Store Locations (Mon - Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Outside Arizona: 800-423-2450    |   Phoenix: 602-504-1931    |   Tempe: 480-355-5090   |   Tucson: 520-745-8301
email newsletter

Posts Tagged ‘furniture’

10 Incredible Custom Wood Sitting Stools from Our Woodworking Contest

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

For five months, nearly 100 woodworkers have been working on custom hand-made wood stools to submit to our woodworking contest. It came due on November 8, and in the end 38 pulled through.

On Friday November 14, we held reception and awards ceremony at Practical Art in downtown Phoenix. The folks who came got to see the projects up close and personal, talk with the makers, sample the seats, and enjoy the experience. It’s not too often that furniture made out of wood gets treated like an art form that can draw the attention of the public. But we try.

Those who came got to cast their votes for the pieces they admired the most. Below are the winners. We boxed this event up as a contest, but if you’ve seen a room full of custom wood furniture before, you’ll know that it’s nearly impossible to compare one piece to another. How to you grade a sculpted bar stool with arms and a back and put it on the same scale as a short three-leg milking stool? It’s not easy, and that’s why we put the power in the public. A bigger pool of opinions helped us whittle it all down to these top ten projects. But everyone who participated should be proud because they built beautiful furniture with their bare hands.

Congratulations to these winners, and thanks to our fine sponsors who provided prizes


First Place: Contemporary Counter Stool
by Bill Barrand

Woods used: Quartered Amara Ebony, Quilted Sapele, Mahogany

Bill’s project appears to blossom like a flower, the bent ebony and sapele support legs rising from petal-like mahogany feet. His striking choice of woods, unusual design, and flawless clear finish rose to the top of the list by earning the most votes in this contest.

Prize: JET Benchtop Spindle Sander, Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

More images, click to enlarge:



Second Place: Puzzle Seat Bar Stool
by John Porter

Woods used: Walnut, Quilted Maple, Ebony

John’s stool uses a turned segmented ring for the foot rest and for the seat base. The seat is attached to barstool swivel hardware, and the seat itself is hard to miss. He scrolled a puzzle from a piece of highly figured quilted maple, glued it back together, and put a bead of ebony around it.

Prize: Fein MultiMaster, Imperial Blades 3pc Set, Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

More images, click to enlarge:



Third Place: Swivel Musician’s Stool
by Barry Richardson

Woods used: Cherry, Walnut

Look close. The the four forked legs come together perfectly at the segmented base that hides a seat swivel inside — and there’s no small amount of hours put into the shaping and sculpting of these perfect cherry legs with chocolate-dipped feet. The seat diameter is over 18″, and was gently scooped and turned on the lathe. Check out the foot rest, it’s another segmented turning with butterfly keys at four major joints.

Prize: Bora Track Clamp, Tenryu Gold Medal Table Saw Blade

More images, click to enlarge:


Fourth Place: Sculpted Walnut Barstool
by Eric Larsen

Woods used: Walnut

Making a few nods to the styles of chair makers Sam Maloof and Scott Morrison, Eric pulled no punches when he sculpted this barstool. All the joints blend and curve into the surrounding wood giving the illusion that this stool was whittled out of a single chunk of a walnut tree – but not so. Ebony plugs accent the strength of the joinery and endear the hidden screws. Untold hours and days of grinding, scraping and sanding went into this piece. In the end, the entire piece, complete with arm rests, invite the dusty craftsman to sit down and drink a well-deserved cold one.

Prize: Kreg Jig K5 with Screw Kit

More images, click to enlarge:


Fifth Place: Tractor Seat Short Stool
by Brett Eichmann

Materials used: Walnut, steel

The chunk of walnut Brett used in his seat came from, in his words, “A Craigslist find on my road trip across Nebraska. This guy had a couple of walnut logs his wife wanted gone. I offered him twenty bucks. He wanted more than that. He looked at his wife, he looked at the twenty bucks, and, well, the wood is mine!” Brett dimpled the seat to give it a tooled leather look, each dimple painstakingly placed with a rotary carver. One at a time.

Prize: Kreg Set UP Bars

More images, click to enlarge:

Sixth Place: Toadstool
by Paul Porter

Woods used: Ash

Surely this one earns the humor award, too: a toadstool shaped sitting stool? This stool is about 15″ tall, and turned from a solid chunk of ash – yes, it’s heavy. Paul bleached the entire piece, then dyed the top with fabric dye, then limed the open ash grain with white wax for a rather cunning representation of a toadstool. Paul snaked this wood from an ash tree that came down in a neighborhood near 7th Ave and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix.

Prize: Whiteside 3-pc Router Bit Set for undersized plywood

More images, click to enlarge:

Seventh Place: Wine Barrel Bar Stool
by Michael McKovich

Woods used: Wine barrel staves, quarter sawn white oak

Mike salvaged some oak barrel staves and added a bit of his own quarter sawn oak to complete this bar stool that will no doubt find a home in a wine-lover’s hangout. Lag bolts secure the joints and a steel band for a foot rest ensure this stool will get through the test of time.

