History of Hendrick
Over 60 years ago, the first Hendrick Panel Saw was constructed in the backyard of Bob and Beth Hendrick. Bob Hendrick, known affectionately by many of his later customers as an “irascible old Yankee”, was a sea-hardened sailor with an eye for fine craft and a skill for business. Bob was a man of many interests. He loved Dixieland jazz; an avid musician himself, he played rhythm guitar, tuba, trombone, piano, and drums. He was a naval officer in World War II, where he charmed his German prisoners-of-war with his love of German Oompah songs. Like many New Englanders, Bob was also an avid sportsman, playing goalie for the University of Vermont’s first hockey team during his college years, and, later, skiing every weekend in New Hampshire, where he perfected that state’s first-ever rope tow. It was Bob’s love of sailing, however, that brought him from his original home in Newton, MA, to his final residence, the birthplace of Hendrick saws, in the historic sea-side town of Marblehead, MA.
Bob made his first panel saw in the late 1940's in order to increase the production of his small woodworking business, Sea Craft. By stretching out an ordinary radial arm saw and adding a post at one end, Bob created a revolutionary tool that could cut wood more efficiently and in greater volume. As news of Bob’s revolutionary invention spread, demand increased, and soon Bob had closed Sea Craft and was running a full-fledged production company from his backyard, shipping saws throughout the United States.
The popularity of Bob’s panel saw did not truly take flight, however, until Rohm and Haas, a German chemical company that sought to popularize the use of Plexiglas® following World War II, began referring Bob’s blooming backyard business to its distributors. Bob’s business was soon gaining national renown, as Plexiglas® distributors used his machine to trim the rough edges of their cell-cast Plexiglas®. Bob’s saw, the first of its kind to be marketed to the plastics industry, opened new production horizons for both the saw and plastics industry.
In 1973, when current president Dan Wiggin joined Bob at the head of his accelerating enterprise, the business had clearly outgrown the Hendricks’ backyard. Dan combined his innovation and management skills with Bob’s commitment to quality to further revolutionize the panel saw. Combined with computer technology, the saw increased in both accuracy and productivity.
Hendrick continued evolving throughout the early 80's with the addition of CNC routing equipment, which successfully reintroduced Hendrick saws to the woodworking business, and opened yet another realm of possibilities - that of metal-cutting. With 3-dimensional capabilities, laser-cutting, and engraving equipment, Bob’s panel saw had evolved into an entirely modern machine.
Today, Bob’s panel saw, along with Hendrick’s other innovative products, are sold worldwide, with some 10,000 machines currently in service in the United States. Many of Bob’s original saws are still in operation, a testament to his devotion to quality and service. Newer models, still making trends in the panel saw business, work with an efficiency and accuracy that is a testament to their solid history.