Recent graduate Cole Burch of Christiansburg, Va., took home second place honors in the reproduction category of the 2013 national Fresh Wood student woodworking competition at the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas. Burch used a balance of modern and traditional methods to complete his entry, a handcrafted Shaker blanket chest.

Burch had to hand cut the dovetail corners to achieve the distinguishing custom look of the chest. “I spent many hours gathering information and then testing methods to make sure high quality cuts could be repeated consistently before making the final corner pieces,” he explained.

The biennial competition, the largest of its kind, highlights exemplary design and construction achievements by students. Burch was one of 41 finalists selected from over 130 entries to showcase his work in Vegas, where his work was reviewed and judged by a panel of internationally acclaimed design and woodworking professionals.