The history of Rockler Woodworking and Hardware goes back to 1954, when Norton Rockler started the Minnesota Woodworkers Supply Company in north Minneapolis. It was a small mail-order business with a big aspiration – to become woodworkers' go-to resource for everything they need to complete their projects.
Since then, we've grown into an industry-leading woodworking and hardware source with a nationwide chain of stores and international reach through our catalogs and website. In many ways, a lot has changed. We've continuously added to our offerings as woodworking technologies have advanced, and we're constantly working to bring the industry's most innovative products, thinking and education to our stores and website.
But in other important ways, much has remained the same. Throughout our history, Rockler has been a family-owned business – and in business, as with family, relationships are important. We still work with many of the same vendors whose products appeared in our catalogs decades ago. And we still strive to establish connections with you, our customers, that extend well beyond mere financial transactions. We want you to know that we're invested in your success. You can count on us for the products, advice and encouragement you need to finish your projects, and you can count on us to stand behind the things we sell. As our founder wrote in the introduction to a 1988 catalog, "Our commitment to you doesn't end when the package arrives."
We're also committed to the future of woodworking, DIY, and the natural resources that make woodworking possible. That's why we strive to provide "green" products, to emphasize recycling and to support sustainable forest growth through the Hardwood Forestry Fund. We're particularly gratified that Rockler has been named the 2014 recipient of the Forestry Fund's Gifford Pinchot Award in recognition of the company's "significant effort to plant hardwood trees in America."
So as we celebrate our rich history, we look forward to many more years in the shop with you. Our goal still is to be your go-to DIY resource – for everything you need to build both your projects and your confidence.
Rockler opens second Atlanta retail store in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Rockler continues expanding its retail division in Chicago with the opening of a third area store in Orland Park, Illinois.
Rockler opens second store in Houston area in Spring, Texas.
Rockler introduces several more innovations including Miter Fold Dado Set & Material Mate Panel Cart
Drawer Front Installation Clamps win a Pro Tool Innovation Award for Achievement in the hand tools category.
Retail division continues expansion with the opening and relocation of five stores. New stores open in Frisco and Garland, Texas, to serve the Dallas metro and in Bolingbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Our Royal Oak, Michigan retail store relocates to Novi, Michigan and the Torrance, California store reopens in a new location. All five stores feature a new design and dedicated learning and hands-on demonstration space.
Rockler continues support of the Hardwood Forestry Fund to help plant over 11,000 seedlings of five different oak species in northeast Texas.
Ann Rockler Jackson becomes Executive Chairman.
A special Rockler contribution in honor of Earth Day allows the Hardwood Forestry Fund to plant 7,000 hardwood trees in The Wilds, a private nonprofit conservation center located on reclaimed mining land in southeastern Ohio.
Rockler receives the Hardwood Forestry Fund's 2014 Gifford Pinchot Award, which recognizes significant corporate achievements in promoting sustainable forestry.
Rockler Companies Inc. marks its 60th Anniversary as a family-owned business promoting the craft of woodworking.
Rockler continues its Earth Day partnership with the Hardwood Forestry Fund to plant 10,000 trees in the Riverside School Forest in southwest Wisconsin and 6,600 trees in the Raystown Lake recreation area in central Pennsylvania.
Redesign of Rockler.com is launched, incorporating "responsive design" to provide an enhanced shopping experience across multiple digital platforms.
Maplewood, MN, store moves to a larger location and reopens with the new superstore format, which features a new design, more product offerings and dedicated spaces for demonstrations and hands-on woodworking classes.
Seattle, WA, moves location and reopens with new superstore format.
Woodworker's Journal adds to "The Way to Woodwork" DVD series with the production of "Step-by-Step to a Perfect Finish" with renowned finishing expert Michael Dresdner.
Again working with the Hardwood Forestry Fund to celebrate Earth Day, Rockler makes a donation from every online, catalog and retail sale – enough to plant 20,000 hardwood trees.
The Mixing Mate® Paint Lid receives an Innov8 Award from Wood magazine and a Handy Magazine Innovation Award and is named to the This Old House Top 100. The Rockler Silicone Glue Brush also makes the TOH Top 100, and the 3-Piece Glue Application Kit receives a Handy Innovation Award.
To mark Earth Day, Rockler donates a portion of proceeds from online sales to the Hardwood Forestry Fund to pay for the planting of 10,000 trees.
The Rockler Rolling Library Ladder System is named to the This Old House Top 100 list of innovative products.
Woodworker's Journal produces "The Way to Woodwork," a three-disc DVD series featuring Ian Kirby, a master woodworker/designer with more than 50 years' experience, and LiLi Rockler Jackson, a woodworker who grew up in the Rockler family business and has studied at many of the top woodworking schools.
The Bench Cookie® Work Gripper is introduced and quickly becomes a hit with woodworkers and reviewers alike. It wins a 2009 Handy Magazine Innovation Award and later is named one of Wood magazine's Top New Tools for 2010.
Rockler acquires Bench Dog Tools.
