AWFS: Student entry in Fresh Wood CompetitionLAS VEGAS

- Ben Scarborough, the first graduate of the Product Design & Development program at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center has been accepted to the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) 2011 Fresh Wood Student Competition. Scarborough recently received notification that his entry, a solid wood snare drum was juried into the prestigious competition. He and Product Design & Development instructor Clint Johnson will travel to Las Vegas July 19-23 to compete against the best woodworking students in the United States.

“I am extremely proud of Ben for all of the work he has put into his educational experience in the Product Design & Development Program. He is exactly the type of student that I expect to see emerging from this new program,” Johnson said.

Scarborough’s contest entry is a wormy maple brick-stacked configuration snare drum. His love of music served as inspiration for this unique product. “My first love, even before wood, is music. I’ve played the guitar for 23 years and the drums for 12 years. I love to make useful things, and making something where value is added by the material, the wood itself was great,” Scarborough said.

The uniquely designed snare drum is entered in the production category because of the advanced manufacturing techniques used to produce it. Scarborough spent months planning his design in the TopSolid Computer Aided Design (CAD) software before ever touching a piece of wood. He then used a 3-axis Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router to produce the wooden portions of the drum. “Drums are the most primitive instrument and I was able to apply the most technologically advanced tools to it. It shows you can apply advanced manufacturing techniques to whatever ends you want. Its an exciting time to be in woodworking and product design,” Scarborough stated.

The AWFS 2011 Fresh Wood Student Competition is the largest of its kind, and highlights outstanding construction and design achievements by students. Students must complete a rigorous application process and be selected by a jury to earn a place at the annual competition. “I’m shocked to be accepted. I didn’t expect it at all. I wasn’t even going to enter, but Clint goaded until I did because he saw the potential. The level of interest and engagement he gives his students is amazing,” Scarborough said.

Scarborough’s acceptance to the AWFS 2011 competition marks the third consecutive year that a student in the Product Design & Development or the WoodLINKS dual enrollment program at the SVHEC has been accepted to a national woodworking competition. “The national competitions give our students exposure to the woodworking industry, and gives the nation exposure to our program and what we’re doing in South Boston,” Johnson said. “The caliber of work coming from our students is impressive, and because of it we’re able to continuously compete with the best of the best in the nation,” he continued.

Product Design & Development at the SVHEC is offered in partnership with Danville Community College. Ben Scarborough, the first graduate of the Product Design & Development program at the SVHEC, received his Associate of Applied Science from DCC in May. He has since acquired a technician position with the SVHEC’s R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency. For more information about the Product Design & Development program visit, email, or call 434-572-5440 and toll free 1-800-283-0098.

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