Prize: Taunton Press Book: Furniture and Cabinet Construction

More images, click to enlarge:

Eighth Place: Milking Stool
by Ryan Nelson

Woods used: Walnut, olive

The photos might deceive your eyes, but this stool just a about 14″ tall. In size and style it draws on the type of stool you might use when you’re milking a cow. Classic through-tenons join the legs to the seat, and a series of lap joints connect the lower rails. Ryan found a piece of locally cut olive to use as the center of the seat.

Prize: Taunton Press DVD, Small Tool Cabinet with Garrett Hack

More images, click to enlarge:


Ninth Place: Three-Legged Stool
by Brianna Voron

Woods used: Pecan

The symmetry in Brianna’s project makes it shine. The seat is a perfect round with squared edges, the legs turned dead-straight without embellishment. She also applied a Danish oil to the lower half of the legs to set them apart. The proportions, gentle raked and splayed legs, and the mineral-streaked piece of pecan all come together for a strong impression and a great looking piece of furniture.

Prize: Taunton Press Plans: Arts & Crafts Coffee Table Plans

More images, click to enlarge:

Tenth Place: Arts & Crafts Dressing Stool
by Robert Zicafoose

Woods used: Quarter sawn white oak

It takes a certain amount of courage to submit a wood stool with a leather-cushioned seat to a woodworking contest, but if you do take a leaf from Bob’s book. The Arts & Crafts style of the late 1800’s stands the test of time and furniture made in the genre leans on the craftsman’s touch to end up with a beautiful and well-executed piece of furniture. Bob pulled it off with just-right proportions (e.g., thinner vertical slats, nice rail heights, and squared legs), minor details (e.g., chamfered exposed tenons, beveled tops of the legs), and a classic dark mission finish.

Prize: Taunton Press Books: Handmade Furniture; Designing Furniture

More images, click to enlarge:

Fine Woodworking Contest: Build a Small Table for a Chance to Win Woodworking Tools & Supplies

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Register for the Contest Now:

Bookings no longer allowed on this date.

There are 145 people registered so far!

Project Deadline: Saturday Mar 1, 2014
Prizes Awarded: Friday Mar 7, 2014
No fee to enter!
Fill out the submission Entry Form and bring it with you when you deliver your table

It’s time for a woodworking contest, folks. In the past, we’ve hosted woodworking competitions in which you made decorative boxes. Usually we assembled a package of materials that you had to use and then we established a maximum size all for sake of “creative tension” — and then set you free to make amazing boxes. And that you did.

This contest is a little bit different. We want to highlight fine furniture making, and then use the entries in a curated art exhibit to show the world at large the joy of hand crafted furniture, and that there are many, many talented woodworkers who build amazing projects.

So, are you sitting down? Here’s the task: make a table. Make one of any style or shape. The only constraint is that it can’t be any larger than 32″ in height, width or length.

We’ll have numerous prizes, the 1st Prize being a $500 package of woodworking tools/supplies. See more below.

Enter the contest in 2 easy steps:

  1. Register (it’s free)
  2. Deliver a table on March 1 (You’ll get $50 store credit)

All the details are below, which should answer your questions. If not, post your questions in the comments at the end. Key dates to know:

  • Saturday March 1, 2014: Project due, receive a $50 store credit, judging begins
  • Friday March 7, 2014: Awards announced
  • March-Arpil 2014: Public art exhibit of selected tables

Project Definition

This woodworking competition will focus on small occasional tables only. Build a table of any design or style you prefer. The table can be a night stand, end table, hall table, coffee table, plant stand, candle stand, tilt top, nested, rectangular, square, oval, round, or any other shape or style. The only constraint is that it must be small, which we define as no dimension (overall length, width or height) larger than 32” or smaller than 10”.

Your table is yours to keep. However, for one week in March all the tables will be at our corporate office for judging. See more below.

See sample tables and Rules and Guidelines at the bottom.

Prizes and Contest Winners

A panel of judges will examine the entries, score them, and determine winners based on a number of criteria. The top winning entries will demonstrate attention to detail as well as good execution. Additionally, there will be public voting for a “People’s Choice Award.” Winners will receive prizes in the form of woodworking tools and supplies, you can see the specific prizes here.

  • First Prize: tool package worth $800
  • Second Prize: tool package worth $575
  • Third Prize: tool package worth $400
  • “People’s Choice” award: tool package worth $275
  • Several Honorable Mention prizes for various aspects of woodworking (such as Best Joinery, Best Use of Stain or Dye, etc) that will be determined at the time of judging.  Prizes valued between $20 and $50

The winners will be announced on March 7, and the prizes will be awarded. Results with a full gallery will be posted on our website.

Current Sponsors Providing Awards and Prizes:


bora tooltenryujohnson-level BESSEY_small Trend_Logotaunton_logoBlock WM Logotajima


Register for the Contest

This is a free contest, there’s no cost to enter. You don’t need to be a professional or an expert to enter a table into the contest. But we do ask that you register, so please fill out the form at the top of the page to register. You may enter as many as 3 tables.

