Conestoga news

August 21, 2015 11:19 AM

Woodworking students present capstone projects

Second year students in Conestoga’s Woodworking Technology (co-op) program presented their capstone projects at the Woodworking Centre’s annual showcase on August 20.

Woodworking Technology student Dan Merkus' upright set of drawers (above), known as the "tower of drawers," took first place in the annual showcase. Second place went to Robert Danner's upright cabinet (below right), with third going to Val Orlov's fortress-inspired cabinet (below left).

Pieces on display included a mandolin and a selection of furniture such as tables, storage units and cabinets - all constructed with unique finishes and details. Students were provided with 120 shop hours to complete their work and had access to basic materials like cherry, walnut and maple. Students were also permitted to source and use other wood supplies at their expense.

Judging for the event was facilitated by faculty and support staff who considered engineering, overall presentation, movement and finish when reviewing the projects.

 “The quality of this program is top notch,” said Frank Horvath, marketing manager of FS Tool, the Markham-based company that sponsored the prizes. Horvath was on hand to view the student projects and present awards. “It’s exciting to see the creativity and enthusiasm that goes into the student work.”

A piece dubbed the "tower of drawers” took first place, which included a $300 cash award and entry into Conestoga’s 2016 Tech Showcase next summer. The piece was completed by Dan Merkus who took inspiration for his work from a photo he noticed online. The piece was constructed with walnut and cherry - which Merkus appreciates for their texture and colour - and the drawers were completed using a reverse diamond match.

Second place was awarded to Robert Danner who constructed an upright cabinet. The doors presented the greatest challenge for Danner, which he says required extra machining due to their raised panels.

Val Orlov’s fortress-inspired cabinet took third place. Using white ash, Orlov took great care to incorporate curves on each piece of the cabinet (including the legs and doors) to create its unique look.


Last year’s winner of the woodworking showcase, Jordan Gage, built an acoustic guitar that was recently on display at the 2015 Tech Showcase - an event that judges final year projects in a variety of technology-related programs including mechanical engineering, computer programming and interior design. Gage’s guitar took first place at the Tech Showcase and he will be presented with the College Mastercraft award.


The Woodworking Centre of Ontario is a 50,000 square foot facility at Conestoga that ranks among the world’s top woodworking training centres. Students have access to custom woodworking and production training as well as the latest in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and drafting technology. For more information, visit the Centre's website.