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Archive for the ‘Contests’ Category

Woodworking Contest Update: What to Know About Prizes, Public Show, and Judging

Monday, August 24th, 2015

We’re in the midst of hosting a woodworking contest, below are several details for both folks who are registered and those who aren’t. Prizes, a public show for the entries, and how the judging is handled.

The project theme is wall hangings, and it comes due on November 7 – so if you’re registered, I sure hope you’re hard at work building something incredible. The competition is sure to be stiff: as of today, the contest registration is full, which means we have 150 people signed up. For details about the contest rules and guidelines, go here. 

Let’s get to it:


This 14" Oliver Bandsaw is the first prize in our next woodworking contest. Winners announced November 14, 2015 oliver-machinery-logo

First Prize

Oliver 14″ Bandsaw
Value $1,499

This bandsaw has a 12″ resawing capacity, and her 1.5 horses run on 110 volts of juice. If you want to get serious about resawing, this bandsaw is a fantastic choice. It’s street price is $1,499, and it’s a very well reviewed bandsaw, making this the most exciting prize we’ve been able to offer in our woodworking contests. Details about the saw are at the Oliver website here >>>


FES_LOGOSecond Prize

Festool CXS Li Drill
Value $255

The compact drill driver is lightweight and surprisingly powerful. Comes with a hex driver attachment and a keyless chuck, plus two batteries and the charger. Learn more about this drill at Festool here >>>


kregThird Prize

Kreg Large Toolboxx with Filled with Goodies
Value $199.99

Here’s the ultimate Kreg Jig kit. Comes with three of Kregs favorite pocket hole joinery jigs (K3, HD, and Micro), all the drill bits and stop collars, face frame clamp, right angle clamp, and an assortment of screws. Basically: everything a Kreg Jig enthusiast could dream of.

 Other Prizes

We have numerous other prizes such as hand tools, tool bags and hats, that we’ll give away to other entries for honorable mentions.


Public Show for all Entries

Please do plan to come browse all the entries in this contest. You’ll be amazed at the designs, the craftsmanship, and hard work that these woodworkers put into their projects. We’ll open up space in our Phoenix warehouse to showcase all the entries for three days – so everyone is welcome and urged to view the projects – which , in the end, may be as many as 150 custom made projects! You’ll enjoy getting a close up look in person.

When: Thursday Nov. 12 – Saturday Nov. 14, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Woodworkers Source, Phoenix (18115 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, Az 85023)


Contest Voting

The contest is judged by the viewing public. And that means anyone who comes to view the entries is encouraged to submit a vote for their favorite entries. But don’t worry — above all we want to host a fun and interesting event, so we’re not asking for a critical review. Instead, the voting ballot just asks for your 5 favorite entries. Which ones appeal to you? It’s as simple as that.

View and vote between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm November 12, 13, or 14.

Online voting may or may not be available, but it is a consideration. TBD.

Expect the ballot to look like this


Awards Ceremony

When: November 14, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Woodworkers Source, Phoenix (18115 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, Az 85023)

This is going to be a cool event. I like to think of it as a woodworking art show. All the projects will be on display, we’re providing some hors d’oeuvres and beverages, many of the builders will be there, plus it’ll be your last chance to log a vote for your favorites — and then we’ll announce the winners and pass out prizes.

To clear the air, there will be no vendors peddling drills or sandpaper or any of that business. Instead, this event is about recognizing artwork and the people who build it. It’s not everyday you get to see a collection of over 100 custom made pieces of woodwork under one roof. It’s a unique event and I’d like to keep it that way.

I’d be overjoyed to see you there. In fact, bring your friends and family if you can (and make them cast a vote!) We expect to announce the winners and start passing out prizes around 6:15 pm, as it’ll take some time for us to tally up the votes.

So enjoy the hors d’oeuvres and beverages we’ll provide, peruse the projects, and chat with the other builders.

