Member-Sponsored Expert Training Event

By Megan Lhamon, NWFA

We’ve ended the 2016 Technical Education calendar with a huge bang this year. The past three classes held at NWFA have been highly specialized, showcasing advanced skills from well-seasoned NWFA professionals.

Our last training event was a member-sponsored expert training, sponsored by Bona and held at NWFA’s training facility in St. Louis. This was different than a typical NWFA hosted training event, but before we get into those details, we’d like to talk about the process and techniques that went into the creation of each floor.

Bona invited a diverse group of professionals and allowed them take the reins and create one-of-a-kind pieces of art based on the materials they had provided. The event was led by Lenny Hall who mentioned he’d never attended or led a school with such energy, creativity, and passion.

Here are some highlights from the four groups:


The Wall

Students in this group created a wood mural bustling with life. The wall, now up for display in the NWFA training center, features a tree made from a live edge slab and end grain lumber, a river made from log ends that curves around the mountains made of wood, and inlaid birds and a fish throughout. Each feature in the wall was intricately detailed – parts of the tree trunk were chiseled to add texture, clouds in the sky were raised and softened to give a 3D effect, each layer was separated by metal, wood and even LED lighting inlays.


The Kitchen

Students in this group were eager to install factory finished flooring in a custom design. The border included a herringbone design, and some nice corner blocks, with tons of focus on little details, such as inlaid square pegs and butterfly keys, the kitchen floor at NWFA headquarters is one for the books. After the installation was complete, students custom finished the square pegs and butterfly keys to match the factory finished flooring – not an easy task.


The Tree

This floor was designed and made up of a variety of materials including: logs from Regional Instructor Mike Dittmer’s tree farm, live edge slabs, random species of 4/4 cut-offs, a custom basket weave pattern filled in with 4”x4” fence post cut-offs, concentric radius curves, and solder inlaid designs. Students in this group truly took this design to a whole new level with every progressing step. “The Tree” is now on display in the NWFA training center for other students to see and aspire to.



Students in this group used an art technique called trompe-l’oeil, French for “deceive the eye,” to create the optical illusion that the imagery in the floor exists in three dimensions. Being such a sophisticated design, students spent the first two days of the school cutting all of the precise pieces of wood using different jigs and sleds. As if that design wasn’t enough, students also added custom cut medallions in each corner and an optical-illusion staircase in the center with green ivy inlays weaving all around it.

Curious about what “member-sponsored” means?

A member-sponsored training event is a great opportunity for NWFA member companies to host a school which can be customized to fit their specific needs. Member-sponsored training events are invitation-only and paid for entirely by the sponsor. Although NWFA instructors or the NWFA facility may be involved, the instructors, materials, and all other associated costs are paid for by the sponsoring company.

Member-Sponsored Training Event

  • Invitation only
  • Sponsor supplies all products for the school
  • Sponsor handles registration
  • Sponsor establishes capacity and cancellation policies
  • Sponsor sets pricing
  • All costs and fees paid by the sponsor

NWFA-Hosted Training Event

  • Open to all NWFA members
  • Partners in Education provide product donations and support
  • NWFA handles registration and cancellation policies
  • Hosting facilities must meet requirements for safety, space, power and capacity

You can learn more and schedule your own member-sponsored event by contacting NWFA at 800.422.4556.

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