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On Drydock Avenue, local craftsmen still work with their hands

Posted by Patrick Rosso  January 24, 2014 05:23 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2014)


In Video: Richard Oedel, managing partner of the Fort Point Cabinetmakers.


Designed and built in the South Boston Waterfront, but shipped to clients across the United States, Fort Point Cabinetmakers has found a home in the Innovation and Design Building in South Boston.

The cooperative, founded on Congress Street in 1979, has been a steady fixture in the Fort Point community, even though it has called a Drydock Avenue home since 2006.

“We started in the Fort Point and as rents got more and more expensive we moved over here,” said Richard Oedel, managing partner of the Fort Point Cabinetmakers. “We’re starting to get more business, and it’s been a good move for us.”

Using the finest quality wood, the designers work tirelessly cutting, shaping, and refining their handmade products.

Every piece is custom, with designers working closely with clients to not only create a functional piece of furniture, but something that is artistic in its own right.

“We really do a lot of one-of-a-kind work,” Oedel said. “We’ll have a client come in and ask us for a specific piece or they will have an idea, and we’ll refine that and work with them to really bring it from an idea and concept into actual reality.”

Although rent has been rising in the area, the cooperative has remained committed to the neighborhood because of the community that can be found there, from robotic start-ups to well-known architects.

“Certainly there’s been a lot of growth in South Boston over the past couple of years,” Oedel said. “What it means for us is the parking is more expensive, there’s more traffic, but it also means a more vibrant community.”

“We have people in the building now we would have never thought we’d have here five or six years ago,” Oedel said. “We’re working with architects, we’re working with design firms; we’re working with people we just had no concept existed.”

With new businesses moving into the industrial area just over the channel from South Boston’s City Point neighborhood, Oedel said business is good and he’s excited to see the new neighborhood grow into itself.

“The concern with the Seaport area is that it becomes nothing but high-end office space and that may be great for certain people, but it doesn’t contribute to that sense of community and it doesn’t really create that innovation processes,” said Oedel. “What we hope will happen is we’ll have a core group of crafts people as well as a group of people that work with CNC equipment and robotics . We do some laser cutting, but we don’t do those things here, we have our friends do them, what would be ideal is to have those people in this building as well.”

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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