I started Black Dog way back in 1998 from a garage in Te Awamutu with my best mate Arnie Boo Beatle or (Boo) as he was affectionally known.
I love working with wood and have done so for most of my life, from leaving school to work in the Kaingaroa Forest as a woodsman right up to the present day, crafting furniture out of the finished product.
As a woodsman I planted saplings, pruned and thinned trees, logged and milled timber. I love the fact that I have been involved in a variety of aspects of the forestry industry – the growing and nurturing of timber as well as the process of making forever furniture from it.
I especially enjoy making bar leaners, bars and banquet settings.
In my spare time I like walking our black lab Bean, relaxing at the beach with my wife Sandy, watching the sun come up, and playing golf badly.
Some stuff about me people may not know:
I once got gored by a bull at the running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
I can drink a pint of lager whilst upside down.
I get a lot of advice from my Business Strategist, Bean our C.E.O (Canine Executive Officer)
If I was a piece of Black Dog Furniture I would definitely be one of our iconic Woolpress Leaners because they are simple, strong and useful with a certain country vibe going on.
Mark R - Factory Manager
I joined the family of Black Dog furniture in 2019 and have since enjoyed 3 years of being part of a highly skilled and creative team.
Our quest for continual improvement and ongoing customer satisfaction makes for a positive and vibrant work place.
Outside of work I cherish my family time. My lovely wife and I have two young children and our dog Marley who joined the family 18 months ago.
We enjoy going out together cycling and walking often having a picnic. Simple pleasures that go a long way.
With what time is left I find myself doing home improvements and there is always a project on the go in my workshop.
As for what piece of furniture I would be, well I believe through my own experiences I am able to reflect on the point of view of others, so I think a mirror would be apt.
I joined Black Dog Furniture in August of 2016, bringing a passion for constructing unique, detail-oriented furniture.
My woodworking journey began just outside of New York City, where building a wooden birdhouse in Cub Scouts enraptured my eight-year-old mind.
My spare time usually involves wildlife photography or adventures with my wife and black labrador,Yeti.
A few interesting facts about myself are:
I’ve been cage diving with great white sharks in Australia.
I’m a published author
In high school the Pittsburgh Pirates (American professional baseball team) invited me to try out.
If I was a piece of Black Dog furniture I’d be a pine swing seat because, like pine, I’m also not native to New Zealand and always moving about the garden.
In the summer of 2015 fate shifted life sideways from years of teaching to joining my husband, Andy and the Black Dog pack.
Systems and people orientated, I love working on streamlining operations for sales and manufacturing.
When the thrill of all that wears off, I enjoy gardening, far too much Netflix and Neon, playing ukulele and hanging out at the beach with Bean and my family.
A few things that you cant tell by looking at me are:
I have spoken to Neil Armstrong (on the phone)
Travelled to Japan five times to teach English
Held the high score for GALAGA in a Sydney nightclub for at least 2 hours.
If I was a piece of Black Dog furniture I’d be a collapsible hire leaner, adaptable for many situations and events and often collapse at the end of the day.
Originally a Cambridge-ite, I returned to the town of trees from 16 years in Auckland and have been with Black Dog since November 2020.
My customer service, attention to detail and caring (and feeding) Bean have led me to succeed in my role which sees me on the showroom floor as well as administration in the office.
App most visited – Facebook, admittingly 50% of screen time, averaging an hour a day.
Proudly made a wooden puzzle when 14 years old but has not made anything since.
My toolbox consists of a couple of screw drivers, a drill and some attachments which I have no idea how or when to use.
If Michelle was a piece of Black Dog furniture she would be the whole showroom as she is able to meet the needs of all our customers (Sandy unquote).
I joined Black Dog in March 2020 after working as a timber joiner for 8 years.
I bring a passion for creativity and quality working with timber.
I built my first wooden thing at the age of 7 being an aeroplane which I still have to this day. Working at Black Dog I enjoy the variety of furniture I produce and seeing the reactions of happy customers.
My favourite Black Dog pieces of furniture are Butchers blocks, X-leg tables and Swing seats.
I would never be seen without my beard, although looking 10 years younger without it might not be a bad thing.
My favourite expression would be: it’ll happen when it happens, some things in life you can’t control, when it’s meant to happen, it will.
In my free time I love to spend time with my amazing wife and my Shih Tzu/Japanese Spitz dog Felix.
