Soon to be sprinkled across the campus at SUNY Brockport in upstate New York are benches that was once trees. So what, you say. Nearly all the pieces we make and write about right here at Fine Woodworking was once trees.

But these weren’t simply any previous trees. These high-quality specimens of maple, elm, and oak had been a part of the campus surroundings for years. They had been being eliminated to make manner for a multipurpose group backyard behind the faculty’s Alumni House.

When he noticed the trees marked for removing, Professor Jason Dauenhauer needed to see if one thing could possibly be finished to present them new life. So he reached out to the campus-wide Art Placement Committee, chaired by Professor Jennifer Hecker. Together, they received a grant to fee artists to show lumber from the trees into benches, to be put in throughout the campus. Some 20 artists submitted proposals for the benches, and 7 had been chosen.

We contacted every of the woodworkers concerned within the challenge as a result of we needed to characteristic them in our print journal’s gallery. But as standard, we acquired extra pictures and extra data than it was doable to make use of within the print model of the journal. So right here’s an expanded view of the benches and their makers.

Michael Puryear

Elm (seat) and white oak (legs), 16D x 72W x 15-1⁄2H

“The design was in one sketchbook which I have always liked and I thought would work well in a public space,” says Michael, a furnishings maker in Shokan, N.Y. “I call it the Wave Bench because the saddling of the seat is wavelike and the structure of the legs reminds me of ocean piers built to withstand strong waves.” Michael says he’s proud of the hand-shaped legs and loved the structural problem that the challenge offered.






John Dodd

Elm and studio-cast concrete, 19-1⁄2D x 72W x 18-1⁄2H

John, a furnishings maker in Canandaigua, N.Y., continuously incorporates forged concrete with wooden in his benches, which may be discovered at public areas across the area. This one used wooden from an elm tree on campus. He completed the bench with Clear Oil base coat and sealed with a satin gel varnish. “It was an honor and pleasure to participate in this and all those that made it happen at The College at Brockport deserve a lot of credit for their effort,” he says.




Chara Dow

Maple and yew, 22D x 72W x 18H; photograph by Danny Cocuzza

Chara, a country furnishings artist in East Rochester, N.Y., loves the asymmetrical traces of tree limbs, so she gave her bench a large number of legs constructed from yew branches collected from the facet of the highway. She made the sculpted and chiseled seat from the campus tree. Here’s a video of Chara speaking about her bench.








David Bohnhoff

Maple and copper, 18D x 60W x 18H

David, a furnishings maker in Columbia, Va., appeared to the raise bridges on the Erie Canal, which runs proper by means of Brockport, for his inspiration. He completed the bench with Arm-R-Seal and milk paint. This is the second bench that David has made for the faculty; he did one for the same bench challenge in 2013. He’s additionally made a chair for the dean’s workplace. In addition to furnishings David can be an skilled boat builder.






Seema Lisa Pandya

Maple and oak, 22D x 60W x 32H

“My bench for the College of Brockport is an expansion of my existing ‘Amoebic Void’ series of sculptures that are inspired by an exploration of boundaries and the forms between negative and positive space,” says Seema, an artist in Brooklyn, N.Y. “The literal translation of my name, ‘Seema’, in Hindi translates to the word ‘boundary,’ which has led me on a journey of inquiry exploring the nature of what a boundary actually is, evidence of a relationship and exchange. ”

“The sculpture series and this bench design is comprised of multiple planes stacked and spaced apart from one another with progressive growing organic curved forms carved out of the planes to imply movement or music and forms found in nature. The curved void forms that appear like a mouth opening at the base of the bench are inspired by principals of nature and the shape of relationships and exchange with curves that engage in a push-pull balance of negative and positive space, indicative of the push-pull form found in sine waves. ”

“The sheer amount of work it took to get it from design bench to the finished product makes me proud of the beauty of the final piece and my ability to follow through and manifest this. I started designing the project with sketches that were than taken in to the Rhino vector graphic program to finalize and adjust by visualizing in 3-d modeling view. Next, this was the process of planing 35 planks of 2-in.-thick wood again that had  warped over time after they were already kiln dried and planed prior to my possession. I also restored a gifted vintage 1950’s Sears Montgomery Ward Powr-Kraft bandsaw for this project to cut each of the bench slices. Then, it was routing the edges with a large 2.5-in. scary flush router bit, lots of sanding, assembling, and then the thrill of applying the final finish.”


B.R. Delaney

Maple and metal, 16D x 84W x 18H

Looking for a steadiness between operate, high quality, and wonder, B.R. juxtaposed a strong metal base with the nice and cozy maple high on this design. “Aside from working with sustainably harvested lumber from the SUNY campus, I am proud of how cleanly this bench fits into my evolving design aesthetic,” the Wurtsboro, N.Y., furnishings maker stated. “My goal was to create a bench that presented the material in an honorable way, while providing a comfortable, stable surface for repose. By juxtaposing the warm, nature feel of the maple top with the solid steel base, mirroring the shapes, and angling them outward, I hoped to create balance and interest within the form.”

Laura Smith

Maple, 24D x 84W x 18H

This bench, constructed from stacks of maple planks carved to imitate land formations created by wind and water, was impressed by Laura’s time in Colorado and Arizona’s painted desert.

“I enjoyed creating and working with natural stains,” the Pine Island, N.Y., artist stated. “The method of finishing corresponded to the mentality of repurposing behind the project. The wood was stained with black and herbal tea, as well as a dye created from the skin of red and yellow onion skins which lent a rich purple and a yellowish-golden-brown color to the maple.”

For extra on this challenge, go to this link.

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