Woodworking Network magazine library is open at The MiLL
By Katie Stearns
October 21, 2019 | 4:26 pm CDT

For most publishing companies, the bound volumes of back issues spanning many years of printed magazines are on display at what would be their world headquarters office. Many display these volumes in a corporate library or conference room offering access to employees and visitors who may wish to research previously published content.

Times however, are changing, and CCI Media, publisher of two print magazines; FDMC, and Closets & Organized Storage, and the parent company of Woodworking Network, is a new breed media company with no “bricks and mortar” office. And the library…all the bound copies of FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage and their ancestral kin (those titles that morphed over the years into the current titles) were boxed and tucked safely away in storage in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, awaiting a new home.


In January of 2018 an opportunity emerged. CCI Media owners, Tim and Carson Fixmer met with founders of The MiLL, Dean and Rosemary Mattson, and Superintendent of Peyton School district, Tim Kistler, in the bare-walled conference room at The MiLL’s new location near Colorado Springs.

The purpose of the visit was to tour the new facility and discuss an idea Fixmer had for a scholarship program involving The MiLL students. Mattson and Kistler had been thinking about ways to “dress up” the MiLL’s main conference room which, but for a table and a few chairs was bare.

As the five of them sat in the conference room discussing the scholarship, a plan began to emerge. Realizing that CCI Media needed a physical space for a library, Fixmer offered Mattson and Kistler the opportunity for the MiLL to house the library. The idea was to make the archives available for public use and give students an opportunity to research the history of the woodworking industry through multiple decades of bound magazines.

“I saw this as a wonderful opportunity”, said Fixmer. “These beautiful, bound editions were getting no use and benefitting no one in storage. The students and the public at large will definitely benefit from the rich history of content by housing them at The MiLL”, he said. Fixmer offered to pay for the materials if The MiLL would agree to have students design and build the project from start to finish, utilizing a mix of solid cherry and cherry face veneered Purebond plywood from Columbia Forest Products.

CCI Media team visits completed library at the MiLL.

A small group of students, starting their fourth semester at The MiLL initiated the project in the spring of 2018 under the direction of Mattson and instructor Patrick White. The class was able to finalize the plans, mill the plywood on a Weeke Vantech 480, and rough cut the solid lumber before their summer break. 

When John Stearns began as lead instructor at The MiLL in August of 2018, he inherited the project. Beginning their fifth semester of classes, the same group of students resumed working on the project. Working off White’s drawings, a fluted column was added on each end of the bookcases cut on the CNC. The face frames would be pocket screwed together with Kreg Foreman pocket hole machines,  

The bookcase boxes were put together, using the Weeke Optimat ABD 050 and an SCM Action FL case clamp. Students were impressed with how easy it was to put the project together using these machines. All twelve of the bookcase boxes were assembled and ready for finish in one class period (about an hour and a half). Students laid out the face frames on the boxes and marked them for Lamello Tenso biscuits. All the plywood shelves were edgebanded using the Brandt Ambition 1210.

Students spent a couple weeks sanding all the carcasses, shelves, face frames and mouldings. To bring out the natural color of the cherry, three coats of a wipe-on polyurethane finish cut 50/50 with boiled linseed oil and thinned with mineral spirits was used.

Moving all the boxes and face frames into the conference room provided a new challenge. Although the remodel of the building was relatively new, the conference room was two and a half inches out of level from corner to corner. 

After milling the face frames and the crown moulding for the bookcases, there was enough solid cherry to produce base moulding and a shoe to finish out the room giving everything a built-in look. All the moulding was milled in-house using a Williams and Hussey moulder with custom knives provided by Steve Carter, CEO of Williams and Hussey.

In April of 2019, bound volumes of magazine titles arrived at The MiLL for the library. The titles include

-Wood and Wood Products, 1948-2008

-Industrial Woodworking, 1960-1968

-Cabinetmaker, 1988-2011

-Custom Woodworking Business, 1994-2006

-CWB Closets, 2010-2013

-Furniture Design and Manufacturing (FDM), 1980-2007

-Plastics Machining and Fabricating, 2000-2001

-Upholstery Design and Management, 2000-2004

-Woodworking and Furniture Digest, 1979-1982

- Closets, 2005-2006

-Logging Management, 1984

 -Industrial Woodworking, 1960-1968

 -Wood Digest, 1990-2009

  -Wood Digest Showcase, 1991-2009

  -Woodworking Network, 2015

  -FDMC, 2017-2018

As future titles are bound, they will be shipped to Colorado Springs to be displayed and available at The MiLL.

In May, CCI Media’s entire Woodworking Network team visited The MiLL in Colorado Springs. The group toured The MiLL, and the Fixmers dedicated the library with a bronze plaque which reads:

“The Woodworking Network Historic Library. The volumes contained in this library represent the work of more than 500 people employed by more than a dozen publishing companies, spanning over 80 years. They contain 15 different periodical titles, all serving the diverse wood products manufacturing industry in North America. These periodicals chronicle the evolution of processes, practices, techniques, methods, and technologies that have changed the way we manufacture furniture, cabinets, millwork, store fixtures, and other specialized wood products.

This library is made possible through generous donations by Tim and Carson Fixmer of CCI Media, and Willy and Ingrid Volk of European Woodworking Machinery. It is housed at the MiLL National Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to provide public access to the history of wood products manufacturing in the United States and Canada. Dedicated May 21, 2019.

During that same visit, Tim and Carson Fixmer and Willy and Ingrid Volk officially announced the scholarship by presenting a second bronze plaque which reads:

“Woodworking Network/Volk Scholarship.” The plaque reads “Established January 1, 2019 by: Tim and Carson Fixmer -- CCI Media, LLC, Willy and Ingrid Volk -- European Woodworking Machinery, Inc., Rob and Sheila Roszell -- Woodworking Network. In recognition of the ongoing need for trained professionals in wood products manufacturing in North America, this scholarship fund was established to assist students of the MiLL wishing to attain employment as woodworking professionals. Scholarships are awarded to those individuals who meet all criteria established for qualification and who have demonstrated exemplary behavior in safety, craftsmanship, creativity, ingenuity and scholastic achievement. We celebrate the following students for their remarkable performance:”        

The public is invited and encouraged to tour The MiLL and use the library at any time. It is sure to have special meaning to the many thousands of people who have made numerous contributions to the woodworking industry over the decades. Please call the MiLL at 719-391-3595 to make an appointment.

Individuals and companies are encouraged to contribute donations of any size to the Woodworking Network/Volk scholarship. A full 100 percent of the scholarship fund will be awarded to students of The MiLL based on criteria set forth in the application process, which includes pursuit of a WCA Passport. Interested donors are requested to call or email either Tim Fixmer at CCI Media or John Stearns at The MiLL.


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