Father-Son Duo Shapes Router Workshop Into a Master Class for Woodcrafters

The Router Workshop
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“Routers aren’t just tools,” Rick Rosendahl, Managing Director of Router Workshop reflects, “they’re catalysts to creativity, and what we do is help crafters unlock that potential.” This optimistic outlook illuminates his perspective towards woodworking as an art and not merely a trade.

Rick, alongside his father Bob Rosendahl, has crafted Router Workshop into a global phenomenon over the past 28 years, creating an impressive portfolio of 183 episodes spread over 14 series. Together, they have braved the ebbs and flows of the industry, innovating and adapting to meet the evolving interests of their audience.

When the world came to a halt in 2020, many industries crumbled under the weight of the unprecedented crisis. However, the woodworking industry and, by extension, Router Workshop, witnessed an unexpected resurgence. As Rick explains, “Lockdowns triggered a rise in at-home hobbies, and woodworking was no exception.”

Reports from Statista support this, showing that the DIY market witnessed a remarkable growth of 30% in 2020, spearheaded by woodworking activities. Router Workshop rode this wave effectively, leveraging its digital presence to cater to the surge in interest. It registered a whopping 60% increase in online viewership, showcasing the duo’s masterclass content and the resilience of their audience’s passion for woodworking.

Despite the criticisms of traditionalists who argue that hands-on, physical experience is irreplaceable, the Rosendahls have proven that effective learning can transcend physical boundaries. As David McMillan, a long-time viewer and a passionate woodcrafter, expresses, “Router Workshop has revolutionized the way we perceive woodworking education. The traditional setting is no longer the only way to learn.”

Yet, detractors remain. Renowned woodworker and author, Sandra Bennett, raises a point of contention. “Woodworking is tactile. It’s physical. It’s about feeling the grain of the wood, adjusting your approach based on what the material tells you,” she asserts. “Can that truly be learned through a screen?”

Rick Rosendahl doesn’t shy away from this criticism. He agrees that woodworking is a physical craft, but emphasizes the intellectual component it carries. “Woodworking is also about understanding, about technique, about learning from others’ experiences,” he says, “And these can certainly be conveyed digitally.”

His beliefs find support in numbers. A recent survey by Woodworking Network indicates a growing preference for online woodworking classes, with 70% of respondents stating that digital learning resources like Router Workshop have significantly improved their skills.

Looking to the future, Rick foresees a growing symbiosis between woodworking and digital learning. “Change is inevitable,” he notes, “As woodworkers, we know this better than anyone. Wood changes. It expands, contracts, molds itself to the world around it. And we, as woodworkers, must do the same.”

This philosophy extends beyond personal belief. It manifests itself as the guiding principle for Router Workshop, shaping its direction and strategies. By embracing change, leveraging digital advancements, and continuously innovating their offerings, Rick and Bob Rosendahl are not just teaching woodworking – they are shaping the future of woodworking education itself.

Digital and physical realities intertwine more than ever, and Router Workshop stands as a shining example of how traditional skills can be effectively taught in the new age, and how a father-son duo from humble beginnings can influence an industry in profound and lasting ways. With their continued dedication and innovative approach, the Router Workshop promises to remain at the forefront of woodworking education, carving a niche that extends beyond borders and continues to inspire enthusiasts worldwide.

Rick’s final reflection encapsulates their vision. “We started as woodworkers and educators. Today, we are also pioneers and influencers in digital learning. Our story is a testament to the power of adaptability. And it’s a story we will continue to write, one episode at a time.


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