Specialty Woodworkers Abound – You Just Have To Know Where To Look…

  |  June 9, 2015

This past weekend we had the pleasure of heading over to Rob Hare and Iza Trapani’s home in Ulster Park for a summer evening barn dance. (By the way, Iza is a well-known author and illustrator). Rob and I started talking about the high density of woodworking artists and craftspeople in the area around Kingston, many of whom work quietly (if that is a word you can apply to a woodworking shop) just down the street. I didn’t realize how much talent we have in our midst!

Rob himself was one of the pioneers in the revitalization of the Rondout area in Kingston going back to the 80s, and for 35 years he has worked professionally as a sculptor, teacher, draftsman, metal worker, foundry man, woodworker and furniture maker.

As we looked around the barn at folks that had come out to relax on this warm summerlike evening, Rob pointed out other members, like himself, of the Hudson Valley Furniture Makers like Michael Puryear from Shokan, Jeff Johnson from Poughkeepsie, Andrew Hunter from Accord. I think David Morton from Big Tree Woodworks based in Kingston was there, too.


Furniture by Micheal Puryear.

Founded in 2008, Hudson Valley Furniture Makers showcases the designer/makers of custom furniture in the region. As makers of one of a kind or limited edition furniture, they offer clients high quality, hand-crafted furniture. We started talking about some of the other firms around, especially in Kingston.

Jim Kricker was there as well. Jim Kricker was there as well. He’ll be heading up the newly established Riverport Wooden Boat School. He has a longstanding mill restoration shop in Saugerties called Rondout Woodworking that got its start back at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in the 1980s when it included a boat shop and rigging loft.

There is Rowan Woodwork in Kingston owned by Suzanne Walton and Tim McCann. Rowan is a highly productive custom millwork shop that produces high-end cabinetry and woodwork.

Catskill Woodworking and Catskill Custom Carpentry  are located in Midtown Kingston. Owned by Robert Allen and Chris Sell, they have been working with Architects, Designers and General Contractors for over 20 years. Their work is primarily focused on custom fabrication of interior and exterior millwork, cabinetry, vanities, mantles, and doors… you get the idea.

The focus of a recent Upstater blog by Haynes Llewellyn, Jack Decker at Vernacular Design in Midtown Kingston is inspired by simple, clean, well executed design.


Gary Speigel’s Office, courtesy of Saw Moulding.

Gary Spiegel created Spiegel Architectural Woodworks and SAW Moulding in 1981, and today operates a manufacturing facility where they are able to produce the highest quality mouldings and millwork available. Check out their online catalogue of mouldings available in any species of wood. They can also produce custom mouldings to meet any requirements. SAW Moulding mainly delivers to the tri-state area, but ships as far as Japan, California, Canada and Puerto Rico. Even though SAW Mouldings has gone into famous buildings and large estates, Gary always appreciates the customer from Kingston that brings in a piece of moulding that they need to match for their old house. (I know because I was desperately trying to match some exterior crown moldings for my 1923-built Dutch Colonial and couldn’t come close at the local lumber yards.)


Selections from the ‘blackline’ series from Blackcreek Mercantile and Trading Co.

Finally, there is Joshua Vogel who created Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. as a way to explore small-scale product design and manufacturing whose products are made locally by people on Cedar Street in the Midtown Kingston, New York studio.

I am sure there are more! Kingston has got some talent.

About Gregg Swanzey

Gregg Swanzey, a longtime advocate for the Hudson River and the Mid-Hudson Region, first moved to the Rondout neighborhood in Kingston with his family in 1986 fresh off several years as Captain of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Since then, he has crossed the Atlantic three times, served as Executive Director for a gubernatorially appointed Commission in Massachusetts, and traveled to far-flung places such as St. Petersburg, Russia; Reykjavik, Iceland; and the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. After four years in City Hall as Director of Economic Development and Strategic Partnerships for the City of Kingston, he has recently come aboard as Executive Director for the Winnakee Land Trust based in Rhinebeck in Northern Dutchess County. On any given day you might see him out jogging on one of several rail trails that converge in Kingston, kayaking the Hudson over to Rhinecliff, biking Uptown to the Farmer’s Market, climbing to the top of Burger Hill in Winnakee's Drayton Grant Park, or hanging out at home in a classic 1920's Dutch Colonial overlooking the Hudson with his wife, Emma. His two daughters live and work in New York City but are regularly up the River for the weekend.

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