Our Story

Our Story

General

Woodbender is a family-owned and run business started by the Mast family in 1988. Inspired by the old-world tradition of bending solid wood, we have spent the last three decades building specialised machinery and experimenting with different timbers and designs to create a comprehensive product range which includes dining chairs, kitchen and bar stools, tables, occasional chairs and two seaters as well as a small collection of children’s furniture.

Today, we are the preferred furniture supplier for many top South African brands. Woodbender is synonymous with high quality wooden furniture that is unique, durable, and comfortable. We pride ourselves in offering excellent value for both private and trade customers across South Africa and beyond.

General

Our People

Our People are the backbone to our business and comprises of our team of hardworking colleagues and our exceptional suppliers. Together, Woodbender is able to ensure a product and service that not only meets but exceeds our market’s expectations.

Our customers range from private homeowners to interior designers, architects, restaurants, franchise groups, hotels, casinos, hospitals, retirement villages, sports clubs, schools and so the list continues. They play an essential role in the creation of their product through their selection of timber finish and upholstery fabric.

Our team works closely with our customers to finalise their selections guaranteeing a product that is unique and perfectly suited to our customer’s needs.

Our People

Our Product

Our Product is handcrafted in South Africa and has been designed to be hardwearing and durable without sacrificing on design finesse or character. Woodbender products offer the perfect balance of functionality and beauty.

Every item is individually handcrafted in solid wood and is sourced from sustainably certified forests.

Our range includes dining chairs, kitchen and bar stools, tables, occasional chairs and two seaters as well as a small collection of children’s furniture. Our product is made from solid bentwood components which ensures not only a unique product, but more importantly, a product that is superior in strength. As such, our products are perfect for the hospitality industry or the private homeowner who wants quality furniture that will stand the test of time. We offer a six-year structural guarantee on all our indoor furniture.

Our Product

Our Process

Woodbender makes use of a specialised manufacture process of steaming and bending solid timber. This technique has been refined and perfected over the years and is the key to the success of a Woodbender product.

Bending wood was first done by hand in the late 18th Century in Europe and was used for making sleighs, tools and later furniture. Today at Woodbender it is achieved through custom made machinery that is operated by skilled craftspeople. The bentwood components produced pass through a minimum of six departments within the factory before reaching quality control where they are packaged and prepared for local and international delivery.

We only manufacture to order which minimises the risk of wasting valuable resources. We are also committed to cross training our team and upskilling where possible. This sustainable approach to manufacture and team management is something we are proud of and continually develop.

Our Process

History

The history of Woodbender spans three generations, over three decades. In 1988 a passion for woodwork, combined with a fascination with the art of bending wood sparked the beginning of an idea that would take the Mast family on a journey to growing a well-established and much-loved South African brand of furniture, synonymous with quality, durability, design and value.

We invite you to explore the Woodbender journey over the years.

1988

1988

Woodworking was always a passion of Charles Mast and together with his wife Shirley they started the business.

1989

1989

Over the weekends his father John Mast would help out before later joining full time in 1991.

1990

1990

After 18 months they had learnt how to make all the bentwood components for their first bentwood “Café Chair.”

1991

1991

As demand and popularity grew they set up a stand at the local craft market in Somerset West.

1992

1992

The Captain’s Chair has had many design transformations over the years, leading up to the Captains Classic and Vogue.

1993

1993

The Classic Toddler’s Diner was first tried and tested by the Mast children and is still a popular high chair in restaurants and homes today.

1994

1994

The Durban Stools were first introduced and they have remained a timeless classic within the range.

1995

1995

Our first hydraulic woodbending machine was made by Charles Mast based on a sketch from a text book.

1996

1996

We moved into our current premises in Strand Industria where our factory and Helderberg showroom are based.

1997

1997

Our first children’s table and chair range was launched and quickly became popular in schools and homes nationwide.

1998

1998

Over the years Woodbender has exhibited at many different local tradeshows including Hostex and Decorex.

1999

1999

We decided to exclusively manufacture in sustainable Ash timber from FSC registered forests for our indoor furniture.

2000

2000

The Chopstix chair was one of the first custom designs we worked on for a new concept restaurant.

2001

2001

We launched our first website.

2002

2002

Our first international trade show as part of the South African Pavilion at the High Point Furniture Market, North Carolina, USA.

2003

2003

The Indaba range was first designed with matching bar stools and has always been a showcase of the beauty of bentwood.

2004

2004

We developed and grew our upholstery division and with that came the Arabella range.

2005

2005

The Morgan chairs have been a South African hotel and restaurant favourite for over 25 years.

2006

2006

We opened our first showroom at Peter Place in Johannesburg and started to expand our tabling range.

2007

2007

After 16 years John Mast retired but kept himself up to date and visited regularly.

2008

2008

The ever popular Salsa Stool was first introduced into the range.

2009

2009

Charles and Shirley Mast visited IMM Cologne for the first time. One of the largest tradeshows dedicated solely to furniture.

2010

2010

The Chelsea Showwood, which is Shirley Mast’s personal favourite chair, was launched along with the other Chelsea designs.

2011

2011

The Plettenberg case goods range was developed in response to the contemporary trend of sharp square lines.

2012

2012

The Kramerville showroom was opened and was our Gauteng location until 2017.

2013

2013

Woodbender celebrated 25 years with a staff celebration. By this time both Mast children were full time Woodbender employees.

2014

2014

Shirley and Emily Mast represented Woodbender at IMM Cologne furniture fair on the SIPPO pavilion.

2015

2015

The ever popular Karoo Nylon Strapping range expanded to include a bar stool, tub, two seater and ottoman.

2016

2016

Woodbender collaborated with designers on the new Mugg and Bean furniture. Woodbender has been the proud supplier of Mugg and Bean furniture since 1997.

2017

2017

Woodbender moved from Kramerville to Parkhurst and launched the award winning Riga and Alta chairs.

2018

2018

Celebrated 30 years of perfecting the art of solid bentwood.

2019

2019

We introduced the Kariba, Makuti and Calvin Chairs and Bar Stools to our range.

2019

2019

Woodbender celebrated 30 years of business, the Helderberg showroom was opened and Andy Mast became the General Manager.

2020

2020

We launched our updated Website.

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