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Intellect

Student-built chair wins top honors at national woodworking competition

Collin Barker, a Brigham Young University student from Kaysville, Utah, majoring in technology and engineering education at Brigham Young University, recently took first place for his “Comb Back Windsor Chair” at the Association of Woodworking Furnishings and Suppliers’ National Fresh Wood Competition.

Another BYU student, Jacob Maxfield, an industrial design major from Smithfield, Utah, won second place in the same category for his “Ulm Stool Redesign.”

The competition, created for students who are considering a career in woodworking, was part of the AWFS Fair, an international trade show featuring products and supplies for the woodworking industry. Barker and Maxfield’s projects were just two of 137 furniture entries from 50 different post-secondary and high schools in the United States and Canada.

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent BYU in the competition,” Barker said. “There were a lot of very impressive pieces there, and I feel honored to have won an award.”

The entries were judged based on the design innovation and quality of presentation, the use of materials, methods and processes, the functionality and achievement of design intent, and craftsmanship and quality.

Barker’s Windsor chair kept to the traditional antique appearance using a solid piece of dead-standing Engelmann spruce – logged by Barker himself and some friends – for the seat and the legs were turned green from local Norway maple. The comb and bow of chair are bent from red oak with local ash trees used for the spindles.

In keeping with the traditional theme, Barker decided to make the chair using traditional tools and techniques.  He finished the chair with multiple coats, including coats of green, red and black milk paints, boiling linseed oil and amber shellac applied in selected areas using a French polish technique.    

Barker will graduate December 2011 and plans on teaching woodworking and furniture design classes at the secondary or post-secondary school level.

“I have been fortunate to have two very good faculty mentors in Kip Christensen and Gordon Nichol," he said. 

Maxfield was an August graduate and plans on starting his own business, designing and putting out his own projects.

“BYU consistently puts graduates in a position like this to gain an award,” Maxfield said. “I was put in a good working position.”

The Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliersis the largest national trade association in the United States representing the interests of the broad array of companies that supply the home and commercial furnishings industry. The AWFSFair has become a hub for international commerce in the woodworking industry bringing together the entire home and commercial furnishings industry. For more information about the AWFS, visit www.awfs.org .

For more information about the winners, contact Kip Christensen at (801) 422-6310 or kip_christensen@byu.edu .

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