Here in Minnesota, there’s an annual exhibit of great woodworking, held in the open spaces of a local mall. The Minnesota Woodworkers’ Guild’s annual Northern Woods Exhibition offers a chance for woodworkers to show off their great creations, and the presentation of a variety of awards. For instance, Dan Berks’ Demilune Hall Table, pictured above, won this year’s Best First Time in Show award. Made of solid cherry and poplar, it has a floating tabletop and two legs — the base is secured to the wall.
Another relative newcomer, this time to woodworking as a whole, is high schooler Trina Hendrickson, whose Craftsmen Influence End Table won in the Youth Award category. Inspired by her grandfather’s cabin in, appropriately, the north woods of Minnesota, Trina’s table makes use of walnut dowels, Western red alder, black walnut, rock maple, Douglas fir, plywood and Masonite. It marks her first try at inlays, pegging dowels, and using no metal fasteners.
Guild member Mark Laub’s “Queen of the Slipstream” took home the Most Technically Accomplished award. Drawing on inspiration ranging from a hotel’s revolving door, to a scarab beetle, to the location for building some of the piece — Van Morrison’s California home recording studio — the walk-about cabinet has no straight lines, and neither front nor back. Made of Bastogne walnut, soft maple, patinated copper, Morrocan tile, mother of pearl, abalone, art glass and brass, the Queen has drawers within drawers, carousels within carousels, and a screw-driven lift for the top.
Craig Johnson’s “Jeffersonian Book Stand” was the winning piece in the Best Traditional Piece category. It’s a modern take on Thomas Jefferson’s 1810 revolving book stand design and also uses wood with a history: the yellow birch is recovered submerged lumber, retrieved from the logging days of 150 years ago. He used both the sapwood and the heartwood of the birch, as well as bird’s-eye maple, plus brass fasteners.
John Walkowiak’s winning piece in the “Best Detail” category is called A Cradle for Ella because it was a cradle for his granddaughter, named Ella. It’s a scale model of a yacht lifeboat, which he plans to repurpose with shelves and a platform to store books, stuffed animals, etc. The cradle includes hand hammered copper rivets and is made from ash, walnut and cherry.
Winner of the Peer Award, voted on by other Guild members and sponsored by Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, was Tim Gorman for his Columnar Cabinet piece — which is a repurposing of an earlier, failed attempt at a bubinga-veneered tabletop. Tim designed the piece using 3D modeling software, to proportions that will allow it to hold a 32″ television. In addition to the bubinga, the piece incorporates birch plywood, maple, ebony, holly, brass, nickel, aluminum and glass.
And, for the Woodworking for Pleasure category, Karl Heal took home the award with a Greene and Greene Style Morris Chair that combines elements of Greene and Greene and Stickley designs, has a footstool that slides under the chair for storage, and doesn’t take up a lot of space in Karl’s living room. It’s made from white oak and ebony.