Judges named for 2022 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge
March 18, 2022 | 4:42 pm CDT
Marc Adams

Marc Adams returns as one of three judges for the prestigious 2022 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge.

A panel of three distinguished judges has been named for the 2022 Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge, which is currently accepting entries. Judges for this year’s competition will include Marc Adams, Joe Knobbe, and William Sampson.

Marc Adams founded the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and has been woodworking professionally for more than 40 years. In 1991, he became a technical consultant to the WWPA, SFPA, AHEC, and the U.S. government, representing the United States on International Quality of Furniture Making. His work has appeared in many books and national magazines, including on the cover of Fine Woodworking. His Technical Techniques video series was awarded four Telly awards. He was previously a judge for the 2008 and 2016 Veneer Tech Craftsman Challenge Awards. In 1998, he was chosen as one of Indiana’s Top 40 Under 40 in the local business community and in May of 2017, Adams received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Indianapolis. The Governor of Indiana awarded Adams with a Sagamore of the Wabash, which is Indiana’s highest civilian honor.

Joe Knobbe
Joe Knobbe


Joe Knobbe began his woodworking career in the late 70s apprenticing under a master cabinet maker. After becoming a journeyman, he grew through the ranks to become senior project manager for Exclusive Woodworking, a distinguished architectural millwork firm in the Chicago area. In 2008 Joe was elected to the Cabinet Makers Association Board of Directors, and he was president of the CMA from 2010 to 2012. In early 2019, he transitioned into a new role as Technical Representative for Cabinotch. In 2021 he became Senior Project Manager for Bovelli Custom Millwork. Joe regularly speaks at national and regional conferences on a wide variety of industry related topics.

Will Sampson mug
Will Sampson


William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and previously served as a judge for the Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge in four separate years. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of FDMC magazine and Woodworking Network he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular “In the Shop” tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC and his Woodworking Network podcast is available in popular podcast channels.

Originally created by Veneer Technologies and still sponsored by that company, the Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge is currently owned and conducted by CCI Media LLC, which also owns Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine.

The Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge is considered by many the most prestigious woodworking competition in the world with generous cash prizes. Grand Prize of $3,000 is available to the designer, craftsman, or manufacturer who enters the best work of submitted in the view of the panel of expert judges. But not only does the maker win, the Grand Prize awards also include $2,000 for the supplier of veneer for the winning piece and $1,000 to the salesman who sold the veneer.

New Hampshire Secretary by David Lamb with doors open
With doors open the inside of the 2021 Grand Prize winning New Hampshire Secretary is revealed. The piece was made primarily with birch crotch veneer laid out in a fractal design that mimics frost or ice on glass.


In addition, there are separate category prizes of $1,000 each for Architectural, Cabinetry, Furniture, Marquetry, Specialty Products, and Student Work.

It’s easy to enter online and post your entry, including photos. The entry deadline is July 1 for this year’s contest. Winners will be announced at a special event at IWF in Atlanta.

Bedroom wall marquetry detail
A detail shows one of the birds that Greg Zall depicted in marquetry to win the Architectural Woodworking category in 2021.


In the past, judges have repeatedly mentioned how important quality photographs were to their decision, so entrants might want to check out some photographic advice from Scott Grove, who is a past winner of the contest and has served multiple times as a judge.

David W. Lamb, a cabinetmaker in Canterbury, New Hampshire captured the Grand Prize in the Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge for 2021 with a contemporary styled furniture piece called “New Hampshire Secretary.”
You can also see pictures and read about the 2020 winners.

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