The surface appearance is sensitive to change in the manufacturing process and is one of the most important product quality characteristics. The classification of workpiece surface patterns is critical for quality control, because it can provide feedback on the manufacturing process. In this study, a novel classification approach for engineering surfaces is proposed by combining dual-tree complex wavelet transform (DT-CWT) and selective ensemble classifiers called modified matching pursuit optimization with multiclass support vector machines ensemble (MPO-SVME), which adopts support vector machine (SVM) as basic classifiers. The dual-tree wavelet transform is used to decompose three-dimensional (3D) workpiece surfaces, and the features of workpiece surface are extracted from wavelet sub-bands of each level. Then MPO-SVME is developed to classify different workpiece surfaces based on the extracted features and the performance of the proposed approach is evaluated by computing its classification accuracy. The performance of MPO-SVME is validated in case study, and the results demonstrate that MPO-SVME can increase the classification accuracy with only a handful of selected classifiers.