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Student Woodturning Competition a Stunning Success!

June 4, 2019
News: Event Reports, General News

Holy WOW!  Sixty (60!) students enjoyed a terrific woodturning day-out-of-school, complete with contemporary and traditional woodworking demonstrations, a farm tour and lots and lots of prizes!

The Guild of NH Woodworkers hosted their (now) Annual Student Woodturning Competition at Sanborn Mills Farm on May 17th, a day that started out with drizzle and ended with huge radiant smiles!

The enthusiasm and excitement was palpable as kids and teachers alike enjoyed a day off, a time to revel in their own successes and a chance to see many examples of their own and professional, amateur and instructors' woodturning efforts.

With only five schools participating, things started out a bit shaky!  But Mascoma Regional High School saved the day with 43 students and their three-legged stools. Also with bowls and platters and miniatures and spindles and terrific spirits.  Joining Mascoma were more than two dozen stunning pieces from Merrimack High and Thetford Academy, one entry from Manchester Memorial and two photo entries from Lincoln-Sudbury MA.

In total, 83 entries competed in seven categories with top five prizes awarded in each. This reflects an enormous increase in woodturning interest since the 2018  Symposium.  We forward our heartfelt thanks, congratulations and many many kudos to woodturning instructors Phil Carle (Merrimack), Chris Schmidt (Thetford Academy) and Dave Shinnlinger (Mascoma).

The quality of the pieces submitted ranged from traditional rustic stools to a Shaker candle stand that could stand proud in any NH Furniture Masters exhibit.  In between were incredible pieces that offer a glimpse into a woodturning future that will be vibrant, focused, accomplished and oh, so talented.

Faced with this level of terrific work, our three judges, Marcel Durette, Charles Scheaf and Claude Dupuis were often hard pressed to choose just "the very best".   In their critique, both Marcel and Charlie emphasized form, proportion, balance and curvature of line.  Speaking in defense of simplicity, the axiom 'less is more" made all the difference in choosing top notch work and we applaud these many students for the time and the excellence that resulted in these terrific projects.


School abbreviations: Ma Mascoma,  Me Merrimack, Ta Thetford Academy,
Mm Manchester Memorial, Ls Lincoln Sudbury

1. Emily Pierce                   Me1. Liam Rinelli                     Ta
2. Meredith Sousa              Ma2. Nathan Livie                    Me
3. Cole Keefe                     Me3. Nathanial Rinelli              Ta
4. Caleb McCalister           Ma4. Logan Brinkman              Ta
5. Melissa Medeiros           Me5. Matt St. Laurent               Me
Hollow FormsSpindle
1. Matt St. Laurent            Me1. Wesley Bolling                 Me
2. Nathan Livie                 Me2. Aiden Cudhea                   Ta
3. Austin Churchill           Ma3. Alex Emerson                   Ta
4. Justin Mason                 Ma4. Torrie Howlett                  Ma
5. Ava Lambert                     Mm
1. Brittney Lowell             Ma1. Asa Wood                          Ma
2. Blake Corbin                 Ma2. Caleb Drexler                    Ma
3. Ethan Gelinas                Ma3. Ryan Crate                         Ma
4. Josh Williams                Ma4. Elyas Jenkins                     Ma
5. Olivia Clifford               Ma5. Hagen Jandrue                   Ma
1. Lindsey Houston               Ma
2. Paige Jette                         Ma
3. Caleb McCalister              Ma
4. Brooks Bernier                 Ma

For all of us woodturning enthusiasts, the following statistics may be of interest:
Two schools each had three first place finishes: Merrimack in miniature, hollow and spindle and Mascoma in platters, segmented and stools.  Thetford Academy took first, third and fourth in bowls.  The same big two each had two second place finishes; Merrimack in hollow and bowls and Mascoma in miniatures and platters. Merrimack rebounded with a first, third and fifth in miniatures while Thetford Academy took second and third place in spindles. Merrimack took a pair of fifth places in miniatures and bowls.

As in sports, sheer numbers and depth on the field sure can rule the day.  Mighty Mascoma swept all five places in stools and all four places in segmented.  Mascoma also took third place in four of seven categories while claiming fourth place in six of seven categories, losing only bowls to Thetford Academy.   No slouch, Merrimack had two top finishes in hollow and three top finishes in miniatures.  The spread of excellence across these three schools indicates a huge commitment to both quality teaching and devoted time on the part of their instructors.  Our many thanks!

Several individuals deserve special mention as they scored in more than one (difficult!) category.  For Merrimack, Nathan Livie placed second in both bowls and in hollow forms while Matt St. Laurent placed first in hollow forms and fifth in bowls. For Mascoma, Caleb McCalister placed third in segmented and fourth in miniatures.  Thetford Academy's twin brothers Liam and Nathan Rinelli took home first and third honors in bowls.  Bravo!

Next years' Student competition will also be held in mid-May at Sanborn Mills Farm.  With student interest this high, we will expand the number of categories to include first time projects and woodturning applications in furniture construction.  And any additional categories as instructors expand their curricula. Please forward any competition ideas to the Guild NH Woodworkers at

We welcome all these terrific kids to join us as Student Guild members (its free!) and remind teachers and parents that they and their students are invited to join us at our Summer Field Trip to Andrew Pierce Bowls, Hartland, Vermont, July 17th.

We would love to see these students and teachers participate in the Granite State Woodturners Critique Meeting on July 27th in Bow NH and to join us in any of our many other meetings throughout the year.

We'd also love to see lots students join us at Sunapee Fair, both as volunteers, demonstrators and as contributors to our Annual Raffle for Grant funding.

We look forward to seeing all of our New England students continue to advance their many talented skills. Congratulations to one and all and best wishes for a fun-filled and happy summer (woodturning, anyone?).

The Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers

Be well, do good work, keep in touch.   (Garrison Keillor)


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