The Woodworking Contest for Fall 2015: Wall Art

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Woodworking Contest: Wall Art
Wall clock with bird marquetry by Jeff Nardoni, Pure Nard Woodworking

See the Public Show

Come to the contest show to see all entries in person and cast your vote for your favorites!
When: November 12-14, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Where: Woodworkers Source Phoenix location

Awards Ceremony

Open to the public! Beverages and hors d'oeurves served, too. Browse the projects and talk with the builders.
When: Saturday November 14, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm -- but expect the announcement of the winners around 6:15 pm.

Contest Full - Registration is Now Closed

Project Deadline: Saturday Nov 7, 2015
Spaces Available: 0 out of 150 left

FREE Entry
Project Theme: Wall Hangings
Project Deadline: November 7, 2015
Reception/Awards Night: November 14, 2015, 6:00 pm
You’ll Get $50:
Every completed project receives a $50 store credit
Prizes: First prize is a 14″ bandsaw from Oliver Machinery. See other prizes here. 

Rules and Guidelines

So what’s a wall hanging? No doubt about it, this theme has a lot of breathing room. Some projects are quite obvious like photo or mirror frames, wall clocks, and display cabinets.

But wall art can be sculpture, abstract art, marquetry and intarsia. Or household luxuries like candle holders, shadow boxes, light fixtures, organizers, wine racks, wall planters and vases.  Get creative and use any decorative techniques you’d like to draw attention your project: consider inlay, carving, sculpting, pyrography, veneering, turning, inclusion of fancy woods etc.

The only constraint is that your project may be no larger than 36″ in width or height, and may not extend from the wall more than 12″.

Let your creativity go wild, but remember this is a woodworking contest. You are welcome to include materials other than wood in your project, however your primary goal should be to demonstrate your skills with wood more than, say, stone or metal.

Space is limited to 100 150 entries. Register now.  Even if you’re not certain you can complete your project by the deadline, please register anyway. You may drop out later if needed. It’s better to register and drop out of the contest than it is to wait to register after the contest is full.

Complete Your Project, Get $50 Store Credit:

All entries receive $50 store credit on November 7 upon project delivery. Yes, you keep your project and we give you $50. However, we keep the projects for one week while we photograph each one and set up the public display.

Prizes and Awards Ceremony

November 14, 2015, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

We’ll host an awards ceremony (location to be determined). Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 entries, plus various honorable mention awards.

This contest is sponsored by our vendors Oliver Machinery, Festool and Kreg.

oliver-machinery-logo FES_LOGO kreg

4 Steps to Submit Your Project

  1. Register for the contest at the top of the page. It’s free.
  2. Check your email immediately. You’ll receive confirmation and an entry form you’ll need to fill out with your project.
  3. Pack your project in a box, then deliver it on or before November 7, 2015 to any Woodworkers Source location.
  4. Complete an entry form to deliver with your project

Your project is yours to keep after the contest. You’ll either pick it up at the reception, pick it up at the store you delivered it to, or we’ll ship it back to you. You’ll specify on the entry form.

Size Limit

Your project must be no larger than 36″ x 36″, and it may not extend more than 12″ from the wall. Smaller is okay.

Materials to Use

You do not need to buy your wood from Woodworkers Source in order to enter the contest. Wood is the focus of this project and you may use any wood you’d like, and I encourage you to use something unusual or special. Incorporate other materials if you want, but this is a woodworking contest so your project should emphasize wood.

Does the Project Have to Be New?

I prefer that you enter a project you build specifically for this contest, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. So, if you want to enter a project you have already built, take a close look at it and determine if it needs to be refinished, waxed or polished. If it’s scratched or faded from time and use, do what it takes to refresh it so that it makes the best impression – this is, after all, a contest.


Only one entry per person is allowed. However you may create a series, like this set of wall pots, for your one entry.

Can I Enter More Than One?

One entry per person, please.

However, your one entry can be a series of multiple parts. For example if you make a project like the wall pots on the right, you would enter the series of three as a single entry. The whole series must fit within a 36″ x 36″ space

Since they’re all similar, and since they make a better visual impact as a set, I’ll consider them one entry.

