What can you make with one sheet of plywood, some woodworking wizardry and — most importantly — a heavy infusion of creativity?
This was the gauntlet thrown down in a new contest, open to all makers, by the creators of The Modern Maker Podcast: Mike Montgomery, Chris Salamone and Ben Uyeda. The trio approached Rockler, who is sponsoring the contest with prize awards. Dubbed #RocklerPlywoodChallenge, the contest has been running since May 1. It closes in just 10 days on Thursday, May 31, at 11:59 p.m., PST.
“In the past, we’ve hosted various contests encouraging woodworkers to share their projects with us. It’s always fun to see what our customers are creating in their shops, says Nathan Ensminger, marketing manager at Rockler. “The guys over at The Modern Maker Podcast were really the inspiration. They proposed the concept seeking our support, and it was an easy decision to get onboard.”
Ensminger says part of the draw for Rockler to offer sponsorship was the simplicity of the rules: just build anything you can dream up with one sheet of plywood. The thickness and type of plywood doesn’t matter, only its quantity: 32 square feet. “The open-endedness of the rules makes #RocklerPlywoodChallenge accessible to a wide variety of skill sets and promotes creativity.”
The contest also is also helping Rockler reach out to a wider audience, featuring a blend of both modern and traditional perspectives on woodworking, Ensminger adds.
Aside from coming up with a cool project design, the second requirement of the #RocklerPlywoodChallenge is to share your progress and final results by posting photos or videos on Instagram using #RocklerPlywoodChallenge. Community support and feedback is a tangible benefit of getting involved: posting your project is sure to garner kudos — and even some advice if you want it — from fellow woodworkers and makers in the online community.
“It’s also a great opportunity to build your YouTube audience,” Ensminger says.
When the contest closes next week, The Modern Maker Podcast hosts will serve as judges. They’ll announce three winners on June 7, during a new episode of the podcast, then follow up via Instagram with those contestants.
“The guys at The Modern Maker Podcast are talented makers themselves, so it only seems fitting for them to select the winners … I actually feel fortunate that I’m not the judge, as there are too many impressive entries to note,” Ensminger says.
As of last week, nearly 600 posts to #RocklerPlywoodChallenge had been made on Instagram, and scrolling through the images and videos reveals an impressive variety of projects and process. A wide range of furniture is being made — chairs, tables, desks, beds and storage units, plus other objects such as vases, a guitar and artistic objects. In the process of those builds, many creative techniques are being shared, including explorations in power carving and sculpture, woodturning, LED lighting, elaborate laminations and intricate or whimsical articulation. Some makers are turning to CAD drawings and CNC routing to help them, while others are using only basic hand and power tools and pencil sketches to bring their project designs to life.
With only 10 days left and the clock ticking, you might wonder if all projects must be “new” to be eligible for entry. Ensminger says, no: “All entries to #RocklerPlywoodChallenge are welcome, provided the project was created by the person posting and was made from one sheet of plywood or less.”
Aside from bragging rights and plenty of social media exposure, winners are vying for the following three prizes: first place is a $500 Rockler gift card; second place is a Rockler Miter Fold Dado Set; and the third-place winner will receive a Rockler Material Mate Panel Cart and Shop Stand. More than $1,000 worth of prizes are at stake.
But, of course, you can’t score a prize if you don’t grab a sheet of your favorite plywood and get in the game.
“It’s not too late to enter!” Ensminger says. “If you have a handful of tools and some creativity, you can make something that others will appreciate seeing. Share it with the community for a chance to win!”