Today is Day One of the 2010 Build Challenge put on by one of our favorite podcasts, The Sawdust Chronicles! I talked with Rick Waters, host of the show, about what it is that makes the TSDC Challenge different from many of the other build challenges out there. Rick explains,
Our Build Challenges have always been restricted by time and peppered with rules, rules, rules. Each Challenge has a theme and a new set of rules which, to some extent, are different than the previous Challenge. This year’s theme is ‘Earth Friendly’, so there are also restrictions on types of materials and finishes.
These constraints are definitely what make this Challenge so interesting!
Unique to the TSDC Challenge is the fact that the entries are fully critiqued by the judges. Rick says, “That’s really the key here. I don’t know of any other woodworking contest that offers a thorough critique of each project. It’s absolutely been the one thing that past contestants have told me they were appreciative of. If you aren’t apprenticing in someone’s shop, you probably aren’t getting your best work critiqued by an unbiased source.”
Rick’s goal, with the Sawdust Chronicles podcast and Challenge, as well as his other podcast The Splintered Board, is to help beginning woodworkers advance their skills. He says, “The judges that I’ve brought on board are always welcome to lend a very experienced hand with all of the contestants’ questions, so it’s really a supportive, as well as competitive, contest.”
With each Challenge, the second judge has been frequent TSDC guest Neil Lamens of Furnitology Productions. Rick considers Neil his mentor-from-afar and says Neil “has an immense amount of furniture manufacturing experience, as well as small shop experience that can’t be beat.”
As in past challenges, Rick and Neil are joined by a guest judge. This year that third judge is Adam King of Adam King Studio, and The Woodworker’s Journey blog. Adam is a designer, craftsman of high end studio furniture and an antique furniture restoration specialist. He is well-known in the woodworking community, especially on Twitter, where he doles out advice and encourages and inspires other woodworkers.
The TSDC Challenge is particularly interesting in that entrants sign up knowing the rules, but not what the project is until day one of the 60-day contest! Well, today’s that day, and you can hear the project details on Episode 47 of The Sawdust Chronicles. (The free podcast can also be downloaded and subscribed to through iTunes, here). And if you’re interested in taking part, you can still register for the contest through September 15th!
Summing it up, Rick says, “I can’t stress enough how pleased I am about the acceptance of this Challenge among the Internet woodworking community, and our sponsors. Being taken seriously by both groups is not an easily attained goal.” We happen to think the goal of helping beginner woodworkers improve their craft is a great one, and Rockler is proud to sponsor the TSDC Challenge again this fall. Keep an eye on The Sawdust Chronicles‘ website over the next couple months – it’s really interesting to watch as the Challenge progreses!
Find and follow the TSDC judges – and Rockler – on Twitter!
Rick Waters http://twitter.com/SplinteredBoard
Neil Lamens http://twitter.com/furnitology
Adam King http://twitter.com/AdamKingStudio
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware http://twitter.com/rockler