LAS VEGAS – June 15, 2011 -- A panel of industry judges has selected 41 impressive, creative entries including unique tables and beds, reproduction rocking chairs and musical instruments from students enrolled in woodworking and design curriculums across North America to be on display in the 2011 Fresh Wood competition at AWFS Fair, Wednesday, July 20 – Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Las Vegas.

This year’s entries numbered 137. A judging panel of 10 industry professionals then scrutinized essays and photos for each project.

This year’s finalists come from 50 different schools in the United States and Canada. Fifteen schools entered pieces into the competition for the first time.

Eight of the schools, six high schools and two post-secondary, currently deliver the WoodLINKS USA program, a certificated woodworking program that partners schools with local industry. Of the entries received overall, 51 were from high schools while the remaining 86 –63 percent of total -- were from post-secondary schools.

Students could enter projects into six different categories: Case Goods, Chairs, Tables, Production/Contract Work, Reproduction and Open. Entries from the high school level and the post-secondary level are scored separately. For the 2011 competition, the most popular category for both groups was Tables, with more than 40 entries total, followed by Case Goods and Chairs, with more than 30 entries each.

Judges included representatives from the Furniture Society and the Sustainable Furnishings Council, internationally renowned furniture makers, the director of an architectural woodworking school, an office furniture company owner, a contract furniture manufacturer and the owner of a popular woodworking website, which lent a variety of perspectives to the judging process. 2011 judges:

• Margaret Casey, World Market Center, Las Vegas, NV

• Andy Glantz, Zenith Design, Scottsdale, AZ

• Alan Harp, Alan Harp Design, Atlanta, GA

• Garry Knox Bennett, Garry Knox Bennett Furniture, Oakland, CA

• Greg Larson, New England School of Architectural Woodworking, Easthampton, ME

• Merry Mabbett-Dean, Absolute Office of Oregon, Portland, OR

• Juan Morales, Villa Hallmark, Cerritos, CA

• Jason Phillips, Phillips Collection, High Point, NC

• Marc Spagnuolo, TheWoodWhisperer.com, Phoenix, AZ

• David Wade, Maloof Woodworking, Alta Loma, CA

Judges review entries based on the design innovation and quality of presentation, the use of materials, methods and processes, the functionality and achievement of design intent and craftsmanship and quality.

Final judging will occur at AWFS®Fair. All winners of the student competition will be announced on Friday, July 22, at the Fresh Wood Award Ceremony. This year, for the first time, the awards ceremony will be open to all registered attendees and exhibitors at no additional cost. The event will be held on the show floor at the Fresh Wood display booth in the North Hall Gallery at 4 p.m.

Companies exhibiting at the AWFS®Fair sponsor the competition’s special awards —the Best of Show and People’s Choice. The Best of Show Award, sponsored by exhibiting company Rikon Tools, will receive not only $1,000 cash and a tool prize but also a coveted wood sculpture designed by the renowned wood artist Sam Maloof. In addition, the winner’s school will receive the $1,500 Larry Hilchie School Grant Award for its woodworking program. Rikon Tools is also sponsoring a tool prize award for Fresh Wood teachers, the Bravo to Teachers Award.

The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by exhibitor Custom Made, will be selected by AWFS®Fair attendees and carries a $500 prize. In addition to Best of Show and People’s Choice, prizes will be awarded in each category and at each school level for First Place ($1,000) and Second Place ($500).

The Fresh Wood Student Competition has no fee to enter, and AWFS® covers costs to ship the entries to and from AWFS®Fair, as well as to bring the finalists and their teachers to Las Vegas. A goal of the contest is to encourage students to pursue further education and careers in woodworking and manufacturing as the industry faces shortages of skilled workers. The post secondary level includes entrants from four-year universities, trade colleges, and community colleges.

About AWFS:
The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers® (AWFS), founded in 1911, is a non-profit organization that wholly owns and produces the biennial AWFS®Fair. The largest trade association serving the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, AWFS has more than 400 members, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, software, tooling, lumber, components, wood products and supplies for the woodworking industry including cabinet, furniture, millwork and custom woodworking products.