Eye Diy

Canada’s Handyman Challenge, Episode 3 recap

By Matthew Pioro January 25th, 2012

Canada's Handyman Challenge

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OK, sports fans, it’s time for the last stop in the country-wide search for 12 finalists. The folks from Canada’s Handyman Challenge have hit Vancouver and Halifax, and now they are in Toronto. The Big Smoke brought close to 300 applicants and their plywood projects to the first day of screening. However, approximately 50 of them get to present their projects to the three judges: Mike Holmes, Bryan Baeumler and Scott McGillivray. (The latter, by the way, couldn’t participate in the live tweeting during the broadcast of the episode because he had just become a father! Congrats.)

Steven, a Grade 5 shop teacher, serenades the judges with a song he wrote about the show. He plays his plywood guitar with an amp shaped like a circular saw. Brad, a police officer, shows off his table and chairs, and the turned a lamp made from plywood segments. The judges are already impressed.

As Holmes says every episode, “Wow, I think we are in trouble.”

Scott, a B&B owner, has a large clock with intricate plywood gears.

“If you had a strap on that,” Baeumler says, “Mike would wear it on his wrist.” (Zing!)

Then it sounds as if the overalled one admits that he would.

After a shot of a remote controlled truck and an elegant mobile tool cart, McGillivray says that this creative group is the best they have seen, giving non-Torontonians another reason to dislike the Big Smoke.

Ted, an economist, presents two end tables. His goal was to build pieces that didn’t look like they were made of plywood, and he succeeded. They look as if they are made of solid wood.

“When we started this competition,” McGillivray says, “I didn’t think I’d see something that magnificent.” Wow. What praise.

The last presenter is Andrew, a 19-year-old architecture student. He built a hose reel. Holmes sees a bit of himself in Andrew. (Actually, he says, “I see you in me.” [!]) The 48-year-old TV star is referring to the skill that Andrew displays at 19 years of age, as the student isn’t sporting overalls.

As the judges mull over who will make the top 10, McGillivray mentions that the decision processes was easier for the other cities. Toronto must be a challenge for the judges because they are making fewer corny jokes.

The host, Jillian Harris, stands in front of the contestants to tell them who made the final 10. It’s Carl (chest-with-dovetail-joints-building electronics teacher), Steven (guitar), Dana (Muskoka-chair building forklift driver), Michael (bulldog-art making artist), John (giant-swivelling-desk-lamp-building art director), Andrew (hose reel), Jason (fire-hydrant-making volunteer firefighter), Scott (clock), Ted (end tables) and Brad (table and chairs).

A dump truck unloads a bunch of old, broken dressers, chairs, tables and the like. This stuff is what the newly minted finalists have to work with for their next challenge. They need to build something that is creative, beautiful or practical out of the busted furniture. Three will be eliminated. Ted is nervous. When it’s time to build, everyone rushes the pile. This challenge will reveal which contestants had help with their plywood projects.

Carl builds a rocking bassinet out of a swinging ottoman. John builds a working wheelbarrow. McGillivray thinks the contestant will go far.

Jason starts the challenge full of ambition and is shooting for a pool table. He quickly scales things back and builds a box, a stick and, as Baeumler says, “a badly made ball.”

Scott builds a lounger that seems to dump Baeumler when he tries to sit in it. McGillivray says the structure is a bit weak.

Brad takes a door and builds a cottage-chic harvest table. His brand of repurposing could go for a lot of dough in a hip Queen West shop. The judges like what they see.

Steven says he’s winging it. He takes red-stained wood to make a large toy fire truck. It looks rough. During judging, McGillivray breaks off part of it, for which he apologizes later. Holmes says the builder used all the wrong wood. Steven figures he’s out.

Michael, the artist, seems to have hit it a creative brick wall. He makes what he dubs a “Victorian crapper,” a chair with a flip-up toilet seat. McGillivray says he’d throw the project back in the garbage pile.

Dana builds a storage bench for a hall closet using an old dresser and headboard. “It’s built like a tank, which is sort of me,” he says.

Ted sets himself a modest goal in order to complete a strong project in the allotted time. He builds a trestle table, which doesn’t seem like a good idea. The judges don’t want to see repairs out of the junk furniture, they what to see new projects. Ted’s table, however, does pass the test as a new project. Holmes says it’s very well made and he’s impressed.

Wunderkind Andrew builds a router table with a working fence. That’s…uh…wow. McGillivray says the thing would work.

At this point it looks like Michael, Jason and Scott have the weakest projects. When the judges deliver their verdicts, those three are the ones who must pack up and head home.

For the second challenge—the one in which the judges hover around the builders—the remaining seven have to shingle a small roof, about the size of a dog house, in 45 minutes. Brad practically runs out and buys a GO bus ticket for Hamilton because he’s shingled about eight to 10 roofs. Dana, on the other hand, is in a panic. He’s only hauled shingles up onto a roof. The judges will take into account the handymen’s experience when they must judge the projects. They want to see thought and process. For those who haven’t done this type of work before, the instructions are on the shingle packages.

When it came to the second challenge in both Vancouver and Halifax, the judges would hover, cajole and offer a bit of surreptitious guidance. For this Toronto challenge, the judges seem a lot less sympathetic. It is their third city in little more than a week and it is filmed on a Monday. Maybe the judges have the start-of-the-work-week grumpies. Holmes tears one of Dana’s loose shingles like the stripes off the shoulder of a disgraced soldier. He tells Wunderkind Andrew that this work was kid stuff. And John…poor John. He makes some classic DIY blunders.

“It’s one of those things where you look at it an think ‘Well how hard could that be?'” he says. “I looked at the instructions, but I didn’t want to get too caught up with reading. Now wasn’t the time. So, I was all over the map. I tried to get better as I went along. “

And the judges really tear into him as they tear up his shingles.

The lesson here, handy folks, is to always read the instructions.

Or as Dana says, “Take two and think it through.”

“Well, the shingles speak for themselves,” McGillivray says, “and we can only take four to the finals, so we are going to shingle a few people out here.” (Bam! There it is.)

The judgement: Scott, Ted and Torn-Up John are out.

Dana, Carl, Andrew and Brad are going to meet the groups from the West and the East next week.

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