15 Projects Receive Honorable Mention Awards

Woodworker: J. Speetjens Inc., Greensboro, NC

Category: Residential Furniture

Project: Lingerie Chest

Materials Used: Madrone burl for drawer faces, cabinet side panels and cabinet top; oak burl for the diamond inlay on the drawer faces and cabinet sides; anigre for the border on the drawer faces; walnut lines separate the madrone and anigre on the drawer faces. The legs, rails and substrate for the top is cherry. Drawer sides and runners are hard maple. Substrate for the side panels, cabinet back, dust boards and drawer bottoms is 1/4-in. Finland birch plywood; 1/8-in. was used for the curved drawer fronts.

Construction Details: The substrate for the drawer faces was built up out of seven layers of 1/8-in. Finland birch and one ply of sliced maple on the interior surface. Resorcinol glue was used for minimal spring-back and to allow sufficient working time. The face veneers were made up two-ply and added to the substrate. Glue-up of the drawer faces was done over a male mold and pressed in a vacuum bag.

The case was made up from side frames and horizontal frames that incorporated parting rails, drawer runners and dust boards. All the frame construction and interconnection was mortise-and-tenon. The bottom rails were mortised with oblique shoulders and a mitered joint with the leg to prevent the grain from running out with a feather edge at the transition point.

The top is unique in that it does not overhang the case. The top of the case was first veneered to keep the pronounced end grain of the legs showing. The top panel was milled with an elongated ogee and the corners were inlaid with a 3/32-in. by 3/32-in. piece of walnut for durability.

The drawers were made out of select white hard maple. They were joined in the back with dovetails that were milled on a Leigh dovetail jig and at the front with snugly fitted tenons. The walnut cock beading capped off the curved plies for a finished look.

The chest was finished with a medium brown wood filler and Guardsman precatalyzed lacquer. All surfaces were painstakingly rubbed out by hand.

Shop equipment used for the project included: SCMI 410 jointer with a Tersa knife head; Powermatic 66 10-in. tablesaw with a Biesemeyer fence; Delta Unisaw with a Unifence and Robland slider table; Whirlwind 1000L cut-off saw; General 220 hollow chisel mortiser; Performax 37 x 2 drum sander; Crouch 501 edge sander; Leigh dovetail jig, and Quality Vakuum Products vacuum bag system. Hand-forged laminated blade chisels and a multitude of other invaluable hand tools were also used.

Design: The project specifications received from the interior designer included some general dimensions, the number of drawers desired by the client and a style direction as 'transitional.' Woodworker Jay Speetjens was free to propose any design elements that suited him.

Speetjens says, "As with most of my favorite designs, this one manifested itself in my head almost complete, a few days after being given the design parameters.

"A woman's lingerie chest should be refined, elegant and feminine. The veneer work with the diamond inlays and walnut and madrone borders exude refinement. The tall slender proportions and bow front give an air of elegance. The serpentine curves at the base and the top provide a feminine quality. The selection of the delicate graduated drop pulls pulled all these elements together.

"The overall design is original, but it echoes previous pieces in Sheraton and other styles. The most unique individual element is the way the top sits back from the front and side edges of the case frame. This element, with its elongated ogee, adds to the elegant proportions of the piece."

Woodworker: The Woodhound, Enoch, VT

Category: Residential Furniture

Project: Inlaid Octagon Table

Materials Used: Wood species included pau ferro, teak, zebra wood, white oak, hard maple, narra, English walnut and fiddleback maple.

Construction Details: The star pattern was made from 3/4-in. materials table sawn into strips and glued together. The strips were cut on a 45° angle and glued together, offsetting one species. The construction is similar to how a checkerboard is made, only cut at an angle and using multiple species. The burl walnut and narra strip pieces were added. The assembly was cut on a bandsaw to form eight thick pieces of veneer identically bookmatched. The veneers were glued to an MDF substrate. The octagon edge was also prepared by wrapping and jointing MDF pieces, with the small diamonds CNC-milled into the side. A router jig was set up to cut the inner and outer circles to a matching rabbet joint. The diamonds on the legs were also done with a CNC router.

Design: Craftsman Earl Sevy says this table "has personality," adding that all proportionate relationships follow the Greek "golden mean" discovered by Aristotle.

The taper of the pedestal, the top and the arrows on the legs all pull together to form a common center, or fictitious focal point. The straight diamonds on the legs correlate with the straight lines of the top. The drastic curved lines of the leg begin to diverge as it progresses up the pedestal. The curvature of the diamonds around the top edge correlates with the curvature of the legs.

The table top follows the same principals, Sevy says. The combination of circles, triangles, octagons and geometric shapes are all linked together by the curvature in the walnut grain.

