Woodcraft Sponsors Fresh Wood Student Competition & Donation Program

Woodcraft is proud to sponsor Fresh Wood and you can help too!

The Fresh Wood Student Competition highlights outstanding construction and design achievements by students from leading high school and post-secondary woodworking programs in North America; the best of woodworking’s next generation. The Fresh Wood Student Competition was created by the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) in 1999, held every odd-numbered year in Las Vegas, Nevada as a vehicle for students to showcase their skills and abilities in wood; to introduce them to the industry as future artists, designers and woodworkers; and to offer industry career opportunities to them. It is one of the only national woodworking competitions for both high school and post-secondary students. Students enter a woodworking piece built in the past two years and the finalist projects are put on display at the AWFS Fair, where the final judging is performed and the winners are announced. Projects in the past have included guitars, pool tables, beds, drums and innovative tables and chairs. Students win cash prizes and their pieces are showcased in the hardcover publication fresh wood. For an  order form to receive your copy of a Fresh Wood book click HERE or to order through a credit card order, click HERE.

One such individual that was helped by the Fresh Wood program was our own Chris Hedges who is now the Knoxville Tennessee Woodcraft manager. Back in 2004, Chris knew practically nothing about woodworking. That didn’t stop him from entering our Parkersburg, West Virginia Woodcraft store. Assisted by current manager Betty Secrist to purchase pfeil Swiss made carving tools and other woodworking supplies to build his daughter a bedroom dresser, Chris commented, “I still remember and appreciate interacting with Betty and receiving impressive woodworking knowledge.” Chris went on to teach Sociology for Ohio University, while growing in his woodworking abilities. In 2005 he enrolled in the University of Rio Grande Fine Woodworking Program and commuted back and forth every week between the two universities for two years until he earned a 2-year certificate in the art of building fine furniture. One of Chris’s projects at Rio was a Walnut with walnut stump veneer Philadelphia Flat Top Highboy (left). His other project was this cherry Pennsylvania Secretary Reproduction (below).

While attending at Rio Grande, he came across an AWFS/Fresh Wood poster ad hanging on the college wall requesting woodworking project build photos. Adria Torrez, AWFS Education Manager recognized Chris’s talent and called him to enter the competition. Not really believing his work was the “right stuff”, Chris ended up winning 1st place in the Reproduction category which qualified him for (and won) the Best in Show award. According to Chris, “The honor I was most humbled by was the People’s Choice award.” He added, “Here’s a little guy like me from the University of Rio Grande winning the event while competing and being involved with fine talent from The College of the RedwoodsGeorgia Institute of Technology & DesignBrigham Young University and Savannah College of Art & Design, just to name a few”

Chris also built this Shaker Curly Cherry with African Blackwood Knobs Side Table.

Other works by Chris are this Walnut Spice Box (left) and Mahogany Sugar Chest which he built with leftover semester time after the Secretary project was completed.

With 4 years under his belt at Woodcraft, Chris stays busy in the shop as often as possible. In a very recent photo, Chris turns a back leg for a ladder back chair.

Chris stated, “Without the support of the University of Rio Grande’s Woodworking Program and the assistance of Adria Torrez, I would not have been able to participate in AWFS and the Fresh Wood competition.”

Chris was also interviewed with Adria by FOX5 Las Vegas during the AWFS Show,

Chris concluded, “I want to play a small role in letting every woodworker obtain their highest aspirations and capabilities by knowing about what the Fresh Wood Competition program and AWFS can do for them; in fact I’d like to see all the Woodcraft stores get involved.”

Well Chris, Woodcraft has taken that step by providing a sponsorship and donation program for any person who is willing to help these students aspire in becoming the next generation of fine woodworkers and artisans for the future.

How can you help?
Donate a $1.00 to fund and promote young, aspiring woodworkers. Woodcraft’s pledge to match every donation, up to $10,000, means every dollar you donate has the potential to double in value for the Fresh Wood program.

How does it work?
When you purchase an item on woodcraft.com, you will have an option to choose if you would like to support Fresh Wood with a donation amount and then select the applicable amount. In 2012, the first year of this program, Woodcraft has pledged to match up to $10,000 in customer donations to Fresh Wood.

Find out more info HERE:
So you can keep track of how we are doing, we’ll keep the total collected posted on woodcraft.com. To see the 2011 FW projects and winners for yourself, click here or you can see all the 2013 Fresh Wood Student Competition finalists at the 2013 AWFS® Fair. Projects will be prominently displayed at the show, and winners will be announced at an award ceremony on-site. Woodcraft will be on hand at the 2013 AWFS® Fair to present the check!

We’ll have more from the previous AWFS Show 2011, so stay linked to see some fine woodworking, you won’t believe the talent!

auf Wiedersehen…Frank!

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