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Forum topic by GMman posted 01-08-2011 08:17 PM 1555 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3666 days

01-08-2011 08:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question opinion

It’s very nice to have contests but how can a hobbyist compete with a woodworker/cabinet maker of over 20 years experience and a hobbyist of 2 years or so?
That was mentioned before but it looks like nobody is listening.

22 replies so far

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2857 days

#1 posted 01-08-2011 08:38 PM

The pros seldom enter such contests, as the prizes are worth much less than the time they would have to invest to win them. As for not having a chance as a newcomer, it’s not so much about winning as it is the experience and stretching yourself. I know entering the Sawdust Chronicles challenge was a great experience for me, and I learned a lot from it, even though I wasn’r even able to complete the project in time.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#2 posted 01-08-2011 08:53 PM

I’ve seen many a hobbyist produce a far higher caliber of work then many so called professional woodworkers with 20 years experience.

Should a person who makes a living off of woodworking be allowed to join the contest ?...........Thats not for me to decide albeit I have never competed aside from a “Guzzle the beer the fastest” contest? .......

I dont see why not?

most master joiners wouldnt compete anyway

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3043 days

#3 posted 01-08-2011 09:20 PM

My issue with web based contests is that it is really the pictures of the projects that are being judged, not the project itself. A judge cannot feel the finish or closely inspect each joint. The judge can only see what the pictures show him/her. In part, photographic skill is part of what is being judged.

Don’t forget that with today’s technology, photos can be easily doctored also.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2967 days

#4 posted 01-08-2011 09:34 PM

I am not generally interested in competition but…..

Hobbyists generally have the upper hand. They can sit and piddle away at a project for hours on end and not worry about how much time is invested in it.

The one thing that I do find aggravating I have seen in some of the competitions and shows is people that keep entering the same project over and over.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Joedcatman's profile


172 posts in 3084 days

#5 posted 01-09-2011 05:30 AM

AMEN GMan!!! I can’t disagree with any of the above comments more – which means I agree with your initial post at least 110%. Even though the “judges” are fellow lumberjocks. I just learned that last year and hence won’t enter any more contests. Too much wood – too little time to waste on entering contests or playing the lottery.

Thank you for giving your honest opinion and if I pissed anybody off; get over it cupcake ya ain’t changin my mind – overall attitude or my absolute joy of working with wood.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4129 days

#6 posted 01-09-2011 11:29 AM

I guess if you want to “win” and you don’t feel that your skill levels are good enough yet, then you may want to choose not to enter a contest where you don’t believe you have a chance.

I, on the other hand, see a contest as an opportunity to challenge myself, to use it as an opportunity to better my skills, to focus on whatever the topic of the contest is, and to be part of fun.

It’s all in one’s perspective and one’s goals.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20314 posts in 3074 days

#7 posted 01-10-2011 03:05 AM

That is the way I look at it,Ms Debbie. it give a person something to try real hard at and if fellow lumberjocks are impressed with it, you’ll get the votes. Be creative and go for it!!!!!!!!
We have a similar voting at our guild meetings for show and tell projects. I know I won’t win unless no one else brings in a winner, but it is fun to show it and talk about it. The satisfaction is all mine even if I don’t win.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3043 days

#8 posted 01-10-2011 04:02 AM

Let me expand on the point I tried to make earlier. The current contest on this sight is called “The Art of Joinery”.

I think it is fair to say that the quality of the joints should be a major criteria in the judging of this contest. How do you do you judge a joint by a picture? I would want to inspect the joints closely and feel them with my fingers.

If I did a joint M&T joint that really looked good on one side and bad on the other, you know which side I am going to take a picture of.

Just my opinion.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3617 days

#9 posted 01-10-2011 04:06 AM

a PRO making kitchen cabinets made of plywood for the past 30 years, using same techniques over and over again has no real advantage over a ‘hobbyist’ that has been making jewelry boxes for the past 10 years when the contest is about making a small box or joinery that kitchen cabinets do not use.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3645 days

#10 posted 01-10-2011 10:07 AM

GMMan, contests are for people with to much time no their hands or for those who happen to have project that will fit in it. I sure don’t have time to make a project just to enter a contest. I agree that web based contests with lots of voters are not really about the quality of the project. They are as much about popularity of contestants and photography as the woodworking quality.

If you have teh time, give it a whorl :-)) what you got to lose? Yoiu might even win!!!!!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4129 days

#11 posted 01-10-2011 10:58 AM

just another point re: our current contest (art of joinery). The focus “should” be on the art of it, “turn a practical project into a piece of art”. (and yes people will vote based on their own perception of what is a winner).

When I was making my boxes out of willow wood, I found that the joinery (cut on a scroll saw) really made a difference and my first box with joints that were not exact was much more appealing than those that were more precise. Why? Because they fit better with the rustic look of the box. Art.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View BertFlores58's profile


1694 posts in 2891 days

#12 posted 01-10-2011 11:42 AM

If I join a contest, my first reason is to achieve the challenge of self-accomplishment rather than winning the contest. Making your own project and being the best choice of the judges will always be an added reward to what you have achieved.

-- Bert

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4129 days

#13 posted 01-10-2011 12:06 PM

true, Bert.. that’s what I used to tell my daughter when she figure skated … you skate for yourself… if the judges give you a medal then that is a bonus.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2966 days

#14 posted 01-10-2011 12:38 PM

In any competition or contest usually they one choose one winner. Can you imagine the feeling a “Novice woodworker” has when their work is judged 2nd ? 1st would be complete eurphoria ! The feeling of participating with one of the “Pro’s”. I would hope the pro’s do enter these contests as well, everyone is good at something !
”It’s not whether you win or loose its how you play the game ” Have Fun !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4129 days

#15 posted 01-10-2011 12:48 PM

a very good point… even to have my work entered in the same contest with skilled artisans is a big woo-hoo. Plus, those that work hard at improving their skills so that they reach a level of being considered a “master” deserve the recognition they receive, if they so happen to win an Award.

hmm and if we are talking about our LumberJocks events, they are called “Awards” – which also puts a little spin on things.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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