A Sultana High School graduate's rocking chair built for two was judged to be the most rocking entry at a national woodworking competition.


Christopher Gagnon won first place in the High School Reproduction category for his "Love Rocker" at the Fresh Woods Competition at the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers' AWFS Fair in Las Vegas in July.


"I've been woodworking all through high school," he said. He was first exposed to woodworking by his grandfather, a luthier (one who makes or repairs stringed instruments). "That's where I picked up my initial skills and then through my woodworking class in high school."


Gagnon got his inspiration for his maple and walnut two-person rocking chair from observing couples in daily life.


"I actually got the inspiration by a couple that I saw in the park," he said. "The double-wide chair, the inspiration is to be able to share that with something else."


The finished product was appraised as having a value of $10,500 -- and he's trying to sell it for around $8,500 -- with raw materials costing between $600 and $700.


"I actually didn't stick on it consistently," Gagnon said. He estimates that he spent "120 to 140 hours of work to finish the chair."


Gagnon won a $1,000 prize for his over-sized rocking chair. He currently is a sophomore studying Music at the University of California - Riverside, although he's considering a transfer to UCLA's architecture program or an eventual career as an orthopedic surgeon.


At this point, though, he doesn't intend to make woodworking a career.


"Woodworking is kind of a hobby. It's a passion, something I love doing."


But he might be back to compete again at a future AWFS Fair.


"Two years from now, I might have a new project," he said. "I'm trying to work with the engineering department to work with the woodshop."


AWFS Fair is an international trade show featuring woodworking products and supplies. The Fresh Wood Competition included 137 entries from 50 different high schools and post-secondary institutions from across the United States and Canada.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.