NEWPORT, N.C. -- The 14th Annual Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge is now accepting entries, and Veneer Technologies has announced the 2018 panel that will decide this international design competition highlighting achievement in the use of natural wood veneer products.

The judges are Michaelle Bradford, editor with Woodworking Network; Scott Grove, artist, designer, woodwork instructor, and author of Advanced Veneering and Alternative Techniques; and Thomas Brooks, global commodity manager at Masonite International.

“Our competition is respected by industry associates because it is open to entries regardless of what company has supplied the material utilized, and we reward not only designers/craftspersons but distributors and sales representatives, too,” said Veneer Tech’s Alan Hubbard, face veneer sales manager. “Participants receive a lot of publicity, and past winners will tell you the exposure they’ve gained is valuable for their shops and studios.”

Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge entries are accepted through June 1, 2018. Competition categories include Architectural Woodworking, Cabinetry, Furniture, Marquetry, Specialty Products, and Student Design. Entry is available online through There is no entry fee. Material does not need to have been sourced through Veneer Tech to be eligible.

A cash award of $3000 will be made to the creator of the grand prize-winning entry. The distributor of the veneer for the grand prize-winning entry will receive $2000, and the corresponding distributor salesperson will receive $1000. Category winning entries receive $1000 each. There is also an additional $1000 award to the grand prize winner for early entry by March 31, 2018. Awards will be announced at IWF Atlanta on August 23, 2018.

Michaelle Bradford

Michaelle Bradford has more than 16 years of experience covering the woodworking and design industry, including visits to custom cabinet shops, closet firms and design studios throughout North America. As editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine under the Woodworking Network brand, Bradford’s responsibilities include writing, editing, and coordinating editorial content as well as managing annual design competitions including the Top Shelf Design and Best in Wood awards. She is also a contributor to FDMC, the co-sponsor of the Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge, and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media.

Scott Grove

As a third-generation artist, Scott Grove designs and creates furniture, sculpture, and architectural reproductions. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York, and a variety of major private and corporate collections. He is an active member in The Furniture Society, and has authored several books including Advanced Veneering and Alternative Techniques. Grove writes for and his work has been featured in Fine Woodworking, Woodshop News, FDMC, American Woodturner, Architectural Record, and Interior Design, among others. He is a featured instructor at Marc Adams School of Woodworking, and the Chippendale International School of Furniture in Scotland.

Thomas Brooks

Thomas Brooks has been a global commodity manager at Masonite International for three years, specializing in particleboard, MDF, door skins, and veneer. Prior to Masonite, he spent 12 years in global sourcing for a Fortune 50 home improvement company working with multiple product categories. His primary focus has been product development and sourcing, vendor negotiations, and building relationships with suppliers throughout North America, Asia, and Southeast Asia. Brooks holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  

Hubbard acknowledged that the winners roster over the years includes prominent companies and well-known designers, some of whom are multiple award recipients. “But it is not the size of the project, or the amount of material used, or how well-known the entrant,” he said. “Judges really do base decisions on the merit of the work, and how well-stated goals have been achieved. To encourage participation this year, anyone who has not previously entered our competition will be eligible for a special judges’ New Entrant award of $1000. This may be in addition to any category award a new entrant may receive.”

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