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Northern Woods: Award Categories

Best in Show

The winning piece should exhibit the best qualities of most of the following categories.

Judges' Award

Sometimes a piece worthy of recognition doesn’t fall into any of the award categories. It may have something special about it that is hard to define, or the judges may choose, at their discretion, to fit any piece into this category. They may also use this award for recognizing a piece that ran a close second to one of the other category winners.

Best Original Design

A well-designed piece must be both useful and pleasing to the eye. Will it perform its intended job? Good design is in large part a subjective opinion. It is difficult to define what good design should look like, but we can agree how it should affect a thoughtful critic. It invites a second, more intimate look, and asks to be touched by hand and spirit. This award is to be presented to the best original design, one that is not a copy of a previously designed piece..

Best Traditional Piece

This is an award for the piece which is built in the traditional manner, a reproduction or a piece heavily influenced by a traditional design. In addition, the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) will write an article about the winner of this award.

Most Technically Accomplished

This is an objective assessment. The best work will exhibit a mastery of many woodworking techniques. It will respect the limitations of working in wood. Qualities to look for include flawless treatment of surfaces, precise joinery and carefully controlled detail. The award will take into account the difficulty of the undertaking.

Best Handwork

The use of hand tools carries a long and rich tradition in woodworking. Successful handwork should not be judged by machine standards. It produces surfaces and shapes that are more varied and personal, free from the limitations imposed by machines. Pieces submitted for consideration in this category must have all surfaces finished with hand tools and all joints hand cut and a description of the handwork involved must be submitted for use by Northern Woods judges.

Best First Time in Show

Whether professional or amateur, this award goes to the best piece entered by a first time Northern Woods exhibitor.

Woodworking for Pleasure

This prize is awarded to the best piece exhibited by a person for whom woodworking is an avocation.

Best Detail

The finest craftsmanship is often just a small part of a piece but makes all the difference. This award goes to the best conceived and/or most deftly executed detail that really makes the piece stand out. This might be exceptionally well executed dovetails, a particularly nice carved detail, or exquisite inlay.

Best Finish

The finish may enhance the natural beauty of wood or alter its texture and color. A good finish elevates one’s perception of the piece to which it is applied. Depth, luster and clarity are characteristics of a good finish.

Best Carving

This prize is awarded to the piece with the best use and execution of carving. It is differentiated from the Best Handwork award in that the carving is a major element of the piece.

Best Turning

This award honors the tradition of turning. This winning piece will exhibit quality of form as well as execution.

Peer Award (Awarded by entrants of the show)

This is decided by balloting among all Guild members coming to the show. You will be given a chance to vote for your favorite piece (other than your own) and runners up.

The People's Choice (Voted for by visitors who see the show)

This award is determined by ballots submitted by the public. It recognizes those people’s favorite piece in the show.

The Best Youth Piece Award
This privately sponsored award is generously offered by Joe Morgan and Mark Powell.

This award will be made to the "best" piece submitted by a youth, age 18 and under. The piece will be judged on overall craftsmanship. Areas to be considered will be selection of materials appropriate for the piece, execution of joinery, and quality of finish and its appropriateness for the piece. Complexity of the piece will be considered. Extra consideration will be given to pieces of original design.

Please Note:

The Judges are solely responsible for deciding which pieces will receive awards. Their decisions are final.

Proceed to the Northern Woods On-line Registration.

Exhibiton Details


Entry Rules/Fees
Entry Form
Award Categories