Fargo’s Mr. Spindle is known around the world and in certain Hollywood set designer circles

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (KFYR) - Bob Matthews owns a woodworking company in Fargo, but he’s known around the world by a different name.

Mr. Spindle has been a family business since 1977 when they began selling lumber to stores like Lowes, Menards and Home Depot. But things changed in 1988 when they got a special request from a lumber yard in Chicago. Owner Robert Matthews quickly learned he would need a lot more than the few pieces of new and specialized equipment he bought to fill the request.

”Then I found out I needed newels, and handrails, and porch posts, and finials, and postcaps. And you know, one thing led to another over the years,” said Matthews.

When the internet became a popular place for specialty online sales, people from all over the world stepped up and began placing orders. His work soon caught the eyes of Hollywood set designers and TV show producers. Mr. Spindle has created porches and decks for more than 20 movie productions and TV shows.

One review from the construction coordinator of the ABC show “Resurrection” states: ”I cannot say enough good things about this company. The quality of the work, the trust they extended me, and the speed with which they shipped them to me was outstanding. I have told many other buyers around here about Mr. Spindle and will continue to do so,”

You don’t have to go to the movies or binge-watch home improvement shows to see Mr. Spindle’s work. The former Governor’s Mansion in Bismarck displays reproduction porch slats that were designed to match the originals of this 139-year-old building.

Mr. Spindle has done projects all over the world from just a few replacement parts for aging decks in Massachusetts, all the way to the happiest place on earth. He says it’s too hard to pick a favorite project.

“Disney World was a lot of fun, and the Hollywood sets. Being able to say that for your pride and your ego is always kind of a lot of fun. But I get just a bit of kick out of selling three post caps to a little old lady who calls and needs to match something on her house,” said Matthews.

Matthews says he’s not in the business to sell the most products, but his staff wants to make sure the quality of their work always comes first. Perhaps that’s the reason so many Hollywood sets are credited to Mr. Spindle.

Matthews typically works with woods like cedar, redwood and mahogany grown in the U.S., but soon he and his wife will travel to Uruguay to look at woods specific to that country.