Otherwise, focus on building one project that’s as fantastic as you can make it.


A winning entry will have a fabulous finish. You can use any finishing process that you like; you can use stains, dyes, glazes or any clear wood finish you want. I encourage you give your project the best impression with a well-done finish.

Start your project sooner rather than later to allow yourself plenty of time to get a good finish. It takes time for finishing and staining products to dry between coats, and it takes time to polish your finish to your desired sheen, so give yourself time to do it well.

Project Ideas

Follow Mark Stephens’s board Wood Wall Art and Hangings on Pinterest.

“And The Winners Are . . .” Here are The Top 10 Lidded Boxes in This Woodworking Contest

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Entries at Practical Art

What good is a lidded box if you can’t open it to see the details? You’re allowed to handle the artwork at this event.  It was a packed house on March 21 in which visitors to the reception could check out the box contest entries and vote for their 3 favorites. The top 10 boxes are below.

We host two woodworking contests per year, and if nothing else, we’re having an awful lot of fun admiring and showcasing the beautiful work our customers do. In this third installment, we asked people to make a lidded box no larger than 16″ in any direction. It could be any shape or style – it just needed a lid.

So who won, right?

Below is a gallery of the top 10 winners as decided by the general public. Even though these 10 had the honor of taking home a prize, every participant deserves recognition and thanks for being willing to put their effort and creativity on display for critique. But I’m sure you’ll agree (more or less) with the finalists below.

How Voting Worked

There were two ways to vote, and voting was open to the public. Vote online, or in person at Practical Art in downtown Phoenix where the boxes were on display. The ballot system was the same for both venues though:

  • Choose your three favorite boxes
  • You must pick three, and they must be different boxes
  • Ballots that voted for the same box more than once were discarded

In these contests we want to reward effort, skill, and creativity, which is a task that’s easier said than done. Therefore we believe that if you come in to see the boxes in person that your vote should be worth more than a vote submitted online. Makes sense right? Those who take the time to admire these boxes with their eyes and feel the lids, joints and finishes with their hands have a better perspective than those who see a picture online or just make a few clicks in favor of their friends. So all the votes that were made in person at Practical Art were worth two.

Total Votes: 1,924

1,512 votes came in online, and 412 came in in person. The “bonus” for voting in person made a big difference in the results. And I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

ribbon-blue 1st: The Guitar by Dale Schmitt

Woods used: Curly maple, Pacific quilted maple, purple heart, cherry

Finish: Catalyzed lacquer (spray)

Dale’s small jewelry box easily stands out from the rest because of its guitar shape. But lift the lid and you’ll find a unique tray that spins and reveals hidden storage underneath. In Dale’s words: “I find that paying attention to detail is very important to achieve the best results.” Indeed, click the images to get up close to this winning box. You’ll see he built a snug display stand, made authentic guitar parts like the bridge, neck and frets, and sprayed a glass-smooth clear finish. Congratulations to Dale.

Prize: Tormek T-4 wet grinder sharpener

Click to enlarge:

ribbon-red2nd: Art Deco Box by Bill Barrand

Woods used: Mahogany, zebrawood

Finish: Conversion varnish (spray)

You can rely on Bill to produce a completely original design when he’s faced with the challenge of a woodworking show. He’s entered a piece in every one of our contests, and for this one he chose a bent lamination project. Bill used some mahogany from his 25-year-old stash of the good stuff to contrast with the striped zebrawood.

Prize: Wilton Tradesman Vise

Click to enlarge:

ribbon-yellow3rd: Jewelry Box by Ron Beauregard

Woods used: Lacewood, curly maple, bubinga, black palm

Finish: Tung oil

Ron put his skills to the test to create this sophisticated jewelry box. While he used several types of woods with different colors and grain types, it’s not overboard.  The lacewood sides feature some gentle angles instead of strong perpendicular lines and the corners are reinforced with contrasting splines. But look at the lid. It’s just a nicely figured piece of curly maple but the narrow and off-center inlay strip of lacewood ties it to the box sides without much fanfare. The interior top tray is attached to the lid with a pin-and-arm hinge that lifts and supports it as the lid is opened. The black palm knobs are rounded and slightly tapered. These little details, and more, tells the story of the time and energy he put into this box – he earned every vote with this stunning box.

