Behind the Mask: Andy Weld of Rovan Handcrafted Furniture Company
It all began in a garage in Cedar Falls, IA. At that time Rovan wasn’t even a furniture company yet - it was a custom drum company. Tinkering and experimenting with drum shells is what ultimately brought Andy to woodworking and furniture building. After taking a job restoring antique furniture in Saint Paul, then spending time studying woodworking and working in an unheated woodshop outside of Boulder, Andy came back to the Twin Cities in 2013 to lay down the roots for Rovan Hand Crafted Furniture. Every day since then, Andy has focused on providing custom pieces for commercial spaces, watering holes, and residential heirlooms.
Q: Tell us about the type of work Rovan creates.
A: We build one-of-a-kind, custom furniture. Everything is built with a unique style and aesthetic for both commercial and residential environments. We really never build the same thing twice which makes every day and every project really interesting and fun. We've created pieces for yoga studios, coffee shops, breweries, museums... and also a lot of custom pieces for residential spaces.
Q: What is the best part of being a wood worker?
A: The satisfaction of being able to build something and at the end of the day, seeing the physical progress of a dining table or chair coming to life. It’s instant satisfaction daily. Working with my hands and being active all day – it’s the best.
Q: What activities in your work require you to wear a dust mask?
A: One aspect of my work that requires wearing a dust mask is sanding reclaimed wood. It is a species of wood that kicks up a ton of nasty dust and dirt that is caked into the wood – definitely things you don’t want to breathe in. Ripping wood on a table saw is another time I must wear a dust mask because there is so much dust kicking up right into my face. Of course you should always wear a mask when sanding, even if you can’t physically see the dust - I guarantee the tiny pieces of dust are there.
Q: How do you like the RZ Mask compared to any other mask you have tried?
A: I really like the M1 Neoprene mask as it fits very comfortably on my face. I don’t feel like my breathing is restricted at all like I do with some of the other masks I have tried and my glasses didn't fog up! The RZ Mask is a mask that I can wear all day and forget I even have it on.
Q: What are your Top 5 Tools
A: 1. Time Savers/ Wide Belt Sander - acquiring this tool is a huge milestone and allows us to flatten table tops and expedite the sanding process.
2. Saw Stop Table Saw - the daily workhorse, not a day goes by without turning on this saw and making dust.
3. Festool Track Saw - for obscure and unique cuts that the table saw otherwise cannot accomplish.
4. Mini Ball Peen Hammer - its amazing how often we find a use for a ball peen hammer in a woodshop. We often pull this special tool out to peen the end of a tiny brass rod on some custom drawer pull for a credenza or bookcase.
5. The Ping Pong Table - which doubles as a workbench, but it is important to play the occasional ping pong game to refresh the mind and laugh with my shop buds.
Q: What is one of your most memorable projects?
A: About 2-3 years ago we built the furniture in the museum lobby of the Minnesota Museum of American Art. It was a very rewarding project because we worked with some prestigious architects and got to build furniture to very specific drawings they provided. It was a HUGE challenge but with help from other specialists who worked on the brass or metal or glass work, we were able to create some really beautiful pieces. It was about a five month project and when it was done, we were able to go visit the pieces and watch people interact with the work we did.
Q: If you had a daily mantra, what would it be?
A: Work your butt off and get as much done as you can, and what’s done is done. There’s always tomorrow for more. I have to remind myself of that every day that I don’t need to get every single thing done in one day.
Visit Rovan Handcrafted Furniture to see more of their work or to commission your own piece!