Rockler Indy Show: Projects for People You Care About

Rockler Indy Show: Projects for People You Care About

The Indianapolis Rockler store’s Adventures in Wood Contest 2016 had a lovely opening on May 20. The store was arranged to accommodate the 38 accepted entries in a gallery like setting. Over the course of two weeks, customers cast 754 votes to elect 9 winners. The projects ranged in style and purpose, but there was a common theme in all of them. The people I spoke with that evening all make projects for people that they care about.

There is something very special about sharing your craft with friends and family that cherish you as well as your work. Several men told me that they made a project because their wife wanted it. Many people collaborate with respective spouses to create projects too.


Dale Smith, winner of the Miscellaneous/ Turning Division, works with his wife, Sharon, to make wooden model replicas of historic cars. Dale’s winning project is an accurate 1:5 scale model of a 1925 Miller Indy Car that was the 2nd place winner in the Indy 500.) Sharon made the miniature flag and upholstered the car. They really enjoy working together. Dale said, “The fun is in building it, and talking about the project with my wife.” The cars also represent a tribute to Dale’s father who started as a “grease monkey” at Buick motors, and he worked his way up to being an owner of a Buick dealership over the course of 60 years.



The winner of the Furniture Division, Jim Daugherty, made a lovely spinning wheel. This project will serve his family in a different way. He is hoping to sell “Thread to the Past” to someone that will get good use out of it. The reason Jim is selling this project is for his granddaughter’s college fund. He said that all the other projects he has made are gifts for his family. This is Jim’s third spinning wheel, “Thread to the Past”. It is beautifully finished with Tung Oil, and it’s fully functional.


Scott Jones won second place in the Furniture Division with the concealed top nightstand that he made for his son. The top of the stand is secret compartment accessible by sliding the top. Scott makes all the projects he can for his family, including: doll houses, doll furniture, bed frames, nightstands, etc.


The most rewarding projects are the ones that not only incorporate great design, but are also an embodiment of care for the one receiving the project. I’ve found that the projects I make are much more enjoyable when it becomes personal. Sharing your craft means sharing some of yourself.

Here’s a complete list of winners:

Best in Show: Chessboard by Mark Hensley

Box Division:

1st Place: Chessboard by Mark Hensley

2nd Place: Leopardwood Box by Matthew Heimann

3rd Place: Harley Box by Tom Meeker

Miscellaneous/Turning Division:

1st Place: Smith Special #2 by Dale Smith

2nd Place: Stagecoach by Jeffrey D Shaw

3rd Place: Pin Oak Bowl by Tom Meeker

Furniture Division:

1st Place: Thread to the Past by Jim Daugherty

2nd Place: Concealed Top Nightstand by Scott Jones

3rd Place: Autumn by Ralph Buschbacher



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