CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Four new judges have been added to the panel that will decide the 2017 Best in Wood Awards, sponsored by Woodworking Network. The contest, which is now accepting entries, honors custom woodworkers for their outstanding craftsmanship. New judges include Will Sampson, editor in chief, FDMC magazine; Scott Grove, renowned woodworking artist; Brian Ellison, BKE Design; and Scott Wunder, WunderWoods. Also, returning as a judge is Doug Rappe, Greater West Town Training Partnership.

The contest is given annually to celebrate custom woodworkers for their outstanding craftsmanship. Awards will be given in the following six categories: Custom furniture, Residential built-ins, Architectural millwork projects, Commercial cabinetry/furniture, Custom kitchen/bath cabinetry, and Specialty items.
Award winners will be celebrated at an awards reception during the 2017 Wood Pro Expo, which takes place October 19-20, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
Winners also will have the chance to participate in a photo op and will be featured in FDMC magazine and on Woodworking Network’s social media platforms. And for the first-time ever Woodworking Network is offering a $500 cash prize for the Overall Winner of the 2017 Best In Wood Awards design contest. The Overall Winner is determined by the project receiving the highest score from the Best In Wood judges panel, which will consist of industry professionals.
Enter your best project now at www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3634126/Woodworking-Network-s-Best-in-Wood-2017. Entry fee is $30.
William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years’ experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC. 
Best in Wood judges (from left): Scott Wunder, Doug Rappe, Brian Ellison, Scott Grove, Will Sampson  

As a 3rd generation artist, Scott Grove designs and makes award-winning contemporary art furniture with a harmonious blend of uniquely carved woods with radiant figured grains and multi-media sculpture. For over thirty years he has developed unconventional methods in his approach to his art; his rich signature finishes and carved textures create a desire to touch each piece for a sensuous, pleasurable experience. Sophisticated and elegant with a touch of whimsy, his work raises a sense of wonder and delight. 

Grove has won numerous awards including four Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge Awards, as well as the Grand Prize, an unprecedented achievement. He has been featured on Popular Woodworking’s Woodworking in Action series and HGTV’s The Furniture Show. He also won a prestigious Napkin Sketch Award from the American Institute of Architects sponsored by Architectural Record Magazine, and a DuPont Award for Innovative Use of Material, and many more.
From felling the trees through installation of the final piece Scott Wunder, owner of WunderWoods in St. Charles, MO, shares his woodworking knowledge at Woodworking Network, with anyone that will talk to him about wood. Whether you want to learn about milling lumber or need help on a project, get your fill of woodworking infotainment at WunderWoods.com. Wunder writes about all aspects of woodworking and specializes in finishing (mostly because no one else likes to sand).
Brian Ellison, BKE Designs, provides custom design of commercial and residential furniture, lighting and spaces. Academically trained as an architect, Ellison's first loves were woodworking and furniture building. In fact, it was his passion for building furniture that compelled him to leave a successful, nearly 20-year career in real estate development. After leaving his job, Ellison moved to Amsterdam for 2 years, began designing and building furniture, and has been doing it full time ever since.
He garnered fame last as a contestant, appearing on 8 of the 10 episodes, on Spike TV’s reality furniture competition “Framework” in 2015 and he has hosted Closet & Organized Storage magazine's Top Shelf Awards design contest for two years.
With his work in the homes of art collectors, restaurants, and even the Mayor's office in Chicago, Ellison's company, BKE Designs, has been operating since 2006. 
Doug Rappe is program coordinator and lead instructor for Chicago’s Greater West Town Training Partnership, an adult vocational training program focused on preparing disadvantaged inner city Chicago area men and women for jobs in the local woodworking industry.

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