LAS VEGAS - The grand prize-winning entry of the 13th Annual Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge is “Regency Circular Office” by Keith Morgan, Bespoke, of Larchwood, IA. The level of execution, complexity of design, and intricate details of this installation impressed the judges with its exceptional sequence matched imbuya burl panels and walnut trim and crown molding.

As announced at the AWFS Fair, Bespoke is awarded the $3,000 top prize in the design competition, which recognizes excellence in veneer woodworking. Certainly Wood, the distributor that supplied the materials, is awarded $2,000, and sales representative Greg Engle is awarded $1,000, in recognition of their roles in the supply chain.


FDMC magazine, a Woodworking Network publication, co-sponsored the competition.

The category winners in this year’s competition, each receiving $1,000, are: Architectural Woodworking, Bernhard Woodwork, Northbrook, IL, “Private Residence 2;” Cabinetry, Fritz Cabinetry & Furniture, Shakopee, MN, “Minnesota Residence;” Furniture, J. Morgan Woodworking, Park Rapids, MN, “Labyrinth Table;” Marquetry, Silas Kopf Woodworking, Northampton, MA, “Two Blondes and a Brioche at the Bistro;” Specialty Items, Joseph Mendel Furniture Maker, Batavia, NY, “Federal Styled Game Table;” and, tied in the Student Design category, John Kruis/Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Lancaster, PA, “Rhode Island Federal Serpentine Chest of Drawers,” and Nancy Bordeleau, École Nationale du Meuble et de l’Ébénisterie de Victoriaville, Bécancour, QC, “Louis XV Style Desk.”

The judges recognized honorable mention for seven entries: Architectural Woodworking, Windham Millwork, Windham, ME, “Eastern Maine Medical Center;” Furniture, CT Fine Furniture, San Diego, CA, “Art Deco Chess Table,” and Tom McLaughlin/Epic Woodworking, Canterbury, NH, “Ascension, Chest on Chest;” Marquetry, Spicer Woodworks, Bessemer City, NC, “Celtic Knot Table,” and Ken Cowell Studio, Yorba Linda, CA, “Tree of Life Dresser;” and Student Design, Chadd Chalfant/Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Lancaster, PA, “Chester County Spice Box,” and Derek McDonald/The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, Rochester, NH, “Federal Inspired Side Table.”

Experts from the fields of woodworking media, education, and manufacturing composed the panel of judges for the 2017 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge. They are Karen Koenig, editor of Woodworking Network’s special publications and projects; Stephen Latta, professor of cabinetmaking and wood technology at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, and a contributing editor for Fine Woodworking; and Mike Taylor, president of States Industries, Eugene, OR, manufacturer of decorative panels.

The 75 entries in this year’s competition can be viewed on the Veneer Technologies website, Details about the grand prize and category winning entries plus judges’ comments can also be found at the website. The site also features archives of 2005 – 2016 entries.

The Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge entries for 2018 will be accepted beginning the first of January. Next year’s competition results will be announced at IWF-Atlanta.

Veneer Technologies, located in Newport, North Carolina, is one of the industry’s largest manufacturers of high quality face veneer, sheet veneer, and edgebanding. Veneer Tech sources wood species worldwide.

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