30-Day Woodworking Challenge Winners, part 2
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In our last post we talked about Sawdust Chronicles' 30-Day Woodworking Challenge. In TSDC's last few episodes, the guys have been talking with contest participants. Today we'll talk with one of the winners, and hear from Rick Waters about TSDC's plans for future contests.

David Benton, winner of the Rockler prize, talked to Rockler this week about his woodworking. (Dave's project was pictured in our previous post).

Rockler: How long have you been woodworking?

David: I started woodworking a few years ago, when I bought a craftsman contractor saw. Between that, a jigsaw, and a couple other small tools I made small things for around the house. It wasn't until a couple years ago when the wife sent me off to a turning class, that I really started woodworking as a hobby. Other than turnings, I have made few non-round items, so I really enjoyed working on the challenge.

Rockler: What was the hardest part of the challenge for you? (We love it that you made the hand plane!)

David: The hardest part was settling on a design that I liked. I went back and forth on several different ideas, but finally settled on one that just felt right to me. The other part that I would consider the hardest, was the wood I choose. I didn't choose straight-grained lumber from the big box stores. I actually flipped through the stacks until I found some figured red oak. So after resawing the boards, working with them until thy did not resemble a taco took a while.

R: What wood did you use? What finish?

D: I used red oak for the main components [and] I turned the knobs from black walnut. For the drawer bodies, I used poplar. The drawers were a lot of fun, as I have never made any before. The drawers are constructed with dadoes, while the front is pinned in with blue toothpicks. :) (I used blue, as it was the color I had the most of at the time.) [Ed.: Interesting technique! :-) ] The organizer is finished with an oil varnish blend. (1/3 blo, 1/3 poly, 1/3 mineral spirits). Easy to use, and hard to mess up.

R: Overall, how'd the challenge go for you? Are you happy with the finished project?

D: To tell the truth, I am pretty happy with it. There are a few things I would change if I did it again. The first being that I would change the vertical dowels. I would use simple turned spindles instead that look something like this )(. I think the would have been more elegant in the final product, especially in the middle bay of the organizer. Other than that, I just want to thank you for sponsoring the contest, and giving us the opportunity to win some great prizes. But mostly I am happy to have an excuse to get out in the shop. I think the 30-Day Challenge was a fun experience for most all of the entrants, and I'd bet that everyone learned something from it!

Rick Waters, co-host of The Sawdust Chronicles, tells us that there are more contests like this in the future. He and Erik would like to make it a bi-annual event, in the Spring and Fall of every year. A few changes will be made for the next go-'round according to Rick, one being that the contest will be expanded to 60 days. Keep listening to The Sawdust Chronicles podcast ( thesawdustchronicles.com ) for details. Maybe next time you or someone you know would like to participate! Rockler is proud to sponsor the 30-Day Challenge. We really enjoy helping woodworkers Create with Confidence!

posted on June 26, 2009 by Kim Adams
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