In recent years, there's been a resurgence in interest in woodworking, thanks in part to shows like "Good With Wood". The show, which airs on the Fine Woodworking channel, follows a group of makers as they create unique projects using wood.
The basic idea of the show is straightforward: nine aspiring carpenters compete in various projects and skill tests each week, with one contestant being removed every episode until only one is left. The projects become more and more difficult as the show goes on, and the winner takes home a cash prize and the title of "Brittain's best woodworker".
The show is hosted by Mel Giedroyc (formerly of The Great British Bake Off, and features two judges per series. Season 1 includes the founder of The London School of Furniture Helen Welch, and architect and proponent of wood Alex Di Rijke. Season 2 is judged by design and architecture historian and writer Tom Dyckhoff, and woodwork artist Sophie Sellu of Grain and Knot.
The competitors are a diverse group of interesting and motivated woodworkers who all have a unique design style and wildly differing production processes.
Like any Reality TV show, you're going to have your favourite contestants but the real enjoyment is seeing what each person is able to create in the space of two days. Sometimes it's beautiful - other times you can't help but cringe.
It's fun witnessing the creative process as the contestants come up with a plan, work through challenges, and attempt to create something beautiful. And of course, it's hard not to wonder "What are they thinking?" and "How would I have done that?"
Each episode challenges the contestant to complete a major piece of work in only two days. Projects vary between the artistic and practical with projects such as making a dream bed, contemporary rocking chair, office desk, sculptures, toys, chairs and tables.
There are also a Skills Challenge that asks contestants to create small projects using traditional and ancient woodworking techniques such as making a spinning top using a foot powered lathe, wood block printing and a wooden vase from offcuts. Winning the challenge grants the contestant immunity from the judges and an automatic place in the next round.
Is it a good show?
Whether you're a seasoned woodworker or just getting started, "Good With Wood" is a great show to watch. I personally found that the host Mel Giedrovc's jokes, which were often laced with baudy sexual innuendos, became tiresome and painful to watch. That said, there aren't many TV shows about woodworking so if you're looking for some woodworking inspiration, be sure to check out "Good With Wood" Season 1 & 2 which are streaming for free on SBS. Season 3 is scheduled for release some time in 2023.