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Figured Walnut and maple box by John Irwin

In November of 2009, the Arizona Association of Fine Woodworkers assembled in the warehouse at our Phoenix store for their monthly meeting.  A number of them brought their latest finished projects; a bookcase, several turned bowls, fretwork, and more.  They discussed the woods they used, the challenges they encountered, and the techniques they learned. One of the members conducted a demonstration on how to weave and apply chair caning.

Then I presented them with another challenge, a box making contest using a selected package of materials of 3 pieces of exotic Huayruro, 3 pieces of figured walnut blocks, and a 15″x15″ piece of Baltic birch.  Each woodworker could add to the materials, but each of these had to be used in the box somewhere.

On February 19, the entrants turned in their boxes for judging and I selected the top three boxes based on ranking the originality, execution, finish, and artistry of each one from 1 to 5. The winners were:

The first, second, and third place boxes

The first, second, and third place boxes (left to right)

Congratulations to The Winners:

  1. Chris Muse for his flower ($100 gift certificate to Woodworkers Source)
  2. Leroy Davies for his dovetail-jointed box ($50 gift certificate to Woodworkers Source)
  3. Joe Tripodi for his columns & arches decorative box ($20 gift certificate to Woodworkers Source)

As you will see, selecting only 3 winners wasn’t easy. These woodworkers pushed their skills and the definition of “box.”   Beautiful boxes, all of them.

Gallery of all Boxes Entered in the Box Contest

Vice President of Operations – Woodworkers Source
We’re a family-owned lumber & woodworking supply retailer with 3 delightful stores in Arizona, and 35 friendly employees.
Mark oversees the company and creates tutorials on wood finishing and woodworking tips for hardwood lumber.

Discussion, Questions & Answers

  • Sticktrade

    These projects are truely amazing. I have never seen anything like the flower box.

  • Dean Bauer

    These are absolutely amazing!

  • Nick Dann

    I was VERY impressed with all the boxes, John Irwin box was my choice. I have been trying to come up with a idea for a box for my Case knife collection. This is it. Would like to know more. Size, wood etc. if possible?

    • Nick, you referring to the box with the two drawers? I’m going off my memory, but I believe that box is about 14″ on the longest side. You’d probably want it just a bit larger for the Case knives. He used mostly figured walnut and white maple, which looks absolutely stunning together

  • Robert Finley

    All of the pieces shown are excellent. Each and every artist/crafttsman should be proud of their work. As to the first place winning entry I have never seen anything remotely as complex and artistic done in wood. I have traveled in Europe, the U.S. and the internet and that piece blew not only my mind but all of the dust our or my shop.

    • Anonymous

      Thay are all fine work,My son makes bowels,thay are real works of art,every one
      that has seen them can”t belive how he does it.how can i get pictures to yoy.