Hello, my name is Tom Benware. I live in the Adirondacks and I am a Mountain man!
Oh by the way, I build Adirondack Rustic Furnishings. As a lifelong resident of the Adirondack region, I grew up in the small town of Galway, which is just south of the Great Sacandaga Lake. I feel blessed everyday that I’m able to take part in this grandeur known as the “Adirondacks”.
I still recall the day I became an “Adirondacker”. It was over 30 years ago when I was a boy of eleven. My brother took me along on a backpacking trip to the “High Peaks”. We spent three days bushwhacking our way up Santinonni, Panther & Couch in a steady heavy rain with fog so thick you couldn’t see 20 yards ahead. We were wet, tired, scratched up and hungry. And I had the best time of my life. That’s when I became hooked on the Adirondacks.
From that day on I knew I would spend my life devoted to the Adirondack Mountains. I joined my high school Explorer Troop and spent the rest of my high school years making endless trips to the Adirondacks hiking, camping, and backpacking with my friends. After that it seemed only natural to pursue my goals by seeking a formal education at Paul Smith’s College in the heart of the Adirondacks
When I left Paul Smith’s, a job opportunity led me to Granby, Colorado. There I became part of a logging crew and was doing quite nicely. But the Rockies as magnificent as they are, wasn’t the place for me. So when things shut down for winter, I followed another prospect to Houston, Texas. While there, I worked in a downtown office. I even wore a suit and tie to work. Boy, that really didn’t feel right.
I needed to be near the place that means so much to me. I decided to return and find employment that would at least enable me to be near my beloved “Cloud Country”. I tried many things to support my family and myself. I worked in a tree nursery, I worked as a mechanic, a salesman, I cut firewood, I did whatever I had to do. Then I became a carpenter, starting out as a laborer. Quickly, becoming proficient at framing and finishing and then I moved onto running construction jobs as foreman and supervisor.
When I needed more challenge and better opportunities, I began my own contracting business. I started out small doing odd jobs and repairs. My new endeavor also grew quickly and soon I was taking on additions, decks, and roofing which led to garages and then to complete homes. But even with all that success there was still something missing. I felt I was wasting my talent on projects that could have been handled by most competent builders. I felt I had something very special and unique to offer for all to enjoy.
That day over 30 years ago, while bushwhacking through the tangled underbrush, during a miserable Adirondack downpour, miles from any sign of civilized accommodations, the mountains claimed me. The Adirondacks claimed me just like they claim all true “Adirondackers”. All those years I spent trying to find my way three things remained constant; the love for my family, my devotion to the Adirondacks, and my passion to create. I have spent considerable time studying and applying my techniques to develop me very own special and unique interpretation of rustic furniture.
Presently my work is on display at the finest galleries and lodges in the Adirondacks and throughout New England. One of my original designed floor lamps won 2 nd place at the 1999 Annual Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s Fine Woodworking Show in Saratoga Springs, NY. I displayed at the 2000 Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Furniture Fair in Blue Mountain Lake ,NY and will be at 2001’s too. My work is featured in Ralph Kylloe’s latest book “Rustic Artistry For The Home” (Gibbs/Smith). I’ve been featured in “Luxury Golf Homes & Resorts (The Robb Report) and more to come soon.
I feel it is an honor and my duty to pay tribute to the Adirondack legacy by leaving behind for all to share what the Adirondacks has given me.
I believe after seeing my work all would agree. I am “The Adirondack Wood wright”.