Prize: Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

Click to enlarge:

4th Place: Nature’s Gift Keepsake Box by John Porter

Woods used: Cherry, bubinga, satinwood, curly maple

Finish: Satin lacquer

As you can surmise, John made this box as part of a birthday gift. It worked as the presentation of his wife’s new iPhone. To create the bow, he laminated blanks of bubinga and satinwood cut them to the shape, but drilled out the inner loops and used a bandsaw to cut out the remainder. The gift tag is laser engraved curly maple, and the lid is simply a fitted left-off lid. Naturally, this box drew a lot of attention for its unique lid. John happens to be the manager of the Woodworkers Source store on I-17 in north Phoenix.

Prize: Bessey clamps

Click to enlarge:

5th Place: Rustic Live Edge Box by Rick West

Materials used: Eucalyptus, ebony

Finish: Laquer

Rick used some unique eucalyptus from a tree that fell down in his friend’s yard. Working with eucalyptus is tricky, as Rick says, because it’s hard and brittle. Plus the wood formed numerous cracks, but he filled them with epoxy and crushed turquiose. While the figure and wild look of the box lid grabbed a lot of attention, Rick applied a flawless finish to the box that really helps make it looks its best.

Prize: General Tools Moisture Meter

Click to enlarge:

6th Place: Memory Box by Betsi Packwood

Woods used: Chakte kok, walnut, lacewood, sirari, bamboo, ebony, holly

Finish: Old Masters Gel polyurethane

Betsi worked long and hard to create this segmented masterpiece that’s 12″ in diameter. Her style is to turn in a way that leaves the facets on the sides while also including numerous intricate designs throughout. In case you didn’t think she did enough, Betsi also included a fitted, removable tray. Her finish is a satin sheen wipe-on gel polyurethane.

Prize: Portamate Roller Stand

Click to enlarge:

7th Place: Small Jewelry Box by Brett Eichmann

Woods used: Wenge, zebrawood

Finish: Satin lacquer (spray)

Brett chose the stunning combination of zebrawood and wenge for his box. At first glance, the box just looks like a simple rectangle, but he knows how to pay attention to details. Brett cut and assembled the box sides in way that forces the grain to wrap around it in sequence. He also crafted removable trays that are just flawless. Two things draw your attention to this box. First, the perfect lacquer finish. Second, Brett’s command of proportions. It’s a small box, and therefore the parts are thin – such as the 1/2″ thick sides, the 1/4″ thick lid, and trays assembled from 1/8″ thick wenge strips.

Prize: 3-piece Chisel Set

Click to enlarge:

8th Place: Triangular Box by Oscar Witham

Woods used: Fall offs

Finish: Danish oil

The lid on Oscar’s box is a captivating visual puzzle, much like a mosaic. He used just small pieces that fell off from a different project and came up with this unique box.

Prize: Zona Miter Box and Saw

Click to enlarge:


9th Place: Displacement by Chris Ewald

Woods used: Walnut, maple

Finish: Boiled linseed oil

The basic design of this box is a rectangle with an inward angled bottom. You can see the inspiration on the cover of AJ Hamler’s book The Box Builder’s Handbook. But Chris basically “displaced” it on a peculiar axis. It’s certainly a whimsical take on the basic lidded box. Chris’s work turned a lot of heads.

Prize: General Tools digital t-bevel

Click to enlarge:

10th Place: Scrolled Jewelry Cabinet by James Butler

Woods used: Oak, walnut, bloodwood

Finish: Satin lacquer (spray)

A scroll sawn box takes a lot of time and patience, but it paid off here. While James says the pattern was “relatively simple” (side note: that’s simple?!), attaching the sides to the legs was tricky thanks to the angle.

Prize: Powermatic shop apron

Click to enlarge: