Earlier this year, accusations came to the fore regarding Woodworker’s Journal
editor in chief Rob Johnstone. Questions around the exceptional quality and quantity of his amazingly world-class woodworking, at an age when other woodworkers tend to move on to birdhouses and plywood cutouts simulating large women bending over
weeding their garden. How did he keep up this amazing level of craft and production? Did he succumb to the temptations offered by the dark underworld of substance-enhanced woodworking?
Sadly, Mr. Johnstone at first denied the accusations, and then — in a somewhat embarrassing and wimpy sort of way — he admitted that he was guilty of bolstering his woodworking abilities via the use of banned woodworking enhancing substances. Subsequently, Johnstone agreed to the following interview with a hope of putting all this behind him. (Editor’s Note: Full disclosure — Rob is actually my boss, and today is Timecard Day.)
Harpo Winstrong: Mr. Johnstone, thank you for doing this interview.
Rob Johnstone: Sure, no problem.
HW: So, let’s get this out of the way … For the record, did you use substances on the list banned by Woodworking’s Division of Order, Regulation and Kraftyness?
RJ: Can you be more specific?
HW: Don’t dance around the question! Did you violate DORK behavior?
RJ: To that, I have to plead guilty as charged.
HW: And as your guilty plea has been accepted, you are no longer allowed to submit your work to the Northern Woods Competition, the Studio Furniture National Competition, The AWFS Fresh Woods contest, Minnesota State Fair Home Crafts event, 4-H Woodworkers of America and the Association of Woodworking Editor Fine Furniture Fandango.
RJ: You forgot the pinewood derby …
HW: The question must be asked — why did you stoop to such a despicable action, and what did you hope to gain from it?
RJ: I know this will be hard to accept for some, but it all started out because I wanted to provide the best for our readers.
HW: Building furniture under false pretenses is good for your readers? Do tell why we should believe you.
RJ: Well, you know — I knew it was wrong, but I hated to deliver subpar articles to the Journal readers. And I was working late, the deadline was approaching fast … and I was starting to make mistakes. I had already consumed tons of coffee and then there it was … on my shop partner’s workbench. I guess I just got weak.
HW: That sounds very convenient — someone else’s workbench. And just who is this shady fellow?
RJ: He goes by the name of Sparky … but it was sitting there big as life. Dr. Wenge’s Hemlock Hardwork Helper. It looks like sawdust — but it packs a kickback, I can tell you.
HW: For the record, Mr. Johnstone, how long did this illicit behavior continue?
RJ: Just for two or three magazine issues. I hid it from my coworkers — that really hurt. When they mentioned the powder around my nose — I told them my dust mask had sprung a leak. I feel awful for lying to them. They deserved better from me.
HW: Do you expect us to simply believe you … how can you prove it?
RJ: Listen, nobody uses Dr. Wenge’s Triple-H powder and makes woodworking mistakes. Look at these adhesive bandages … do they lie? I’ve got slivers and slices till the cows come home.
HW: And how about your readers? Didn’t they deserve better?
RJ: Well, of course … although they did get some pretty dang good projects out of the whole deal. But that’s not the point. I am ashamed, and I have gone into treatment. I am working hard to get my problem under control — and I get to hang out with Lindsey Lohan, that’s a good deal, hey?
HW: To be truthful, your behavior seems to me beyond the pale. But, what final word do you want your readers to hear from you on this topic.
RJ: Only that I apologize and I won’t do it again. And if they give me another chance, I promise that they will never hear of this again. Ever!