Interesting facts about me:
I was born in Llandough, Wales. Myself and my family emigrated to NZ in January 1997
Was a rowing coxswain for 12 years with 11 medals gained along the way
Did architecture for 4 years before getting into the woodworking industry
If I was a piece of Black Dog furniture I’d be a coat stand as I’m usually the first to greet you as you walk in the door and I resemble a coat stand in stature.
I first joined Black Dog in 2000 when it first began and worked for 5 years in all facets of manufacturing.
I then travelled to Changdu China to teach English and met my wife Lily.
We now have two sons and a home in Hamilton.
With years of car painting experience behind me I rejoined the BD pack as the finisher in 2020.
I enjoy all aspects of the job, from working with the cabinet makers to being part of a unique company that delivers locally handmade furniture. As the finisher I get to unlock the natural characteristics of the timber.
In my “not BD time”, I enjoy taking Max my son to the cricket nets to work on his cover drive or simply listening to Leo’s amazingly imaginative stories.
Other interests are scouring antique shops for CDs, non fiction books, paintings and old prints.
I once stayed on a launch with 10 others, including ex Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. We all attended the 2011 Rugby World Cup final together.
My best cricket bowling figures are 7 for 19 (C grade)
The collective noun for ravens is a conspiracy or an unkindness.
If I was a piece of BD furniture I’d be a chopping block cos my head always seems to be on it
I joined Black Dog in January 2019 bringing expertise in admin and accounts.
My favourite BD piece of furniture is 50/50 with our custom made bed or my Black Dog bread bin, but it’s super hard having a favourite!!
I would never be seen without my glasses.
I spend my free time on my block with the husband, dog and stud Hereford cattle. Plus enjoying anything outdoors, hunting, SXS trails, kayaking, and bush walks.
Yes I have a dog. She is a bull terrier and her name is Faith, she is akin to a toddler but on 4 legs.
I have dabbled in making something wooden, but I’ll leave it up to the experts at BD to make my furniture, I’ll stick to the keyboard.
If I was a piece of Black Dog Furniture, I’d be a garden swing seat, enjoying the outdoors in all seasons.
Huxley 106579 aka Bean
Woof woof woof. Ima dawg. Ima dawg.
I come Black Dog when I was one year old. Now CEO (Canine Executive Officer)
I train to be Guide Dog but was too hard. I like shadows and lights. I watch them, not show human where to walk.
I have many jobs. I sign chew papers.
I chew scraps of wood. Make mess on big kennel floor. No treats.
I like carrying board to factory. No chew board. Get treats.
I good at going to human’s car to say hello. No barking get treat. Like treats.
I good at lying down. Lie down in doorway. Human growl. Don’t understand. No treats.
Office humans nice. Give treats. Play with me. Scratch ears. Cuddle me. Andy good. Walk every morning. I love.
I sit. He whistle.He gives me good food. I like food.
In my free time I lie around and make grunting noises.
I love beach. I love waves and meet other dawgs.
I like in car, in the car! In the car! Face out window. Mouth makes mess on car.
If I was BD furniture I’d be all of them. I give years of faithful service
I dabbled in woodwork at a young age making slingshots out of scraps of elastic from my mother’s sewing supplies and random pieces of timber.
A guitarist by trade, the different tonalities and characteristics of timber have led me down this rabbit hole of woodworking and furniture making. That and my guilty pleasure of math…
I have a penchant for cooking, but I don’t consider myself a typical foody. Gardening has since become another hobby of mine as a result.
I was married in Vegas at the Graceland chapel
Some of my favourite things –
A duck wandering around with a row of ducklings in tow
Spotting someone talking on their phone with their phone’s torch unintentionally on at the same time
Small Town over-sized monuments
Route chat – discussing the optimum way to get somewher
If I was a piece of Black Dog furniture I would be an arm chair – beautifully sculpted legs, robust back and strong arms that you just can’t stop yourself from squeezing.
I joined Black Dog in February 2022, after graduating from a set and props Diploma in Theatre and Film from Toi Whakaari in Wellington.
The first wooden thing I can remember making is a wooden sword out of a piece of plywood at age 11.
It’s been all go from there, leading me into a love of making, creating and culminating in building Obi Wan Kenobi’s lightsabre as a final assessment at university.
Coming from a film background where no two projects are the same,
I enjoy the variety of furniture we make at BD.
I would never be seen without my car, an old BMW E30, which was one of my dream cars as a child.
As I don’t have any pets, most of the attention and care gets directed at my car.
One of my favourite expressions, especially when I’m dealing with my car is “What’s the worst that could happen?”
If I was a piece of BD furniture I’d probably be the iconic Woolpress bar leaner, as it’s a versatile shape and works anywhere.