| Jun 09, 2005

Feature article, June 9, 2005

Feature article June 9, 2005

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Flinton Youth Wins Business Plan Competition

by Meghan Balogh

In the little hamlet of Flinton, there lives a rising young artist with a promising future.

Aaron Rasenberg is a 15-year-old entrepreneur creative beyond his years. He spends hours woking in his shop, built in the corner of an old barn on the Rasenbergs property. The results of these laborious hours are phenomenal: tables, chairs, picture frames, magazine holders, baskets, stools, arbours, benches, plant stands rustic furniture, as well crafted and beautiful as anything found in a small-town craft store.

River Road Rustic Furniture began with a chair that Aaron built when he was 14. I threw it away. You couldnt even sit in it, says Aaron. Its sitting in the woods somewhere. More chairs followed soon after, and then a table. Some of these pieces passed inspection, but some did not and were thrown away. Hes a perfectionist, said Aarons mom, Chris Rasenberg.


Aarons rustic furniture ranges from delicately woven baskets to sturdy, full-sized tables. He makes willow furniture full-sized or doll-sized. His maple chairs are both beautiful and comfortable. Most of Aarons work is treated with acrylic urethane to preserve the natural colour and quality of the wood, and for furniture that will sit outside he uses water seal. He has used stains, but prefers the natural look for his work.

Aaron uses materials from his property that he hunts down and prepares for use by stripping the bark, a task only possible in the spring. The barn rafters hold ready pieces of stripped ash, maple, willow, cherry, and birch, waiting to be shaped into pieces of art. For some projects he uses glue, but for the willow furniture he uses screws. He explained to me that many artists use nails to put their furniture together, but as the wood dries the nails begin to push out.

A typical day for Aaron is full of his love for furniture design. He begins his day by reading the Bible, and after that he delves into his favourite wood working book by Daniel Mack, an American artist. Daniel Mack is my hero, Aaron says with a trace of awe in his voice. Hes had a big influence on my style and technique. His other favourite reading material is the Lee Valley catalogue. Aarons mom shared a bit more about his daily routine: He spends 10-12 hours a day working in and around his shop, not always building but looking for materials, designing, and studying his stash of books and magazines. His hobbies playing the guitar, snowboarding, and the odd game of paintball have all moved over for his newfound passion for furniture making.

The first big step in Aarons developing business was his prize-winning business plan that earned him $750 from the Northern high schools business plan contest, sponsored by the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC). When asked what he would do with the prize money, Aaron promptly answered, Im going to buy a band saw. Aaron is constantly on the lookout for more tools.

The future holds much promise for Aaron. He and his father are building a new workshop in the barn this one will be bigger, have a new floor, and will hopefully be filled with more tools. Aaron is interested in taking some courses to improve his skills: a part-time course at Rosewood Studios, and possibly a furniture design program at Sheridan College. Whatever he decides to do in regards to his education, Aaron will continue to improve and love what hes doing. As Mrs. Rasenberg shared, Everything Aaron does revolves around his building. Its his delight.

Aaron has pieces available for sale, or will build to custom order. You can contact him at 336-3033.

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