Series 3: Britain's Best Woodworker

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25 Aug 2021
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Series 3 of Britain's Best Woodworker starts at 8pm on Sunday 8th October. One of this year’s contestants is Leo from the Hand-i-Craft YouTube channel and he has a video here about it


There will no doubt be disagreement but I love it - I suspect the better woodworkers on here may not approve as much whereas for me as still a beginner who has a lot to learn I can empathise with where they are / the mistakes they make etc and look at what they produce with just a little bit of jealousy as I couldn’t do it.

Plus my wife enjoys watching it with me - she commented that she enjoys it more each year as my skills improve… some good contestants this year - chap with the use of only one hand is impressive.
I managed 20 minutes before I decided it was utter drivel and switched it off.

Why ?

Great program, I love watching it.

Got to keep in mind none of them have 2 weeks to design a piece, nor 4+ weeks to make it. So the designs are innovative and look to solve the time constrain issues inherent in this type of series.
Well I decided I wasn't going to watch after a few episodes of the previous but really enjoyed the bench one so I may be back in!
Some are accomplished and others are a bit remedial I guess the producers are after personality above all. It does depend on what they are making as some projects are really dull. I will watch the next one but the first is often the best(to hook you)
Why ?

Great program, I love watching it.

Got to keep in mind none of them have 2 weeks to design a piece, nor 4+ weeks to make it. So the designs are innovative and look to solve the time constrain issues inherent in this type of series.

Err, they do have the design time - it said that at the start of the bench-making . . . they design the thing they're going to make and then specify the materials/cut-list that they need well in advance of the filming.

Part of my dislike is the dreadful style and poor attempts at humour from the Mel woman, and the inane comments from the judges (at least they haven't got the bloke with a different coloured suit each week this time)
Another observation they were constantly on the chopsaw? Or the chisel. Never any other tool. Is the wood prepared ?
I think there is the miserable grump syndrome with stuff like this, ooh its not some great cabinet master earnestly shaving 1/10mm off with a finely honed 02 steel chisel. However if that whats wood working was presented as i would never have got started. My kids love it and it gets them interested and surely thats the point. My daughter and i made a nice little box together and she doesnt feel its all about old people fiddling with tools as she puts it (she 12) and she thinks i name my tools ... However a lot of wooworking can be just banging stuff together like planters and benches etc not everything needs to be high end cabinetry. Plus if it all turned out perfectly it would be A unrealistic and b not much fun. I have thrown a few things in the bin/burnt and i cant be the only one. I think making anything mega in a very short time frame is very impressive i am surprised many of them actually succeed. I am slooow so i would like make one 1/10th of what they do as i would worry about the right joint and whether it will last and should i use x glue or plane the hidden surfaces etc. so i enjoy watching the mad pace. All good supposed to be a fun hobby isnt it
It both is and isn't about woodworking, A lot of it is about the contestants and their " backstory". As with many of these type of programmes there will be many hands assisting, in the background except these bits won't make for entertaining T.V. Which is why we won't see them

The guy with one arm will be particularly useful for the format - a plucky underdog who will have viewers rooting for him, and will come good in the end. Even if it is only to announce his upcoming marriage. Fair play to him for doing something that obviously gives him enjoyment If there is a will, then many things are not only possible but can be carried out to a high standard.

On the woodworking side of things, lots of the mortice and tenons that were shown were the wrong shape or the tenons themselves were too large, leaving only tiny amounts of end grain to prevent the structures collapsing. There seemed to be no helpful critique of the finished pieces, pointing out better ways of doing things.

So, will I be watching it again? Well , yes I will. I didn't watch the last series, but I will certainly try and catch a few more episode of this.
I will only say that there are very few things that are less fun than " fine cabinetmaking" (maybe fine art)
If you check out the background of the judges, you will see that there is a reason for this.
Ah, yes I see. Tom DycKhoff I know of, but Sophie Sellu was an unknown. I see that she has a successful woodwork business but her stuff seems to be more small items, rather than cabinetry or joinery.
I believe the modern trend in teaching establishments has been to adopt modern methods of fixing and to place more reliance on modern glues and less on joints - a practise much lamented by the late Alan Peters.