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From a hobby to a growing business

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These are a few of the many decorative door and window frame corners Paul Robinson has designed with the use of his CNC router.

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Paul (right) and Trever Robinson stand next to the computer system that is programmed when using the CNC router shown to the left in the background. (photos by Mavis Gonshorowski)

Patti Robinson is "right at home" in her office where she is in charge of the cabinet hardware department of Robinson's Hardware Supply.

Patti Robinson is “right at home” in her office where she is in charge of the cabinet hardware department of Robinson’s Hardware Supply.

It all started about 20 to 25 years ago, when Paul Robinson began working with wood as a hobby.

Married in 1993, in October 1995, he and his wife, Patti, moved to the present day location of their home northeast of Greenbush where Paul began learning how to do woodworking on his own. Though continuing to work away from home he found time to enjoy his woodworking hobby as a sideline.

“By the spring of 2008 I was working in my shop full time so I resigned from my regular job.  The only advertising done was by word of mouth, showing my work at the Thief River Falls Home Show and the Roseau County Fair.  Having my own page on Facebook has also been helpful. 

The existing 30 foot x 50 foot workshop which Paul remodeled to fill his needs is divided into three areas.  Besides the actual shop space, there is a wood warehouse and 10’ x 24’ finishing room.

The demand of his custom-built cabinets, vanities, and mantels has increased considerably over the years; he also continues to make hutches, gun cabinets, and bedroom sets among other woodworking project.

“We’re going to have to expand eventually, probably in the next year or two…we’re bursting at the seams!” Paul said. 

The woodworking begins when Paul first draws out the desired pattern using a CAD (computer-aided design). He then sets the CNC router (a computer-controlled cutting machine) which is his latest prize purchase, and cuts out parts for the project he’s working on, which is mainly cabinets.

“With the CNC router, I can do engravings – pictures of deer, moose, flowers, signs, and I do a lot of engraving of names on toy boxes and things like that. There are thousands of designs that a person can do.”

The couple has two children. Daughter Anisa is a part-time parish builder and full-time employee at “Smashburger” in Mesa, Ariz. 

Son, Trever, a 2016 GMR High School graduate, began working with his dad in the summer of 2012.

“The first summer was kind of rough…training, learning…I didn’t know if I really liked it,” he remarked.  “The next summer I liked it better, and as I continued to work, I have come to really like it now.”

A full-time employee, Trever laughingly said, “My special duty is taking orders from my dad!  He has me building face frames for cabinet jobs, gluing all the cabinet boxes together, and stuff like that.  Now I’m getting trained to do finished work; staining, clear coating, etc., and just starting to learn how to operate the CNC machine.”

Robinson Wood Furnishings began expanding.

“Our business started with woodworking.  Then we branched off because of the woodworking,” Paul remarked. “I was looking for some suppliers for my cabinet hardware and the more research I did, people on the internet and elsewhere were saying the prices for cabinet hardware parts were too costly.  So we found a wholesaler who was willing to work with us. We were able to sell our products for less than retail cost, the reason being that we have a very small over head.”

Patti Robinson entered into the business in January of this year.

To learn more about this family woodworking business, go to: robinsonwoodfurnishings.com.

To see more of this story, read the December 14 edition of The Tribune. 

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