Conestoga news

April 30, 2024 2:44 PM

Table, guitar and cabinet among capstone projects on display at woodworking showcase

Woodworking students showed off their final projects at a showcase and networking event where the top creations were recognized with awards for manufacturing and design.

Woodworking Showcase.jpg
Jeongmin Kwon won first place for the Best in Manufactured Product at the Woodworking Showcase.

The event was held April 18 at the Kitchener - Doon campus in the Woodworking Centre of Ontario. Students from the Woodworking Technician program were stationed next to their capstone projects to answer questions about their work, which was judged by faculty, third-year students and retired faculty.

Four awards were handed out: one for design and three for best in manufactured product, which took into account product design and development, craftmanship and product presentation.

Professor Richard Bruckeder explained that the students select, design, draft and calculate their own projects. When approved, they begin building in the final term with 112 hours slotted in the woodworking centre.

“With the support of faculty and staff on safety, machining (CNC), workflow and timing, all projects end up with a finishing of their choice,” Bruckeder said.

The winners of the Best in Manufactured Product Award, sponsored by long-time industry partner FS Tool:

First place went to Jeongmin Kwon for her ash and walnut TV table.

Second place went to Brennan Moro, who also won Best in Product Design sponsored by RAMPA with his guitar built from scratch.

Third place went to Harry Olinski for his oak cabinet to display his collection of refurbished hand planes.

Kwon knew she wanted to incorporate one key element when designing her table: a tambour door, which is a sliding door made of slats that she first saw back at home in Korea. Her design made good use of the door’s flexibility, curving around one end of the table to reveal two drawers inside with the dovetail joints visible in the differently coloured wood.

“I always wanted to make that kind of door and it turned out pretty good,” Kwon said.

Olinski made a cabinet with glass doors and angled shelf to show off the vintage planes he refurbished. “It looks nice and it’s functional,” Olinski said.

Moro knew his plan to make a walnut-bodied guitar with a mahogany neck would push his technical skills and time, requiring him to bring his project home to put in more hours beyond the workshop. In total, he figures as many as 250 hours were spent on the labour of love.

Moro learned a lot along the way, but the largest hurdle to overcome was not the woodworking. “My own anxiety was the biggest challenge.” He explained the stumbles along the way and the momentary panic before forging ahead with a solution.

“The way I like to talk about my project is through the many failures,” Moro said.

But he couldn’t be more happy with the end result and just a few final touches were needed before the strings could go on and Moro could finally play his guitar.

“It will be really cool. It will be kind of surreal,” Moro said. “Even if it’s completely unplayable, it’s something beautiful I can hang on the wall.”

Bradley Wray decided to craft something that would make his woodworking easier as a tall person - a mini workbench that is placed on top of another surface. Primarily he used hand joining, spending hours with a chisel to create all the unique joints. His mini bench balances on the fine line of being both beautiful and functional.

“I’m really happy with how it turned out. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Wray said.

Matthew McIsaac created a hall table, pushing himself to try his hand at more complicated features such as angled legs.

“There’s a lot of complex angles, there’s a lot of complex machining. It displays more skill,” McIsaac said. “It was definitely a challenge, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

Established in 1988, the Woodworking Centre of Ontario is among North America's leading training centres for woodworking. This respected and renowned institution has produced countless industry leaders and talented craftspeople who have gone on to have fulfilling careers in the woodworking trade.

Conestoga offers several woodworking programs available at the centre: Woodworking Technology, Woodworking Technician, Woodworking Techniques and Cabinetmaker.