Woodcraft, DeWALT, Royal Plywood, Blum, Inc. and other generous companies showed their support for students in woodworking by contributing over $7,000 in tools, material, supplies and gifts to the 2014 SkillsUSA California Region 3 (Los Angeles) and California State woodworking contests, held February 1 and April 26, respectively.

SkillsUSA is one of the largest national career & technical student organizations in the nation. It promotes job readiness with skills and leadership training and supports students entering skilled trades.

SkillsUSA students compete in skill contests for their field of study to display their proficiency and earn recognition and prizes. Competition begins at the regional level and then advances to state, national and ultimately international championships.

Eleven high school Cabinetmaking contestants from Los Angeles and Orange counties spent a Saturday in February at Los Angeles Trade and Technical College building cabinet components during the Regional contest, while nine Introductory Woodworking students built magazine holders. Royal Plywood donated all of the material, Blum, Inc. donated pencils, tape measures and calipers and Laguna Tools donated t-shirts.

In April, a total of twenty-two Cabinetmaking students from eleven different schools advanced from Regional events across the state to compete at the State Championships in San Diego. Competitors were challenged to build a two-foot tall cabinet utilizing red oak from Royal Plywood, Blum inset hinges for the frameless door and TANDEM drawer glides for the drawer. A Blum hinge press; biscuit joiners donated by DeWALT and Woodcraft; biscuits donated by Colonial Saw; and Kreg pocket hole jigs were also employed. In a new twist, Decore-ative Specialties and local cabinetmaking Paul Fiala jointly donated sample doors and drawer fronts to the students, which gave the students a time advantage and resulted in a more finished-looking product. Students also had to apply edge banding, donated by ESI, and install all hardware; they had eight hours to finish the project.

The TANDEM drawer glides were a new component for the state Cabinetmaking contest. “Each year we want to incorporate more elements of standard industry practice, so that the students are introduced to these skills and realize how advanced and dynamic the industry is.” Explains Cabinetmaking Contest co-coordinator and AWFS Assistant Education Director Adria Torrez. “We are thankful to Blum for donating TANDEMs to the contest and to local Blum Rep Gary Riley for sharing his time demo-ing the hardware installation and loaning his hinge press for the event.”

Meanwhile, nineteen statewide Introductory Woodworking contestants built tote trays using pine from Royal Plywood and jigsaws donated by DeWALT and Woodcraft and utilizing a curved template and dowel fasteners.

An experienced group of volunteers served as judges for both contests using criteria such as accuracy of measurements and use of tools and machinery. Saúl Martín of Architectural Woodworking Company (Los Angeles) developed the Cabinetmaking project plans and served as the contest coordinator, while individuals from Palomar College (San Diego) Cabinet and Furniture Technology program and the San Diego Fine Woodworkers’ Association participated as judges. MFA students from the San Diego State University Furniture Design Program ran the Introductory Woodworking Contest.

The students were allowed to take their projects home and all state competitors received a Blum “goodie bag” with a Blum Pozi screwdriver, a tape measure, a current copy of Woodworker West magazine and other useful items.

Izayah Garcia of Salinas High School (Salinas, CA) won Gold in the Cabinetmaking Contest and is now preparing for the high-energy National Leadership & Skills Championships in Kansas City next month, where he will compete against top-scoring students from all other states. The Introductory Woodworking is a state-only contest intended to introduce first year students to basic woodworking skills and the SkillsUSA competitive environment.

AWFS recognizes the 2014 participating SkillsUSA California Cabinetmaking sponsors:

• Blum, Inc.

• Colonial Saw

• Decore-ative Specialties

• DeWALT

• ESI (Edgebanding Services, Inc.)

• Laguna Tools

• Royal Plywood

• Woodcraft

• Woodworker West Magazine

To learn more about AWFS’ involvement in the SkillsUSA California 2014 woodworking contests and see pictures, click here. For more information, contact Adria Torrez, AWFS Assistant Education Director at adria@awfs.org or (323) 215-0311(323) 215-0311 .

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.

Source: AWFS

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