Deadline near for world’s greatest contest for veneer craftsmanship
May 27, 2020 | 1:27 pm CDT
Kirk Coryn of Kirk Kreations captured the grand prize in 2019 with an Art Nouveau-style bed that featured incredible detail in veneer marquetry and elegant design.

Time is running out to enter the world’s most prestigious competition for woodworking in veneer. The 2020 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge offers thousands of dollars in prize money in a wide range of categories to honor the best work in veneer in the world.

Grand Prize is $3,000 and other category winners earn $1,000 each. Categories include furniture, cabinets, architectural woodwork, marquetry, specialty products, and student work. There is also a special prize for first-time entrants.

Since the goal of the contest is to promote the use of veneer, there are also special prizes to honor suppliers who provide the winning materials. In addition to the Grand Prize award of $3,000, the distributor for the veneer used in that entry receives $2,000 and the distributor salesman receives $1,000 for supplying the veneer products or wood product application used.

It is easy to enter, but don’t delay because entries close June 12. The 2020 entry form is now available:

More than 120 entries showed spectacular veneer work in the 2019 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge.

Competition was particularly tight in the furniture category. Kirk Coryn of Kirk Kreations captured the grand prize winner with an Art Nouveau-style bed that featured incredible detail in veneer marquetry and elegant design.

Called “Life and Death in the Garden,” the bed featured a variety of veneers and techniques to depict flowers, a butterfly, and a spider (done in stone) with web.

“This project includes 12/4 solid African sapele for the framework and trims around the platform. The spider was cut from single chiqua jasper slab. The spider web was made from 22 gauge square sterling silver wire,” said Coryn. “The main background veneer used is by far my favorite, pomelle imbuya. The border is zebrawood with a 3/32 wide maple fillet. The center crest is amboyna burl. The butterfly is died black and orange veneer with white holly dots. The flowers were made using natural colored maple, holly, and sycamore veneers. The stems are sapele veneer. Leaves are two different colors of dyed green veneer.”

First place in furniture for 2019 went to Owain Harris of O.H. Harris Cabinetmaker for a table he calls “Powers of Nine.” The piece features a nine-way match in Macassar ebony veneer paired with camphor burl, arranged in a slip-matched pattern to evoke an undulating nebula or star cluster, said Harris. 

You can see last year’s other winners at

All awarded entries receive publicity in industry publications, among trade groups and on industry websites.

Besides cash prices, winners earn recognition throughout the industry as a true craftsperson for their use of natural veneer.

Go to for more information and to enter.


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user willsampson
About the author
William Sampson

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.