Robert “Bob” Jenkins is an artisan/carpenter who moved with his family from Connecticut to Fernandina Beach in 1991. His business, Atlantic Woodworks, allows him to utilize his unique carpentry skills on behalf of private homeowners, as well as for municipal buildings in need of historic restoration. His creations include cabinetry, interior staircases, hutches, fireplace mantels, windows, beds and executive desks, as well as a variety of restoration projects for public buildings, including the Historic Courthouse and Visitors’ Center in downtown Fernandina Beach.
He likes to say, “If it can be made from wood, I can make it.” His work is one-of-a-kind, “signature work.” Each piece is unique, and fabrication begins only after extensive communication with his customers, whom he calls “friends”. With a focus on custom design and customer service, Jenkins understands that his business serves a niche market, relying on favorable word-of-mouth recommendations for growth.
His large open workshop has a waterfront view, located in a 1920s-era building situated remotely on Cumberland Sound, on the north end of Amelia Island. Fernandina locals know this place as the “Pogey Plant,” named for its past life as a fish-based fertilizer-processing plant. During a recent tour, the old-school craftsman couldn’t resist pointing out the vintage railroad ties and rails which serve as support for the structure. With a chuckle, he describes the space as “perfect…it’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer.” The workspace evokes an earlier era, the values from which Jenkins seeks to perpetuate as an artisan functioning in a world characterized by mass production and planned obsolescence.
Even with a bustling business, Jenkins still finds time to enjoy a more recent passion, one he calls his “final frontier.” As a longtime musician, as well as a carpenter, he’s naturally drawn to a pursuit which involves sound wood-working, precision design and creative craftsmanship: restoring and building guitars. He doesn’t yet see this as a business opportunity, however, owing to a self-admitted reluctance to part with any of his creations so far.
Jenkins intends to maintain the core of his business in Fernandina Beach for the long-term, hoping to add full-time staff as the size of the business warrants. Regardless of growth or ultimate scale, what won’t change is the fact that everything produced at Atlantic Woodworks will continue to reflect the personal touch and unique signature of a master craftsman.