Idaho Student Takes First in National Woodworking Competition

Friday, July 24 2009

July 24, 2009

Note to Media: Mahic is pronounced "Mah-hitch"

MOSCOW, Idaho – Alen Mahic, a University of Idaho student from Boise, has captured the first place award in the chair portion of Fresh Wood, a national student woodworking competition.

Mahic designed and built the chair, entitled "Cinnamon Roll," while completing his bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture this spring. Made of Baltic Birch plywood, the chair's design is one continuous line that folds into itself to create two pieces: a chair and an ottoman.

"This year was my introduction to woodworking; I had never done this before," said Mahic. "I'm a little overwhelmed just winning the prize, particularly with all the other great pieces that were at the show. It's an honor to receive this award and get the recognition."

Judges, ranging from woodworkers to educators and retail and trade company representatives, reviewed entries based on the design, innovation and quality of presentation, the use of materials, methods and processes, the functionality and achievement of design intent and craftsmanship and quality.

During the student round-table session, which afforded the students a chance to discuss their pieces with industry professionals, Mahic’s chair was discussed as having great potential to be produced and marketed at a larger scale.

Mahic received a $1,000 prize and a certificate of merit. AWFS also covered shipping and the majority of travel and hotel costs to bring the students and their teachers to the fair.
"I want to thank the University of Idaho and my professors, particularly Frank Jacobus, and Jay Pengilly in the technical shop, for helping me as I designed and built this chair," said Mahic.

The competition, part of the recent Association of Woodworking Furnishings and Suppliers’ (AWFS) Fair held in Las Vegas, Nev., attracted 165 entries from 49 different post-secondary and high schools in the U.S. and Canada.

The AWFS Fair has become a critical hub for international commerce in the woodworking industry. The AWFS Fair brings together the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, lumber, construction materials and other suppliers to the furniture, cabinet manufacturers and custom woodworkers.

Another master's of architecture alumna of the university's College of Art and Architecture, Amy Probert from Boise, also was among the 50 finalists.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit
Media Contact: Joni Kirk, University Communications, (208) 885-7725, Photos are available at  

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit