How It’s Well Made: Woodworking with Bien Hecho | Episode 139

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Join us for a virtual visit to Bien Hecho, a woodworking business at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that specializes in making furniture, millwork, cabinetry, public street seats, and other custom woodwork from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced wood. We’ll hear the story behind John Randall’s decade-old business, and how he has salvaged and transformed scrap wood, from a Brooklyn water tower to the Coney Island boardwalk, into beautifully-designed pieces of furniture and functional sculptures. This program will also explore Bien Hecho Academy, where classes and workshops take place. We’ll show some of the machinery and tools in the woodworking shop with the Academy’s Director Angie Yang, and we’ll get some insider tips on woodworking you can do at home or that you can also put into practice by joining Bien Hecho Academy’s exciting classes.

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Saving the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed

Photo showing the Timber Shed in the forground with Admirals Row to the right and the Brooklyn Navy Yard behind.

For the first time in 175 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed has emerged from behind a wall, and it is being prepared for a new life. One of the oldest buildings at the Yard, it is one of the few few surviving structures that represents the Yard’s early history of wooden shipbuilding. 

Actually, the Timber Shed represents the whole purpose and justification for creating the Navy Yard in the first place. When Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert purchased 40 acres of land in Brooklyn 1801, he used appropriations for the purchase of timber, claiming that the Navy needed secure places to store it; otherwise, he was just wasting money moving the government-owned timber to the private shipyards that were building the ships. With this creative interpretation of the law, he created six shipyards that would be at the core of the US Navy for the next 160 years. In those other five Navy Yards (Portsmouth, Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Washington), none still have an extant timber shed.>> Continue reading

Press Release: Brooklyn Navy Yard Launches Fall 2016 Inside Industry Tour Series

The inside of a metal fabrication shop, a fork lift drives down the center of the space

Guided Tour Series Offers Insider’s View of Factories, Workshops, and Tech Hubs

(Brooklyn, NY) — Have you ever wondered what’s made at the Brooklyn Navy Yard? Now you can find out by joining special insider tours of some of the 330 businesses that call the thriving industrial park home. The tours will include visits to a wide range of facilities, from woodworking shops to spacesuit makers to the groundbreaking new technology center, New Lab.

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Well Made, Well Done: Inside Industry with Bien Hecho

We recently had the opportunity to visit a unique business in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will be a featured tenant on our Inside Industry Tour series, Bien Hecho, a woodworking outfit that specializes in making furniture, millwork, cabinetry, and other custom carpentry from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced wood. Founder John Randall sat down with us to talk about their business making beautiful work, and the Bien Hecho Academy.

Bien Hecho was founded by John nine years ago. Inspired by his travels to Spanish-speaking countries, and his efforts to master the language as an adult, John strives to live up to both meanings of his company’s name – create well-made (hecho bien) projects, and do a job well done (bien hecho). Located inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 3, their workshop is filled with wood and machinery that you won’t find in most of the other shops clustered in this part of the building. With a small team of just two full-time staff and a few part-timers, the company has nevertheless taken on some big and beautiful projects.>> Continue reading