We pride ourselves on providing consultative solutions and creative services that utilize wood, trees, metal and construction materials.
Creating, unique, artistic wood and metal pieces that accentuate or incorporate building elements.
Providing expertise and advisement in the management of, the best utilization of and the overall protection of trees and building products.
Assisting in the design and construction of homes to utilize best building practices.
Watson Springs Specialties is a wonderful resource for the community of builders, architects and highly invested homeowners who want to:
Please read our bios to learn more about us.
Landus Bennett is all about the wood. From start to finish every project he works on is focused on the wood and how best to preserve and use it properly.
A native of Oconee County, Landus learned woodworking early on as a teenager. From there he began working with a builder in Athens in the early 1980s. He learned the majority of his early skills working with talented trim carpenters. He eventually moved up to doing punchwork and fixing problems with new houses. It was here that he learned the lessons of what NOT to do. My job was dealing with the home owners after they purchased a “high end” expensive home and just realizing that the quality was less than par. After years of this, he felt that there has to be a better way which lead to him partnering with a colleague, who’s experience was more in framing, to start a business building from the ground up.
To up his game a little, while still building, running a crew of over ten people, Landus went to school at the Forestry school at UGA and after graduation continued graduate work in wood utilization under Dr. Tim Faust
After completing his graduate work, Landus continued building by helping his brother build his “dream” home. To keep the piece in the family and take an opportunity to continue learning, this project was done pro bono. It was a fun project in which students at the Forestry school came out to help and learn themselves.
After months of working for free and living in a camper, Landus took a job as a researcher for the J M Huber corporation in the engineered woods division. It was here that he was able to use his skills learned in the construction industry (good and bad) to help develop better building products.
Landus is driven to experiment and tinker to find new, effective solutions to problems. He loved to work in the lab and discover new things. One of those projects included dying flakes with very vibrant colors of aniline dyes and making oriented strand boards out of the colored flakes. One day, the president of the company saw some prototypes of what was made and immediately approved funding to continue my research. Unfortunately, this project never made it to the market; however, while working on this project, he submitted an idea to produce a panel for roofs that eliminated the need for roofing underlayment. That project lead to nearly a dozen patents, and the launch of J.M. Huber Corporation’s Zip system for roofs and walls which is changing the way we build houses today in regards to moisture and air management.
Landus thrives working in creative environments and likes to label himself a wood mad scientist. Also having worked in the world of concrete for big box stores, Landus has skills that transcend mediums and allow him to approach new projects in clever, practical ways.
Whether working on multimillion dollar houses or for companies like Georgia Pacific, Landus goes about doing things the right way. He researches, experiments, and tests—even building his own testing tools when needed.
Landus is a big believer in sustainability and feels that better building techniques lead to better products and houses, which mean a better overall environment.
Long established in the Athens area, Landus has been an instrumental hand in several local projects that have been crucial to the city, including helping restore the Georgia Theatre after it was gutted by a fire.
While his experience and skillset have spanned many industries and mediums, Landus still describes himself as a wood guy and says that working with wood is his favorite.
“I love what I’d do; I’d do it for free if I could.”
Richard Shrader loves to learn, in fact that’s what he’s done all of his professional life. Starting as a journeyman woodworker for Sutherland Studios, he has soaked in decades worth of knowledge in his time as a craftsman.
Richard describes himself as a functional artist, working in whatever medium—from wood to steel to silver—to create something that’s not only beautiful, but practical and fulfills its purpose. He studied graphic design at the Atlanta College of Art in the 1980s, but quickly found out that a desk job wasn’t in his future.
Early in his career, Richard built custom designer furniture as part of his own business, treating each piece as a new challenge. That drive to figure out solutions and designs while meeting client’s needs and limitations is what keeps him coming back each day.
Custom furniture isn’t the only thing Richard has experience in; he’s also built sets for movies and trade shows.
While approaching new projects, whether they be multi-million dollar houses or small custom metalworks, Richard tackles things with—in his words—child’s eyes. This keeps his approach fresh and allows him to find innovative, and beautiful, ways to bring things to life.
The Chapel Hill native loves to teach and learn from others, often attending trade shows, professional development opportunities and industry workshops. Time and time again, Richard has gone out of his way to expand the tools in his toolbelt (literally and figuratively). During the housing bust, he began working more with metal to diversify, further adding to his expert abilities.
Richard says he’s always looking to go bigger and push himself forward. In business in Watkinsville since the late 90’s, he’s an established presence in Northeast Georgia. His craftsmanship is known far and wide, as are his abilities working with wood, metal and just about anything else that comes his way.
And each job is approached in a methodical, thoughtful way. As he puts it, “There’s so much satisfaction in doing something right.”
See rshrader.com for more on Richard’s art.