Earlier this year I came across a woodworking contest sponsored by a local woodworking supply store. The concept was to build a small table no larger than 32″ in any direction using any wood, so the design options were endless. The contest was open to woodworkers of any skill level.
I had 3 months to complete the table so I entered. I figured it would be a fun challenge and I could build something unique of my own design. I looked around the shop for materials to use and found some leftover harewood veneer from a past project. This is a really neat looking silver color wood which had a lot of curl to it. I immediately decided on a contemporary design. I only had a small amount of this veneer so that determined the size of my table top. I wanted the rest to be made of a contrasting wood and found a sale on Sapele, which is a reddish wood similar to mahogany. I designed this table on the fly, meaning I drew no plans but just started with the top and worked my way down. I used a 100% waterborne finish in order to maintain the silver color of the veneer. A waterborne sanding sealer really magnifies the grain, then I applied 3 coats of conversion varnish for a beautifully smooth finish.
There were about 75 entries from Phoenix to Tucson and they were to be judged on several factors such as design, finish, and execution. I didn’t win the grand prize but won a nice tool bag. It was great seeing what others came up with, too. There were a lot of neat ideas and it was great to be a part of the contest.