Filling a ‘niche’ with award-winning design

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

Supplied photo

By Brian De Wald, fourth-year woodworking and furniture design student (perkasie, penn.)

This was the first time I had worked with mahogany. The structure of the wood gave me an opportunity to experiment by freeing the wood out of the board form. This shaping created the flowing line quality I was looking for throughout the bench. The toughest part of the design process was coming up with the shape of the top. Because the legs were such a strong feature of the bench, I didn’t want a shape that would distract from the legs. One night as I was drawing lines with a French curve, I traced the shape on the paper. After seeing how nice the lines were, I flipped the ruler over and overlapped the original trace. That is how 
I created the shape for the top. Where the top overlapped I flared that section up to create the illusion of a two-piece top, although it is only one piece. Last fall, I entered “Mahogany Bench” into the 2010 Niche Awards, which celebrate excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft. I was so shocked to hear I won first place in the furniture category. This was a challenging piece of furniture to create and construct, but was well worth the time and effort. To learn more, visit