Woodworker: Bob Crutcher Custom Signature Furniture, Mountain Center, CA

Category: Residential Furniture

Project: Curved Bookcase

Materials Used: Solid birch hardwood with flame birch veneers on the doors, inlaid with ebony and rosewood. The bonnet is bending plywood with 7/16-in. laminated birch overlaid to give depth to the carvings.

Construction Details: All carving was done by hand. The unit was curved to fit a specific wall, which wasn't a true curve. This required all the doors to be bent on separate forms using a vacuum press. The doors were bookmatched using highly figured birch. The ebony string was handmade and inlaid in a design. The center of each door has a diamond-shaped piece of rosewood inlaid in the center of each sheet. The sheets were placed carefully on forms and put into the press, which was tedious and difficult, especially making sure that the veneer didn't move.

The columns were turned and fluted. The pediment was built up in layers 1/8-in. thick of bending plywood to achieve the curve. To be able to carve the face and obtain depth, the final layout had to be out of 7/16 solid stock edge-glued to get the required 24-in. width. After it was glued up, the face was cut to shape and the piece was carved.

"Then it was time to turn this face piece into a 14-in.-deep pediment following the exact shape," says owner Bob Crutcher. "This proved to be very challenging, since it curved on two different planes at the same time. The trim piece making the transition from the top of the cabinet to the pediment was bent and glued up in 6 strips of 3/8-in. by 2-1/2-in. pieces to be hand carved. The columns were hand carved, as were the carvings above and below the fluting on the bottom."

The piece was built in three sections: the bottom piece is 32 in. high by 132 in. long and 24 in. deep; the middle section is about 82 in. by 128 in. and 16 in. deep; and the pediment is about 38 in. by 104 in. and 14 in. deep.

Woodworker: Politis Construction and Cabinet Shop, Charlotte, NC

Category: Commercial/Institutional Furniture

Project: Custom Bar for Cities Grill in Winston-Salem, NC

Materials Used: Mahogany plywood and lumber, spruce for the base and interior framework, and Honduras mahogany and bending luaun for the architectural millwork. The top is granite with a mahogany bar rail.

Construction Details: The unit consists of a lower bar and upper showcase. The bar is 24-ft by 12-ft by 3-1/2-ft. Material for the outside frame was made by initially "resawing" 1-in.-thick mahogany stock to 316 in. This material was sanded to 1/8 in. using a widebelt sander. Laminated sections were created by gluing the 1/8-in. sections together fitted into a circular jig. The jig was fabricated to adhere to a 5-in. radius curvature.

Using the same laminated material created for the outer frame, mouldings for the top and bottom of the bar were fabricated. The laminated sections were ripped and fed into a Williams and Hussey moulder. The challenge was to modify the moulder in the shop to accommodate the customized mouldings. A fork truck was used to temporarily suspend the machine to allow for enough clearance so that the moulding length and radius could be fabricated in one piece.

The curved doors on the inside of the suspended showcase cabinet were constructed in the same fashion as the outside frame of the bar to allow for proper alignment and fitting. Mortise-and-tenon joints were used for the doors. Some 38-in. birch dowels were painted black and used for aesthetics. A 34-in.-diameter conduit also was painted black and used as a sleeve to conceal the threaded rod that supports the suspended showcase.

Tambour constructed of 1/2-in. round poplar was cut down to 2-in.-wide sections to highlight the top and bottom perimeter of the bar. The tambour was run between two customized 1/2-in. by 2-in. mahogany mouldings, which allowed for concealment of the tambour edging.

Design: "The most unusual characteristic of this piece was the symmetry of the bottom bar and top showcase sections. The curvature had to be identical, and based on the large size of the units, this proved to be quite challenging," says owner Jimmy Politis. "Furthermore, the project was developed with no formal working plans or drawings, so customized jigs had to be created to accommodate it during fabrication."

Woodworker: Hatlestad's Studio, Grayslake, IL

Category: Commercial/Institutional Furniture

Project: Front and Back Bar for New York City Ad Agency

Materials Used: The body of the back bar is mostly mahogany. The inside of the cabinets is maple. Door faces are quarter-sawn mahogany laid out in a kimono pattern. Door pulls are flush diamond-shaped padauk. The countertop is Surell solid surface material. Above it are figured anigre panels bordered with padauk. The ironwork is hammered steel from England. By touching either iron scroll piece, the top illuminates with recessed halogen puck lights. The two posts that hold up the monitor enclosure are mahogany and padauk. The monitor enclosure is solid mahogany and mahogany plywood.

The front bar also is mostly mahogany with maple cabinet interiors. The center front panel is quarter-sawn mahogany; side panels are figured anigre and padauk. The bar top and lower work surface on the back are brushed stainless steel.

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