 2009 issue and I have the one for the crain and was wondering if you had or have any plan to do one one for a dump truck? My two boys would love to have some thing to put the marbles in to haul around. Thanks for the great work you do with getting out great information about a lot of wood working plans and ideas.

  3. Jeff,

    I built the jewelry box you designed from the December issue, for my daughter in law’s birthday. It is completed, and waiting for the day.

    As the jewelry box is by far the most complex thing I’ve made to date, I depended on the design to be accurate, and to follow along so I could have a successful build.

    I learned a valuable lesson, albeit a series of challenges, as I built the box. Even though the design is in a publication, as a worker I must double check the dimensions to be sure they will all fit once the assembly is made. I found a significant error in the design, as the depth of the drawers is shown as 6 13/16″, but the case depth is 7″. With the backing of the box rabbeted in 1/4″, this leaves 6 3/4″ for the drawers. Of course I discovered this AFTER I had built the drawers, but thankfully before I glued the faces to them.

    As there should also be a bit of clearance at the back of the case for possible bumpers or expansion, so I had a challenge: How to remove 1/8″ of material from the sides of the drawers so they would fit into the case.

    Soooooo, it took me an extra day to determine a best course of save. I had to used my Stockroom Drum Sander and a fence to maintain square, to carefully remove 3/32″ off each long face of the drawer boxes, so they would then fit. MANY passes later, using 100 grit paper, the job was corrected.

    As you can see, it turned out. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/29413
    So now the watchword I’ve learned to use not is: ” It takes a REALLY good woodworker to know how to hide his mistakes.”

  4. Gerry,

    Regarding the jewelry box drawer dimensions: The drawer is 1/16″ deeper than the case to create a 1/16″ gap between the false front and the side of the case. The gap isn’t distinct in the opening photo and it wasn’t described in the copy. Sorry for the confusion. Your box looks great, by the way!

    Craig Ruegsegger, Projects Editor, WOOD magazine

  5. Dear Jeff Mertz I am John Hodges and need to address a safty problem with the wooden rocking horse plans that your compay put in one of the wood magazines allmost a Year ago. I cut out enough to build about 4 to 5 rocking horses and have built two of them and gave them to both of my Great grand kids. when my great grand son almost a year ago started to get on it he wanted to put his feet down into the neck cavity and could have got stuck or turned the rocking horse over and get hurt . I did not pay tomuch attention to the first time but when I built the second one and almost done I put my great grand daughter on it and she done same thing my great grandson did by putting her feet down into the neck cavity. so I took notice then because they both done the same thing at age 0ne. so I masured and built a wooden block to fit the cavity and block it off so they cannot get hurt doing that. also I made better handle supports for it and made it stronger to so they will not break off or work there way out .I took good pictures of my changes and woul like to know if you would be interested in seeing what I done to make it safer for the toddlers.I would go ahed and send them now but cannot get pictures to down load off my camra to my computer at this time but would be glad to put them on disc and send you a copy of it. I thought that thios should be addressed and to show and tell in your magazine about the changes on it .and the reason why it should be done. yours Truely John Hodges oldcedarwoodshop@yahoo.com



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