Design in Wood Exhibition


These awards are voted on by exhibition attendees - you! We don't know the winners of these awards until the end of the Fair each year.


Presented by Woodworker West magazine - here are the People's Choice Award winners for 2019:


First Place

 Barn Owl with Mouse

Second Place

Bird Condo

Third Place


Eagle and Snake


Each year from early June through the July 4th holidays, qualifying entries in the juried Design in Wood Exhibition are displayed to the public at the famous San Diego County Fair. Over 300 volunteers staff the exhibition, while artisans demonstrate old and new techniques of woodworking. Winning entries are photographed and published in several national woodworking magazines.


Described as "the biggest and best woodworking exhibition in the country" by the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine, the international Design in Wood Exhibition now averages over 350 entries from across the country, and even internationally. This is a significant increase from the first show in 1982 when it had forty-five beautiful juried pieces on display (see Fine Woodworking Magazine #37).


The Design in Wood Exhibition is co-sponsored by the San Diego County Fair 22nd District Agricultural Association, and the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association (SDFWA). The talented, dedicated, and hardworking SDFWA members make this unique, popular, and award winning exhibition a success. Over 1,500,000 people are expected to visit the fair this year and this exhibit is the standout. Now the exhibition has national sponsors, gives out awards and over $20,000 in prizes to entries in 26 classes. The Design in Wood Exhibition, celebrating its 39th year, truly contributes joy, inspiration, recognition, and support to the community it serves.


Video of the 2015 Design in Wood Exhibition made by the International Wood Culture Society



In addition to the juried gallery show, many other volunteer activities take place during the show. The Wood Turners Association demonstrates wood turning techniques for the fair goers. The San Diego Wood Carvers demonstrate woodcarving in their booth. The San Diego Maritime Museum demonstrates model building. The Scroll Sawers demonstrate different methods of scroll saw work. And on various days there are luthiers making instruments, a demonstration of chair caning, plus daily docent tours of the exhibit.

19th Century Chair Shop

The biggest demonstration area is the 19th Century Cabinet shop staffed by the SDFWA. Here, volunteer members of one of the largest woodworking associations in the country make small oak chairs for preschoolers using only 19th century hand tools to shape them. The Association makes fifty chairs each year and these last-a-lifetime gifts are donated to various organizations in the community such as day care centers, schools, hospitals, health clinics, shelters, and other charitable organizations. To date, over 1700 chairs have been donated.


We would now like to invite you to enter the Gallery by clicking on the Photo Gallery link. These are only a few of the wonderful pieces on display at the Design in Wood Exhibition at the San Diego County Fair. But, before you enter the Gallery note that by clicking on the picture you may see a larger image. Enjoy the Show!


Design in Wood Online was photographed by Andy Patterson and Lynn Rybarczyk, San Diego, CA, with assistance from Dave Barnhart, Harry Baldwin, and Jim Sykora.