As a young boy, he would often join his dad in visiting local Master Craftsman Fred Craver. “I spent many hours watching, talking and listening to Fred and his love of wood, especially stories learned from the grain and color from wood. He taught me how to love and appreciate living trees for what they offered and supplied us....One of his favorite things he would share with me was, ‘Bob, wood actually speaks; put the finish in the wood, not on it, as it will get better and prettier the older it gets.’”
At 15 Timberlake’s Pennsylvania Dutch Dowry Chest won the Ford Motor Co. sponsored Industrial Arts Award — the first ever won in the South. And his achievements have grown steadily since, including his induction in 2010 into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. “[I] consider that an honor and testament to all those who were involved in creating, designing, marketing, and especially, those who actually made the pieces of furniture.”
Timberlake’s approach to design and marketing a branded furniture line helped turn around the furniture industry in the 1990s, bringing “back the excitement and creativity.” In 2000, an industry-wide executive survey named Timberlake “the most successful furniture brand in the industry’s history.”
Timberlake's efforts and initiatives have earned him recognition as a 2012 Wood Industry Market Leader by Wood & Wood Products magazine.
Notable about Timberlake has been his adamancy to keep the manufacture of his furniture in the United States, and woodworkers employed. Among the company’s licensees is Century Furniture, which contracted with Bob Timberlake Inc. in January 2011 to manufacture the branded furniture.
“In the new millennium, our brand is said to have had a large part, along with my son, Dan Timberlake, in turning the tide from offshore to Made in America,” Timberlake says.
One of his favorite quotes is from Lewis Carroll: “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”
Timberlake indeed does for others. And in addition to spending time with his family and friends, “Painting is my love — designing, creating and working with the most talented people in the industry and world is just frosting on the cake! Always remember what Mr. Einstein said, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’”
• Education: BS Industrial Relations, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill
• Years involved in woodworking/furniture: 22
• Years in art: 42
• Word that best describes you: Dreamer
• The best advice received: Love what you do. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21
• The person you have tried to emulate in business and why: My father, Casper Hill Timberlake. His work ethics were instilled in me, even to the point there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I loved it enough, worked hard enough, believed enough.
Read more about the 2012 Wood Industry Market Leaders