A Brief History of Bench Dogs Inc.
Bench Dogs has its roots in the industrial and fine arts scene that occupied Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the early 90's. Husband and wife, Weber Roberts and Brooks Crane started Bench Dogs in their live/work loft in the Gretsch Building along the edge of the East River. As manufacturing space made way for residential apartments, Bench Dogs was forced our of their building and relocated to the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Soon there were Bench Puppies and having grown up in New England, Weber and Brooks moved to Rockland, ME to raise their family. Bench Dogs' first shop in Maine was at 21 Winter St., in a building recently torn down to make way for the new home of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Weber and Brooks built a mixed-use industrial building on the other end of town, 711 Main St. and lived above their new shop. Living and working on the water was a return to Bench Dogs' origins and was dream project, however, a dream that was quickly outgrown as both the business and the family expanded. The Bench Puppies moved to Hope, ME, while the business moved out to Washington, ME and into a much larger 6,000 S.F. facility. Bench Dogs has always combined old world skills and values with modern technology and sensibilities. This has allowed Bench Dogs to take on jobs of all sizes and perform them with equal care and professionalism. We look forward to every new project and hope to hear from you.
Weber was the much embarrassed recipient of a woodworking award in High School. While he had different aspirations for the use of his English degree from the University of Vermont, he returned to this early talent and embarked on a woodworking career soon after college. He began by working in a small cabinet shop in upstate New York and then he worked for Moon Cabinets in SoHo, working under the guidance of a traditionally trained Japanese woodworker. The shop's main business was to make artist reproductions for artists such as Donald Judd and Claus Oldenburg. With over 25 years of woodworking experience, Weber brings a level of expertise to the business which only experience can give you. Making the decision to start Bench Dogs was an exciting one and with the addition of four children into his life, there hasn't been a slow or dull day since.
Brooks grew up around construction, walking through many phases of each house her father built for his construction company, Three Seasons Builders, in Burlington, VT. Brooks also had a useless degree in English from the University of Vermont and so with a love of fine art, painting, sculpting and architecture, starting Bench Dogs with Weber felt like the natural thing to do. Brooks designed many of their early work and did all of the cabinet finishing for 10 years. Brooks finally gave up working to stay at home full-time to raise their four children. Brooks continues to help with odd tasks, making logos, websites and picking up plans at Staples when she is at the grocery store. With the youngest child off to kindergarten in the fall of 2015, Brooks will be going back to school to begin a degree in Architecture at the University of Maine/Augusta.
Bench Dogs has been fortunate to have many wonderful employees over the years. Many of the younger ones have gone on to form their own companies or return to school for art and design or furniture making.
Chris Wellman- Shop Manager
Chris realized he had a talent and passion for woodworking back in the 90's while taking a woodshop class in high school. After graduating, Chris was recruited by a local cabinet maker and worked as an apprentice where he learned traditional woodworking techniques. Several years later he was employed by another construction company as head cabinet maker where he designed and built high-end kitchens and furniture. In 2007 Chris ventured out on his own, starting South Hope Cabinetry where he continued to design and build custom woodwork. In 2010 the company name was changed to Buzzell Hill Woodworking & Design. Chris came to Bench Dogs over two years ago and is the backbone of the shop.
Phil has been finishing cabinets for over ? years.