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Students shine in WoodLINKS contest

WoodLINKS USA hosted its fourth Ready to Assemble contest at IWF 2012 in Atlanta, providing students with an opportunity to exhibit furniture they designed and constructed to an audience of woodworking and industry professionals.

From left, Zach Ludden, Nikki Look, Lucas Shelton and their first-place entry in the IWF Ready to Assemble contest.

Mark Smith, national education coordinator for WoodLINKS, says the goal of the contest is to simply get kids excited about working with wood.

“This exposes them to the wood industry and gets them in front of industry people at the show. The industry supports them by donating prizes. It’s a pretty neat opportunity for the schools,” says Smith.

The winners were Zach Ludden, Nikki Look and Lucas Shelton from Rolla Technical Institute in Rolla, Mo., for an oval-shaped table named “Travolo di Stiles”.

“My goal is to be a successful draftsman and be able to design things. This is my first time showing anything I’ve designed,” Ludden said two days before the final judging took place.

Look says her goal was to try something new and different to gain real-world experience. “My part in this was the marketing. This gave me the chance to see what it would be like to be able to do this for myself as a career,” she says.

“The whole thing was a pretty cool opportunity. We don’t get a chance to do a lot of this. We went in a lot after school and tossed ideas around,” Shelton says.

The winners received a TigerStop SawGear measuring system, Graco ES spray package, Stiles/Ironwood JT300 jointer, Valspar finishes and stains, gift certificate from Custom Service Hardware and FastCap toolbox.

“Looking at the piece, it’s pretty nice. But they weren’t just judged on the way the piece looked,” Smith says. “They had a whole judging process to go through with their marketing plan, product evaluation and an oral presentation.” 

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue.

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