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The Woodworker and Woodturner competition

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Keith Smith

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We are just sorting out the next competition, there are a few details at the bottom of this post which we can’t decide on and any input would be welcome.

The UKWorkshop spring competition sponsored by The Woodworker and Woodturner.

The theme of the competition is incorporating man-made material, MDF, ply etc into your woodwork. Although the piece should be mostly wood, to make the competition open to all members, any man-made material may be used to form part of the finished work to comply with the rules.

The odd screw or hinge does not count. :roll:

Charlie, Alf and I are writing an article for the magazine, about UKWorkshop.co.uk, which will preview the competition; and after the competition there will be an article featuring all the winning entries.


The Judges will be;
Mark Ramuz; editor at The Woodworker and Woodturner
Alf
Woodythepecker
And myself


Judging criteria;

up to 5 points will be awarded for each of the following 5 categories;

Originality.
Imaginative use of materials
Choice of materials used.
Quality of finish.
Did you find it pleasing?

In order to make it easier to enter only one work in progress picture is required; it should clearly show that the piece is being made by your own fair hands together with two photographs of the finished piece and a paragraph on the idea/how/why of construction.

Entries can be submitted on the forum or mailed or emailed to me (I will sort out details of the address to send them later) and I will post them on the site.


The competion will (hopefully) be divided into;

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced

Prizes

There are 3 annual subscriptions to TW&W, one for the runner up in each section.

Together with

3 first prizes;

Lie-Nielsen No4 (the one I recently tested so I know it’s a good one)

Pair of coarse and fine 11.5inch diamond bench stones (worth £160)

Mckeller 18v combi drill, Mckeller circular saw and a Black and Decker Sandstorm detail sander

And photographs of the winning entries will be published in The Woodworker.


The diamond bench stones have been kindly donated by Smith Abrasives, of Wrexham, I am currently testing them and Elliot Richards at Smith Abrasives has agreed that I can offer them as a prize rather than return them after the test. These stones are impressive at 11.5 inches long; they have the usual mesh pattern but also have a solid area to allow sharpening of small or pointed tools. If no one enters can I keep them?!! :lol:







The problems


How do we split the competition?

How do we sort beginner from intermediate from advanced?

If we make the drill/saw the prize for the beginner category, then they don’t get a chance for the other prizes?

Do we let the category winner with the highest score get first pick?

Do we offer a particular prize for each category, is this fair?

Any good ideas

Keith
 

Adam

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Keith Smith":129xce82 said:
The problems


How do we split the competition?

How do we sort beginner from intermediate from advanced?

If we make the drill/saw the prize for the beginner category, then they don’t get a chance for the other prizes?

Do we let the category winner with the highest score get first pick?

Do we offer a particular prize for each category, is this fair?

Any good ideas

Keith
Sounds a great competition.

>How do we sort beginner from intermediate from advanced?

Very difficult, all I can think of is (a list of very different options)

A) How many years have you been woodworking?
B) Do you have a dedicated workshop?
C) Have you ever taken a course?

I worry though, for example, that someones skill can vary wildly between say, their woodturning ability, and their general woodworking ability.

D) How many hours the project took
E) Allocate projects to classes at the judges discretion?
F) Have people ever been paid for any item they've made (if so, then they should be advanced)
G) How many projects have you made in the last 5? years.
H) Self selection, people choose which cateogory to go in.

In terms of prizes, I'd take the winner of each category, put the names in a hat, then first out chooses their prize of choice, second out... third out... so its fair - the beginner may well have put more hours and effort in than the others, and vice versa. Each is equally deserving - and it's hard to second guess what people would find the most useful.

Hope that some use!

Adam
 

Aragorn

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This is great competition!!
Thanks to Keith, the other judges and the sponsors.

Adam has a good list of considerations there.
Regarding the classes - professional woodworkers (i.e. have been paid for woodwork) are not by any means necessarily more advanced than an amateur. And some beginners (e.g. no workshop, few tools, little time spent woodworking) are skilled and dedicated people who can turn out fantastic work when they choose to, despite these limitations.
I wonder if the class choice should be based on the project rather than the person - at the judges' discretion?
 

Woodythepecker

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Adams idea of the letting the judges allocate projects to classes is good, or we could let the members pick their own classes but with the proviso that if the judges think that the entry should be in a higher class then it will be moved.
Or is that what adam meant anyway? Too many late nights!