Rockler.com is named a Top 50 website by Internet Retailer magazine.
The company celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
30th retail store opens.
The Clamp-It® Assembly Square is introduced, giving woodworkers an extra hand (or two) when gluing or nailing workpieces at a 90° angle. Writes one satisfied customer: "Once in a rare while you come across a new woodworking tool that you can't imagine working without ever again. This is one of those tools."
25th retail store opens.
The Sure-Foot® Bar Clamp, a Rockler innovation featuring a taller, wider and more stable base than other pipe clamps, is introduced. It is rated "Best Overall" in a comparative review of pipe clamps in the October 2004 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine.
Woodworker's Journal and Woodworker's Journal E-Zine are named Best Internet Site at the Minnesota Magazine & Publications Association's 2002 Publishing Excellence Awards.
When Norm Abram needs specialty hardware for a project planned for the 2002 season of "The New Yankee Workshop" TV show, he turns to Rockler. The project, an outdoor lounge chair like the ones on old-time luxury ocean liners, requires brass hardware that can withstand the elements. Rockler locates a source and adds the hardware to its offerings, and Abram and his deck chair are featured on the cover of the spring 2002 Rockler catalog.
Women in Woodworking and Woodworking.com websites launch.
Reflecting its commitment to offering hard-to-find hardware (in addition to woodworking tools, kits and supplies), the company changes its name from The Woodworker's Store to Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. A new logo is introduced.
The company purchases Woodworker's Journal magazine and changes the name of Today's Woodworker to Woodworker's Journal. The combined publication has a circulation of more than 200,000 subscribers.
20th retail location opens.
The first Rockler Router Table package is introduced.
The catalog goes out to a mailing list of over 6 million in full color, containing more than 4,000 products, including 400 new products.
The company launches its first websites, allowing customers to request a catalog and sign up for a free trial subscription to Today's Woodworker. The sites also features several product specials.
15th retail store opens.
The company moves its offices and warehouse operations to Medina, MN.
Today's Woodworker magazine has a paid circulation of 100,000.
The company celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
The popular Rolling Library Ladder Hardware is introduced.
With the resurgence of interest in mission-style furniture, the company enters into an agreement with L. & J.G. Stickley to become the exclusive retailer of authentic Stickley hardware. To this day, Rockler is the only retail source for genuine Stickley hardware.
The T-Slot System of jigs and fixtures is introduced, featuring hold-downs, stop blocks and featherboards that secure into a special metal track or a groove routed into a wood base.
The JIG IT® Template System is launched with the introduction of the Shelf Pin Drilling Jig. More JIG IT® guides follow, making it quicker and easier to accurately install a range of hinges, slides and handles.
Wunderfil™ dual-purpose wood filler is introduced.
Historically accurate "Windsor Green" paint is introduced as part of the Rockler Wood Finishing line. The formula is developed by an in-house chemist working from a paint chip provided by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. The Society subsequently authenticates the new paint.
The first issue of our new magazine, Today's Woodworker, is published.
10th retail store opens.
The Rockler Wood Finishing line of products is released. It eventually includes tung oil, furniture cleaner, salad bowl finish, wood preservative, rubbing oil, furniture polish, lemon oil polish, beeswax and carnauba wax.
The company begins donating a portion of the proceeds from lumber sales to the National Arbor Day Foundation to help renew the woodworker's most important resource.
Two finishes developed and used by the legendary woodworker Sam Maloof are introduced in an exclusive arrangement with the company. Maloof's Poly/Oil Finish and Oil/Wax Finish remain a Rockler exclusive.
We lose Gary Rockler (1953-1987) to illness.
Keeping pace with technological innovations in the tool industry, the company for the first time offers cordless electric tools: two 7.2-volt drills and a power screwdriver.
The Rogers, MN, facility is expanded again.
The Woodworkers' Store Blum Hinge Jig is introduced, a forerunner of the JIG IT® Template System.
Ann Rockler Jackson becomes CEO.
Fifth retail store opens.
The company becomes the first in the industry to carry square-drive screws and European-style cabinet hinges.
The Rogers, MN, facility is expanded.
The company changes its name to The Woodworker's Store.
The first retail store opens, in Minneapolis.
Ann Rockler Jackson becomes president of the company.
The Rogers, MN, facility is purchased.
Gary Rockler joins the company, and he and Ann create a prospective catalog called “Let's Get Acquainted Catalog.”
Ann Rockler Jackson joins the company.
The company, with eight employees, moves to a new 8,000-square-foot facility in Golden Valley, MN.
Heralding an enduring emphasis on innovative product development and commitment to offering hard-to-find hardware, the company introduces its first proprietary product, Plyedge® banding for covering exposed plywood edges, and becomes the first in the industry to carry lamp parts and porcelain casters.
Nordy Rockler starts the mail-order Minnesota Woodworkers Supply Company at 1713 Olson Memorial Highway in Minneapolis. The first catalog features specialty wood veneers and hardware items such as knobs, pulls and table slides.