Enter Your Table(s), Get a $50 Credit

Deliver your table(s) to the Woodworkers Source corporate office in Scottsdale (map) on March 1 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Your table will remain with us until March 7 when the awards are announced. 10 selected tables will be placed in a public (and protected) art exhibit for a period of time (details to be determined) and we will have all tables photographed for the purposes of sharing in an online gallery, submission to woodworking magazines, and other forms of woodworking promotion.

If you need to deliver it sooner, please notify us to make proper arrangements. No late entries.
You will pick up your table on March 7 or after.

You will receive a $50 credit to use in our store just like cash. You can enter up to 3 tables, but the store credit is per person who enters a table, not per table.

There will be an entry form to fill out once your table is completed in which you’ll describe your table, your inspiration, your process, the woods you used and take credit for any details you’re particularly proud of; these should be things that will be helpful for the judges to know about when considering your table. For example, your choice of joinery, jigging you needed to figure out, your finishing process, etc. Anything that demonstrates how much effort and thought you put into your project. Be sure to keep record of these things as you plan and build your project.

Public Art Exhibit

You will keep your table. However, selected tables will be in a special public art exhibit (final location to be determined), so we do ask that you be willing to let your table be on display for an extended period of time, from 30 to 60 days. The display will celebrate your work in a public venue to give you credit for a job well done and to draw attention to the joy of fine woodworking that Arizona woodworkers take pride in.


Rules and Guidelines

How to Submit Your Table

  1. Register for the contest using the form at the top of the page
  2. Deliver your table to the Woodworkers Source Corporate office on March 1, 2014 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. 5111 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 206, Scottsdale, AZ 85250 (map). You can deliver your table earlier.
  3. Pick up your table on March 7th or after

If you’re in the Tucson area, you can simply deliver and pick up your table at our Tucson store. We’ll arrange transport to and from Scottsdale for the judging and public display.

Table entries must be made in person either to our Scottsdale office or Tucson store. We won’t be able to accommodate crating and shipping individual tables that are shipped in from other parts of the country for this contest.

Your table is yours to keep after the contest. Judges will be using the week between March 1 and March 7 to make their selections. You may pick up your table after March 7.

Definition of a Table

A table has a flat, horizontal upper surface and because tables typically have a practical purpose for displaying or supporting other items, the upper horizontal surface must also have some method to support it at its intended height; usually legs or a pedestal. Build a table of any design or style you prefer. The table can be a night stand, end table, hall table, coffee table, plant stand, candle stand, tilt top, nested, rectangular, square, oval, round, or any other shape or style. The only constraint is that it must be small, which we define as no dimension (overall length, width or height) larger than 32” or smaller than 10”.

Materials to Use

This is a contest in which we want to see the beauty of wood. So you may use any wood materials you’d like. Your choice of wood can be domestic or exotic; it can be one wood or several types of wood. You can use solid lumber or veneer.

You do not need to buy your wood from Woodworkers Source in order to enter the contest.

Glass, tile, metal, stone, etc. are acceptable if they’re used in small amounts or for accent, but we want to see wood as the focus. Keep in mind that the tables will be judged on the various aspects of woodworking; while a rusty steel base or a polished granite slab top might be interesting, they don’t necessarily showcase woodworking skills. A winning table will largely be a woodworking project.

Design Considerations

There is no constraint on the design or style unless it is outside of the minimum or maximum sizes. A table should be no larger than 32” and no smaller than 10” in length, width or height. A table can have any number of legs you see fit. It can have a drawer(s), a shelf, or cabinet if you like. For judging, the design complexity and appearance is secondary to how well you execute it; so spend your time and effort on a crafting well-made table rather than an elaborate one. For ideas, see the photos of sample tables on the next page.


A winning table will have a fabulous finish. You can use any finishing process; you can use stains, dyes, glazes or any clear wood finish you want. We encourage you give your table the best impression with a well-done finish. Start your table sooner rather than later to allow yourself plenty of time to get a good finish. It takes time for finishing and staining products to dry between coats, and it takes time to work your finish to a classy sheen. Give yourself time to do it well.

Need Ideas? Here Are Sample Small Tables from our Customer Gallery


Roger Weinreber’s Mission-Style Furniture Wins Best of Show, Excellence in Woodworking Show

Monday, February 28th, 2011

If there’s a reminder about craftsmanship in woodworking to be found in Roger Weinreber’s project, it’s this:  attentive execution in a classic furniture design goes a long way.

Roger entered his mission-style piece in the Excellence in Woodworking contest that was hosted by the Arizona Association of Fine Woodworkers earlier this month.

His cabinet didn’t just turn heads, but also took the Best of Show award.

Take a look.  In woodworking, it’s awfully easy to get carried away with all the choices you have between design tweaks, wood types, joinery options, random visions that come to you in your sleep… But then there’s something to a project like this cabinet in which just good ol’ fashioned craftsmanship wins the big award.

Congratulations to Roger!

Here’s a closer look at his piece: