Veneer Tech names Craftsman's Challenge winners

Georgia Girl, an 81-foot sportfishing yacht built by Paul Mann Custom Boats, Manns Harbor, NC, won the grand prize in the 2011 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge for this cabinetry entry. The cabins throughout this sportfisher feature hand selected plain-sliced cherry sheet veneer accented with figured cherry.


- Paul Mann Custom Boats’ entry of an 81-foot sportfishing yacht, Georgia Girl, won the Cabinetry category and grand prize in the seventh annual Veneer Tech Craftman’s ChallengeTM. The Manns Harbor, NC, boat builder receives a total of $4000 in prize winnings. Hand selected plain-sliced cherry sheet veneer accented with figured cherry were used for the custom countertops and cabinetry throughout Georgia Girl, an “elegant yet lightweight solution in a marine project where weight is a significant consideration,” commented Bill Esler, board member of WoodLINKS USA and associate publisher for Vance Publishing/Woodworking Network, one of three judges for the 2011 competition.

Atlantic Veneer Mill Outlet was the supplier of veneer for the project. Sales representative Jack King receives $1000 in recognition of his participation in the supply chain.

“Overall the quality of the work was remarkable,” said Keith Yow, also a judge for this year’s competition that rewards excellence in woodwork featuring natural veneer and wood product applications. “The scope of the projects was tremendous, particularly in the Specialty Items category. The marquetry in many pieces displays incredible artistic visions and abilities; it made judging difficult. The craftsmanship was exceptional, especially in the case of fitting cabinets with so many radiuses into the cabin of a yacht.” Yow is department chair of the furniture and cabinetmaking program at Cedar Ridge High School, Hillsborough, NC.

The other category winners in this year’s competition, each receiving $1000, were: Architectural Woodworking, Fetzer Architectural Woodwork, Salt Lake City, UT, for “Montage Hotel and Resort;” Furniture, Craig Thibodeau, CT Fine Furniture, San Diego, CA, for “Dogwood Cabinet;” Specialty Items, two winners, Rob Milam of VeneerImages, Atlanta, GA, for “Self Portrait 3,” and Paul Schürch, Schürch Woodwork, Santa Barbara, CA, for “Bustier de Bois–The Sassy Zebra”; and in Student Design, Christian Seifert, College of the Redwoods, for “Danish Sideboard.”

Eight entries earned honorable mention: Abdolhay Parnian, Parnian Furniture, Scottsdale, AZ, for “Custom Kitchen,” cabinetry; Chris Boulé, Boulé LLC, Haddam Neck, CT, for “Boulé Boy,” furniture; Doug Forsha, De La Madera LLC, Scottsdale, AZ, for “Curved Mappa Burl Armoire,” furniture; Gregg Novosad, Click Devine, Palatine, IL, for “Reception Table with Faux Magazine,” furniture; Dennis Zongker, Zongkers Custom Woods, Omaha, NE, for “Music Box 72 Note Movement,” specialty item; Dušan Rakic, Prometheus065, Temerin, Serbia, for three marquetry interpretations of old masters and a photographer, “St. Jerome on His Knees Before a Crucifix–Bernini,” “Calvary Skirmish–Vasari,” and “She–Demiralay,” specialty item; Stanislav Karmalyuk, Dale Jackson Career Center for “The Wave,” student design; and Weston Gallo, Dale Jackson Career Center for “Sinusoid,” student design.

All entries can be viewed on the Veneer Technology Incorporated's website at There also is an archive of 2005-2010 entries.

Impartial third-party experts from the fields of woodworking media, education and architectural woodworking judge the Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge. Along with Esler and Yow, the 2011 panel included Robert Lang, executive editor, Popular Woodworking.

“In this contest, entrants could submit several photos, and the pieces that won (or were in the running) showed the completed pieces from a couple of different angles and included close-ups of relevant details. As we moved closer to determining a winner, this became more of a factor,” wrote Lang in his blog entry “Inside the Judges’ Chambers.” Lang encourages entrants to take as much care in photographing their work as is put into the creation of their projects.

John Varner, Veneer Tech vice president, reiterates that a key purpose of the Craftsman’s Challenge is to recognize all the people in the veneer distribution chain as well as the designer. “This is an excellent way to promote industry creativity and strengthen supply relationships.”

The Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge entries for 2012 will be accepted beginning September 30, 2011. The results of the 2012 competition will be announced at IWF in Atlanta.

Veneer Technologies Incorporated, located in Newport, NC, is one of the industry’s largest manufacturers of high quality face veneer, sheet veneer and wood edgebanding products. Veneer Tech sources wood species worldwide.

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