As for allocating the prizes i think that the fairest way is for either Mark the Editor or Keith to allocate them to each category. After all the magazine is sponsoring the compettion. Or if this does not suit everyone then why not run a poll here on UKworkshop. We are all used to voting in them by now and this way it will at least give everyone (including those that are entering the competition) a chance to choose.

Regards

Woody
 

tim

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I think the categories issue is a difficult one to resolve. I share Aragorn's concern that there will be an assumption that for example if you do this for a living you will be advanced - yet there are clearly many members here who are much more competent than me (plus I have turned one bowl once when I was 15!).

How about setting 3 types of project, each with their own built in complications which would by definition split the entries into ability levels. Therefore you could choose to enter any level you wish. On the assumption that most people enter these sort of competitions for the challenge (and no one ever really thinks that they will win but the generous prizes are a bonus) I don't think there will be much dishonesty eg with a master turner entering the beginner category.

The difficulty then arises with the defintions of what counts as advanced vs beginner. A beautifully conceived piece with uncomplicated joints may look simple but may often be only made by an expert. As they say, the best way to judge the competency of a chef is to ask them to make an omelette.

Maybe you could give pointers per category that the judges would expect to see included in a piece at any level.

All this goes to prove that the poeple who have the hardest time in a competition are the judges.

Cheers

Tim

Who is already sorting through his manmade materials!!
 

Adam

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I think as Keith has alluded to, categorising people into groups is very difficult. We also have ot bear in mind the competition will draw on a broader range of people (than just this forum) if it's advertised in the magazines as well.

Therefore, "advanced" really will be people with outstanding skills. It may include professional cabinet makers?

Intermediate - some people with suitable training and experience can turn out the most amazing pieces, but still do this for "fun" or are not aiming at professional/paid work?

Beginners - whats a beginner? Someone with good skills and little experience - or someone who simply doesn't have time to do many projects - so has a much lower learning curve.?

It's an impossible decision. Perhaps out of X entries, the judges could pick out their favourites based on "self selection" of categories, then could talk to the entrants in person (or by phone) to guage if they are accurately describing their abilities.

Adam
 

tim

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One other question - is there a closing date in mind yet?

Therefore, "advanced" really will be people with outstanding skills. It may include professional cabinet makers?
Just one thing re the professional thing again - don't think that you should use this as a criterion.

There are a lot of people who make things in wood for a living who are of vastly different standards. I don't think this is reasonable or fair (although flattering) - my reason is simple and has been discussed by many, at length in various threads. The pros often work in very specific fields with often little cross over to the areas that hobbyist focus on. eg I have not used hand cut dovetails more than once in any paid for project

You wouldn't lump long distance lorry drivers, combine harvester drivers and F1 racing drivers into the same category for a driving competition because they all make their livings from driving vehicles.

I think as long as you state that the project is not part of a commission or for sale (ie on your own time) then everyone should be judged on their merits.

Cheers

T

Who is up for the challenge but doesn't need a handicap!
 
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Adam":10faqxyo said:
Therefore, "advanced" really will be people with outstanding skills. It may include professional cabinet makers?

Intermediate - some people with suitable training and experience can turn out the most amazing pieces, but still do this for "fun" or are not aiming at professional/paid work?

Beginners - whats a beginner? Someone with good skills and little experience - or someone who simply doesn't have time to do many projects - so has a much lower learning curve.?
Adam
It is not possible to clasify people in this way if magazine readers are entering - you only have the entrants word for their level of skill. This simply would not work.

I think a Gloater's class should be added to aloow Philly and Chris to enter :wink:
 

Keith Smith

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Thanks for all the replies so far. Not easy is it? And it seemed so simple at the start. :?

The aim was to have a competition where everyone stood a chance of winning because otherwise very few people will enter if they think they are up against Chris, Ian,Jason, Steve...I could go on and on. This is why I managed to get the three main prizes so we could spread things about.

I don't think many from the magazine will enter, I don't think there will be a lot of time to make something when the feature won't be in the magazine for maybe 2 months, plus they need to be members here to enter.

Keith
 

tim

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The aim was to have a competition where everyone stood a chance of winning because otherwise very few people will enter if they think they are up against Chris, Ian,Jason, Steve...I could go on and on. This is why I managed to get the three main prizes so we could spread things about.
I think the problem may stem from trying to second guess why people don't enter competitions. Its all based on a sense that they won't win, whatever the reason (although the list of names above is a good start).

