Nailbenders dominate fair
Two long-time area residents, who are involved in construction and woodworking, took over as 4-H advisers for Waynesfield Nailbenders 30 years ago, just five years after the club formed.
Since Susan and Steve Sidener took over they have witnessed nothing but success for the club’s members.
When 15-year-old freshman Steve Hayes captured the top prize in woodworking at the Ohio State Fair this year, it continued that long tradition. A tradition that is so strong, that Steve Sidener admits he is starting to lose count.
“We had five this year that went (to the state fair),” Sidener said. “The last several years we have averaged about four members a year showing their projects there.”
Sidener, who owns Steve Sidener Construction in Waynesfield, started the business in 1985 after being involved in the carpentry business for five years. The business covers a wide area in construction, including new homes, room additions, window replacements, remodeling, flooring and constructing metal pole barns.
While the Nailbenders normally focus on woodworking, they have also advised on other projects such as electrical and welding.
Sidener has developed a good knowledge that he is only happy to pass on to others through the club.
“We have the tools that most people don’t have,” Sidener said. “The kids pick their own projects and they do them.”
Sidener said club members are in charge of doing their own projects.
He said he, along with members’ parents, offer advice, but the students are ultimately responsible for completing the project. His sons, Scott and Shawn, are now also advisers in the club. Scott has been an adviser for nine years, and Shawn for six years.
“We’ve been doing this so long now that we are starting to see the children of the kids we had when we first started,” Sidener said.
Sidener said it took approximately 10 years before the club had its first representative at the state fair.
He said the club became more successful after they began to stress to the kids that they needed to “know” their project.
“It’s not just doing the project,” Sidener said. “We teach them a knowledge, something they will haveve for the rest of their life. It is hands on learning. They have to know what tools they used, what kind of wood they used, special joints that were used.”
Sidener said some of the more unique projects have included a mission style bed, a dog lamp that a person pulls the tail to turn on, custom book and wall display cases.
Hayes’ project that took first place this year at the state fair was a dresser.
“It has been successful because the kids want to do it,” Sidener said. “It is not a cheap club. It does cost a little to do these projects.”
Sidener says he encourages the kids to put dates on their projects so they can reflect on completing the projects many years later.
He said he plans to advise the club for many more years.
“You get to meet a lot of people you wouldn’t normally have met,” Sidener said, “but the main thing is if you come into this club, you are going to be able to do some household things, whatever it may be. They will be able to make repairs or improvements that they would have to normally pay someone else to do.”