Canadian Woodworking

World-class wood art and a rough boat rack

Author: Rob Brown
Steam 11

I stumbled across a South Korean wood artist named Bae Se Hwa, who makes some amazing steam-bent furniture and sculptures.

By bending thin strips of walnut and forming them over curved ribs of varying sizes, he creates flowing furniture that seems at times as if it’s poured from liquid. I can’t find his website, but here is a video and a link to give you something to explore.

See more of Bae Se Hwa’s work

“Steam 11”
This piece, by South Korean wood artist Bae Se Hwa, is what first caught my eye while surfing the Internet

Steam 11

Similar to a Boat
This piece by Bae Se Hwa reminds me of some old wood strip boats made of narrow strips of mahogany or cedar.

Similar to a Boat

Butterfly Bench
Though I’m not positive, I’m guessing this is a bench. It’s made by Bae Se Hwa.

Butterfly Bench


His work reminded me of another maker by the name of Matthias Pliessnig, who operates a studio in Brooklyn, New York. World-renowned, Matthias creates flowing structures and functional furniture that’s sometimes so large he needs to hire a crane to help him get a new piece out a set of doors in his second-storey studio. You can see more of his work on his website.

As far as I know, Matthias Pliessnig influenced Bae Se Hwa when he was starting to design and make furniture and art sculptures. Someone who influenced Matthias was New Zealander David Trubridge, who has been making furniture and other flowing sculptures for decades. You can see his work here.

I wish I knew the art of steam bending like these makers do. It sure does open up a lot of options, in terms of both design and function. One of these days I will open that door and try my hand at steam bending, but for now I can still enjoy what others do with steam-bent wood. Do you know any other makers doing incredible things with steam-bent wood? Send me an email or comment below. I’d love to check them out.

All of these makers are connected in the designs they create. They’re quite different from most woodworkers’ work and a nice change for me. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do.

“Rivulet Bench”
A bench designed and made by Matthias Pliessnig in his second-storey Brooklyn, New York studio. The largest pieces he makes get taken out of the studio with a crane through these green doors.

“Rivulet Bench”

Nothing Is Simple
Even getting many of Pliessnig’s pieces out of his study is a nerve-wracking experience.

Nothing Is Simple

“Raft Form”
David Trubridge made this piece in 1998, and is a strong influence for many other craftspeople that came after him.

“Raft Form”
Published:
Last modified: December 8, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

2 Comments

  1. I will never be so clever. But, excuse me, having a hobby cannot mean cracking one’s nuts. I’m Italian, I don’t know if my English is clear, but I think that you should create nice and elegant things, not super difficult ones.

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