Some years back I ran a competition in pubs across the country for a beer brand that I managed. The prize was for two weeks all expenses paid skiing trip to Whistler in Canada (5* hotel, business class flights, the lot). The pub chain it went into had a possible 45,000 entrants. The comp ran for 6 months and to enter all you had to do was fill in your name and address (no purchase necessary and all that cobblers). How many entrants? 11!

So my point is set some criteria (it doesn't really matter what because people will make up their own minds about their chances). Set some guidance on type of furniture would be my recommendation because how will you compare candlesticks with inlace, with an entertainment centre with pocket doors made from MDF and a walnut writing desk with a birch plywood drawer base?

Who knows the Fab Four above may not enter? :wink:

Cheers

T
 

Adam

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tim":a7x4efje said:
One other question - is there a closing date in mind yet?

Therefore, "advanced" really will be people with outstanding skills. It may include professional cabinet makers?
Just one thing re the professional thing again - don't think that you should use this as a criterion.!
Problem is, most professionals do have access to a level of equipment, kit and workshops, and timber selection that is way beyond most hobbiests.

[Edit - (insert) therefore to my mind, they are already ahead, they have a broader range of timbers, can undertake tasks beyond some beginners, and don't have so many constraints.]

For example, I work with the timber I have in my "offcut's" rarely buying timber in specifically for a project.

I'm limited on project size, and have no access to (for example) spray facilities.

Maybe dividing projects into categories,

E.g. Tables and Chairs, Boxes, Carving?, Turned projects.

The difficulty still comes down to how do you judge a beginner vs an "advanced" project. The beginner may have done their most complex project to date, but possibly not of a standard to meet the quality of an advanced entry?

I don't envy the judges!

Adam
 

Chris Knight

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Keith,
I certainly think the idea of encouraging folk to enter is worthwhile and this probably does dictate categories according to experience and perhaps ideally ability, even though the two things aren't necessarily tied that closely together.

Experience is perhaps the easiest to judge and in this regard, prior competition experience is often used as a guide. So that, for instance

1 Beginner: has never entered a woodworking competition, has never had a woodworking article published.

2. Intermediate:Has entered one or more competitions and/or has had articles published.

3. Advanced: Has won a first or second prize in a competition.
 

Adam

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Already racking my mind for a project with some man-made material and not coming up with much so far!

Maybe it's time for that sofa! - problem is, that was going to be solid wood too!

Adam
 

Chris Knight

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Just a further thought looking at the marking criteria; you could score quite highly even if it was nailed together and nothing was square!
 

Adam

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waterhead37":1umbs047 said:
Just a further thought looking at the marking criteria; you could score quite highly even if it was nailed together and nothing was square!
When I did my GCSE's, I spent months making a mortice and tenon table, with a mitred top. Got good marks. Another laddy in my group, turned up on the last week of term, (only his second visit - the first was the very first lesson at the start of the autumn term). He cut a piece of plywood with a panel saw (the top), cut a length of 2 x 2 into 4 pieces (the legs). Took 4 six-inch nails thumped them through the top, straight down the end grain of the legs underneath, by luck didn't split them - and submitted it. (total construction time, about 40 minutes).

He got his marks for a fully functional table, although finish and design were a little lower :roll:

Adam
 

Keith Smith

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waterhead37":67rb7mi4 said:
Just a further thought looking at the marking criteria; you could score quite highly even if it was nailed together and nothing was square!
As long as it was of a high "Quality of finish" and the judges realy did "find it pleasing?"

Gill made a point about entering marquetry, if we make it too prescriptive it would prevent that.

Keith
 

dedee

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I for one will be entering no matter what the criteria or marking methods. It is the closure date (as with the box comp last year) that is most likely to foil me.

I found that entering and publishing the intent to complete a project will spur me on to get the said project finished.

I'd be quite happy to enter at one level and let the judges view my existing published work and change the level as they see fit.

Andy
 

StevieB

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Hmm, does the use of man made product need to show, or even be the focus of the piece? An extreme case would be veneered panels in a solid wood frame for box/chest sides for example. While clearly the panels are of a man made material, this will not be easily recognisable from the finished product. This would, in my opinion, give it an appearance advantage over the same piece in which say an MDF face was clearly visible in the finished state.

Steve.
---------------
Now with added thinking cap.
 

Gill

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It's nice to know that you're thinking about my welfare, but I'm up to my eyeballs in academia right now so I doubt I'll be able to enter the competition anyway :( . (I know, you're not just thinking about me - there are other quirks of woodwork around too :) ).

Gill
 
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