NEWPORT, NC: The pace is accelerating for the seventh annual Veneer Tech Craftsman’s ChallengeTM, as the judging panel is announced for this national design competition that highlights achievement in the use of natural wood veneer products.

The trio of industry experts serving as judges for 2011 are Robert Lang, author, professional woodworker and executive editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine; Bill Esler, member of the WoodLINKS USA board of directors and associate publisher for Vance Publishing/Wood Interiors Media Group; and Keith Yow, a member of the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) Carolinas Chapter and founder of the furniture and cabinetmaking program at Cedar Ridge High School, Hillsborough, NC.

The 2011 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge rewards excellence in the use of veneer and wood products through cash awards and other recognition for the entire supply chain including craftsmen, distributors and distributor sales representatives, and also for student designers. The competition is co-sponsored this year by CabinetMaker+FDM.
Past grand prizewinners include Wilkie Sanderson, Architectural Woodworking; Kent Townsend Fine Furniture; Paul Schurch, Schurch Woodworking; Gregg Novosad, Divine Design; and Scott Grove, Green Grove Design.
Robert Lang is the author of several books including Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture, named in 2005 by Fine Woodworking magazine as one of the “Books Every Woodworker Should Read.” His experience includes building custom furniture and cabinets as well as managing large architectural millwork projects. “I’m looking forward to returning to the panel,” said Lang. “We had a great time last year reviewing the entries.”

Bill Esler is responsible for editing Custom Woodworking Business and coordinating content for Wood & Wood Products, CLOSETS, and related online publications. He is particularly focused on helping WoodLINKS USA market the successes that schools and students are achieving with the help of the wood industry.

Keith Yow’s professional career began at North Carolina State University's School of Design. He has been involved with Orange County, NC, Schools since 1994 and is currently department chair for Cedar Ridge's Career Technical Education Program. Yow was named WoodLINKS USA teacher of the year in 2006. His students have successfully participated in many competitions including AWFS Student Design, IWF Design Emphasis, and SkillsUSA. His student Andrew Prioli won grand prize in the 2009 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge.

Craftsman's Challenge entries are accepted through June 1, 2011. Competition categories include Cabinetry, Architectural Woodworking, Furniture, Specialty Products, Store Fixtures, and Student Design. Entry materials are available online through and from Veneer Technologies sales representatives and distributors.
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 salesman will receive $1000. Winners of each of the six categories receive $1000. There is also an additional $1000 award to the grand prizewinner for early entry by March 31, 2011. Awards will be announced at AWFS® Las Vegas, July 20-23.

Veneer Technologies is located in Newport, NC, and specializes in natural face veneers, sheet veneer and edgebanding. The company also offers exotic hardwood lumber and reconstituted veneer products. Inquiries can be made by telephoning 800-593-5601.

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