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18-year-old from Blackfoot heads to Russia to compete in cabinetmaking on Team USA

There are hundreds of trades out there and one, in particular, is taking an 18-year-old from Blackfoot all the way to Kazan, Russia.

Next Thursday, Ethan Harrison begins a journey he’s been training about a year for, representing Team USA at the 2019 World Skills Competition in Cabinetmaking.

“I love the opportunity to take something and create something new with it, and sometimes you look at a pile of lumber and go, I don’t know how that would ever turn into anything,” said Harrison.

Harrison is one of 22 students from around the country chosen to represent Team USA, and the only one competing in cabinetmaking.

It’s a trade that Harrison developed a passion for his sophomore year of high school when his instructor Peter Golinveaux opened the world of cabinet making to him.

“You run it all through the machinery and then do all the little things to make it look beautiful and I enjoy going from that rustic to a refined piece of furniture, that’s just a lot of fun for me,” said Harrison.

A few months after, Harrison graduated from high school he left his home to go train with his coach Jeff Molzahn in Wisconsin for seven months. He trained at the Madison Area Technical College where Molzahn is an instructor and was able to learn the skills he needed to succeed in the Worldskills Competition.

“Some of the projects don’t have any metal in them, there are no screws everything is all joined together with just glue and joints that are cut by hand and so a lot of traditional jointery that will be required of me in the Worldskills Competition,” said Harrison.

A skill that set Harrison apart from his competitors and qualified him for Team USA is his ability to create dovetails to join the wood together.

At the Worldskills competition, Harrison will compete in cabinetmaking solo, against students from over sixty countries. They will all complete the same project with a 21-hour time limit.

“Its surreal sometimes but it’s an honor to be able to represent the country and part of the reason why I decided I’d move and I’d apply everything that I could and try to train as much as I could, is just because I’m not going to squander this opportunity, I want to make the United States proud,” said Harrison.

Harrison hopes to return home from the week-long event with a gold medal around his neck.

When he returns, he will leave to serve an LDS mission in Lima, Peru this December.

After he plans on attending Pittsburg State University, to study Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology.

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