The 2023 Fresh Wood competition received 142 entries from high school and post-secondary students throughout the United States and Canada. Forty projects from 20 different schools – 10 high schools and 10 post-secondary schools – have been selected for the final round of judging, which will take place at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, July 25-28.
The students and their instructors whose projects advanced to the final round are invited to attend the AWFS Fair in person, with most of the travel costs covered by AWFS.
In the preliminary round, students submit photos and answer questions about their piece for the judges to review. There are six different categories; Case Goods, Seating, Tables, Design for Production, Open, and the 2023 Special Theme: Small Projects. The judging panel scored the projects in areas such as design innovation on original pieces, quality of execution on reproduction pieces, craftsmanship, functionality, construction, and aesthetics. During the final round of judging at the AWFS Fair, Fresh Wood judges inspect and interact with the furniture to decide a winner in each category. Student information remains anonymous throughout the judging process.
Prizes are awarded in each category and at each school level for First Place ($1,000), Second Place ($500), and at the judges’ discretion, an Honorable Mention ($250). The grand prize at the Fresh Wood competition is the Best of Show Award, sponsored by KCD Software, which comes with an additional $1,000 and a trophy. The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Panto Router, is presented to a Fresh Wood finalist whose project is selected by AWFS Fair attendees via online voting and includes a cash prize of $750. The People’s Choice recipient’s school will also receive a Panto Router. Micro Jig will recognize teachers in Fresh Wood by donating a GRR-RIPPER 2GO 3D Push Block to each one.
The Fresh Wood student competition is free to enter. The objective of the contest is to encourage students to pursue further education and careers in woodworking and related fields as the industry faces shortages of skilled workers.